Monday, 21 May 2018

"One-Way Glass: Dancefloor Prog, Brit Jazz & Funky Folk 1968-1975" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (August 2017 RPM Records 3CD Box Set) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Out Of Nowhere..."

Weird, adventurous, cool, surprising yet forgotten, brilliant yet often unknown, sometimes crap and even risible - but at other times as Funky as a loved-up Bishop Curry on biblical-speed at a Royal Wedding. I love Box Sets like "One Way Glass..." – it’s not all undiluted James Brown vs. Deep Purple crossover genre-genius for sure - but when its Funky Breaks are good – man they’re shockingly so...

Spanning 1968 to 1975 and offering 58 tracks across 3CDs - "Dancefloor Prog, Brit Jazz & Funky Folk" is a catchall that goes so deep that even fairly knowledgeable types like yours truly here might look at the artist names on any of these near-eighty-minute CDs and shout 'who the hell are they?' Most are British Rock bands with great players that tapped into their Bad Soulful American Selves on throwaway B-sides and album fillers – getting down with the Groove be it on Mellotron or Wah Wah Pedal. Some are well known names but most were very much on the fringes and get a long overdue outing here.

But for me that's what makes this superb RMP Records anthology such a winner is the dip and discover factor - and all of it presented with knowledge, enthusiasm and even glee (a 42-page jam-packed booklet) and Audio that does well with ancient tapes. There is a heap of Hard Stuff to wade through - so once more my Burning Red Ivanhoes unto the Fat Mattress, Skin Alley and Jody Grind (and that's just the Pesky Gee)...

UK released 25 August 2017 (1 September 2017 in the USA) - "One Way Glass: Dancefloor Prog, Brit Jazz and Funky Folk 1968-1975" by VARIOUS ARTISTS on RPM Records RPMBX 537 (Barcode 5013929553705) is a 58-Track 3CD Clamshell Box Set of Remasters with a 42-Page Booklet and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (79:04 minutes):
1. One Way Glass - TRIFFLE (from the December 1970 UK LP "First Meeting" on Dawn DNLS 3017 – a Manfred Mann Chapter Three cover version – for Triffle see also Track 11, Disc 3)
2. Elegy - COLOSSEUM (from the November 1969 UK LP "Valentyne Suite" on Vertigo VO1)
3. Man From Afghanistan - CURTISS MULDOON (from the October 1971 UK LP "Curtiss Muldoon" on Purple Records TPS 3501)
4. 3D Mona Lisa - PAUL BRETT'S SAGE (from the October 1970 UK LP "Paul Brett Sage" on Pye NSPL 18347)
5. Home Is Where I Belong - QUICKSAND (from the 1973 UK LP "Home Is Where I Belong" on Dawn DNLS 3056)
6. Somethin' You Got - SECOND HAND (from the April 1971 UK LP "Death May be Your Santa Claus" on Mushroom 200 MR 6)
7. Get One Together - PALADIN (from the April 1972 UK LP "Charge!" on Bronze ILPS 9190 - see also Track 2 on Disc 3)
8. Cold Wall Of Stone - FAT MATTRESS (Recorded 1969 and Previously Unreleased at the time - first appeared in 1992 on Sequel NEX CD 192 as a Bonus Track - a UK CD Reissue of their 1969 Polydor Records debut album "Fat Mattress" - see also Track 5 on Disc 3)
9. Libel - HARD STUFF (from the March 1973 UK LP "Bolex Dementia" on Purple TPSA 7507)
10. Sanctuary - GRAVY TRAIN (Non-album B-side to "Climb Aboard The Gravy Train (And Get On To A Good Thing)", a stand-alone July 1975 UK 7" single on Dawn DNS 1115)
11. City Of Darkness - THE WEB (from the August 1968 UK Stereo LP "Fully Interlocking" on Deram SML 1025 - see also Track 15 on Disc 3)
12. Out Of Nowhere - PATRICK CAMPBELL-LYONS (from the February 1973 UK LP "Me And My Friend" on Sovereign SVNA 7258)
13. The Bitch - THE GASOLINE BAND  (from the May 1972 UK LP "The Gasoline Band" on Cube HIFLY 9)
14. I Saw An Angel - PENTANGLE (B-side to the May 1969 UK 7" single "Once I Had A Sweetheart" on Big T Records BIG 124)
15. Ricochet - JONESY (and abridged edit of a track on their "On This New Day" LP issued as an A-side in January 1973 on Dawn DNS 1030)
16. Revolution's Death Man - EDWARDS HAND (from the 1970 UK LP "Stranded" on RCA Victor SF 8154)
17. Macumbe - BOND & BROWN [Graham Bond and Pete Brown] (Track 2 on Side 1 from the July 1972 UK 3-Track 7" EP "Lost Tribe" on Greenwich Gramophone Company GSS 104)
18. Henry - CMU (from the June 1971 UK LP "Open Spaces" on Transatlantic TRA 237)
19. Sunburnt Virgin Trousers - KNOCKER JUNGLE (from the 1970 UK LP "Knocker Jungle" on Ember NR 5042)
20. Cubano Chant - CLIMAX CHICAGO BLUES BAND (from the November 1969 UK Stereo LP "Plays On" on Parlophone PCS 7084)
21. She's My Sister - OPEN ROAD (from the August 1971 UK LP "Windy Daze" on The Greenwich Gramophone Company GSLP 1001)
22. The Lord Doesn't Want You - THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN (Recorded 1969, Previously Unreleased at the time)

Disc 2 (79:29 minutes):
1. I've Got My Mojo Working - MELANIE (from the October 1975 UK LP "Sunset And Other Beginnings" on Neighborhood NBH 69168)
2. Eyeballs - BLUE MINK (from the April 1974 UK LP "Fruity” on EMI Records EMC 3021)
3. Celebration - CHILLUM (Recorded 1971, not originally released)
4. Confusions About A Goldfish - JOHN KONGOS (from the 1969 UK LP "Confusions About A Goldfish" on Dawn DNLS 3002 - see also Track 1 on Disc 3)
5. Skin Alley Serenade - SKIN ALLEY (from the December 1972 UK LP "Two Quid Deal?" on Transatlantic TRA 260 - see also Track 10 on Disc 3)
6. Little Message - JODY GRIND (from the November 1969 UK LP "One Step On” on Transatlantic TRA 210)
7. Weren't Born A Man - DANA GILLESPIE (from the December 1973 UK LP "Weren't Born A Man" on RCA Victor APL1 0345)
8. Drinking My Wine - HARDIN & YORK (from the November 1969 UK Stereo LP "Tomorrow Today" on Bell SBLL 125)
9. She's Mine, She's Yours - JUICY LUCY (from their November 1969 debut UK LP "Juicy Lucy" on Vertigo VO 2 - see also Track 12 on Disc 3)
10. Avez-Vous Kaskelainen? - BURNIN' RED IVANHOE (from the November 1971 UK LP "W.W.W." on Dandelion 2310 145)
11. Message To Mankind - DEMON FUZZ (from the November 1970 UK LP on Dawn DNX 2504)
12. Closer To The Truth - ALAN JAMES EASTWOOD (A-side of a September 1972 stand-alone UK 7" single on President PT 379)
13. Wake Up My Children - SIREN (from the December 1969 UK LP "Siren" on Dandelion S 63755)
14. The Devil Made Me Do It - CURTIS KNIGHT ZEUS (A-side of January 1974 UK 7" single on Dawn DNS 1049 - also on the German-only LP "Sea Of Time")
15. Hilary Dickson - ATLANTIC BRIDGE (Track 2 on Side 1 of the 3-Track January 1971 UK 7" EP "I Can't Lie To You” on Dawn DNX 2507)
16. Sly Willy - BLUE BEARD (from the 1971 UK LP "Blue Beard” on Durium D 30-214)
17. Mean Old Man - JOAN ARMATRADING (from the November 1972 UK debut LP "Whatever's For Us" on Cube HIFLY 12)
18. Funky - THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP (from the withdrawn 1970 US LP "Funky" on Date Records TES 4021)
19. In The Beginning - THE FOUNDATIONS (A July 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17956, instrumental B-side to "I'm Gonna Be A Rich Man")

Disc 3 (79:12 minutes):
1. He's Gonna Step On You Again - JOHN KONGOS (from the November 1971 UK LP "Kongos" on Fly Records HIFLY 7, also a UK chart single that peaked at No. 3)
2. Bad Times - PALADIN (from the May 1971 UK LP "Paladin" on Bronze ILPS 9150)
3. Instant Whip- THE TREMELOES (Non-Album B-side of "(Call Me) Number One", an October 1969 UK 7" single on CBS 4582)
4. The Rock - ATOMIC ROOSTER (an Instrumental from their September 1971 album "In Hearing Of" on Pegasus PEG 1 - also the B-side to the No. 3 chart UK 7" single "The Devil's Answer")
5. Margarita - FAT MATTRESS (Recorded 1969 and Previously Unreleased at the time - first appeared in 1992 on Sequel NEX CD 192 as a Bonus Track - a UK CD Reissue of their 1969 Polydor Records debut album "Fat Mattress" - see also Track 8 on Disc 1)
6. Gesolreut (Live) - SOFT MACHINE (from the February 1973 2LP set "Six" on CBS Records S 68214)
7. Some Kind Of Beautiful - BRIDGET ST. JOHN (from her July 1974 UK LP "Jumble Queen” on Chrysalis CHR 1062)
8. House On The Hill - AUDIENCE (from their November 1969 UK Debut LP "Audience" on Polydor 583 065)
9. Indian Rope Man - NOIR (from the November 1971 UK LP "We Had To Let You Have It" on Dawn DNLS 3029 - a Richie Havens cover)
10. So Many People - SKIN ALLEY (from the December 1972 UK LP "Two Quid Deal?" on Transatlantic TRA 260 - see also Track 5 on Disc 2)
11. Alibi Annie - TRIFFLE (from the December 1970 UK LP "First Meeting" on Dawn DNLS 3017 - see also Track 1 on Disc 1)
12. I'm A Thief - JUICY LUCY (Non-Album B-side to "Pretty Woman", a stand-alone UK 7" single released December 1970 on Vertigo 6059 015 - see also Track 9 on Disc 2)
13. Travelling Like A Gypsy - HANSON (from the December 1973 UK LP "Now Hear This" on Manticore K 43507)
14. Looking For The Red Label - FAIR WEATHER (B-side to "Lay It On Me", a May 1971 UK 7" single on RCA Neon NE 1001)
15. I'm A Man - THE WEB (1968 Recording Previously Unreleased at the time - a Spencer Davis Group cover - see also Track 11 on Disc 1)
16. Pigs Foot - PESKY GEE (from the August 1969 UK LP "Exclamation Mark" on Pye NSPL 18293)
17. One Way Glass - JOHN SCHROEDER ORCHESTRA featuring Chris Thomas (a November 1971 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 45108, Non-Album Track, A-side, a Manfred Man Chapter Three cover version)

Compiled and co-ordinated by JOHN REED and MARK STRATFORD (with help from good eggs like Dave Timperley over at Cherry Red Records) – the 44-page booklet is amazing – a feast of knowledge, album covers, 45 label repros, trade adverts and of course rare photos of artists who are so underground they may have dirt in their mouths. Fluid Mastering has done the transfers and as Cherry Red has remastered much of this in the last ten years – it’s not surprising to find that the music audio is uniformly great. To the music of hairy-men secretly longing to be the Average White Band...

Disc 1: Triffle and their brass-funky "One Way Glass" give the anthology its name - an in-the-background guitar suitably distant as the backbeat gets laid down. Jon Hiseman and Dick Heckstall-Smith trade licks in the bopping Colosseum track "Elegy" while somebody with an itch in Curtis Maldoon is waiting for the "Man From Afghanistan" - a surprisingly cool 'waiting for the man' groove. Flute-Folk-Rock drives the excellent "3D Mona Lisa" - a guitar-chugger by Paul Brett Sage featuring some great fretwork and frantic Small Faces-type vocals. (Songwriter and Guitarist) Terry Davis features prominently on "Home Is Where I Belong" - a genuine highlight on a jam-packed Disc 1. We enter the valley of weird and silly voices tagged onto a Prog Funky beat with the very Greenslade-sounding Second Hand. Another winner on here is Noel Redding's Fat Mattress and their sexy "Cold Wall Of Stone" - Steve Hammond's guitar and Neil Landon's vocals highlights on an outtake from the first album that only saw the light of day in 1992 as a CD Bonus Track. Other notables are the piano-funky instrumental "Out Of Nowhere" by Nirvana’s Patrick Campbell-Lyons (entirely unrepresentative of the album’s overall singer-songwriter sound – see separate review) and the Folk-Rock cool of Pentangle’s groovy double-bass rhythms in "I Saw An Angel".

Disc 2 opens with a shocker - Melanie Kafka getting Funky as she gets her Mojo working (even if it won't work on the man she wants) - a fantastic groover from 1975 when her albums were probably being ignored. Equally shocking is the hard-hitting Labelle meets Sly Stone Funk of Blue Mink's "Eyeballs" - a truly brilliant Bass-Pounding Beast as inspirational singers Roger Cook and Madeline Bell get up to their eyeballs in backbeats and love. Chillum's "Celebration" is certainly funky but as a five-minute instrumental it feels a tad laboured. South African John Kongos gets the first of two entries - the title track from "Confusions About A Goldfish" being his intro - with lyrics flitting about wildly - from Thalidomide to Thanksgiving to the worries of a goldfish in a room we call the World (it's a good groove but "He's Gonna Step On You Again" over on Disc 3 annihilates it). Skin Alley's "Skin Valley Serenade" also promises much but like Chillum's entry feels overly-long and tired. Jody Grind's "Little Message" on the other hand has a fab organ vs. guitar battle going on throughout its pounding stay. Things also pick up with Dana Gillespie's 'Son Of A Preacher Man' groovy "Weren't Born A Man" - as cool as Lou Reed in 1973. Another Disc 3 highlight surely has to be superbly groovy "Drinking My Wine" by Hardin & York - Eddie Hardin and Pete York - both ex The Spencer Davis Group. And I've always been a sucker for the fantastic slide-guitar Blues Boogie sound of Juicy Lucy - vocalist Ray Owen howling and snarling out those sleazy lyrics while ace-supremo Glenn Ross Campbell goes all Johnny Winter on his guitar to truly hair-raising effect. Other notables include the go-go 60ts throwback chug of "Sly Willy" by Blue Beard – the acoustic attack of a young and angry Joan Armatrading on "Mean Old Man", the Flute-Cool Richie Havens-sounding emotional world of "Closer To The Truth" by Alan James Eastwood and a rare outing for the Chicago/BST sounding Jazz-Rock album you never see by The Spencer Davis Group – the withdrawn "Funky" LP on America's Date Records.

Disc 3 features the fantastic Malo/Santana Latin-Rock Fusion of Paladin's frantic "Bad Times" - a huge nine-minute Funk Monster that starts out slowly in 'Oye Coma Va' mode but then builds into a full-on tearaway Boogie with Drums and Guitars battling it out. Shocker-city comes with a B-side from The Tremeloes of all things - the funky instrumental "Instant Whip" with Drummer Dave Munden letting rip on some strangled Screaming Jay Hawkins yelps whilst guitarist Rick Westwood gives it some fantastic guitar chops throughout. I've raved before about the superb Atomic Rooster B-side "The Rock" (flip to "The Devil's Answer") - an instrumental guitar/keyboard/brass groover that's tucked away on one of the era's biggest Prog Rock LPs - 1971's "In Hearing Of..." Surprises come at you in the shape of Soft Machine finding their inner Mahavishnu Funk on the instrumental "Gesroleut" but Bridget St. John's "Some Kind Of Beautiful" is a tad too fey for its own good. Better is "Indian Rope Man" by Noir - a Richie Havens song from his 1969 double-album "Richie P. Havens, 1983" that seemed to produce a long line of covers that rocked as much as the original. And Skin Alley don’t disappoint with their Focus-sounding Flute-Rock-Funky "So Many People". And on it goes...

A huge haul and even for a know-all like me – some amazing finds in genres I love – music I make CD compilations of when Beelzebub is not looking.

Don’t let the vertigo-inducing up-the-side-of-glass-tower-buildings-artwork put you off – there is so much in here to savour and discover. And I'm thinking that somebody in Royal Circles should drop a sword on John Reed’s shoulder for his musical services to ageing Prog hooligans everywhere and their groove-aroused Zimmer frames. Or better still – punish him with four days chained to the pulpit of Bishop Curry after he’s read the Financial Times. That'll teach the little Funky Folker...

Fabtastic Flutes and then some. Recommended...

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