Archive for the ‘Brian Jones’ Category

Savoy Brown / The Nice / Family

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Savoy Brown The Nice Family Poster

The Weaver's Answer / Strange Band

Listen: The Weaver’s Answer / Family
The Weaver's Answer / Family

One of the great triple bills from ’70, still trading on the English Invasion angle that was becoming a distant marketing ploy.

No problem here. My friends and I ate it up. Couldn’t leave early enough that morning to make a day of hanging out on the campus, pretending to be college kids. The serious Anglofiles, crowded onto the entrance steps of The Palestra Auditorium for a solid few hours prior to doors opening, provided the ultimate social scene. Everyone opinioning and bragging about one record after the other. It was almost as much fun as the show.

I think it was well attended, up front there was no looking back.

We were very seriously not prepared for the power of Family live. No one in the room was. And I do mean no one. I’d only seen their three albums in the store, never heard them and as much as I wanted ownership of at least one record, some other title always took their purchase slot. Turns out, this was my favorite lineup, having become obsessed as a result of the show and then seeing them many times. Poli Palmer on xylophone most of the night, a stunning player. And John Weider on guitars and violin. It was the first band I saw playing any of these instruments (except Brian Jones on vibes during ‘Under My Thumb’), not to mention changing them up for each song.

The ace in the deck for Family was always Roger Chapman. Definitely an acquired taste vocally, you still seldom see a madman like him, totally possessed. Once you experienced Family in person, their recordings made perfect sense, vividly bringing back his on stage intensity.

They couldn’t catch a break in The States. Bill Graham banned them from The Fillmores. Don’t know why. This particular night the audience was into it, but a few years later, opening for Elton John, things didn’t work out the same. I remember many of the crowd booing. I couldn’t believe such a sophisticated group of great musicians were being booed. I was embarrassed. But the band tore threw it unflinched. This was ’72. Sadly it was to be the last time they toured the US. Props to Elton John for having them.

The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice

Listen: The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack / The Nice
The

The Nice were on Immediate. This was a big deal.

Immediate was a serious label to this bunch. A lot of conversation was had earlier on the steps about the greatness of the roster. Everyone was clued into the supposed stage antics of Keith Emerson, still I don’t think we were really ready. When he mauled his organ during ‘America’, it was shocking. Everyone took a step back as the knives came out. All these skinny English people with crazy energy. The flower power stuff from their albums interested me a lot. I think they stopped playing that stuff pretty quickly as the prog symphonic material took center stage, plus I assume Emerson, Lake & Palmer were right around the corner. I remember hearing this tour was simply honoring contractual commitments. Didn’t seem like it being a wide eyed kid upfront.

Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Listen: Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown
Made Up My Mind / Savoy Brown

Savoy Brown were theatrics-free, but never mind, they tore it up. In keeping with the evening looks wise, the underfed, velvet and stacked heeled Englishness prevailed. Can still remember these fair haired frail guys playing wicked blues. Probably very white, but this was prior to seeing any of the originals, so all new, all impressive. RAW SIENNA had just been released, and their set covered a lot of it plus some prior singles (‘Made Up My Mind’, ‘Train To Nowhere’) and their theme at the time, Muddy Waters’ ‘Louisiana Blues’. Like Family, this was a classic Savoy Brown lineup, with Chris Youlden on vocals and Tone Stevens on bass.

I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

Listen: I’m Tired / Savoy Brown
I'm Tired / Savoy Brown

My vivid memory of Kim Simmonds starting off ‘I’m Tired’ is as plain as day. It was my first time up super close, literally with elbows on the stage, and thinking ‘he makes it look so easy’, the true sign of a great guitarist.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Kim Simmonds

On the way out of town after the show, we stopped at a late night record/head shop near the campus, figuring out who would buy what, strategizing so that collectively we arrived home with records by all three bands. Picked these handout charts up at the counter, with some pretty interesting playlist titles. Yes, the days of underground radio…..and the ‘Super Heavy Sound’ of Janis Joplin. See them below:

WHFM 3-5-70

WHFM 11-5-70

WHFM 12-4-69

Grapefruit

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

Dear Delilah / Grapefruit

Listen: Dear Delilah / Grapefruit
Dear Delilah / Grapefruit

Formed from the remnants of Tony Rivers & The Castaways, and Harmony Grass by George Alexander, birth name: Alexander Young. Brother to George (founding member of The Easybeats) as well Malcolm and Angus (founders of AC/DC). For some reason, the family left him behind in England when the others moved off to Australia. Lucky guy.

Grapefruit issued their first single to much attention as The Beatles had acquired the publishing and hence posed in trade pictures with the band. As with their label, The Beatles tended to be quite good at A&R. Even Brian Jones was in those publicity shots, God knows why. Result, the press were interested.

In the US, the debut single ‘Dear Delilah’ was released via Terry Melcher’s new imprint, Equinox, and hence got a decent push. Mom Doris Day wasn’t about to let son and Beach Boys’ friend Terry flop. But despite being recorded in “new orthophonic high fidelity” and getting some decent airplay, the imaginative psychedelic taint (not my words) of ‘Dear Delilah’ only reached #98 in the Billboard Top 100, and #21 in The UK. A shame.

Listen: Elevator / Grapefruit
Elevator / Grapefruit

The album AROUND GRAPEFRUIT, from which it came, was chocked full of gems including the followup ‘Elevator’. I remember it and The Small Faces ‘Lazy Sunday’ shockingly being played on my hometown Top 40 one Saturday afternoon that spring. Getting picked up for some daytime airplay so quickly upon release via the generally tight WNDR seemed quite optimistic. I was temporarily content.

It was over before it started though, as both peaked and stalled during the same week (5/11/68) on Billboard’s Bubbling Under The Hot 100 chart (above, click to enlarge). Nearly failed my finals as a result, the depression was so bad.

Listen: Lady Godiva (Come Home) / Grapefruit
Lady Godiva (Come Home) / Grapefruit

Things took an even sharper left turn for Grapefruit a year or so later in ’70 when the band got a touch too progressive, recording DEEP WATER for new, in US that is, label RCA. It’s one of those blues soul prog rock calamities that sells for a nice price nowadays, but grinds by at snail’s pace once you get it onto the turntable. Second single, ‘Lady Godiva (Come Home)’ wants to be hooky, but some cringing lyrics and slightly Foghat leaning vocals prove punishing. Having said that, I do like a nice clean aural snapshot of a bad single, and this is one. They’re totally fascinating artifacts.

Listen: Universal Party / Grapefruit
Universal Party / Grapefruit

An unexpected, and more than low key reprieve occurred without explanation or commitment by Deram in ’73, when the label issued ‘Universal Party’. First listen will most likely result in a shrug at best, but the faint hint of glam gets a bit more addictive with a few more spins. Given it was Grapefruit and on Deram meant extra rope.

In hindsight, I guess nothing compared to the optimistic sound of those first few releases, which I’m reminded of daily as I eat my grapefruit each and every morning.

The Pretty Things

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Listen: Come See Me / The Pretty Things PrettyThingsComeSeeMe.mp3

Written about way more times than it ever got played on US radio embarrassingly. ‘Come See Me’ is without question, one of the all time greats. I can’t think of a single that’s cut louder. Seriously, can you? Always on the border of over distorted, but just, I guess it was too good to be a hit. Too good for the average shlump to hear.

And in their 60′s heyday, if they were this good live, it’s no wonder their friends The Rolling Stones never asked them out on tour, even though Brian Jones was their roommate (not that he had much juice apparently). Makes perfect sense.

The Cramps always had the same problem getting support slots. Who in their right mind wanted to go onstage after they played? Nobody.

Although, hold on, to be fair, White Zombie gave them a few slots, like the San Diego Sports Arena. Yep, I saw The Cramps at the San Diego Sports Arena. The front 25% were going bonkers, the remaining 75%, basically silent – not booing, not speaking, just completely baffled. Genius.

Above: Jukebox Tab signed by Dick Taylor

Andy Bown

Monday, August 10th, 2009

andybownsweetusa, Andy Bown, Peter Frampton, The Herd GM Records, Mercury Records

Listen: Sweet William / Andy Bown AndyBownWilliam.mp3

It’s real simple. Andy Bown was in The Herd. He has a lifetime, out of jail free card. End of story.

Add to that, a haircut rivaling only Brian Jones.

But seriously, he’s made a lot of great singles. These are two. ‘Sweet William’ was originally released as the B side of The Herd’s seminal classic ‘From The Underworld’. The above version was a re-record for Andy Bown’s second solo album, ironically titled SWEET WILLIAM. I always loved the song.

andybownsatyricon, Andy Bown, Peter Frampton, The Herd GM Records, Mercury Records

Listen: New York Satyricon Zany / Andy Bown AndyBownSatyricon.mp3

Go back and read my story of meeting he and Peter Frampton during a Frampton’s Camel show back in the 70′s. It was an exciting moment. A few years later, ‘New York Satyricon Zany’ came out as a UK single, with an obvious Peter Frampton solo during the last passage. Either way, it became an instant favorite, and it’s just one example of Andy Bown’s many songwriting and vocal superiorities.

Ray Charles & His Orchestra

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

raycharlesmovinusa, ray charles, atlantic

Listen: I’m Movin’ On / Ray Charles & His Orchestra RayCharlesMovin.mp3

raycharlesbelieveusa1, ray charles, atlantic,

Listen: I Believe To My Soul / Ray Charles & His Orchestra RayCharlesBelieve.mp3

1959, the year this double sider mid-charted, also marked the end of his time with Atlantic. A few raw R&B singles spilled into his later ABC Records output, like ‘Busted’, but as it turned out, this was the end of a real deal era, not unlike Elvis pre-draft or The Rolling Stones with Brian Jones. Unfortunately there are many examples.

Love Sculpture covered ‘I Believe To My Soul’ on BLUES HELPING. It’s where I first heard it. I played the record a few years back, this after a long, long patch of collecting all the originals, and God did it sound white. Ouch. Still the recording is nicely time period, meaning plenty of crystal clear separation with lots of space exposing all the good and bad. Despite the sugary rockabilly of Dave Edmunds’ later stuff, he was obviously a pretty flash guitarist at the start. Ray Charles’ version is everything I could have wished for – brings me right to some fantasy juke joint backwoods honky tonk, whatever those places were described as. I like to think this is what it sounded like.

In similar fashion, The Rolling Stones OUT OF OUR HEADS included Hank Snow’s ‘I’m Movin’ On’. I was nuts about the track and convinced some friends to come see him at The State Fair. He was playing straight C&W by then though (’69), and did not rock out in the slightest. I bet it was probably way better than I could appreciate at the time.