Sunday, 17 May 2015

B.B. King - Singin' The Blues (1st Album US 1957)

Size: 68.6 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Source: Japan 24 Bit Remaster
Artwork Included

Singin' the Blues is the 1956 debut album by blues performer B.B. King on the Bihari brothers' Crown label. Among its tracks, the album gathered together five charting singles. "You Upset Me, Baby" was the highest charting single, reaching #1 on Billboard's "Black Singles" chart. Other charting singles include "Every Day I Have the Blues" (#8), "Ten Long Years" (#9), "Crying Won't Help You" (#15), "Bad Luck" (#3) and "Sweet Little Angel" (#6). The album was originally released on the Crown subsidiary of Modern Records and has been reissued several times, as part of a two-album combined CD alongside King's second release The Blues and with bonus tracks by Japanese label P-Vine Records and U.K. label Ace Records (UK). On "Please Love Me", King combines T-Bone Walker's hard-picking, distorted guitar style with his own mournful singing.

His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don't look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can't get enough of him. 

For more than half a century, Riley B. King - better known as B.B. King - has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released over fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, near Indianola. In his youth, he played on street corners for dimes, and would sometimes play in as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his music career. Memphis was where every important musician of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where every style of African American music could be found. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues. 

B.B.'s first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM out of West Memphis. This led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute spot on black-staffed and managed Memphis radio station WDIA. "King's Spot," became so popular, it was expanded and became the "Sepia Swing Club." Soon B.B. needed a catchy radio name. What started out as Beale Street Blues Boy was shortened to Blues Boy King, and eventually B.B. King. 

In the mid-1950s, while B.B. was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, a few fans became unruly. Two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting fire to the hall. B.B. raced outdoors to safety with everyone else, then realized that he left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back inside the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death. When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille. 

Soon after his number one hit, "Three O'Clock Blues," B.B. began touring nationally. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an astonishing 342 one-night stands. From the chitlin circuit with its small-town cafes, juke joints, and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. has become the most renowned blues musician of the past 40 years.

01. "Please Love Me" – 2:51
02. "You Upset Me Baby" – 3:04
03. "Every Day I Have the Blues" (Pinetop Sparks) – 2:49
04. "Bad Luck" (Ivory Joe Hunter) – 2:54
05. "3 O'Clock Blues" (Lowell Fulson) – 3:03
06. "Blind Love" – 3:06
07. "Woke Up This Morning" – 2:59
08. "You Know I Love You" – 3:06
09. "Sweet Little Angel" (Lucille Bogan, ? Smith) – 3:00
10. "Ten Long Years" – 2:49
11. "Did You Ever Love a Woman" (Dwight Moore) – 2:34
12. "Crying Won't Help You" (Hudson Whittaker) – 3:00

1. Link
2. Link

Friday, 15 May 2015

♫♪♪♫♪ B.B. King is Dead, R.I.P. ♫♪♪♫♪

Universally hailed as the reigning king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King is without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century. His bent notes and staccato picking style have influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice -- capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric -- provides a worthy match for his passionate playing. Between 1951 and 1985, King notched an impressive 74 entries on Billboard's R&B charts, and he was one of the few full-fledged blues artists to score a major pop hit when his 1970 smash "The Thrill Is Gone" crossed over to mainstream success (engendering memorable appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and American Bandstand). Since that time, he has partnered with such musicians as Eric Clapton and U2 while managing his own acclaimed solo career, all the while maintaining his immediately recognizable style on the electric guitar.

The seeds of Riley B. King's enduring talent were sown deep in the blues-rich Mississippi Delta, where he was born in 1925 near the town of Itta Bena. He was shuttled between his mother's home and his grandmother's residence as a child, his father having left the family when King was very young. The youth put in long days working as a sharecropper and devoutly sang the Lord's praises at church before moving to Indianola -- another town located in the heart of the Delta -- in 1943.

Country and gospel music left an indelible impression on King's musical mindset as he matured, along with the styles of blues greats (T-Bone Walker and Lonnie Johnson) and jazz geniuses (Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt). In 1946, he set off for Memphis to look up his cousin, a rough-edged country blues guitarist named Bukka White. For ten invaluable months, White taught his eager young relative the finer points of playing blues guitar. After returning briefly to Indianola and the sharecropper's eternal struggle with his wife Martha, King returned to Memphis in late 1948. This time, he stuck around for a while.

King was soon broadcasting his music live via Memphis radio station WDIA, a frequency that had only recently switched to a pioneering all-black format. Local club owners preferred that their attractions also held down radio gigs so they could plug their nightly appearances on the air. When WDIA DJ Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert exited his air shift, King took over his record-spinning duties. At first tagged "The Peptikon Boy" (an alcohol-loaded elixir that rivaled Hadacol) when WDIA put him on the air, King's on-air handle became "The Beale Street Blues Boy," later shortened to Blues Boy and then a far snappier B.B.

King had a four-star breakthrough year in 1949. He cut his first four tracks for Jim Bulleit's Bullet Records (including a number entitled "Miss Martha King" after his wife), then signed a contract with the Bihari Brothers' Los Angeles-based RPM Records. King cut a plethora of sides in Memphis over the next couple of years for RPM, many of them produced by a relative newcomer named Sam Phillips (whose Sun Records was still a distant dream at that point in time). Phillips was independently producing sides for both the Biharis and Chess; his stable also included Howlin' Wolf, Rosco Gordon, and fellow WDIA personality Rufus Thomas.

the Biharis also recorded some of King's early output themselves, erecting portable recording equipment wherever they could locate a suitable facility. King's first national R&B chart-topper in 1951, "Three O'Clock Blues" (previously waxed by Lowell Fulson), was cut at a Memphis YMCA. King's Memphis running partners included vocalist Bobby Bland, drummer Earl Forest, and ballad-singing pianist Johnny Ace. When King hit the road to promote "Three O'Clock Blues," he handed the group, known as the Beale Streeters, over to Ace.

It was during this era that King first named his beloved guitar "Lucille." Seems that while he was playing a joint in a little Arkansas town called Twist, fisticuffs broke out between two jealous suitors over a lady. The brawlers knocked over a kerosene-filled garbage pail that was heating the place, setting the room ablaze. In the frantic scramble to escape the flames, King left his guitar inside. He foolishly ran back in to retrieve it, dodging the flames and almost losing his life. When the smoke had cleared, King learned that the lady who had inspired such violent passion was named Lucille. Plenty of Lucilles have passed through his hands since; Gibson has even marketed a B.B.-approved guitar model under the name.

The 1950s saw King establish himself as a perennially formidable hitmaking force in the R&B field. Recording mostly in L.A. (the WDIA air shift became impossible to maintain by 1953 due to King's endless touring) for RPM and its successor Kent, King scored 20 chart items during that musically tumultuous decade, including such memorable efforts as "You Know I Love You" (1952); "Woke Up This Morning" and "Please Love Me" (1953); "When My Heart Beats like a Hammer," "Whole Lotta' Love," and "You Upset Me Baby" (1954); "Every Day I Have the Blues" (another Fulson remake), the dreamy blues ballad "Sneakin' Around," and "Ten Long Years" (1955); "Bad Luck," "Sweet Little Angel," and a Platters-like "On My Word of Honor" (1956); and "Please Accept My Love" (first cut by Jimmy Wilson) in 1958. King's guitar attack grew more aggressive and pointed as the decade progressed, influencing a legion of up-and-coming axemen across the nation.

In 1960, King's impassioned two-sided revival of Joe Turner's "Sweet Sixteen" became another mammoth seller, and his "Got a Right to Love My Baby" and "Partin' Time" weren't far behind. But Kent couldn't hang onto a star like King forever (and he may have been tired of watching his new LPs consigned directly into the 99-cent bins on the Biharis' cheapo Crown logo). King moved over to ABC-Paramount Records in 1962, following the lead of Lloyd Price, Ray Charles, and before long, Fats Domino.

In November of 1964, the guitarist cut his seminal Live at the Regal album at the fabled Chicago theater and excitement virtually leaped out of the grooves. That same year, he enjoyed a minor hit with "How Blue Can You Get," one of his many signature tunes. "Don't Answer the Door" in 1966 and "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" two years later were Top Ten R&B entries, and the socially charged and funk-tinged "Why I Sing the Blues" just missed achieving the same status in 1969.

Across-the-board stardom finally arrived in 1969 for the deserving guitarist, when he crashed the mainstream consciousness in a big way with a stately, violin-drenched minor-key treatment of Roy Hawkins' "The Thrill Is Gone" that was quite a departure from the concise horn-powered backing King had customarily employed. At last, pop audiences were convinced that they should get to know King better: not only was the track a number-three R&B smash, it vaulted to the upper reaches of the pop lists as well.

King was one of a precious few bluesmen to score hits consistently during the 1970s, and for good reason: he wasn't afraid to experiment with the idiom. In 1973, he ventured to Philadelphia to record a pair of huge sellers, "To Know You Is to Love You" and "I Like to Live the Love," with the same silky rhythm section that powered the hits of the Spinners and the O'Jays. In 1976, he teamed up with his old cohort Bland to wax some well-received duets. And in 1978, he joined forces with the jazzy Crusaders to make the gloriously funky "Never Make Your Move Too Soon" and an inspiring "When It All Comes Down." Occasionally, the daring deviations veered off-course; Love Me Tender, an album that attempted to harness the Nashville country sound, was an artistic disaster.

Blues Summit Although his concerts were consistently as satisfying as anyone in the field (King asserted himself as a road warrior of remarkable resiliency who gigged an average of 300 nights a year), King tempered his studio activities somewhat. Nevertheless, his 1993 MCA disc Blues Summit was a return to form, as King duetted with his peers (John Lee Hooker, Etta James, Fulson, Koko Taylor) on a program of standards. Other notable releases from that period include 1999's Let the Good Times Roll: The Music of Louis Jordan and 2000's Riding with the King, a collaboration with Eric Clapton. King celebrated his 80th birthday in 2005 with the star-studded album 80, which featured guest spots from such varied artists as Gloria Estefan, John Mayer, and Van Morrison. Live was issued in 2008; that same year, King released an engaging return to pure blues, One Kind Favor, which eschewed the slick sounds of his 21st century work for a stripped-back approach. A long overdue career-spanning box set of King's over 60 years of touring, recording, and performing, Ladies and Gentlemen...Mr. B.B. King, appeared in 2012.

Some Good Rock/Fuzz Groups Who has album for sell (Vinyl/CD):


The Albums can be ordered at: 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Neil Young - Elektra Demos (Rare Solo Recordings US 1965)

Size: 165 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in Space
Some Atwork

The Elektra Demos Recorded at the Elektra Studios in New York City, September 1965. Engineered by Peter Siegel. All Tracks are just Neil and his acoustic guitar.

Neil Percival Young, OC OM (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician. He began performing in a group covering Shadows instrumentals in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield together with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. He released his first album in 1968 and has since forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, spanning over 45 years and 35 studio albums, with a continuous and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website describes Young as "one of rock and roll's greatest songwriters and performers". He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.

Young's music is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and characteristic alto or high tenor singing voice. Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and clawhammer acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varyingly ragged and melodic sound.

While Young has experimented with differing music styles throughout a varied career, including swing and electronic music, most of his best known work is either acoustic folk-rock and country rock or electric, amplified hard rock (most often in collaboration with the band Crazy Horse). Musical styles such as alternative rock and grunge also adopted elements from Young. His influence has caused some to dub him the "Godfather of Grunge".

Young has directed (or co-directed) a number of films using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He has also contributed to the soundtracks of films including Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).

Young is an environmentalist and outspoken advocate for the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded in 1985 the benefit concert Farm Aid. He is currently working on a documentary about electric car technology, tentatively titled LincVolt. The project involves his 1959 Lincoln Continental converted to hybrid technology as an environmentalist statement. In 1986, Young helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities, and its annual supporting Bridge School Benefit concerts, together with his ex-wife Pegi Young (née Morton). 

Young has three children: sons Zeke (born during his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress) and Ben, who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and daughter Amber Jean who, like Young, has epilepsy. Young lives on his ranch in La Honda, California. Although he has lived in northern California since the 1970s and sings as frequently about U.S. themes and subjects as he does about his native country, he has retained his Canadian citizenship.[20] On July 14, 2006, Young was awarded the Order of Manitoba, and on December 30, 2009, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Once they reached Los Angeles, Young and Palmer met up with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, and Dewey Martin to form Buffalo Springfield. A mixture of folk, country, psychedelia, and rock, lent a hard edge by the twin lead guitars of Stills and Young, made Buffalo Springfield a critical success, and their first record Buffalo Springfield (1966) sold well after Stills' topical song "For What It's Worth" became a hit, aided by Young's melodic harmonics played on electric guitar. According to Rolling Stone, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and other sources, Buffalo Springfield helped create the genres of folk rock and country rock. 

Distrust of their management, as well as the arrest and deportation of Palmer, exacerbated the already strained relations among the group members and led to Buffalo Springfield's demise. A second album, Buffalo Springfield Again, was released in late 1967, but two of Young's three contributions were solo tracks recorded apart from the rest of the group.

In many ways, these three songs on Buffalo Springfield Again, "Mr. Soul", "Expecting to Fly", and "Broken Arrow", are harbingers of much of Young's later work in that, although they all share deeply personal, almost idiosyncratic lyrics, they also present three very different musical approaches to the arrangement of what is essentially an original folk song. "Mr. Soul" is the only Young song of the three that all five members of the group performed together. In contrast, "Broken Arrow" was confessional folk-rock of a kind that would characterize much of the music that emerged from the singer-songwriter movement. Young's experimental production intersperses each verse with snippets of sound from other sources, including opening the song with a soundbite of Dewey Martin singing "Mr. Soul" and closing it with the thumping of a heartbeat. "Expecting to Fly" was a lushly produced ballad similar to the baroque pop of the mid-1960s, featured a string arrangement that Young's co-producer for the track, Jack Nitzsche, would dub "symphonic pop".

In May 1968, the band split up for good, but in order to fulfill a contractual obligation, a final album, Last Time Around, was released, primarily from recordings made earlier that year. Young contributed the songs "On the Way Home" and "I Am a Child", singing lead on the latter. In 1997, the band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Young did not appear at the ceremony. The three surviving members, Furay, Stills and Young, appeared together as Buffalo Springfield at Young's annual Bridge School Benefit on October 23–24, 2010, and at Bonnaroo in the summer of 2011

Neil Young - Elektra Demos 
New York City, N.Y. USA
September 1965

01. Sugar Mountain
02. Nowadays Clany Can't Even Sing
03. Run Around Babe
04. Don't Pity My Baby
05. I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 1
06. I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 2
07. I Ain't Got The Blues - False Start 3
08. I Ain't Got The Blues - Final Take
09. The Rent Is Alawys Due
10. When It Falls, It Falls All Over You

From Neil Young: Ancient History (11-17)
11. Sugar Mountain
12. Nowadays Clany Can't Even Sing
13. Run Around Babe
14. Don't Pity My Baby
15. I Ain't Got The Blues 
16. The Rent Is Alawys Due
17. Extra, Extra
18. Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) 

Tracks 01 to 10: The Elektra Demos recorded at the Elektra Studios in New York City, September 1965. All tracks are just Neil and his acoustic guitar. First time available in stunning sound quality!

Track 11: Recorded During Rehearsals at KOED TV, USA, December 1970 
Tracks 12 & 13: Recorded at the Coliseum, Seattle, July 9, 1974 
Track 14: Recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, March 31, 1976 
Track 17: Recorded at the Bicentennial Park, Miami Beach, November 12, 1977 
Tracks 18: Recorded at the Austin City Limits TV Show, Austin, September 25, 1984

1. Neil Young 1965
2. Neil Young 1965

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Eldridge Holmes - Assorted Singles 1962-72

Size: 116 MB
Bitrate: @128-@320
Found in DC++ World
Some Artwork

Eldridge Holmes (1942 – November 13, 1998) was a New Orleans singer, who recorded throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, primarily with producer Allen Toussaint. First recorded by Toussaint in a traditional New Orleans R&B style on Poor Me, Holmes progressed to soul and funk, occasionally achieving release on national labels, but never cracking the R&B charts. He seems to have stopped recording by the mid-70s.

A native of Violet, Louisiana, according to the Funky 16 Corners web site, Holmes died in November 1998 after working variously as a bus driver, nursing assistant, asbestos worker and mechanic.

New Orleans soul singer Eldridge Holmes was born in Violet, Louisiana in 1942 -- according to an article on the Funky 16 Corners website, circa 1962 he began collaborating with producer Allen Toussaint, making his debut on Toussaint and Joe Banashak's Alon label with the single "Poor Me." The energetic "Begging for Your Love" soon followed, and with 1963's "I've Got to Keep on Trying," Holmes veered into country-soul territory. None of his Alon efforts generated any commercial interest, however, and after two more singles for the label, "Popcorn Pop Pop" and "Emperor Jones," Holmes left the label to hone a smoother, more urbane soul sound that would blossom on 1964's "Gone Gone Gone," the first of two Toussaint co-writes that he recorded for the Washington, D.C.-based Jet Set label. 

After the follow-up "Humpback" failed to ignite a new dance craze as hoped, Holmes signed with another of Toussaint's labels, Sansu, to release 1965's "Without a Word," his most elegant outing to date; conversely, his second Sansu side, "Beverly," was his funkiest side yet, but despite the elasticity of his vocal and songwriting prowess, Holmes remained little known even in the Crescent City until his next single, 1967's "Where Is Love," issued on Toussaint's Deesu imprint. 

A major local favorite, the record was licensed for national distribution on Decca but went nowhere, nor did the follow-up, a cover of Lee Dorsey's "Working in a Coal Mine." Decca dropped Holmes soon after, and in 1969 he resurfaced on Deesu with "The Book," a blistering funk effort featuring the instrumental backing of the Meters; a sublime reading of Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter" appeared soon after, and with "Lovely Woman," a nod to the sweet soul of his Jet Set output, Holmes left Deesu for good. 

Japan Vinyl Album 1989
He next turned up on Atco with 1970s "Pop Popcorn Children," recorded with the Meters during their Look-Ka Py Py sessions; it was his lone effort for the label, and in 1972 Holmes reunited with Toussaint for the Wardell Quezergue-arranged "Love Affair," the first-ever release on the fledgling Brown Sugar label, and the singer's final recording. He went on to work as a bus driver, nursing assistant, and mechanic prior to his death from heart disease in 1998.

It’s almost become a cliché to state that New Orleans in the 1960’s was a city filled with amazing singers that went unnoticed almost everywhere else. Despite the occasional hit-maker like Lee Dorsey, Robert Parker or Betty Harris, the catalogues of local labels were filled by outstanding sides that while local favorites, never got the play they deserved on a national scale.

This fact is especially troubling when you consider that a singer like Eldridge Holmes, one of the most soulful vocalists ever to record in the Crescent City – or anywhere else for that matter  - is also one of it’s most obscure. Between 1962 and 1972  (almost exclusively with the involvement of Allen Toussaint) he recorded just over 30 soul and funk sides, many among the best to come out of the city.

Born in Violet, LA in 1942, Holmes first crossed paths with Toussaint in the early 60’s. Holmes was unusual in the ranks of Toussaint’s “protégés” in that he wrote much of his own material. He recorded 5 singles for Toussaint and Joe Banashak’s ALON label between 1962 and 1965.

His first 45, ‘Poor Me’ b/w ‘CC Rider’ (ALON 9004) is a first-rate example of the transition from Fats Domino-style New Orleans R&B into a kind of proto-soul sound. Holmes vocal on ‘Poor Me’ (written by Toussaint under his ‘Naomi Neville’ pseudonym) has a real punch to it and is backed by some rolling Toussaint piano. The version of ‘CC Rider’ on the flip has a bluesier, vocal group vibe that sounds as if it was recorded 5 years earlier.

His follow-up record ‘Begging For Your Love’ b/w ‘The Sooner You Realize’ (ALON 9010) is the best of his earlier sides. ‘Begging for Your Love’ is an upbeat tune with a pop feel that wouldn’t have been out of place being covered by a British Invasion group. ‘The Sooner You Realize’ (written by Holmes) is a showcase for the gospel side of his voice, with Holmes occasionally soaring above the loping beat to almost Jackie Wilson-esque heights.

His next single, ‘I’ve Got To Keep On Trying’ b/w ‘Lovers of the Land’ (ALON 9013) is a stylistic departure. There are certainly elements of the rolling, piano-based New Orleans style, but a slight country flavor is present, not unlike some of Arthur Alexander’s sides around the same time. Holmes co-wrote ‘I’ve Got To Keep On Trying’ with Earl King and Allen Orange, and of the two tunes this one is more of a showcase for his voice, and is by far the more interesting song.

His next 45, “Popcorn Pop Pop” b/w “Be My Baby” (ALON 9016) is (despite the prescient “popcorn” in the title) is pretty standard (though excellent) early 60’s Crescent City R&B, with a nod on the a-side to the Marathons ‘Peanut Butter’.

His last 45 for ALON was a major watershed, and a harbinger of things to come. Listening to some other New Orleans 45s of the era (especially Eddie Bo’s “Let’s Let It Roll” on Chess) the influence of Chicago soul is obvious. “Emperor Jones” b/w “A Time For Everything” (ALON 9022) (both written by Toussaint under the Naomi Neville pseudonym) are both seemingly cut from the same cloth as any Major Lance or Impressions 45 of the day. ‘Emperor Jones’ is marked by a unique arrangement (great horns) and sports an unusual falsetto vocal by Holmes. ‘A Time For Everything’ is a slower but no less soulful number with an intense vocal by Holmes and some great backing vocals. As it is, this 45 stands as a kind of missing link between the early New Orleans R&B records in Holmes’s catalog and his out and out soul sides.

Following his ALON recordings (and Toussaint’s discharge from the Army) Holmes recorded two amazing 45’s in New Orleans that would strangely enough be issued only by a Washington DC soul imprint, Jet Set records. Apparently started by a couple of “soul loving socialites”, Jet Set would release 15 45s, including the two by Holmes and 3 early sides by Jimmy Castor. The stylistic differences between the ALON period and the four songs that appeared on Jet Set are remarkable. The arrangements and production are more sophisticated, and an urban soul feel has mixed with the laid back New Orleans sound.

Three out of the four Jet Set sides are Holmes/Toussaint compositions. “Gone Gone Gone’ (Jet Set 768) ought to be a Northern Soul classic with it’s prominent bass and chimes. “Worried Over You” is a slower, more thoughtful vocal with a nice horn arrangement. ‘Humpback’ (Jet Set 1006) is an uptempo, dance party raver with a soaring vocal by Holmes. The flip side “I Like What You Do” is a lazy number, with a backing track that Toussaint would recycle for Lee Dorsey’s “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya” (much as he would recycle the track from the Stokes “Old Man Young Man” for Benny Spellman’s “Word Game” on ALON and Atlantic).

Holmes next 45’s would be for Toussaint and Marshal Sehorn’s Sansu label. Stylistically there’s little difference between the Jet Set and Sansu sides. They do mark the end of songwriting collaborations between Holmes and Toussaint. Whether they were ever really writing together, or the co-writing credits were some kind of financial arrangement (which was certainly not unusual) is unknown. What is known is that for his first Sansu 45, ‘Without a Word’ b/w ‘Until The End’ (Sansu 469) Holmes’s name appears as the sole writer on both tracks. Both tracks are among the best vocals sides Holmes would record. Both tunes are unquestionably soulful, but manage at the same time to have something of a contemporary pop flavor. The vocal on ‘Without a Word’ has a sad edge and the horn chart complements it perfectly. ‘Until The End’ is one of Toussaint’s finest arrangements. The Bacharach-esque Baião rhythm and female backing vocals combine with Holmes’s vocal beautifully.

His second Sansu 45 has a slightly harder edge. The Toussaint-penned ‘Beverly’ (Sansu 477) opens with a funky drumbeat and leads into an energetic vocal by Holmes. The arrangement picks up steam gradually with guitars, strings, tambourine and backing vocals. ‘Wait For Me Baby’ – written by Holmes – is taken at a slightly more relaxed tempo but still has a kick. This 45 was also released in the UK on the Pama label.

In 1967 Toussaint moved Holmes to his Deesu label for ‘Where is Love’ b/w ‘Now That I’ve Lost You’ (Deesu 320/Decca 32416) . Holmes’s vocal on ‘Where is Love’ has a slightly rougher edge, and the arrangement is as interesting as anything he recorded with Toussaint. The percussion is funky, the rolling piano outstanding and the there’s also an unusual trumpet line. The song clocks in at an extremely brief 1:44! The flip ‘Now That I’ve Lost You’ is a much more traditional deep soul ballad with a decidedly gospel feel. (and some horns that sound as if they were lifted from a Stax session). This 45 would also see national release on Decca, but failed to chart.

Holmes’s next 45 would be released on Decca only. The a-side is a slightly funky, but otherwise unremarkable cover of Lee Dorsey’s ‘Working In Coal Mine’ (Decca 32488) . Holmes takes the tune at a slightly faster tempo, and there’s some interesting guitar work in the background. The flip side is where the singer really shines. ‘A Love Problem’ is not only one of Holmes’s best songs, but is a truly memorable vocal performance. Opening into a slow tempo, Holmes lays down a vocal that ought to be legendary. Here you can see all of the various shades of his remarkable voice - from gritty, sandpapery growls to soaring , churchy grace notes – on display. It’s a record like this that makes you wonder why someone hasn’t given a singer with the talent of Holmes the true retrospective he deserves. It really is a watershed in his catalogue. He would only record five (maybe six) more records in his life – all of them excellent – and you get the feeling that if he’d never sung another note, ‘A Love Problem’ would have cemented his place in history.

1969 would see Toussaint move from the ingrained funk of New Orleans to out and out deep funk with records by the Meters, Betty Harris and Holmes. Holmes’s first 45 on the newly remade Deesu label was (perhaps the first 45 on the “coin” label) was ‘The Book’ b/w ‘No Substitute’ (Deesu 300). Penned by Leo Nocentelli (and likely with the instrumental backing of the Meters) ‘The Book’ is a heavy funk number with crazy lyrics and some hard, hard drums. I’m shocked that with all the New Orleans funk being comped ‘The Book’ has yet to be reissued. The flip side ‘No Substitute’ (a Holmes composition) is a slower number with another tour de force vocal. The high quality of the tune is illustrated by the fact that it appeared a second time as the b-side to his next Deesu release. The a-side of that 45, ‘If I Were A Carpenter’ (Deesu 303) may be the finest record that Toussaint and Holmes made together. A stellar vocal by Holmes is matched against a dynamic Toussaint arrangement. The lead instrument is acoustic guitar, which runs in counterpoint to the horn section. It’s one of the finest versions of the Tim Hardin classic. It ought to be much better known.

The a-side of his third Deesu 45 from this period, ‘Lovely Woman’ (Deesu 305) is a stylistic throwback to his last ALON side. There’s a smoother soul sound here that while pleasant, seems out of place at this stage in his discography. The b-side, an ill-advised and fairly by-the-book cover of Don & Juan’s ‘What’s Your Name’ is  - despite an excellent vocal by Holmes – decidedly out of place.

Holmes next 45 was released by Atco in 1970, and not only featured the Meters, but was actually recorded at the sessions for their ‘Look A Py Py’ album. ‘Pop Popcorn Children’ b/w ‘Cheating Woman’ (Atco 6701) is sought after by funk collectors for it’s hard-hitting a-side. Holmes gives shout-outs to a number of funky dances (and places) over some super hard Zigaboo Modeliste drums, and one of the weirdest bridges in the history of funk (it sounds like the horn section is on acid). ‘Cheating Woman’ is a dark blues with a great vocal and excellent guitar and organ backing from Leo Nocentelli and Art Neville respectively. Ironically the song was one of the first Eldridge Holmes tracks to be reissued, in 1986 as part of an Atlantic Records blues anthology.

It would appear that after the ATCO 45, Holmes didn’t return to the studio until 1972, and then for some reason it was at the Reflection Sound Studios in Charlotte, NC. Toussaint was still at the controls, with none other than Wardell Quezerque doing the arrangements. The group would record three tracks at the sessions, two of which ‘Love Affair’ and ‘Selfish Woman’ (Brown Sugar 0101) would be released as a 45 on the Brown Sugar label.

Eldridge Holmes - US Single 1968
‘Love Affair’ is a gospel inflected ballad with some great piano and organ interplay. While not one of the more distinctive Holmes/Toussaint collaborations, it holds up well against other southern soul of the time. ‘Selfish Woman’ has a beat reminiscent of ‘Until The End’ and a nice melody. The third (unissued) track from this session, ‘Ooh Baby’ (written by North Carolina musician/producer Wayne Jernigan) is a funky, uptempo number that might have carried the Brown Sugar 45 closer to the charts if it had been substituted for ‘Selfish Woman’. The track was recently reissued on the Grapevine comp ‘Crescent City Funk and more…’.I  can now confirm the existence of one other 45, ‘Let’s Go Steady’ b/w ‘An Open Letter To My Love’ (also from 1972), recorded for Earl King’s Kansu label (produced by Senator Jones). I have yet to hear the 45 but I have seen it.

After 1972 there’s no evidence that Eldridge Holmes ever recorded again before he passed away in November of 1998 from heart disease. His obit says that he worked variously as a bus driver, nursing assistant, asbestos worker and a mechanic and was survived by his wife and 10 children

Alon 9004  Poor Me - CC Rider
Alon 9010  The Sooner You Realize - Begging For Your Love
Alon 9013  I've Got To Keep On Trying - Lover Of The Land
Alon 9016  Pop Popcorn Pop - Be My Baby
Alon 9022  Emperor Jones - A Time For Everything
Jet Set 765  Gone Gone Gone - Worried Over You
Jet Set 1006  Hump Back - I Like What You Do
Sansu 469  Without A Word - Until The End
Sansu 477  Beverly - Wait For Me Baby
Pama 746  Beverly - Wait For Me Baby
Deesu 320  Where is Love - Now That I've Lost You
Decc 32416  Where is Love - Now That I've Lost You
Decca 32488  Working In A Coal Mine - A Love Problem
Deesu 300  The Book - No Substitute
Deesu 303  If I Were A Carpenter - No Substitute
Deesu 305  Lovely Woman - What's Your Name
Atco 6701   Pop Popcorn Children - Cheating Woman
Brown Sugar 101  Love Affair - Selfish Woman
Kansu  100  Let's Go Steady - An Open Letter to My Love

01. If I Were a Carpenter
02. Lovely Woman
03. Love Affair
04. Worried Over You
05. Cheating Woman
06. A Love Problem
07. An Open Letter to My Love
08. Gone Gone Gone
09. Pop Popcorn Children
10. The Book
11. Without A Word
12. Beverly
13. Until The End
14. Hump Back
15. Emperor Jones
16. A Time For Everything
17. Now That I've Lost You
18. No Substitute
19. Let's Go Steady

1. Link
2. Link

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Maxine Brown - Out of Sight (Great Soul US 1968)

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A later set from singer Maxine Brown – recorded a few years after her better-known sides for Wand in the 60s, but a totally great set with an even deeper soul feel! Arrangements and production are by Mike Terry, of Funk Brothers fame – and he gives Maxine a soaring style that's a bit more in the southern soul mode than some of her earlier uptown soul, and which has her vocals crackling wonderfully on a range of funky covers and lesser-known gems. Even when singing other folks' tunes, Maxine's a the top of her game – and the arrangements from Terry help transform the sound of the record so that each song sparkles as if it's her very own. 

Titles include "Plum Outta Sight", "Sugar Dumplin", "In My Entire Life", "Don't Leave Me Baby", "Stop", "Sunny", "I Wish It Would Rain", and the sublime Chi-soul cut "Seems You've Forsaken My Love". 

Maxine Brown is an R&B singer from South Carolina. Born in Kingsgtree, Maxine began singing as a child. When she reached her teens, Maxine performed with the New York based Gospel groups, the Manhattans and the Royaltones, in the late Fifties. She also sang with a group called the Freys before, in 1960, she signed with the Nomar Records imprint. At Nomar, Maxine released ‘All in My Mind’ b/w ‘Harry Let's Marry’ (the A-side was penned by Maxine herself). ‘All in My Mind’ reached number two on the U.S. R&B charts (number 19 pop).

The single was followed in 1961 with ‘Funny’ b/w ‘Now That You're Gone’, which went on to reach number three on the charts. She released a third Nomar 45, entitled ‘Heaven In Your Arms’ b/w ‘Maxine's Place’ (the flipside performed by Frankie & The Flips). Maxine then switched imprints to ABC-Paramount in 1962, releasing a further three singles, entitled ‘Think Of Me’ b/w ‘I Don't Need You No More’ (in 1961), ‘After All We've Been Through Together’ b/w ‘My Life’ (in 1961) and ‘What I Don't Know (Won't Hurt Me)’ b/w ‘I Got A Funny Kind Of Feeling’ (in 1962).

Billboard Review July 1968
She then switched labels again, this time to the Wham Records imprint in 1962. Maxine’s stay at Wham was short-lived, and she returned to the ABC imprint for a further 5 single releases. She then moved on to the New York-based, Wand Records, a Scepter Records subsidiary, in 1963. Maxine stayed at Wand Records up until 1968.

Her releases at the label included the Carole King/Gerry Goffin song ‘Oh No Not My Baby’ b/w ‘You Upset My Soul’ (in 1964, featuring Dee Dee Warwick on background vocals), which reached number 24 on the pop charts. 

A further Goffin/King composition was also released in 1965, entitled, ‘It's Gonna Be Alright’ b/w ‘You Do Something To Me’, which reached number 26.

Maxine recorded duets with another Wand artist, Chuck Jackson. These included, ‘Something You Got’ b/w ‘Baby Take Me’, in 1965, which reached number 10 on the R&B chart. Many of the background vocals on Maxine’s singles were performed by Cissy Houston and the Sweet Inspirations, Dee Dee Warwick and Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

With an increasing focus on other artists at Wand, Ashord & Simpson approached Scepter Records hoping for a deal, and a further collaboration with Chuck and Maxine at the label. Scepter turned them down, so they approached Berry Gordy at Motown Records who recruited them to his Motown Records imprint. 

Maxine released two singles at Commonwealth, the first being ‘We'll Cry Together’ b/w ‘Darling Be Home Soon’, which reached number 10 in the Billboard R&B chart. 

A follow up 45 was entitled ‘I Can't Get Along Without You’ b/w ‘Reason To Believe’ (in 1970).Maxine moved on to the Avco Embassy Records imprint.

She released three singles at the label, namely ‘I Can't Get Along Without You’ b/w ‘Reason To Believe’ (in 1971), ‘Treat Me Like A Lady’ b/w ‘I. O. U.’ (in 1972), and ‘Picked Up, Packed And Put Away’ b/w ‘Bella Mia’ (in 1972). 

One single of note is Maxine’s 1966, Wand Records, take on the Beatles ‘We Can Work It Out’, which was later released on an Ace Records CD release, which was a various artists tribute to the Beatles.

Album Discography:
The Fabulous Sound Of Maxine Brown (Wand Records 1963)
 Spotlight On Maxine Brown (Wand Records 1965)
 Sayin' Something (Wand Records 1965)
 Hold On We're Comin' (Wand Records 1966)
 Out Of Sight (Epic Records 1968)
 Well Cry Together (Commonwealth Records 1969)

01. Sugar Dumplin'
02. Plum Outa Sight
03. Sunny
04. I Wish It Would Rain
05. I'm in Love
06. In My Entire Life
07. Don't Leave Me Baby
08. Just Give Me One Good Reason
09. Stop
10. Seems You've Forsaken My Love
+ 2 Bonus Tracks
11. When a Man Loves a Woman

1. Link
2. Link

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cross Country - Selftitled (Great and Hard to Find Rock Album US 1973)

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Cross Country is a band formed in 1973 by three fourths of the musical group The Tokens- Jay Siegel, Mitch Margo and Phil Margo. The group released one self-titled album.

Compared to those who know about Intercourse by The Tokens, only few will know about this hidden gem. Somehow hidden away by Atlantic Records, this may be the most incredible effort ever by Phil and Mitch Margo, and Jay Siegel of the original "The Tokens" who helped create the smash hit The Lion Sleeps Tonight in 1961. 

If you can find a Cross Country CD consider yourself lucky! If you can find a vinyl you might want to check it into a museum. There are very few originally issued. These are gorgeous, haunting and original songs mostly by Mitch Margo, the mastermind behind Intercourse.

Fantastic album. Harmony vocals are very reminiscient of the Beach Boys but with a subtle touch of country music. Don't know anything about these guys, but it's a shame they didn't make any more records.

The song titles may lack imagination, but the music more than makes up for it. I'm a huge 70s country rock fan, & though I wouldn't call this country rock, it gets regular plays @ my house right between the Band, Byrds & Burritos.

Cross Country are a bit like Crosby Stills Nash & Young, at least in the tight harmonies and rural folky hippie rock they produce. 

Nice laid back sip on iced tea and smoke some herb type o' stuff. Every now and then they do give rocking out a shot so it's not all mellow. This was released in 1973 on Atco records and is their only LP. 

01. Today - 2:52
02. Just A Thought - 3:22
03. Cross Country - 3:49
04. In The Midnight Hour - 3:16
05. Thing With Wings - 4:35
06. Tastes So Good To Me - 3:13
07. A Fall Song - 2:48
08. Choirboy - 3:18
09. A Ball Song - 2:52
10. A Smile Song - 4:26

1. Link
2. Link
German Single 1973

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Picture of the day...

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Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps (1:a Albumet US 1957)

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Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps is an album by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. It was originally released in 1957, four months after its predecessor, Bluejean Bop. It was released on the Capitol label.

Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, cut in October 1956, only four months after its predecessor, came about under slightly less favorable circumstances than the Bluejean Bop album. Cliff Gallup, whose lead guitar had been so central to the group's original sound, and rhythm guitarist Willie Williams, who was only somewhat less important to their sound, had been gone from the band for nearly two months when producer Ken Nelson decided it was time to cut material for more singles and a second album. 

Gallup was persuaded to rejoin temporarily for the sessions that yielded this album, and with him he brought not only a hot-sounding instrument but one first-rate original song, "You Better Believe," alongside a few other notable band originals ("Cruisin'," "Hold Me, Hug Me, Rock Me") that are among the best songs Vincent and his band ever recorded. 

The sound ends up similar to the Bluejean Bop album, with a little more depth in places and Vincent showing more maturity and confidence, which is how he gets away with "Unchained Melody," the most challenging ballad he'd cut up to that time -- Gallup's trilled, mandolin-like playing (which turns up on "I Sure Miss You" as well) also serves to make this one of the more unusual and memorable of the many good versions of this song. Vincent's singing also stands out on his dark, moody, ominous rendition of the Delmore Brothers' "Blues Stay Away From Me." And the band runs circles around virtually every other white rock & roll outfit of the period. 

Unfortunately, Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps would also be the last time that this version of the band would turn up on record with Vincent -- Gallup soon left again, and in less than three months, every member of the group except drummer Dickie Harrell would be gone. In 1998, Collectables Records reissued this album, paired with Bluejean Bop, on Bluejean Bop/Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps.

Biography by AMG:
Gene Vincent only had one really big hit, "Be-Bop-a-Lula," which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with its sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo, and Vincent's breathless, sexy vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock & roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and non-hits that rate among the best rockabilly of all time. The leather-clad, limping, greasy-haired singer was also one of rock's original bad boys, lionized by romanticists of past and present generations attracted to his primitive, sometimes savage style and indomitable spirit.

Vincent was bucking the odds by entering professional music in the first place. As a 20-year-old in the Navy, he suffered a severe motorcycle accident that almost resulted in the amputation of his leg, and left him with a permanent limp and considerable chronic pain for the rest of his life. After the accident he began to concentrate on building a musical career, playing with country bands around the Norfolk, VA, area. Demos cut at a local radio station, fronting a band assembled around Gene by his management, landed Gene Vincent & the Blue Caps a contract at Capitol, which hoped they'd found competition for Elvis Presley.

Indeed it had, as by this time Vincent had plunged into all-out rockabilly, capable of both fast-paced exuberance and whispery, almost sensitive ballads. The Blue Caps were one of the greatest rock bands of the '50s, anchored at first by the stunning silvery, faster-than-light guitar leads of Cliff Gallup. The slap-back echo of "Be-Bop-a-Lula," combined with Gene's swooping vocals, led many to mistake the singer for Elvis when the record first hit the airwaves in mid-1956, on its way to the Top Ten. The Elvis comparison wasn't entirely fair; Vincent had a gentler, less melodramatic style, capable of both whipping up a storm or winding down to a hush.

Brilliant follow-ups like "Race With the Devil," "Bluejean Bop," and "B-I-Bickey, Bi, Bo-Bo-Go" failed to click in nearly as big a way, although these too are emblematic of rockabilly at its most exuberant and powerful. By the end of 1956, The Blue Caps were beginning to undergo the first of constant personnel changes that would continue throughout the '50s, the most crucial loss being the departure of Gallup. The 35 or so tracks he cut with the band -- many of which showed up only on albums or b-sides -- were unquestionably Vincent's greatest work, as his subsequent recordings would never again capture their pristine clarity and uninhibited spontaneity.

Vincent had his second and final Top Twenty hit in 1957 with "Lotta Lovin'," which reflected his increasingly tamer approach to production and vocals, the wildness and live atmosphere toned down in favor of poppier material, more subdued guitars, and conventional-sounding backup singers. He recorded often for Capitol throughout the rest of the '50s, and it's unfair to dismiss those sides out of hand; they were respectable, occasionally exciting rockabilly, only a marked disappointment in comparison with his earliest work. His act was captured for posterity in one of the best scenes of one of the first Hollywood films to feature rock & roll stars, The Girl Can't Help It.

Live, Vincent continued to rock the house with reckless intensity and showmanship, and he became particularly popular overseas. A 1960 tour of Britain, though, brought tragedy when his friend Eddie Cochran, who shared the bill on Vincent's U.K. shows, died in a car accident that he was also involved in, though Vincent survived. By the early '60s, his recordings had become much more sporadic and lower in quality, and his chief audience was in Europe, particularly in England (where he lived for a while) and France.

His Capitol contract expired in 1963, and he spent the rest of his life recording for several other labels, none of which got him close to that comeback hit. Vincent never stopped trying to resurrect his career, appearing at a 1969 Toronto rock festival on the same bill as John Lennon, though his medical, drinking, and marital problems were making his life a mess, and diminishing his stage presence as well. He died at the age of 36 from a ruptured stomach ulcer, one of rock's first mythic figures.

01. "Red Blue Jeans and a Ponytail" (Bill Davis, Jack Rhodes) - 2:14
02. "Hold Me, Hug Me, Rock Me" (Vincent, Tex Davis) - 2:15
03. "Unchained Melody" (Alex North, Hy Zaret) - 2:37
04. "You Told a Fib" (Vincent, Cliff Gallup) - 2:21
05. "Cat Man" (Vincent, Tex Davis) - 2:18
06. "You Better Believe" (Cliff Gallup) - 2:01
07. "Cruisin'" (Vincent, Bill Davis) - 2:12
08. "Double Talkin' Baby" (Danny Wolfe) - 2:12
09. "Blues Stay Away from Me" (Henry Glover, Wayne Raney, Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore) - 2:16
10. "Pink Thunderbird" (Bill Davis, Paul Peek) - 2:32
11. "I Sure Miss You" (Charles Matthews) - 2:38
12. "Pretty, Pretty Baby" (Danny Wolfe) - 2:27

Bonus Tracks:
13. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (Capitol F3450 US) (6/4/56) (Capitol 45-CL 14599 UK)
14. "Blue Jean Bop" (Capitol F3558 US) (10/56) (Capitol 45-CL 14637 UK)
15. "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" (From Album "CRAZY TIMES" CAPITOL T1342 & ST1342 1960)
16. "Vincent's Blues" (From Album "SOUNDS LIKE GENE VINCENT" CAPITOL T1207 1960)

1. Gene Vincent
2. Gene Vincent