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
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2. Link
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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
or
2. Gene Vincent

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Simon Dupree & Big Sound - Without Reservations (UK 1967)


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Simon Dupree & the Big Sound's sole LP was, oddly, recorded and released prior to their one big British hit, the psychedelic pop single "Kites." It's in much more of a blue-eyed soul vein than "Kites" (or some of their other subsequent work), with hints of ska and pop, though its brassy American-styled soul-with-organ that carries the day. As far as such British acts went, Simon Dupree & the Big Sound were neither the best nor the worst; they were pretty driving and soulful, actually, but not too innovative or creative. 


Too, this kind of blue-eyed soul was just starting to pass out of fashion in the U.K. by the time it came out in 1967, though the LP did edge into the British Top 40. Still, this has some pretty fair soul-rock cuts, like their version of the Five Americans' "I See the Light," their cover of a young Albert Hammond's "Reservations," and "Love," a pretty cool exuberant number penned by Jackie Edwards, who'd written hits for the Spencer Davis Group. Some of their original tunes and attempts at heavier, more serious soul, however, are more plodding and not nearly as inviting. 

Simon Dupree and the Big Sound were a British psychedelic rock/psychedelic pop band formed by three Scottish brothers, Derek Shulman, born 1947 (vocals), Phil Shulman, born 1937 (vocals, saxophone, trumpet), and Ray Shulman, born 1949 (guitar, violin, trumpet, vocals); also known for their later prog rock band, Gentle Giant.

They started as The Howling Wolves and then became The Road Runners, playing R&B around the Portsmouth area, home of the Shulman brothers, becoming Simon Dupree and the Big Sound in early 1966. Making up the rest of the group were Peter O'Flaherty (bass guitar) (born 8 May 1944, in Gosport, Hampshire), Eric Hine (keyboards) (born Eric Raymond Lewis Hines, 4 September 1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire), and Tony Ransley (drums) (born Anthony John Ransley, 17 May 1944, in Portsmouth, Hampshire). 



Those early group names aside, their repertory was focused a lot more on the 
songs of Wilson Pickett, Don Covay, and Otis Redding, than on the Howlin' Wolf or Bo Diddley. 'Simon Dupree and the Big Sound' came about in the course of their search for a flashy name.

The group were signed to EMI's Parlophone label, under producer Dave Paramor. Their first few singles, notably "I See The Light" (1966), failed to chart, then in October 1967, the group's management and their record label decided to try moving Simon Dupree and the Big Sound in the direction of psychedelia.


Simon Dupree And The Big Sound - France Single 1968
They broke through at the end of 1967 with the psychedelic "Kites", a Top 10 hit in the UK Singles Chart. Regarding themselves as blue-eyed soul brothers, they hated it as it was so unrepresentative of their usual style. The follow-up, "For Whom The Bell Tolls", was only a minor hit, and a subsequent single "Broken Hearted Pirates", featuring an uncredited Dudley Moore on piano, made no headway at all.

A then unknown keyboard player by the name of Reginald Dwight was hired to fill in for an ill Eric Hine and he joined them on a 1967 tour in Scotland. They were asked to allow him to stay on, and he was almost recruited as a permanent member. They politely rejected the chance to record any of his compositions (although they did ultimately record "I'm Going Home" as the B-side of their final (contractually obligated single), and laughed when he told them he was adopting the stage name of Elton John. On 5 April 1968, Simon Dupree and the Big Sound appeared alongside Amen Corner, Gene Pitney, Don Partridge and Status Quo at The Odeon Theatre, Lewisham, London, on the first night as part of a twice nightly UK tour. 


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In early 1969 they were booked to appear at the Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry, but did not turn up. Their support act Raymond Froggatt played the entire evening.

The group released one studio album; Without Reservation, on Parlophone Records (1967), and a compilation Amen (1980). A more recent set, Part Of My Past (2004), includes all their singles, album tracks and previously unreleased material prepared for their second album, release of which was cancelled at the time.

In late 1968, they released a single "We Are The Moles (Part 1)/(Part 2)" under the moniker The Moles. Released on the Parlophone label, the single did not give any hint towards the identity of the artists, claiming that both songs were written, performed and produced by The Moles. Rumours began to spread that it was an obscure output by The Beatles, who also were under contract at Parlophone, with Ringo Starr on lead vocals. When interest began to rise concerning the release, Syd Barrett stated that Simon Dupree & The Big Sound were the faces behind The Moles. Confronted with this, the band admitted.

Frustrated as being seen as one-hit wonders being pushed by their record label as a pop group rather than the soul band they had always intended to be, they disbanded in 1969 and the Shulman brothers went on to form the progressive rock group Gentle Giant.

01. Medley: 60 Minutes of Your Love, A Lot of Love
02. Love
03. Get Off My Bach
04. There's a Little Picture Playhouse
05. Day Time, Night Time
06. I See the Light
07. What Is Soul
08. Teacher, Teacher
09. Amen
10. Who Cares
11. Reservations

1. Link
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2. Link
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