Saturday, February 01, 2014

Appaloosa - Selftitled (Great Rock Album US 1969)

Size: 85 MB
Bitrate: 256
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Reaster

Our tale begins on a weekday after my newly-appointed office as staff A&R man at Columbia Records in 1969, had already produced the top ten Super Session album, and was always scouting for new talent. Four young lads had some-how by-passed security and poked their heads into my office. "Can I help you?" I inquired "We've travelled from Boston just to audition for you, Mr. Kooper," they flatteringly exclaimed.

I picked up the phone and called the studio booking office to try and get some space to hear them play as soon as possible. When they heard my end of the conversation, they yelled out: "Hang up!!! We can play right here in your office! All we need is one plug for the bass amp!" Never having been accosted with an offer like this before, I sheepishly hung up the phone, and pointed to the wall outlet.

They plugged in a tiny bass amp and opened their instrument cases. Out came an acoustic guitar, a CELLO! and a VIOLIN! I was totally mesmerized and I had't heard a note yet. The acoustic guitarist. John Compton. began to play and sing. The bass provided a rhthymic/melodic path behind him, and soon the strings began to swirl behind his Buddy Holly-esque vocal and a big smile broke out on my face. Every talent scout hopes for something unique to fall into their lap. Not the run of the mill crap that pours out of AM radios, but something we've never heard before; with unmeasurable depth.

Here it was delivered to my office with no order placed. It was hard to believe. When they finished the first song. I told them to relax - that I would surely sign them up - and to continue playing every? original song in their repertoire. I took notes and asterisked the songs that jumped out at me. "Tulu Rogers" - a pastoral view of the countryside in the height of New England winter, a woman sits by the window crocheting to the sounds of Bach. "Thoughts Of Polly" - a jazzy sounding verse forwards into a folk rock chorus that concludes in a dizzying jazz coda supplied by the addition of then-Blood Sweat & Tears-sters Bobby Colomby on drums and Fred Lipsius on screaming, lyrical alto sax.

The band incorporates the addition of other musicians with nary a blink. "Feathers" - I always felt this album was six months ahead of it's time - that James Taylor followed in the correct time slot, also a New England lad, but with Beatle support, and a great deal more advertising. This song could easily have been written by Taylor in that time slot. "Bi-Weekly" - I could not resist adding a stuaioband around this autumnal quartet. This is a wonderful song lyrically and musicaly. It's hard to believe it's just Robin Bateaux on viola and Gene Rosov on cello, bouilding their own string fortress in this city of sound. "Glossolallia" - reminded me of Donovan to come.

A woman stands in harbor, on a balcy, singing to the ocean. David Reiser, bassist, shows why this quartet had a bassist and drummer in one, when such a thing was neccesary. "Rivers Run To The Sea" Bobby Colomby attempts to bridge this bi-tempo sonnet. I join on electric guitar. "Pascals Paradox" - one of the best examples of what is great and timeless about Appaloosa. With no assistance or correction they do what is INCREDIBLY unique about them. And I lost myself in mock-heroic style, lodged in their castle for awhile. "Yesterdays Roads" - talking about flirting with a past lover and giving it relevance lyrically.

I confess to uncontrollably tinkling the ivories on this track. "Georgia Street" - the other song that Bobby Colomby and Fred Lipsius gave ample contributions. I m also doing my best on the doomed 1969 Rock-Si-Chord keyboard. Anotner duo-tempo composition by Compton is tackled in grand fashion climaxing in a swinging Lipsius alto solo. It's wonderful to ressurect this album now: nearly 40 years after it s innocent, naive debut.

It still retains it s innocence and naivette, and sounds so much like those it influenced much later on in one way or another: Damian Rice. The Left Banke, Christopher Cross, A Stewart, James Blunt, and perhaps in someway or another, James Taylor. The album cover was shot by Marie Cosindas, who specialized in taking all her portraits with Polaroid cameras. She captured the essence of the group admirably and in 60 seconds, we had our cover.

Although not a huge seller in it's time, it reached a lot of people who were in college at the time. I think many of them kept a soft spot in their music heart and will be glad to know about this re-release. To possibly rekindle that warmth once again. 
Thanks for listening 
(Al Kooper)

Although the term somehow didn't stick as part of standard rock criticism vocabulary, for a while in the late 1960s, there was a vogue of sorts for music that was described in the press as "folk-baroque." Artists such as Judy Collins, Donovan, Tim Hardin, and Tom Rush were all arranging folk-oriented material with classical-influenced orchestration. While there weren't many others who dipped as heavily into the folk-baroque bag, the mating of rock with classical could be heard at times in the work of many significant groups and singer-songwriters, including Tim Buckley, Phil Ochs, the Bee Gees, the Beatles, and even the Rolling Stones. Others unveiled a knack for a style without, unfortunately, reaching nearly as wide an audience.

One of the most talented such acts was Appaloosa, whose self-titled 1969 LP matched singer/acoustic guitarist John Parker Compton's thoughtful, melodic compositions to sympathetic arrangements featuring fellow band members Robin Batteau on violin, Eugene Rosov on cello, and David Reiser on electric bass. In both its combination of instruments and the absence of a drummer, it was a most unusual instrumental lineup for a rock band, even at a time when boundaries and restrictions were routinely bent. The core quartet were bolstered by top session players (including members of Blood, Sweat & Tears) and, above all, producer Al Kooper, who also added a lot of his own keyboards and guitar to the album.

Only nineteen at the time of the album's release, Compton began performing in folk clubs in the Boston area as a solo act. "But one night, I invited my classmate David Batteau, both of us seventeen at the time, to join me with his cello," he says. "I remember how the audience began laughing when we walked on stage -- but they weren't laughing after David began to play. I performed songs that I had written in English class at boarding school. The Beatles and the Stones were on the radio every three minutes, and they introduced the world to the idea of using classical instruments with folk music. We and many others were inspired by their folk-baroque productions."

Compton and David Batteau would only do a couple of gigs together, but John would form a duo with David's violinist brother Robin Batteau, who was perhaps the most distinctive element in Appaloosa's instrumental mix. "Robin and I began performing as a duo during the summer of '68 at coffeehouses in Cambridge and Boston, and performing every Sunday afternoon at the Cambridge Common Music Concerts," Compton recalls. "It was an outdoor event one block from Harvard Square that Bob Gordon organized. As you might imagine, the place was packed and it was an instant party. Robin blew everyone's mind every time with his unique soaring violin solos. Gordon took a liking to us and always gave us a place on the roster. We also opened for Tim Hardin during Tim's week-long engagement at Paul's Mall in Boston. Additionally, we opened for the Rascals at Harvard Stadium."

The lineup that played on the Appaloosa album was finalized, he continues, when "Eugene Rosov and David Reiser joined the band. Eugene was living at the Batteaus' house while he was attending Harvard, so I would walk over and there it was -- an instant band. Around September of '68, Robin and I began practicing songs with Eugene (cello) and David (Fender bass) in the Batteaus' garage. We performed one night at a house party of a young attorney in Brookline, Massachusetts who offered to fly us all to New York and audition for record companies."

As for what the new additions brought to the group, "[Robin] Batteau and Rosov mapped unknown musical territories, working as a team. They created a musical grace that one only sees in Olympic figure skaters. Listen to the intro to 'Yesterday's Roads,' and you will hear what I am talking about. The intro is only ten seconds -- yet it contains so many intense levels and moods. It's noteworthy to mention that both Robin and Eugene at the time were 'A' students at Harvard University. I can't imagine their combined IQ. And speaking of high IQs, David Reiser used his high IQ to create the backbone of the Appaloosa sound. Al Kooper picked up on this fact immediately, and mentions it in the liner notes. I was aware that David, who was seventeen, was sitting in with jazz groups twice his age at some of Boston's premier jazz clubs, and thought of him at the time as simply a very accomplished jazz bassist. But I soon came to understand that David possessed an awesome musical and mathematical ability. In a nutshell, David is the [Motown bass session great] James Jamerson and Bootsy Collins of folk-rock. David brought a muscular grace to the band. Songs like 'Pascal's Paradox' or 'Rosalie' wouldn't be the same without his brilliant playing." Reiser also came up with the name for the band, and as Compton smiles, "I always stop when I see an Appaloosa horse and walk up and say 'hello.'"

Appaloosa got their deal -- with one of the biggest record companies in the world -- in the spontaneous, quick fashion that would likely be all but impossible in the far more corporate music business of the twenty-first century. "We auditioned for about five or six record companies in New York City," remembers John. "We were on the waiting list of three or four companies, and decided to approach another company, which turned out to be Columbia. Meeting Al Kooper was just a fluke. We were playing for some secretaries at Columbia while waiting for an appointment. Al Kooper walked by and instantly asked us if we would like to make a demo tape that night."

Kooper was one of the hippest producers a young band could have hoped for, having already made his mark as a member of the Blues Project and the first lineup of Blood, Sweat & Tears, as well as playing on numerous important folk-rock sessions (most notably on some of Bob Dylan's early electric recordings). In 1968 he was hired as a staff producer for Columbia Records, continuing to record as a solo artist, collaborator with Mike Bloomfield, and session musician. "Kooper was very professional, and also very relaxed and wonderful to be around," praises Compton. "A week after meeting Kooper we also met Van Morrison's brilliant producer Lew Merenstein, who orchestrated Van's classic Astral Weeks LP. Lew really wanted to work with us. So for a few weeks there was a tug-of-war between the two producers, but we finally went with Kooper. I often think about how our record would have turned out more organic if we had used Merenstein as our producer, but I am glad that we chose Kooper."

John had written most of the songs on Appaloosa over a period of two years, while "attending a progressive boarding school. The school was in a perfect setting for a young writer. It was in a remote location in the middle of farm country in upstate New York. No television. Radios and record players were the only form of entertainment allowed. The 'mood' and 'feels' that I was surrounded with daily were poet-singer-songwriters that were piped in on AM radio: Donovan, the Beatles, the Bee Gees, etc. Storytelling set to classical music. Songs like the Beatles' 'Eleanor Rigby' reverberated on the radio with a graceful power that the world had never experienced before. People were being introduced to the concept of advanced soul-bearing and soul-searching poetry in pop music. It helped establish a certain mood and feel throughout the world." As for his own songwriting contributions along these lines, "I was trying to tell my girlfriend Jane and my beautiful English teacher how I felt."

To round out the sound, Kooper pulled in two ex-Blood, Sweat & Tears bandmates, drummer Bobby Colomby and alto saxophonist Fred Lipsius; Charlie Calello, who had produced the great singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, for conducting the orchestra on "Now That I Want You" and "Bi-Weekly"; and drummer Artie Schreck, who played on Nyro sessions. (Furthering the Nyro connection, one of Appaloosa's first gigs was opening for Nyro and Sam & Dave at Tufts University.) Kooper himself played electric harpsichord, electric guitar, organ, vibraphone, piano, and electric piano, as well as doing string arrangements for "Rosalie" and temple blocks on "Rivers Run to the Sea."

"I would not be talking to you if it were not for Al Kooper," Compton enthuses. "We were aware at the time, of course, that Kooper worked with Dylan, and we were in awe of him. But from the start, Al immediately set a wonderful relaxed tone, and went out of his way to make us all feel at home -- inviting us to his home for dinner, going out to get hot dogs at a deli, etc. Kooper had a vision, but didn't talk about it much. Al is a musician's musician, and would simply say, 'I'll see you at the studio tomorrow at 3:30 PM.' We would walk in, and there would be Bobby Colomby, one of the world's greatest drummers, who in turn went out of his way to make us feel at home with joke after joke. Bobby really brought a lot to the table. His timing is perfect, and he plays with a light jazz touch. I have fond memories of recording 'Rivers Run to the Sea,' and sitting there and marveling as Bobby Colomby leaned closer to his drum set and artfully made the tempo change, giving the song a Laura Nyro tempo change feel. And Fred Lipsius and Artie Schreck are consummate pros.

"As an instrumentalist, Al is the best. I totally love his piano and electric guitar parts on 'Rosalie,' and his glockenspiel part on 'Rivers Run to the Sea.' The feeling of brotherhood between all the musicians and engineers is what I will always remember and carry with me. Being around and working with Kooper was like being around a wise and experienced uncle. Al went out of his way to give everyone in the band a psychological pat on the back -- and what can be better than that?"

For all the production effort that went into the record, points out Compton, "actually, two-thirds of the songs are produced with a very acoustic sound. For example, songs like 'Pascal's Paradox' and 'Tulu Rogers' are just guitar, violin, cello, and bass. However, as the recording sessions progressed, Al brought in more and more of Blood, Sweat & Tears to play on the songs, and then brought in his friend Charlie Calello to arrange 'Bi-Weekly' and 'Now That I Want You.' Another song that Al 'Kooperized' was 'Rosalie,' which Robin and I had originally performed for years as a folk song. Kooper folk-rocked it up with piano and electric guitar. I couldn't relate to his production of the song for a year or two. Then one day I understood Kooper's production genius -- he kindly gave the song the Blonde on Blonde treatment. To this day I am honored that he went the extra mile on this song, because he set the stage for Robin Batteau and Eugene Rosov to really shine."

Some of the album's standouts included "Thoughts of Polly," with its touches of both classical and jazz; "Bi-Weekly," with its soaring orchestration and distinctive Kooper organ; and "Georgia Street," with its unusual shifting rhythms. "It was great having Fred Lipsius add his distinctive sax to 'Thoughts of Polly,'" observes Compton. "He recorded the part right in the control room, and then Kooper said, 'Let's try playing the tape backwards,' giving Fred's part that Jimi Hendrix here-there-and-everywhere floating sound. We recorded 'Bi-Weekly' live with a big band in Columbia's larger studio, with its control room way up in the clouds." As for his own favorites, he adds, "Personally, I like 'Rosalie' because of Kooper's arrangement and production, and 'Bi-Weekly' because of Charlie Calello's brilliant arrangement. In hindsight, 'Bi-Weekly' should have been 'the single,' with its radio-friendly Glen Campbell-sounding lead guitar part combined with the strings."

Compton's clearly done a lot of thinking about the "folk-baroque" sound from which Appaloosa took much of its inspiration. "The true musical pioneers established the sound a year or two earlier: Donovan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Gordon Lightfoot, Tom Rush, Nick Drake, Bobbie Gentry, and Tim Hardin. They and  their producers were real musical visionaries who created new musical formulas that helped to change the world. Like when the Beatles performed 'All You Need Is Love' on their global broadcast -- the classical instruments really helped to spread their message. Sure, prior to the '60s, record producers had used strings to 'sweeten' a song by adding a string section to the mix and placing it way in the background. But the musical pioneers that I just mentioned took the string section and turned it into a string quartet, and mixed it right up front, interweaving it with the lead vocal. Who can forget hearing the Beatles' 'Michelle' for the first time? There is something so primal about combining vocal, violin, and cello when it is done correctly. The sound massages the soul.

"Donovan's classic song 'Jennifer Juniper,' or the Stones' megahit 'Ruby Tuesday,' or James Taylor's historic 'Fire and Rain,' or Gordon Lightfoot's transcendentally beautiful 'If You Could Read My Mind' -- they all use the same musical formula of combining classical instrumentation in a folk-pop production. One of my school friend's sister was dating James Taylor at the time, so we all watched his every move with anticipation, admiration, and awe. I'll never forget seeing James on the subway in Boston with his guitar on his way to London to audition for the Beatles. A few months later he was on every FM station in the land. His influence and genius was everywhere. Another musical pioneer around that time was Bobbie Gentry, whose unbelievably beautifully produced 'Ode to Billie Joe' knocked the Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love' from the #1 spot on the charts in 1967. And let's not forget Sonny Bono, who blew everyone's mind by writing, arranging, and brilliantly producing Sonny & Cher's 'I Got You Babe.' The oboe part in that song is fantabulous. Each one of these songs uses the same magical musical formula: romantic poetry combined with classical instruments. My appreciation only grows greater and greater the more I listen to these perfect musical gems.

"But the important thing that was happening was that a 'mood' or a 'feel' was being broadcast everywhere. For the first time, the world was being drenched in folk-baroque music. Sure, on one level this new sound was entertainment, but on another level, it was a three-minute example of mathematical perfection. Every time a song [like] James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' or the Bee Gees' 'To Love Somebody' came on the radio, it was like an acoustical laser beam was being broadcast across the land, with a gentle power to tear down the old world things."

Unfortunately, despite all the care that Appaloosa, Kooper, and friends lavished upon the album, Appaloosa was not often broadcast across the United States. "Interestingly, it appears that Columbia released the album mainly overseas," reveals Compton. "To this day, I get an email every week from someone in Germany or Japan asking where they can buy the record." It would be Appaloosa's only album, the band splitting up when Compton, Batteau, and some friends drove out to California. John and Robin worked as a duo on Columbia for the Compton & Batteau in California album, with John doing his first solo album shortly afterward. Still active in music, in mid-2005 Compton is "pleased to report that Appaloosa is getting back together. We're working in the studio right now on our first single."

The Band
John Parker Compton - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar 
 Eugene Rosov - Cello
 David Reiser - Bass 
 Robin Batteau - Violin 

01. Tulu Rogers - 3:59
02. Thoughts of Polly - 5:51
03. Feathers - 2:29
04. Bi-Weekly - 3:36
05. Glossolalia - 4:07
06. Rivers Run to the Sea - 3:32
07. Pascal's Paradox - 3:23
08. Yesterday's Road - 3:21
09. Now That I Want You - 2:34
10. Georgia Street - 4:47
11. Rosalie - 4:28

1. Link
2. Link

Friday, January 31, 2014

B.B. King - Paul Masson Mountain Winery 1985 FM (Bootleg)

Size: 239 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in OuterSpace 
Some Artwork

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.

Live at the Regal 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.

Love Me TenderKing 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.

B.B. King 
Paul Masson Mountain Winery
Saratoga, CA 1985-07-04 

01. Intro Jam
02. Instrumental #1
03. Instrumental #2
04. B.B. King Intro Jam
05. Everyday I Have The Blues
06. How Blue Can You Get?
07. Band Introduction
08. Ain't Nobody Home
09. Why I Sing The Blues (tape flip)
10. Guess Who
11. Don't Make A Move Too Soon
12. Blues Medley Rap
13. Don't Answer The Door
14. Five Long Years
15. Nobody Loves Me But My Mother > Flying Story
16. All Over Now
17. Ain't Nobody's Business
18. One Of Those Nights
19. Caledonia
20. Outside Help
21. The Thrill Is Gone
22. Into The Night>DJ Comments

Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link
Part 1: Link
Part 2: Link

Monday, January 27, 2014

Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day 2007-12-10 (Live Concert December 10, 2007)

Size: 278 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Some Artwork

On December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London's O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. What followed was a two-hour-plus tour de force of the band's signature blues-infused rock 'n' roll that instantly became part of the legend of Led Zeppelin. Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham, to perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog including landmark tracks "Whole Lotta Love," "Rock And Roll," "Kashmir," and "Stairway To Heaven." Although 20 million people applied for tickets, the band's first headline show in 27 years was seen only by the 18,000 ticket holders who were fortunate enough to have secured seats through the worldwide lottery. 

For someone who wasn’t fortunate enough to even be alive during Led Zeppelin’s powerful musical reign, seeing a film like Celebration Day certainly was a treat. Taken from the band’s one-off charity reunion show on December 10th, 2007 at London’s O2 Arena, this show saw the band really step it up, trying (and succeeding) to impress. In the five years since, bootlegs of the band’s rehearsals leading up to the show leaked online and you can find the rehearsal tape for Whole Lotta Love here.

Packed into a theater full of die-hard fans sporting Zeppelin apparel, everyone, especially those who hadn’t yet witnessed the live power of Led Zeppelin, was excited to finally see what the band has spent the last few months hyping up. The film began without any trailers as the theater darkened to the sound of a rabid crowd cheering. Suddenly, the screen lit up into the image of a massive projected television set sporting a video taken from a news report covering a Led Zeppelin show in Tampa, Florida. The news report introduced the band as they walked onstage to the roaring approval of the members of the crowd both at the O2 Arena as well as in the theater.

The band then began their hit-filled two hour set with Good Times, Bad Times, which had a much heavier feel to it with John Bonham’s son Jason sitting behind the kit. Everyone in the band was spot-on, excited to be there, and very energetic, especially Jimmy Page, who was drenched in sweat within two minutes of the first song. Segueing straight into Ramble On, all of Led Zeppelin was ready for a show. Throughout the entire set, Jimmy Page pulled out solos left and right, disproving anyone who had a thought that his age restricted him from nailing any solo thrown at him.

The turning point in the film came when John Paul Jones broke out the eery opening notes of Dazed and Confused, which eventually led into a full-on attacking solo from Jimmy Page that kept everyone’s eyes glued to the screen, watching his fingers perform intricate and seemingly effortless fretwork (although when the camera panned to his face, it seemed otherwise). It was then that Page pulled out the double-neck Gibson guitar which could only mean one thing: Stairway to Heaven. As Robert Plant stepped to the mic to sing the opening notes of the legendary ballad, everyone in the theater seemed to straighten and wake up, some even piping up and singing along with Plant. When the time came for Page’s solo, everyone was rocking in their seat. The band then concluded their main set with the epic Kashmir, which, once again, showed the pure talent of the group. From John Paul Jones’ flawless keyboard work to Robert Plant’s vocals, everything was spot-on, giving the feel that the band was still very much in their prime.

After returning to the stage for Whole Lotta Love, the film came to an end with a second encore of Rock and Roll. Throughout the entire film, Jason Bonham showed that he has what it takes to play his father’s role in the band and the show-concluding drum solo undoubtedly proved his worthy, leaving many in the theater smiling with no idea what other reaction to have and almost everybody in awe.

Celebration Day is a film that really exemplifies how Led Zeppelin will permanently have a place in the hearts of fans and always remain a rock and roll cornerstone. The film takes the opportunity to remind everybody that Zeppelin was, and always will be, one of the greatest groups that rock and roll has ever seen and that time will never hinder their pure power. Throughout the entire movie, people found themselves unconsciously tapping their foot to the beat, bobbing their head, or mouthing the words with Robert Plant as his shrill vocals cut through the surround sound speakers, hitting every note almost perfectly and leaving all in attendance with a smile on their face. So is Celebration Day worth seeing? Most definitely. No, it won’t be a life-altering experience, but it’s probably going to be the closest thing to seeing Led Zeppelin live in concert that you’re going to get. [Reviewer Unknown]

December 10, 2007, Led Zeppelin played one the of the most anticipated concerts ever, at London's O2 Arena. Reportedly there were over 20 million requests for the 16,000 tickets, and the audience came from all over the world. The band have sold over 200 million records since their debut in 1969, and that number will just continue to rise. I mention these numbers to emphasize just how big an event this performance was.

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The set-list has been available since the night of the show, and there have been numerous cell-phone bootleg videos of the concert posted online as well. But none of this comes close to preparing us for just how brilliant the band were that night, as captured on the newly released DVD/CD package Celebration Day.

When Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham died of alcohol poisoning in 1980, Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals), and John Paul Jones (bass) decided to call it quits rather than attempt to carry on without him. Before the O2 concert Led Zeppelin had played a few songs at both Live Aid and at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Neither performance was considered especially noteworthy though. At Live Aid, they had Phil Collins and Tony Thompson play drums, and for the Hall of Fame stint, they asked Bonham's son Jason Bonham to sit in.

It was with Jason Bonham in the drum chair that they performed the London concert, and he did an admirable job in filling in for his father. In fact, after six weeks of rehearsals, the whole band were absolutely on fire. They performed 16 songs that night, including the encores.

The concert opens with "Good Times, Bad Times," which just happened to be the first song on their 1969 self-titled debut. It sets the tone for the night perfectly, and also is a subtle display of the genius of the band in when it comes to structuring a set. As the set continues, one realizes that their talent for pacing remains perfectly intact.

"Good Times, Bad Times," is followed by "Ramble On," and "Black Dog," before Robert Plant addresses the audience with his trademark "Good evening." With this three-song introduction of classic Zeppelin tunes, the band and the audience have crossed over whatever initial trepidation surrounding the big night that may have existed. True to form, it is at this point that the group choose to up the ante.

The fourth song is "In My Time of Dying" from the Physical Graffiti album, and it is an awe-inspiring display of musical talent. The studio version clocked in at 11:04, and was one of the most intense tracks on that sprawling masterpiece. Thirty-two years later, Led Zeppelin's courage of conviction regarding their music is unwavering, and the live version runs 11:01. Zep could have easily played a two-hour set with nothing but sure-fire crowd pleasers, but they chose to really stretch out, and this song is unbelievable.

Prior to Bonham's death, there was only one officially released concert film and album, The Song Remains the Same. It was filmed in 1973 at a concert in Madison Square Garden, and released in 1976. The show came at the tail end of the tour, and their performance was good, but not great. Physical Graffiti had not been released yet, so "In My Time of Dying" is a song I had never seen them play. At the O2 Arena, their performance is a revelation. Jimmy Page's slide work, and Plant's vocals are simply awesome. And, as he does throughout the show, Jason Bonham hits the drums with everything he has. John Paul Jones is right there too. It is an early transcendent high-point, of which there will be many more to come.

Once again, the pacing of the show is revealed to be brilliant as the band proceed from "In My Time of Dying." In what could be considered a set-within-the-set, they highlight the period of 1975-1976, and the two albums that marked (for some of us at least) their peak. The albums are the aforementioned Physical Graffiti, and the vastly overlooked Presence.

With the amazing guitar virtuosity Page displays during "In My Time of Dying" the crowd is rightfully stunned. Yet the band are just warming up. This night may have been nostalgic, but Led Zeppelin were out to do everything they could to make it much more than simply reliving the glory days. Apparently they had never performed "For Your Life" (from Presence) onstage before, as Plant introduces the song by saying "This is our first adventure with it in public" "For Your Life" is again dominated by Page's guitar, and it is a smoking blues number.

For the first time in the show, John Paul Jones trades his bass for the keyboards as he launches into another Physical Graffiti classic, "Trampled Under Foot." The band then revisit Presence for "Nobody's Fault But Mine." Although I did not recognize it at the time, both of these songs have a bit of a rockabilly flavor to them, as heard through the one-of-a-kind Led Zeppelin filter.

"No Quarter" has always been a showcase for John Paul Jones, and it remains so here. I am not sure if it qualifies as a "ballad" per se, but "No Quarter," and "Since I've Been Loving You" do slow the pace momentarily, allowing everyone to catch their breath.

That 16-minute interlude is definitely the calm before the storm to follow. "Choosing songs from ten different albums, there are ones that had to be there," says Robert Plant by way of introduction. The camera then turns to Jones, and as his bass intones the famous descending bass notes of "Dazed and Confused," and the crowd are on their feet again.

If there is one track that defines the whole black magic aura which once surrounded Zeppelin, this is it. When Page pulls out his violin bow in the middle of the song, it is almost unbelievable. I really did not expect it to happen, but that was a case of underestimating their resolve to play a true Zeppelin concert. It is a wild sight, and the sounds he gets out of it are about as "satanic" as anything I have ever heard.

The one-two punch comes with the follow-up, "Stairway to Heaven." The only thing missing here is Plant asking "does anyone remember laughter?" In the introduction to "Misty Mountain Hop," Plant talks about how the elder Bonhams used to sing together all the time, then mentions that Jason has inherited the talent. Jason sings back-up vocals on the tune.

With no introduction necessary, the band then delve into "Kashmir." This is another song that I had never seen them perform live, and watching them play it is fantastic. As I have mentioned, Jason Bonham does a stellar job behind the drum kit, but I think his finest moment comes during this song. The drums are such an integral part of it that John Bonham was given a songwriting credit, along with Page and Plant. Jason's playing is as ferocious as his father's was on the original.

As Plant said in his introduction to "Dazed and Confused," there are certain songs that had to be a part of the set, and "Whole Lotta Love" is another. Watching Page play some kind of crazed guitar-theramin device during this is incredible. The sounds are other-worldly, as is the sheer spectacle of him weaving his arms around the magic box to create them.

"Whole Lotta Love" was the first encore, and the second and final encore of the night is "Rock and Roll." Again, the symmetry is beautiful. "Rock and Roll" is a classic Zeppelin song which opened the concert filmed for The Song Remains the Same. It also just happens to be a great tune, and the perfect summation of what the night was about.

01."Good Times Bad Times" (John Bonham, John Paul Jones, and Jimmy Page) – 3:12 
02."Ramble On" (Page and Robert Plant) – 5:45 
03."Black Dog" (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 5:53 
04."In My Time of Dying" (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant) – 11:11 
05."For Your Life" (Page and Plant) – 6:40 
06."Trampled Under Foot" (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 6:20 
07."Nobody's Fault but Mine" (Page and Plant) – 6:44 
08."No Quarter" (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 9:22 
09."Since I've Been Loving You" (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 7:52 
10."Dazed and Confused" (Page; inspired by Jake Holmes) – 11:44 
11."Stairway to Heaven" (Page and Plant) – 8:49 
12."The Song Remains the Same" (Page and Plant) – 5:47 
13."Misty Mountain Hop" (Jones, Page, and Plant) – 5:08 
14."Kashmir" (Bonham, Page, and Plant) – 9:07 

First Encore 
15."Whole Lotta Love" (Bonham, Willie Dixon, Jones, Page and Plant) – 7:26 

Second Encore 
16."Rock and Roll" (Bonham, Jones, Page, and Plant) – 4:35 

[Track Review by:]

01. Good Times Bad Times (3:10) - The night starts exactly the same way Led Zeppelin's discography with the first song on the first side of their first record. The crowd explodes into a frenzy as their three idols all dressed in black focus intently. My initial thought is Plant sounds awful, not sure if he was nervous or he was not warmed up properly, but his voice did not display the distinct rawness he displayed 38 years earlier on the record. Nonetheless Page kicks into a mini solo close to the end of the song with a smirk on his face that promises a good ride for the viewer.

02. Ramble On (5:37) - With no pause we get taken to Zeppelin II and the guys are still all business. Not exactly full of the confident swagger that made them rock gods, they are starting to sound really good and Plant is still clearly the weakest link. Page kicks in his guitar magic in a fairly straightforward rendition of the song

03. Black Dog (5:18) - Jimmy Page takes off his shades and starts to get sweaty. At this point it is evident that the camera work is incredible adjusting between the four musicians and the loud fifth member (with most of them spending their time with cell phones and cameras in the air) at the appropriate times. Plant finally shows the confidence that made him the Golden God as he is clearly starting to loosen up.

04. In My Time Of Dying (11:01) - Plant acknowledges the crowd with a "Good Evening" and a big smile on his face and its time for the blues. For many this song represents the best of what Zeppelin was - thunderous re-interpretation of the delta blues. This particular song is a re-interpretation of an old blues staple called Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed (even Dylan recorded a version in 1962). As if the rusty old car was just starting to warm up, this song reflects the point where everything is firing on all cylinders and the warm up is complete. Perfectly executed this is the Zeppelin we all adore and worship. Easily within Plant's current vocal range the spotlight is on Page's slide finger and as the song picks up Bonham truly pounds the drum kit with a rage of a man on a mission. Page's guitar solo at the end is incredible and of course John Paul Jones continues to be the steady foundation that this band needs. Highlight of the DVD - Robert Plant singing "Oh My Jesus, Je, Je, Je Je ..." at 25:13 of the DVD. Go watch, words cant describe the majesty of that scene. After the song Plant starts to joke with the crowd for the first time this night and thanks them for the 1000's of emotions that the band has had the last few months.

05. For Your Life (6:08) - Zeppelin fans rejoice - a song that the band has NEVER played live before (no idea why not). True to the album version this one seems like a breeze technically after the intense previous song. "You said I was the only, With my lemon in your hand" is how it starts and continues through to another mini Page solo and while there have been suggestions he was down-tuned for this concert to compensate for Plant's voice, there is no evidence of any short cuts here. 

06. Trampled Under Foot (6:02) - A tribute to Robert Johnson's 1936 song Terraplane Blues that Plant introduces as having been recorded 1000's of times. John Paul Jones now sits on they keyboards and impressively nails his piano part. The interplay with between keys and guitar is paramount and the audience roars in appreciation. The song may have its roots in the blues, but this is the biggest dancing song of the night with its funky beat. As if to reflect the speed of the song, the camera shots alternate at dizzying speeds and not staying on a subject more than 5 seconds.

07. Nobody's Fault But Mine (6:24) - Continuing the theme of paying tribute to the old blues greats this time one is from Blind Willie Johnson who wrote similar lyrics in the 1920's and which Plant claims they heard in church in 1932 before Johnson had his first shot. Plant brings out the harmonica and plays it as needed to fill out Page's riffs. The band spends a good portion of the song feeding off each others energy in front of Bonham's drum kit, and you can clearly see the magical bond the three originals have. Jones is back on bass for this but not for long.
08. No Quarter (9:00) - As Jones takes they keys again the audience know its time to mellow out and get ready for the Zeppelin trance that used to captivate audiences in the 70's and created a communal bond that the rock concerts of today can only dream of achieving. The smoke machines roll fog off the stage and contibute to the trance. Page kicks into a tight solo halfway in the song that I am certain the audience wished would continue for another 10 minutes.

09. Since I've Been Loving You (7:35) - The slowed down and moody portion of the set continues with familiar Page licks at the beginning of the song. This song sounds very familiar to the version we heard on the Page/Plant collaborations of the mid 90's. Perfectly executed again the DVD continues to remind us of why Zeppelin is so revered by fans all over the world.

10. Dazed And Confused (11:19) - Here is the one instance where the band deviates from the album version of the songs. The song as heard on the record 6:27 but Zeppelin was notorious for extending this one during their live shows. Tonight they unfortunately did not extend the song to 30 minutes or so like they did on The Song Remains The Same movie but they gave the hardcore fans a sample of the "jam band" spirit that they were known for. Page of course brings out the violin bow for this one and makes the eerie electric distortion sounds he is known for. All the while he is standing in a laser pyramid that circles around him as the smoke machine fills his space. Magical!

11. Stairway To Heaven (8:28) - This song concludes with Plant declaring "Hey Ahmet, we did it". Of all the suffocating pressure put on the band to perform well, the epicenter of the pressure lay firmly on Stairway To Heaven. The song that defined Zeppelin for many generations, the most played song in rock radio history, the song that every Zeppelin fan knows every note to, this was the one that everyone would talk about after the show. They delivered a very solid version which features Page on that all iconic double neck guitar. The solo in this song is widely considered the best guitar solo of all time, but the wizard did not disappoint as he delivered a clean and concise solo and put the big pressure point away forever. It is odd that the whole time I was watching this song it was like watching a student to see if they did enough homework to pass the final exam. I felt guilty about this as this is Led Zeppelin, who was I to have any doubt about the greatest band in the universe. 

12. The Song Remains The Same (5:35) - Things liven up again as if the hard part of the concert was over and the celebration day continues. An uplifting song that transitions the concert while Plant keeps on the double neck from the previous song. Bonham on the drums is the highlight of this song and honestly there was nobody that had more to prove tonight than the junior Bonzo. Fairly straight forward rendition of the feel good song of the night.

13. Misty Mountain Hop (4:48) - Continuing the free spirited approach of the last song, Misty Mountain Hop begins with Plant recounting stories of Jason Bonham's youth being sung to by his parents and how he turned out to be a pretty good singer himself. Lo and behold Bonham provides Plant with backing vocals for this song. I don't believe this is something Bonzo ever did so it was very cool to hear some added power to this excellent song. Jones kept repeating the song's main rhythm to keep the beat steady.

14. Kashmir (8:48) - A highlight of the night. The guitar face Page puts on in the first few seconds of this song says it all. The boys have passed the test, they know it and the fans in attendance know it. Time for the exclamation mark in the form of a flawless, and emotional main set highlight. Plant's wail right before the line "baby, baby, I've been dying" will bring goosebumps to Zeppelin fans as he draws something deep within his soul to achieve such commanding vocal strength. The three originals fire on all cylinders but this is where Jason proves that there is a Bonham behind the kit, and only a Bonham should have the right to be there on this night. The band released this song on YouTube and you can see it below.

15. Whole Lotta Love (6:49) - After all four members take a bow at the conclusion of Kashmir they walk of stage as the main set finishes. When they come back on, there really isnt much doubt that we will hear the chords of Whole Lotta Love. It seems sped up as they rush through it to get to the main highlight which of course is the psychedelic middle part of the song where the grand wizard of the electric guitar takes his pose as green lasers shoot out from the stage. It is theramin time boys and girls where Page waves his hands in front of an antenna and distorts the electric field all round his space. Unfortunately Plant could not deliver the "loooove" scream that used to be considered his most powerful vocal display. Nonetheless the audience helps by screaming it out themselves. The song ends with another bow from the band at the front of the stage before they rush off.

16. Rock and Roll (4:19) - This is it - possibly the last performance of the new Led Zeppelin and they could not have picked a better song. The party atmosphere at the O2 must have been bitter sweet as everyone must have known their gods will only be on stage for just a few more minutes. The band nails the song and Bonham again is the highlight with a beatiful and powerful finale drum solo. Page gives him the biggest smile I have ever seen on Pagey's face and he kisses his guitar before he puts it down. The screen behind the band puts up the familiar Led Zeppelin logo and the band waves as they walk off.  Last to leave the stage is Jason Bonham .... 

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fotheringay - BBC Radio Sessions 1970 (Bootleg)

Size: 255 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found Near the Moon
Some Artwork Included

Very Rare BBC Radio Sessions off air recordings of varying quality Apr-Nov 1970. A mixture of AM/FM they are mostly perfectly listenable to. No noise reductions applied. Quality of 'Peace in the End' is poor but I know of no better version.Includes interviews with Sandy and those who knew her. Some song titles appear more than once, all are differing versions/ or broadcasts. These tracks are an invaluable resource to Sandy Denny fans. Some tracks also appear on Boots "Wild Mountain Thyme","Poems from Alexandra","Sandy at the BBC".

Fotheringay was a short-lived British folk rock group, formed in 1970 by singer Sandy Denny on her departure from Fairport Convention. The band drew its name from her 1968 composition "Fotheringay" about Fotheringhay Castle, in which Mary, Queen of Scots had been imprisoned. The song originally appeared on the 1969 Fairport Convention album, What We Did on Our Holidays, Denny's first album with that group.

Two former members of Eclection, Trevor Lucas and Gerry Conway, and two former members of Poet and the One Man Band, Jerry Donahue and Pat Donaldson (bass), completed the line-up responsible for what was long assumed to be the quintet's only album. This folk-based set included several Denny originals, notably "Nothing More", "The Sea" and "The Pond and The Stream", as well as versions of Gordon Lightfoot's "The Way I Feel" and Bob Dylan's "Too Much of Nothing". Though, during the year of its original release, the album featured in the UK's two music papers' Top 20 (Melody Maker and NME), it did not meet commercial expectations, and pressures on Denny to undertake a solo career — she was voted Britain's number 1 singer (two years consecutively) in Melody Maker's readers poll — increased. The album peaked at No. 18 in the UK Albums Chart.

Fotheringay disbanded in January 1971, during sessions for a projected second album. Some of its songs surfaced on Denny's 1971 debut solo album, The North Star Grassman and the Ravens. Lucas, Conway and Donahue joined Fairport Convention in 1972 to record the Rosie album (on which some Fotheringay material was also used). However, Conway played on three tracks only and began session work afterwards. Both Conway and Donaldson have worked with Richard Thompson, amongst many others. Lucas and Donahue stayed with Fairport (the Nine album came out in 1973) for another couple of years, with Denny rejoining in 1974. This line-up recorded two additional albums: Fairport Live Convention (re-titled A Movable Feast in the US) and Rising for the Moon. Denny, along with Donahue and Lucas, left the band in December 1975. Conway eventually joined a reformed Fairport in 1997.

In 2007, the BBC announced that Donahue would be attempting to complete the abandoned project (which he accomplished using previously unheard takes from the original archived tapes). Permission had finally been granted and the work was completed by summer of the following year. The resulting album, titled Fotheringay 2, was released by Fledg'ling Records on 29 September 2008.

Alexandra Elene MacLean "Sandy" Denny (6 January 1947 – 21 April 1978) was an English singer and songwriter, perhaps best known as the lead singer for the folk rock band Fairport Convention. She has been described as "the pre-eminent British folk rock singer".

After briefly working with British folk band the Strawbs, Denny joined Fairport Convention in 1968, remaining with that band until the end of 1969. She formed the short-lived band Fotheringay in 1970, releasing one album with them (another unreleased album surfaced over thirty years later), before focusing on a solo career. Between 1971 and 1977, Denny released four solo albums: The North Star Grassman and the Ravens, Sandy, Like an Old Fashioned Waltz, and Rendezvous. She is also noted as the only guest vocalist on a Led Zeppelin studio album, when she shared a duet with Robert Plant for "The Battle of Evermore" on Led Zeppelin IV (1971).

Denny was born on 6 January 1947 at Nelson Hospital, Kingston Road, Merton Park, London. She studied classical piano as a child. Her Scottish grandmother was a singer of traditional songs. At an early age Denny showed an interest in singing, although her strict parents were reluctant to believe there was a living to be made from it. Sandy Denny attended Coombe Girls' School in Kingston upon Thames. After leaving school, she started training as a nurse at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

Her nursing career proved short-lived. In the meantime she had secured a place on a foundation course at Kingston College of Art, which she took up in September 1965, becoming involved with the folk club on campus. Her contemporaries at the college included guitarist and future member of Pentangle, John Renbourn. After her first public appearance at the Barge in Kingston-Upon-Thames Denny started working the folk club circuit in the evenings with an American-influenced repertoire, including songs by Tom Paxton, together with traditional folk songs.

Denny made the first of many appearances for the BBC at Cecil Sharp House on 2 December 1966 on the Folk Song Cellar programme where she accompanied herself on two traditional songs: "Fhir a Bhata" and "Green Grow the Laurels".

Her earliest professional recordings were made a few months later in mid-1967 for the Saga Records label, featuring traditional songs and covers of folk contemporaries including her boyfriend of this period, the American singer-songwriter Jackson C. Frank. They were released on the albums Alex Campbell and his Friends and Sandy and Johnny with Johnny Silvo. These songs were collected on the 1970 album It's Sandy Denny where the tracks from Sandy and Johnny had been re-recorded with more accomplished vocals and guitar playing. The complete Saga studio recordings were issued on the 2005 compilation Where The Time Goes.

By this time she had abandoned her studies at art college and was devoting herself full-time to music. While she was performing at The Troubadour folk club, a member of the Strawbs heard her, and in 1967, she was invited to join the band. She recorded one album with them in Denmark which was released belatedly in 1973 credited to Sandy Denny and the Strawbs: All Our Own Work. The album includes an early solo version of her best-known (and widely recorded) composition, "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". A demo of that song found its way into the hands of American singer Judy Collins, who chose to cover it as the title track of an album of her own, released in November 1968, thus giving Denny international exposure as a songwriter before she had become widely known as a singer.

After making the Saga albums with Alex Campbell and Johnny Silvo, Denny looked for a band that would allow her to stretch herself as a vocalist, reach a wider audience, and have the opportunity to display her songwriting. She said, "I wanted to do something more with my voice." After working briefly with the Strawbs Denny remained unconvinced that they could provide that opportunity, and so she ended her relationship with the band.

Fairport Convention conducted auditions in May 1968 for a replacement singer following the departure of Judy Dyble after their debut album, and Denny became the obvious choice. According to group member Simon Nicol, her evident personality and musicianship made her stand out from the other auditionees "like a clean glass in a sink full of dirty dishes". Beginning with What We Did On Our Holidays, the first of three albums she made with the band in the late sixties, Denny is credited with encouraging Fairport Convention to explore the traditional British folk repertoire, and is thus regarded as a key figure in the development of British folk rock. She brought with her the traditional repertoire she had refined in the clubs, including "A Sailor's Life" featured on their second album together Unhalfbricking. Framing Denny's performance of this song with their own electric improvisations, her bandmates discovered what then proved to be the inspiration for an entire album, the influential Liege & Lief (1969).

Denny left Fairport Convention in December 1969 to develop her own songwriting more fully. To this end, she formed her own band, Fotheringay, which included her future husband, Australian Trevor Lucas, formerly of the group Eclection. They created one self-titled album (a second left unfinished in 1970 was finally released in 2008) which included an eight-minute version of the traditional "Banks of the Nile", and several Denny originals, among them "The Sea" and "Nothing More". (The latter marked her first composition on the piano, which was to become her primary instrument from then on.) The group dissolved when producer Joe Boyd left to take up a job at Warner Brothers in California.

Fotheringay BBC Sessions featuring Sandy Denny.

Band Members:
Sandy Denny
 Trevor Lucas
 Gerry Conway
 Jerry Donahue
 Pat Donaldson

Disc 1 
01. Intro to First broadcast by Fotheringay
02. The way I feel (1970-04-02)
03. Nothing More (1970-04-02)
04. The Sea (1970-04-02)
05. The Ballad of Ned Kelly (1970-04-02)
06. The Banks of the Nile (1970-04-02)
07. Too Much of Nothing (1970-04-02)
08. The Ballad of Ned Kelly (High Male Harmony)(1970-04-13)
09. OUtro John Peel DJ on Ballad of Ned Kelly
10. The Sea (1970-04-13)
11. Intro Banks of the Nile
12. Banks of the Nile (1970-04-13)
13. Nothing More (1970-04-13)
14. Outro Nothing More (1970-04-13)
15. The Way I Feel
16. Interview
17. The Sea
18. Silver Threads and Golden Needles (1970-05-05)
19. Intro Peace in the End
20. Peace in the End (1970-05-05)
21. Too Much of Nothing (Beat Club Bremen)

Disc 2
01. Intro Farewell Fotheringay broadcast Folk on One (1970-11-12)
02. Eppy Moray
03. Sandy on Eppy Moray
04. Trevor on Fotheringay
05. Intro Gyspy Davey
06. Gypsy Davey 
07. Intro Bold Jack Donahue
08. Bold Jack Donahue
09. Reasons for breakup of Fotheringay
10. The Ballad of Ned Kelly
11. Interview Robin Denslow
12. Intro Lowlands of Holland
13. Lowlands of Holland
14. Interview Karl Dallas
15. Banks of the Nile
16. Gypsy Davey (1970-11-15)
17. Bold Jack Donahue
18. John the Gun
19. Wild Mountain Thyme (Will you go Lassie go)
20. Eppy Moray (different Source with Intro voiceover)

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