Friday, May 09, 2014

Taj Mahal - Ultrasonic Studios, NY 1974-10-15 FM Broadcast (Bootleg)

Size: 150 MB
Bitrate: 320
Source: A cassette Hit my head
Some Artwork

One of the most prominent figures in late 20th century blues, singer/multi-instrumentalist Taj Mahal played an enormous role in revitalizing and preserving traditional acoustic blues. Not content to stay within that realm, Mahal soon broadened his approach, taking a musicologist's interest in a multitude of folk and roots music from around the world -- reggae and other Caribbean folk, jazz, gospel, R&B, zydeco, various West African styles, Latin, even Hawaiian. The African-derived heritage of most of those forms allowed Mahal to explore his own ethnicity from a global perspective and to present the blues as part of a wider musical context. Yet while he dabbled in many different genres, he never strayed too far from his laid-back country blues foundation. Blues purists naturally didn't have much use for Mahal's music, and according to some of his other detractors, his multi-ethnic fusions sometimes came off as indulgent, or overly self-conscious and academic. Still, Mahal's concept was vindicated in the '90s, when a cadre of young bluesmen began to follow his lead -- both acoustic revivalists (Keb' Mo', Guy Davis) and eclectic bohemians (Corey Harris, Alvin Youngblood Hart).

Taj Mahal was born Henry St. Clair Fredericks in New York on May 17, 1942. His parents -- his father a jazz pianist/composer/arranger of Jamaican descent, his mother a schoolteacher from South Carolina who sang gospel -- moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, when he was quite young, and while growing up there, he often listened to music from around the world on his father's short-wave radio. He particularly loved the blues -- both acoustic and electric -- and early rock & rollers like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. While studying agriculture and animal husbandry at the University of Massachusetts, he adopted the musical alias Taj Mahal (an idea that came to him in a dream) and formed Taj Mahal & the Elektras, who played around the area during the early '60s. After graduating, Mahal moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and, after making his name on the local folk-blues scene, formed the Rising Sons with guitarist Ry Cooder. The group signed to Columbia and released one single, but the label didn't quite know what to make of their forward-looking blend of Americana, which anticipated a number of roots rock fusions that would take shape in the next few years; as such, the album they recorded sat on the shelves, unreleased until 1992.

The Natch'l Blues Frustrated, Mahal left the group and wound up staying with Columbia as a solo artist. His self-titled debut was released in early 1968 and its stripped-down approach to vintage blues sounds made it unlike virtually anything else on the blues scene at the time. It came to be regarded as a classic of the '60s blues revival, as did its follow-up, Natch'l Blues. The half-electric, half-acoustic double-LP set Giant Step followed in 1969, and taken together, those three records built Mahal's reputation as an authentic yet unique modern-day bluesman, gaining wide exposure and leading to collaborations or tours with a wide variety of prominent rockers and bluesmen. During the early '70s, Mahal's musical adventurousness began to take hold; 1971's Happy Just to Be Like I Am heralded his fascination with Caribbean rhythms and the following year's double-live set, The Real Thing, added a New Orleans-flavored tuba section to several tunes. In 1973, Mahal branched out into movie soundtrack work with his compositions for Sounder, and the following year he recorded his most reggae-heavy outing, Mo' Roots.

BrothersMahal continued to record for Columbia through 1976, upon which point he switched to Warner Bros.; he recorded three albums for that label, all in 1977 (including a soundtrack for the film Brothers). Changing musical climates, however, were decreasing interest in Mahal's work and he spent much of the '80s off record, eventually moving to Hawaii to immerse himself in another musical tradition. Mahal returned in 1987 with Taj, an album issued by Gramavision that explored this new interest; the following year, he inaugurated a string of successful, well-received children's albums with Shake Sugaree. The next few years brought a variety of side projects, including a musical score for the lost Langston Hughes/Zora Neale Hurston play Mule Bone that earned Mahal a Grammy nomination in 1991.

Like Never Before The same year marked Mahal's full-fledged return to regular recording and touring, kicked off with the first of a series of well-received albums on the Private Music label, Like Never Before. Follow-ups, such as Dancing the Blues (1993) and Phantom Blues (1996), drifted into more rock, pop, and R&B-flavored territory; in 1997, Mahal won a Grammy for Señor Blues. Meanwhile, he undertook a number of small-label side projects that constituted some of his most ambitious forays into world music. Released in 1995, Mumtaz Mahal teamed him with classical Indian musicians; 1998's Sacred Island was recorded with his new Hula Blues Band, exploring Hawaiian music in greater depth; 1999's Kulanjan was a duo performance with Malian kora player Toumani Diabaté. Maestro appeared in 2008, boasting an array of all-star guests: Diabaté, Angélique Kidjo, Ziggy Marley, Los Lobos, Jack Johnson, and Ben Harper.

TAJ MAHAL – 1974-10-15 Ultrasonic Studios, Hempstead, NY
FM radio broadcast (WLIR) 

01. Introduction
02. Going Up To The Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue
03. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
04. Black Jack Davey
05. Why Did You Have To Desert Me
06. interview
07. Further On Down The Road
08. Stealin'
09. instrumental
10. Johnny Too Bad
11. Take A Giant Step

1. Link 1
2. Link 2

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Foggy - Selftitled (Great and Very Rare Folk From York Records UK 1972)

Size: 78.7 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Korea 24-Bit Remaster (Big Pink Records)

British folk duo Foggy's first album, which originally was released on York Records in 1972. You may expect nice remakes of well-known classic pop and folk tunes. A must for collectors of British folk rock!

Danny Clarke and Lennie Wesley formed this soft folk duo in the late 60s, initially called Foggy Dew-O, but later shortening the name to just Foggy. Brian Willoughby was a member briefly in 1973. On Born To Take The Highway they covered four Strawbs songs. Dave Cousins and Tony Hooper produced and various Strawbs played on their album, Simple Gifts. These days Granville Clark is a watercolour artist.

Foggy (originally Foggy Dew-o) were the duo of Danny Clarke and Lennie Wesley, who had a strong Strawbs connection over the course of their three-album career. Future Strawb Brian Willoughby played with them briefly, they covered no fewer than four Strawbs songs on Foggy Dew-o's second album, Born to Take the Highway, and half of the band guested on the sole Foggy album, 1972's Simple Gifts.

It's a reasonable enough folk-rock release, although nowhere near the level of Fairport, Steeleye et al., or even some of the better lesser-known acts (Trees, Mellow Candle). Much of the album has a faint country flavour, which doesn't do it many favours with the benefit of hindsight, while ill-advised covers (The Byrds' I Wasn't Born To Follow, The Beatles' Let It Be) would have been better left quietly on the shelf. 

The occasional song stands out, notably the Eastern-flavoured She's Far Away and the opening and closing versions of the title track, an old Shaker hymn whose tune was annexed for Sydney Carter's Lord Of The Dance, but I'm afraid there's far too much filler here for this to be regarded as in any way a lost classic.

Like most of The Strawbs' contemporaneous releases, there's some Mellotronic input here. Then-Strawb Blue Weaver plays full-on strings on My Song and Kitty Starr, plus flutes (under a real one) on Old Moot Hall, although they don't always enhance the material in quite the way you might expect. 

Top playing from Blue, though, with a high-speed flute run in the last-named that you'd have trouble doing on a well-gigged machine. All in all, then, a passable album with some nice 'Tron work, but nothing you desperately need, unless you have to a) own every British folk-rock album from the early '70s, or b) have to own every album containing Mellotron. Who said, "Me"?

01.Simple Gifts
02.Baby Day
03.She's Far Away
04.My Song
05.Let It Be
07.I Wasn't Born To Follow
08.Kitty Starr
09.Was It Only Yesterday
10.How Come The Sun
11.Nobody Knows
12.The Very First Time
13.Take Your Time
14.Old Moot Hall
15.Simple Gifts

1. Link
2. Link

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Grin (Nils Lofgren) - Gone Crazy (Great Rock US 1973)

Size: 96.2 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

Lofgren was born in Chicago in 1951 to Swedish/Italian parents. He moved to the suburban town of Garrett Park, Maryland, near the northern border of Washington, D.C. as a very young child. Lofgren's first instrument was classical accordion, beginning at age 5, which he studied seriously for ten years. After studying classical music and jazz, throughout his youth, Lofgren switched his emphasis to rock music, and focused on the piano and the guitar. By 1968, Lofgren formed the band Grin originally with bassist George Daly (later replaced by Bob Gordon), and drummer Bob Berberich, former players in the DC band The Hangmen. 

The group played in venues throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Lofgren had been a competitive gymnast in high school, a skill that popped up later in his career. During this time, Lofgren met Neil Young and played for him. Young invited Lofgren to come to California and the Grin trio (Lofgren, Daly and Berberich) drove out west and lived for some months at a home Neil Young rented in Laurel Canyon.

Lofgren joined Neil Young's band at age 17, playing piano and guitar on the album After the Gold Rush. Lofgren worked on his parts around-the-clock when recording was not in session. Lofgren maintained a close musical relationship with Young, appearing on his Tonight's the Night album and tour among others. He was also briefly a member of Crazy Horse, appearing on their 1971 LP and contributing songs to their catalogue.

Lofgren used the Neil Young album credits to land his band Grin a record deal in 1971. Lofgren had formed the band originally with bassist George Daly and drummer Bob Berberich, and the group played in venues throughout the Washington D.C. area before going to California. Daly left the band early on to become a Columbia Records A & R Executive and was replaced by bassist Bob Gordon, who remained through the release of four critically acclaimed albums of catchy, hard rock, from 1971 to 1974, with guitar as Lofgren's primary instrument. 

The single "White Lies" got heavy airplay on Washington, D.C.-area radio. Lofgren wrote the majority of the group's songs, and often shared vocal duties with other members of the band (primarily drummer Bob Berberich). After the second album Nils added brother Tom Lofgren as a rhythm guitarist. Grin failed to hit the big time, and were released by their record company.

Gone Crazy is a 1973 album by Grin. The original album was a gatefold. The outside front and back covers feature a colorful drawing, by Lanny Tupper, of animals, dishes, and musical instruments going crazy. A photo of Nils Lofgren doing a flip is also on the front cover. The inside cover has nineteen photos of the band, performing and hanging out with an old man, identified as Mr. Carter.

Solo career:
In 1974 Grin disbanded. Lofgren's eponymous debut solo album was a success with critics; a 1975 Rolling Stone review by Jon Landau labeled it one of the finest rock albums of the year, and NME ranked it 5th in its list of albums of the year. Subsequent albums did not always garner critical favor, although Cry Tough was voted number 10 in the 1976 NME Album round up; I Came To Dance in particular received a scathing review in the New Rolling Stone Record Guide. He achieved progressive rock radio hits in the mid-1970s with "Back It Up", "Keith Don't Go" and "I Came to Dance". His song "Bullets Fever", about the 1978 NBA champion Washington Bullets, would become a favorite in the Washington area. Throughout the 1970s, Lofgren released solo albums and toured extensively with a backing band that again usually included brother Tom on rhythm guitar. Lofgren's concerts displayed his reputation for theatrics, such as playing guitar while doing flips on a trampoline.

In 1971 he appeared on stage on the Roy Buchanan Special, PBS TV, with Bill Graham. In 1973 he appeared with Grin on NBC on Midnight Special, performing three songs live. In 1978 he wrote and sang the "Nobody Bothers Me" theme for a D.C. Jhoon Rhee Tae Kwon Do advertisement, and also appeared in the notorious Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. Nils is credited on 2 of Lou Gramm (of Foreigner) solo albums: "Ready or Not" released in 1987 (Nils listed as lead guitarist) and "Long Hard Look" released in 1989 (Nils listed as one of the guitarists). In 1987 he contributed the TV Show theme arrangement for Hunter. In 1993 he contributed to The Simpsons, with two Christmas jingles with Bart. In 1995 he appeared on a PBS tribute to the Beatles along with Dr. John. From 1991–95 he was the CableAce Awards musical director and composer. [Source Wikipedia]

Grin discography:
♦ 1971: Grin (Spindizzy/Epic)
♦ 1972: 1+1 (Spindizzy/Epic)
♦ 1973: All Out (Spindizzy/Epic)
♦ 1973: Gone Crazy (A&M)

Personnel on "Gone Crazy" album:
► Nils Lofgren - Guitars, Keyboards, Lead Vocals
► Bob Berberich - Drums, Lead Vocals
► Bob Gordon - Bass, Background Vocals
► Tom Lofgren - Guitars, Background Vocals

01. "You're the Weight" - 5:11
02. "Boy and Girl" - 4:31
03. "What About Me" - 4:27
04. "One More Time" - 5:10
05. "True Thrill" - 3:08
06. "Beggar's Day (Eulogy to Danny Whitten)" - 4:18
07. "Nightmare" - 3:42
08. "Believe" - 3:55
09. "Ain't for Free" - 4:17

1. Link
2. Link