Thursday, December 31, 2015

Stu Gardner - And the Sanctified Sound (Funk/Soul US 1974)

Size: 83.4 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

(Not easy to find a biography about this album) Veteran session keyboardist Stu Gardner assumes the spotlight for Stu Gardner & the Sanctified Sound, a solid if unspectacular funk outing indicative of its creator's journeyman status. 

Gardner and his band (including bassist Charles Fletcher) are undoubtedly gifted players, but his songwriting is pedestrian at best, drawing obvious inspiration from early-'70s icons like Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder but never reaching the same heights. 

A soulful, nuanced "Home on the Range" and the self-explanatory "Funky Neighborhood" nevertheless make for engaging listening, and DJs in search of sample fodder will find a number of funky breaks to plunder.

01. Devil In A Man 04:18
02. Added To A Broken Heart 03:50
03. Funky Neighborhood 03:14
04. Home On The Range 04:55
05. Mathilda (Instrumental) 03:06
06. Sanctified Sound 05:51
07. Sister Matilda 03:55
08. Leave Him Alone 02:53
09. The Sweetest Song 05:14
10. The Sweetest Song (Part 2) 02:04

1. Stu Gardner
2. Stu Gardner
3. Stu Gardner

Deep Purple - The House of Blue Light (UK 1986)

Size: 96.2 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Deep Purple evolved out of Roundabout who had been set up when two London businessmen, Tony Edwards and John Coletta decided to invest in a pop group. The name change to Deep Purple took place in April 1968 and coincided with their live debut in Tastrup, Denmark. The following month they recorded The Shades Of Deep Purple album. Musically they followed a pretty straight-forward pop format and the album peaked at No 24 in the US, although it didn't make the UK Charts at all. Similarly, their first single, Hush, a revival of a Joe South song with lots of great guitar work, rose to No 4 in the US singles Charts but failed to gain a Chart placing over here. A cover of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman gave them another minor US hit, but over here it was withdrawn shortly after its release.

In 1969 they were signed by EMI's then new progressive Harvest label. They had Exposition/We Can Work It Out and Wring That Neck included on the very rare promo-only Harvest Sampler album. Their first album for Harvest, The Book Of Taliesyn, followed a similar format to their first album. Again, it fared better in the States, climbing to No. 54. A cover of Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High culled from the album, gave them another minor US hit, peaking at No 53. Other versions included The Beatles' We Can Work It Out and a version of the theme from 2001.

Deep Purple, released in 1969, marked the end of their pop phase. It included a good version of Donovan's Lalena. The Painter and Why Didn't Rosemary certainly hinted at the heavier sound to come. Most of side two was taken up by the experimental and classically-influenced extended track April. After this the Tetragrammaton label folded and Simper and Evans were sacked departing for Warhorse and Captain Beyond respectively.

Ian Gillan and Roger Glover from Episode Six came in as replacements to form what is generally considered to be the strongest of the band's four line-ups. Musically this new line-up veered towards a much heavier sound. However, Concerto For Group And Orchestra, the new line-up's first album, attempted to merge rock and classical music with the band being supported by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Albert Hall. It gave the group their UK Chart debut, peaking at No 26 and, unusually for them did much better than in the US, where it only got to No 143.

They worked immensely hard in this phase of their career and gradually it began to pay off with Black Night, a superb slice of heavy rock, rising to No 2 to give them their first UK hit single.

Deep Purple In Rock was really their magnum opus. It became a million seller, climbing to No 4 in the UK (but only managing No 142 in the US). This album really is worth checking out with tracks like Speed King, Into The Fire, Living Wreck and Hard Lovin' Man epitomising all that was good about their frenetic brand of heavy rock.

However, there were signs that Ian Gillan, at least, was becoming restless. On 27 October he played the part of Jesus in a live performance of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Jesus Christ Superstar' at St Peters Lutheran Church in New York and he'd also played Jesus on the original album.

1971 saw the release of a new album, Fireball, which was similar in style to its predecessor. It topped the UK Album Charts and reached No 32 in the US. The title track peaked at No 15 in the UK 45 Charts at the end of the year, to give them their second Top 20 hit. Strange Kind Of Woman had made the UK Top Ten back in March. On 3 December Montreux Casino in Switzerland burnt down during a Frank Zappa set whilst the band were recording there, this led the band to write another classic song, Smoke On The Water, which was included on their next album, Machine Head. This was another mega seller, topping the UK Charts for three weeks and later climbing to No 7 in the US. In April 1972 Never Before from the album gave them a minor UK hit, climbing to No 35. The same month Jon Lord released an album, Gemini Suite, with the London Symphony Orchestra.

By now the band was deservedly one of the top live attractions in the World - playing the first night at the resurrected Rainbow Theatre in June 1972 and touring Japan in August of that year, where they were extremely popular. Material from some of the concerts on this tour was later released on the Live In Japan album, which later climbed to No 16 in the UK and No 6 in the US. Towards the end of 1972 Warner released Purple Passages, a US-only compilation of material from their three Tetragrammaton albums, and it peaked at No 57.

By now Gillan had made up his mind to leave the group because he felt the band was ceasing to progress, although he remained with the band until 29 June 1973 to honour touring commitments in Japan, where the band members were idolised. He later formed his own band. Roger Glover followed him shortly after, initially becoming the Purple label's A&M man and later pursuing a solo career. The following month their classic song, Smoke On The Water (from Machine Head) was released as a 45 in the US, becoming a million-seller and peaking at No 4.

The previously unknown David Coverdale, who'd been working in a menswear shop in Redcar, Yorkshire, was brought in, along with ex-Trapeze bassist Glenn Hughes, after responding to an advert placed by the band. This new line-up were responsible for the Burn and Stormbringer albums, which were both successful commercially, but this particular incarnation of the band was brought to a conclusion when Ritchie Blackmore announced his departure to form Rainbow on 7 April 1975. His replacement was Tommy Bolin, formerly with The James Gang.

This final line-up recorded a studio album, Come Taste The Band, and embarked on a World Tour of Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, America and Europe. However, it was proving increasingly difficult for the band to harness the undoubted talent of its individual members to best effect and they finally split in June 1976. Inevitably there have been several posthumous releases and compilations.

Upon their demise Coverdale embarked on a solo career later forming Whitesnake; Lord and Paice became two of the trio known as Paice, Ashton and Lord; Hughes rejoined Trapeze and Tommy Bolin formed his own band back in the US. He later died of a heroin overdose on 4 December 1976.

For a good retrospective collection try The Anthology, released in 1985. This doesn't just follow the 'greatest hits' type format - it mixes the best known material with the obscure. In the latter category are three previously unissued tracks:- Freedom, recorded as a follow-up single to Strange Kind Of Woman in 1971, which never saw the light of day until 1985 and two tracks from the 'Roundabout' acetate in 1968 (Love Help Me and Shadows), before the group had chosen the Deep Purple name. Some of their rare 45s (Hush, Emmaretta and Hallelujah) are included, too, and there are plenty of stage favourites like Woman From Tokyo, Black Night, Child In Time and Strange Kind Of Woman. Appearances on Various Artists' compilations have included Into The Fire (from the Deep Purple In Rock album) on Harvest's 1970 Picnic (Dble LP) compilation; Hush on Harvest Heritage - 20 Greats (LP) and, more recently, Shield on the CD The Age Of Enlightenment - Prog Rock, Vol. 1.

As for Deep Purple, they're lovingly remembered as one of the finest and most influential heavy rock bands in the World.

2nd reunion album 1986

01. Bad Attitude - 04.46
02. The Unwritten Law - 04.37
03. Call of The Wild - 04.53
04. Mad Dog - 04.33
05. Black & White - 03.44
06. Hard Lovin' Woman - 03.25
07. The Spanish Archer - 04.59
08. Strangeways - 05.58
09. Mitzi Dupree - 05.05
10. Dead or Alive - 04.43

1. Blue Light
2. Blue Light
3. Blue Light

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Variety of Beer
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Why do we care about beer styles? What difference does it make if a beer is a Porter or Stout? An Amber Ale or a Red? A Russian Imperial or an American Double? The Aleheads are as guilty as anyone of focusing on what pigeonhole a specific beer is supposed to fall into. Does it really matter?

Martyn Cornell would say “absolutely not”. The British beer historian is one of the most respected beer writers working today. His blog, Zythophile, is a must-read for any beer enthusiast. Now, I’ll grant you that being one of the most respected beer writers is like being one of the most venerable porn stars. It’s not exactly a field that inspires reverence. 

Beers World Cup 
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“You write about beer? Good for you! And what’s your actual job?” But for those of us who care about beer, Cornell is a voice that commands respect. To be sure, he can be a bit of a crank. And sometimes his opinions just blatantly piss me off.* But he’s a true beer historian who relies on primary sources and never lowers himself to superficial on-line searches or Wikipedia quotes (like, umm, us). He’s a challenging, obstinate writer who likes to push buttons and illuminate the masses. If his posts sometimes read like he thinks he’s better than you, well…in terms of beer knowledge, he probably is.

*For an example of a Cornell post that I find infuriating, check out his “you’re not using the word ‘ale’ correctly” post. Essentially, since ale used to mean something different in centuries past, Cornell is  peeved that the word’s definition has been altered over the years to mean “any warm/top-fermenting malt beverage”. He doesn’t like to have to explain the true etymology of the word over and over again and he is clearly frustrated that the term no longer means what it used to. My take? He sounds like an old man bitching about how much better everything was back in the day. The word “gay” doesn’t mean what it used to either. Get over it.

Cornell recently took up the debate about the proliferation of beer styles and the overwhelming importance they seem to command in the brewing industry today. He points out something I think most of us were superficially aware of but never put much thought into. Namely, the whole concept of “beer styles” is an extraordinarily recent invention. He traces it back a mere 33 years when the most celebrated beer writer of all time, Michael Jackson (not the pedophile one), coined the term “beer styles” in his seminal work, The World Guide to Beer.

Since that time, beer style differentiation has become a cottage industry. Today there are debates over whether a brew is a Cascadian Dark Ale or a Black IPA. Double, Triple, even Quadruple IPAs stock our package store shelves. There are multiple types of Imperial Stouts, a variety of Wild Ales…even a style called “Wheatwine” which is basically just a Barleywine made with 50% or more wheat malt. The whole concept of beer styles sometimes seems to threaten to strangle the entire brewing world. Why not just sit back, crack open a beer, and enjoy it without worrying about whether it meets the industry’s rigid standards for the style?

I’m fairly certain that Martyn Cornell blames the proliferation of beer styles on one thing: Americans. Spend some time perusing his posts (and particularly his responses in the comments sections after the posts) and you’ll see that he doesn’t hold us Yanks in the highest regard.*

The Most Bizarre and Strongest Beers Ever
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*Here’s a choice anti-American quote from the “ale” article I referenced before. “It may seem dumb to you, matey, but that’s because you’re too dumb to have the imagination to realise that words didn’t always mean what a 21st century American thinks they should mean.”

I get the impression that he thinks our obsession with styles and guidelines stems from Americans’ deep-seated need to categorize and judge things. We need to proclaim “winners” and “losers” which means that beer judging has reached its zenith (or nadir, depending on your POV) in the States. As beer judging and beer competitions have started to dominate the brewing landscape, a concrete rubric for how to judge beers has developed along with it. After all, you can’t judge a beer unless you know what it’s “supposed” to taste like. Thus, beer styles have become more rigidly defined and their specific characteristics are being constantly debated and challenged by Aleheads.

Whenever I read one of Cornell’s (and other, mainly British, beer writers) frequent digs at American beer style obsession, I bristle a bit. This is for two reasons. One, while I like to mock America and all of our faults on an almost daily basis, I don’t like it when people from other countries do it. You have a Queen you crumpet-eating, loo-user…so stop throwing stones. And two, it bothers me because he’s correct. The recent focus on beer styles IS almost 100% due to America’s influence on the industry. We really ARE the culprit. But why?

I’m going to say something controversial that really isn’t: America is the best brewing nation on Earth. It sounds like fighting words, but it shouldn’t be. England invented most of the styles we take for granted today. Porters, Stouts, Brown Ales, IPAs. Germany has a horse in the race…it’s the birthplace of lager, wheat beers, and the Bavarian Purity Laws which essentially defined what beer was in Continental Europe for the past 500 years. And then there’s Belgium…a country whose sole purpose seems to be the production of high-quality brew. Even their monks brew beer. But all of those countries pale in comparison to the US these days. Why? Two reasons…

The Top 10 Most Expensive Beers in The World
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First, there’s the obvious answer. Volume! The US is the third most populated nation on Earth behind only China and India and we’re far and away the biggest beer-drinking nation. India isn’t exactly a hotbed of brewing since any grains produced in that country are generally used to feed their perennially starving populace. As for China, while their beer production is steadily increasing every year, beer culture is still fairly nascent in the world’s largest country. No matter how you slice it, America produces more beer than any other nation. We also have more breweries than any other country…roughly 1,500 with more and more cropping up every year.

The second major reason: America’s culture of innovation. I know, I know…we’re falling behind. Our schools are getting worse. We buy our cars and electronics from Japan. We buy our toys from China. We buy our clothes from El Salvador and Thailand. We call India when our computers break. We’re not what we used to be. But in the brewing industry, the US is still on top in terms of innovation and pushing the envelope. There are a few European ale factories like BrewDog that are making bold, exciting choices. But they’re the outliers. In the US, there are hundreds of craft brewers pushing the field to the next level. Breweries like Dogfish Head, Stone, Founders, Allagash, Avery…they’re exploring, experimenting, and completely changing the boundaries of beer-making. It’s an exciting time for American Aleheads!

All that variety and innovation leads to a couple of problems though. First is the issue of consumer confusion. Pop into a well-stocked package store and your head will start spinning. The options available sometimes seem limitless. It’s like walking down the cheese aisle at Whole Foods…it can feel like you’re just throwing darts at a board. If you’re just selecting beers based on the label or name, you’re not making a very informed decision. 

BUT, if the beer style is prominently displayed, life becomes a little easier. A Founder’s Dirty Bastard? That doesn’t sound very good. Oh wait…it’s a Scotch Ale! I love Scotch Ales! I’m definitely grabbing a four-pack of that. There’s no such thing as a perfectly informed consumer, but every little bit of information helps. When grabbing a beer at the bar or package store, knowing the beer style can mean the difference between finding something you love or being stuck with a six-pack you’ll never finish.

That first concern is universal, but the second is pretty uniquely American…our need to determine a “winner”. As I said earlier, we have a desire…an obsession really…to turn everything into a competition. Americans CRAVE winners. Everything has to be ranked. 

Everything has to be in a Top Ten list. We need to know who the best sports teams are. The best restaurants. 

29 Interresting Facts of Beer
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The best colleges. The richest people. The same is true with beer. The most popular posts we write on Aleheads are lists. When we rank beers and beer names, our hits jump up. It’s bred into our genetic code as Americans.

Determining the best beers is an immensely subjective undertaking. Personal tastes rule the day. If a beer has a dominant flavor (say grapefruit hoppiness) that I love and you hate, we’ll clearly rate those beers differently. It’s not “fair” to judge all beers equally since our own personal tastes will always win out. But if we start listing beer styles and determining the characteristics that define those styles, we begin to eliminate some of that subjectivity. 

Maybe I prefer Dubbels to Witbiers, but if I can separate those two styles into two wholly separate categories, I can judge them on their own merits. No one is going to change the American need to determine a winner. But beer styles at least make that process a little more fair…it makes the world of beer judging a little more meritocratic. Clearly a delicate Kölsch can’t stand up to a robust Russian Imperial Stout. Thanks to beer styles, it doesn’t have to.

So Martyn Cornell and his ilk are right, as he usually is. Americans ARE the problem when it comes to the recent beer style obsession. And focusing too much on beer styles can certainly be detrimental. Sometimes it’s better to just pop the cap and sip than it is to fret too much about whether your Double IPA has the proper amount of IBUs for the style. That being said, I think Cornell (as he often does) is living a bit too much in the past. When he was a wee lad, the term “beer style” didn’t even exist. Contrast that with the Aleheads…we were all born AFTER Michael Jackson coined the phrase in ’77. None of us existed in a world where “beer styles” weren’t something brewers thought about. How can we be expected to ignore the categorization of beer when it’s been part and parcel with our culture since we first put pint glass to mouth? 

I’ve been taught to think of beer styles since I first started drinking. We all were! I can’t stop thinking about them any more than I can stop silently judging the merits of a beer when I’m drinking it. To be honest, the whole idea of beer styles and beer judging is a big part of WHY I love beer. Just skim our site. Every tasting note talks about styles. Every Podcast has some discussion of styles. Every lengthy diatribe touches on how well certain beers fit into certain categories. The idea of beer styles practically defines our blog and the beer culture we’re a part of. It is what it is, Mr. Cornell. You can fight it all you want, but as I once described the act of arguing with the Commander, it’s like punching the ocean.

I will still read Martyn Cornell’s blog religiously, of course. He is a better historian than me. He is a better writer than me. He has forgotten more about beer than I will ever know. Reading his blog shames me into realizing just how bad I am at beer writing, but it also inspires me to keep learning and growing as a beer drinker and thinker. He is almost always right when I am wrong… but when it comes to beer styles, I’m not bowing to him.

I say that beer styles are important. I say that with the amazing variety of beer options available to us today, they are entirely necessary. I recognize the problems with worrying too much about which narrow pigeonhole every single beer needs to fit into, but I think the good far outweighs the bad.

When I drink a beer, I want to know what it “should” taste like before I sip it. That’s important to me as a drinker. It’s important to me as an American. Hell, it’s important to me as a human being! If wanting a mental template to refer to before I consume something is wrong…well…then I don’t want to be right. I love beer styles…and I’m glad they’re here to stay.

14 Craft Beer Infographic
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Monday, December 21, 2015

Frank Zappa - The Boy Wonder Session & Fillmore Auditorium June 1966

Size: 75.2MB
Bitrate: @320
Found in OuterSpace
Some Artwork Included

The Boy Wonder Session Tapes are not raw studio takes and false starts, as has often been assumed by collectors; rather, they are derived from one or more post-production reels of mono mixes and incomplete mixdown takes.

In 1966 there was no sense that rock 'n' roll outtakes would one day have commercial or historical value. Session tapes were commonly wiped and re-used as a cost-cutting measure. This practice was widespread in television also; perhaps the most important reason that Monty Python's Flying Circus seems to come out of nowhere historically is that the BBC systematically wiped tapes of Python's predecessors. Tom Wilson's spoken references to takes 4B, 4C, 11A, 11B, 18 and 29A show that these tapes document only a fraction of the original sessions - but this fraction is probably all that survives.

Early 1966
The mixes of Boy Wonder, I Love You and Orange Colored Sky found here are probably the end mixes used to master Burt Ward's one and only MGM single. As it was the very first song recorded on 9 June, the FZ-penned Boy Wonder, I Love You was likely selected as the A-side of the single before the sessions began. Orange Colored Sky may have been chosen for the B-side at least in part because it was one of the two remaining tracks for which Burt Ward had completed his lead vocals; additional vocals had been planned for other songs, but were canceled when the session budget ran out.

The Boy Wonder Session Tapes circulate among collectors in many different track sequences. They are presented here in the sequence in which they were probably recorded, which is also the sequence in which they were likely archived on T.T.G. post-production reels and, hence, the order in which they were retrieved for mixing.

Two tracks are often omitted from circulating versions of these tapes: an incomplete mixdown of Teenage Bill Of Rights, and what purports to be an alternate take or mix of Variant I. Close listening reveals that the Variant I 'alternate' is in fact the same take and mix as the more common version of the track — a fact disguised by the inclusion, at the take's beginning, of a snippet of the end of I Love. 

This snippet is easily explained: When the MGM 7" single was mastered, the tape segments containing the end mixes of Boy Wonder, I Love You and Orange Colored Sky were undoubtedly physically sliced out of the master reel — a common practice in those pre-digital days — and the remainder was spliced back together for the T.T.G. archives. 

This explains why the end of I Love — the last song from 9 June to be mixed — is found back-to-back with the 'alternate' take of Variant I — the second song to be mixed from 10 June, but the next song in order on the post-production reel after Orange Colored Sky was excised. The so-called 'alternate' version of Variant I is therefore identical to the more common version, and has been omitted from this upload.

Further evidence from the tapes suggests that the recording sequence given in Román Garcia Albertos's wonderful FZ chronology is slightly incorrect, as a snippet of Variant I appears at the end of the incomplete mixdown take of Teenage Bill Of Rights - indicating that Teenage Bill Of Rights was probably recorded first.

Burt Ward claims in Boy Wonder: My Life In Tights that Orange Colored Sky was recorded at his first session with FZ, and that MGM then insisted on vocal lessons prior to his next recording date. Ward goes on to say that MGM's vocal coach dismissed him after two weeks of lessons at $1,000 per week. 

This is sheer fantasy — Orange Colored Sky was recorded on the second day, not the first, and there certainly was no two-week gap between sessions. Burt Ward's book is hugely entertaining — Spy magazine memorably lampooned it under the title I Couldn't Keep It In My Pants And I Can't Stop Talking About It — but clearly, serious researchers must look elsewhere for their facts.

Burt Ward - The Boy Wonder Session Tapes 18.20 
Recorded at T.T.G. Studios, Los Angeles, 9 and 10 June 1966

Sessions Produced by TOM WILSON
Arranged and Conducted by FRANK ZAPPA

Core musicians (9 and 10 June):
♫♪ Burt Ward - lead vocals
♫♪ Dennis Budimir - guitar
♫♪ Elliot Ingber - guitar
♫♪ Eugene DiNovi - piano
♫♪ Plas Johnson - saxophone
♫♪ Benjamin Barrett - cello
(Plus unknown backing vocalists)

Additional musicians (9 June):
♫♪ James Zito - French horn, trumpet
♫♪ George Callender - tuba
♫♪ Justin Gordon - bass clarinet, clarinet
♫♪ Roy Estrada - bass
♫♪ Jimmy Carl Black - drums

Additional musicians (10 June):
♫♪ Lou Morell - guitar
♫♪ William Pitman - guitar
♫♪ Anthony Terran - trumpet
♫♪ John T. Johnson - tuba
♫♪ Jack Nimitz - bass clarinet, clarinet
♫♪ Frederick Dutton - contra bassoon, bassoon
♫♪ Kenneth Watson - tympani, traps, mallets
♫♪ John Guerin - drums

Tracks recorded 9 June:
01. Boy Wonder, I Love You (Zappa) [mono end mix]
02. Gotta Fall In Love (a.k.a. I Love, a.k.a. Autumn Love) [complete mono mix]

Tracks recorded 10 June:
03. Orange Colored Sky (a.k.a. Oranged Colored Sky - DeLugg / Stein) [mono end mix]
04. Teenage Bill Of Rights (John / Regan) [mono mixdown take]
05. Teenage Bill Of Rights (John / Regan) [complete mono mix]
06. Variant I (a.k.a. The Comedian) [mono mixdown take]
07. Tears Come From Loving You [complete mono mix]

+ Bonus

This tape has circulated in many different forms. Sometimes an off-air recording of the show intro and "Plastic People" are included at the start. Sometimes there is a jam from the Detroit 1968 tape at the end. Sometimes there is some stage banter before the music starts, and sometimes it cuts off early. The source for this seed is the tape originally posted by walk, with the last minute patched with the "Time Sandwich" boot. I have also included a remastered version that has been re-equalized, cleaned of dropouts and corrected to true mono. The switch to the fill source is very obvious in the raw version, but virtually undetectable in the remastered version.

June 24-25, 1966
Fillmore Auditorium 
San Francisco, CA

The Mothers Of Invention, June 1966: 
♫♪ Frank Zappa 
♫♪ Ray Collins 
♫♪ Elliot Ingber 
♫♪ Roy Estrada  
♫♪ Jimmy Carl Black

08. Banter, Tuning (00:20)
09. Toads Of The Short Forest (00:47) 
10. I'm Not Satisfied (2:18) 
11. Wedding Dress Song, Handsome Cabin Boy Medley (11:02)

1. Frank Zappa 1966
2. Frank Zappa 1966
3. Frank Zappa 1966

Friday, December 18, 2015

Carl “Sherlock” Holmes - Investigation No.1 (Rare Soul-Funk 1974)

Size: 71.4 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Carl “Sherlock” Holmes started gigging in the early sixties forming Carl Holmes & the Commanders with whom he recorded a full length album for Atlantic in 1962 entitled Twist Party At The Roundtable. Later on he recorded a couple of 45’s for the Parkway and Verve labels. 

In May of 1966 a pre-Experience Jimi Hendrix gigged with the group but never recorded with them. After a final 45 for the local Philly label Black Jack, the group disbanded and Carl formed the Sherlock Holmes Investigation a solid outfit backed by a strong rhythm section packed with congas, vibes, flute, organ and sax. Philly’s Sigma Sound Studio was the place they recorded their sole album and Curtis R. Staten’s CRS Records was the label that released it. 

This album has it all! Smokin funk breaks in Black Bag, Investigation, Get Down Philly Town, It Ain't Right and some syncopated latin-inspired jams in Modesa. All these coupled nicely by some fine mellow numbers in Close To You, Think It Over and Your Game . And all but one (Bacharach/David's Close To You) written by a guy named Len Woods, a remarkable songwriter, no doubt! 

After Tramp Records has released four songs of this album on two 45RPM singles recently, the entire Investigation No.1 album is now available on CD. It even comes with a bonus track which has been originally released on 45RPM single only.

A funky holy grail, one of the rarest of the rare, and the only album ever cut by funky guitarist Carl “Sherlock” Holmes! Carl’s work on the guitar is incredible fast riffing and jazzy, with a style that’s dirtier and messier than some of his 70s jazz funk contemporaries, but which also lays back on a few tracks so that Carl can deliver a sweetly soulful vocal. The album’s a real blend of styles, all handled pretty darn well  from the hard funk of “Black Bag” and “Investigation“, to the Latin jamming of “Modesa“, the fast grooving of “Get Down Philly Town“, and the mellow soul of “Think It Over” and “Your Game“. Great stuff.

This is a super rare soul/funk record where Carl tries to close “the gap between R&B, jazz and psychedelic rock by the creation of a sound that is funky, mellow, intricately soulful and explosive, yet uniquely disciplined in its complexity!

Well, well, well.. It’s time now for some to the dirtier side of funkiness grooves of the early seventies, painted with some to the mellower side soul touches of the same era. And it’s a fine little record from one of the less familiar names around, Philly guitarist and vocalist Carl “Sherlock” Holmes.

Carl started gigging in the early sixties forming Carl Holmes and The Commanders with whom he recorded a full length album for Atlantic in 1962 entitled «Twist Party At The Roundtable», and a couple of 45’s for Parkway and Verve later on. They even gigged with one Jimi Hendrix in 1966 but alas never recorded. After a final 45 for the local Philly label Black Jack, the group disbanded and Carl formed the Sherlock Holmes Investigation, a solid outfit backed by a strong rhythm section packed with congas, vibes, flute, organ and sax. 

Philly’s Sigma Sound Studio was the place they recorded their sole album and Custis R. Staten’s CRS Records was the label that released it. And here we are.

Smokin funk breaks in «Black Bag», «Investigation», «Get Down Philly Town», «It Ain’t Right» and some syncopated latin-inspired jams in «Modesa» all coming out of the legendary Philly studio?… Yeah, why not? Music is One, or isn’t it? Ouch. 

All these coupled nicely by some fine mellow numbers in «Close To You», «Think It Over» and «Your Game» . ouch again! And all but one (Bacarach/David’s «Close To You») written by a guy named Len Woods. A remarkable blend of styles, no doubt!

This is the first official re-issue of the sought-after "Investigation No.1" album. It comes with a bonus track which has been originally released on 45RPM single only. All songs have been digitally remastered to ensure the highest quality possible.

Backing Vocals – Chubby Brown
 Bass – Chico Green, Jimmy Towns
 Drums – Charles Harris
 Flute – John Daves
 Guitar – Art Grant
 Piano – John Hammond (2)
 Producer – Curtis R. Staten
 Saxophone – Middy Middleton, Ray Wright, Cupit
 Written-By – Len Woods* (tracks: 01, 03 to 07)
 Recorded at Sigma Sound Studio Philadelphia, PA

01. Investigation 04.05
02. Close To You 05.07
03. Black Bag 03.20
04. Think Is Over 03.25
05. Modesa 04.59
06. Your Game 04.16
07. Get Down Philly Town 02.59
08. It Ain’t Wright 03.07

Bonus Track From CBS Single [CRS-000005]
09. The Pot's Hot 02.31

1. Carl Holmes
2. Carl Holmes
3. Carl Holmes

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Carole King - Writer (Great First Album US 1970)

Size: 93.9 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Writer is the debut album by Carole King and was released in 1970. King already had a successful career as a songwriter, and been a part of The City, a short-lived group she formed after moving to Los Angeles in 1968. Tracks on the album include "Up on the Roof" which was a number 4 hit for the Drifters in 1962, and "Child of Mine", which has been recorded by Billy Joe Royal, among others. The album did not receive much attention upon its release, though it entered the chart following the success of King's next album, Tapestry, in 1971.

Reviewers rate it positively if not as highly as Tapestry, one noting that it was the "most underrated of all [her] original albums". And, in a review that also covered Tapestry in Rolling Stone, Jon Landau wrote, "Writer was a blessing despite its faults" and that though the "production was poor", King herself made the album "very worthwhile".

Writer is the most underrated of all of Carole King's original albums, in that it was completely ignored when it came out in 1971 and didn't really start to sell until Tapestry whetted everyone's appetite for her work. It's an album of its time, in both King's life and career, and the music of its era -- singer/songwriters were still something new, and in 1970, it was assumed that anyone in rock had to tend toward the extrovert and flashy to attract attention. Thus, Writer has a somewhat louder sound than the relatively lean, introspective strains of Tapestry which followed. 

"Spaceship Races," which opens the record, features Danny Kootch Kortchmar playing full-out electric guitar, chopping and crunching away with his amp turned way up, and King belting out a number behind his bluesy licks that makes her sound like Grace Slick and the song come off like a pounding (and good) Jefferson Airplane number of the same era, with a great vocal hook at the end of the verses. "No Easy Way Down," with its soulful instrumental and backing arrangement, calls to mind not only her own "Natural Woman" as done by Aretha Franklin, but also (in terms of New York white women belting out soul) Laura Nyro at her best, and it's also a great tune with a killer performance by King, whose wailing voice is extraordinarily powerful here.

"Child of Mine" is the closest that the album gets to the voice that she found on Tapestry, while "Goin' Back" gives a more personal and elegant take to a song that is otherwise thoroughly identified with the Byrds; and "To Love" has King diving into country music, which she pulls off with exceptional grace, the song's title referring to a beguilingly innocent and free-spirited chorus that, once heard, stays with you. Even the least interesting of the songs here, "What Have You Got to Lose," is unusual in the context of King's overall work, with its heavy acoustic rhythm guitar, soaring backing vocals, and King's bold near-falsetto on the choruses. 

And that's just Side One of the original LP -- Side Two opens a little more slackly with the beautiful, reflective, but slightly too languid "Eventually," and the delightful "Raspberry Jam," which offers a soaring guitar showcase for Kortchmar (whose playing intersects the sounds of Roger McGuinn and David Crosby off of the Byrds' "Eight Miles High"), and a head-spinning, swirling organ from Ralph Schuckett weaving below and around King's piano, plus one of King's most playful vocals on record. The album ends on a special high note, King's singer/songwriter-styled reinterpretation of "Up on the Roof," which anticipates the sound she would perfect for Tapestry, emphasizing words and their feeling and meaning as much as music, and expressing herself principally through her voice and piano, moving the band out of the way. 

Ironically enough, if Writer had been released by almost any other artist, it would command a near-top rating and probably be a fondly remembered period cult item today; instead, for all of its merits, it must stand in the shadow of King's more accomplished and distinctive work that followed -- but even slightly "off-brand," under-developed Carole King music from 1970 is still worth hearing today.

Carole King - piano, vocals, backing vocals, and arrangements
 Ralph Schuckett - organ
 John Fischbach - Moog synthesizer
 James Taylor - acoustic guitar and backing vocals
 Daniel Kortchmar - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, conga
 Charles Larkey - Fender bass
 Joel O'Brien - drums, percussion, vibes
 Abigale Haness and Delores Hall - backing vocals

01. "Spaceship Races" – 3:09
02. "No Easy Way Down" – 4:36
03. "Child of Mine" – 4:05
04. "Goin' Back" – 3:20
05. "To Love" – 3:39
06. "What Have You Got to Lose" – 3:33
07. "Eventually" – 5:01
08. "Raspberry Jam" – 4:35
09. "Can't You Be Real" – 3:00
10. "I Can't Hear You No More" – 2:46
11. "Sweet Sweetheart" – 2:46
12. "Up on the Roof" – 3:37

1. Carole King 1970
2. Carole King 1970

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Grateful Dead - Soldier's Field 2015-07-04 FM (Bootleg)

Size: 454 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found on the Radio
Some Artwork Included

Twenty years after the Grateful Dead wrapped up their 1995 summer tour at the same venue, the group took the stage at Soldier Field for the second of three Fare Thee Well shows in Chicago. The band showed they’d come a long way in just one week.

Joined again by guests Bruce Hornsby, Jeff Chimenti, and Phish‘s Trey Anastasio, the Grateful Dead was tighter, brighter and more dynamic last night (July 4) than their tentative start in Santa Clara. Anastasio continued to impress in his role as lead guitarist, but everyone in the Grateful Dead got their chance to shine, especially Bob Weir.

The “core four” of Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Weir kicked off an energetic first set with the funky groove of “Shakedown Street.” Weir nailed the vocal while Anastasio emulated Jerry Garcia’s old “Mutron” guitar sound. 

“Liberty” was an obvious choice, considering the date. A much later entry in the Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia songbook, “Liberty” was one of the new batch of songs that the Grateful Dead played in 1993-1994. Weir’s vocal delivery was strong as the band delivered a near-flawless backing.

The Jerry Garcia ballad “Standing on the Moon” was next. Anastasio took the lead vocal, and while very competent, it lacked the emotive weight that one of the elder statesmen could have brought to the delivery. After “Moon,” the Grateful Dead dipped into its road-tested songbook with “Me and My Uncle,” “Tennessee Jed,” “Friend of the Devil” and the first repeat from last weekend’s shows in Santa Clara – “Cumberland Blues.”

Bob Weir led the band through an impressive rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Little Red Rooster,” a staple of the Grateful Dead’s repertoire that did their host city proud with a sleek slide guitar from Weir and bluesy licks from Anastasio. Keyboardist Jeff Chimenti then stole their thunder as he lit up the crowd with a smoky organ solo.

The second set opened with a sublime version of “Bird Song,” a song that Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter originally wrote upon the death of Janis Joplin. 

Phil Lesh changed the original lyric – “all I know is something like a bird within her sang …” – to the masculine pronoun for the entire song. There was a brief jam in the center of the tune, comprised of rolling guitar notes over Lesh’s bass and Hornsby’s delicate piano.

The band’s 1967 party hit “The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)” followed. The entire band were grinning ear to ear as they harmonized the classic “Hey hey! Come right away!” refrain. Bruce Hornsby and Anastasio took the lead vocals and the band fired on all cylinders until its spacey finale.

Bob Weir’s two-parter “Lost Sailor” / “Saint of Circumstance” followed. Weir quickly swapped guitars for the custom Stratocaster design that he’s been using for the majority of these concerts. The dour “Sailor” had been booted from Grateful Dead setlists in the mid-1980s (others in the band reportedly hated it), but its sister composition – the joyful and upbeat “Saint of Circumstance” – stuck around.

In the hands of Bob Weir’s longtime Ratdog project, “Lost Sailor” would have been just a fan-service curio. On this night, however, “Sailor” became nothing short of mesmerizing. This was the tightest we have heard the band yet. The Grateful Dead dropped into “Saint of Circumstance” without missing a beat. While it wasn’t played with the frenetic pace of shows in the 1980s, it still had plenty of power and drive.

Bruce Hornsby took the reins on a snarling rendition of “West L.A. Fadeaway.” The Grateful Dead had stumbled across the riff the previous night coming out of the “Playing in the Band” jam, but tonight’s payoff was an absolute delight punctuated by Hornsby hammering the piano keys and Chimenti following with that funky Hammond sound.

Before the “Drums” and “Space” improvisations of the night, the band launched into another later-period Garcia song, “Foolish Heart” from 1989’s Built to Last.

Coming out of “Space,” Bob Weir tried several times to get the rest of the band to follow his lead into “Stella Blue,” but it seemed like everyone else was having way too much fun utilizing their guitar-effects boxes. 

Finally, “Stella” began with Weir at the lead. If Trey Anastasio shone the night before, July 4th was Bob Weir’s turn. His voice sounded fairly ragged, but he delivered this beloved Garcia ballad with so much emotion and grace that it was hard to find fault.

The show-closing “One More Saturday Night” and “U.S. Blues” encore weren’t surprises to anyone, but both songs were bursting with energy. 

As “U.S. Blues” reached its climax, fireworks filled the night sky over Soldier Field just as they had done 20 years prior.

The Grateful Dead - Fare Thee Well Show 4
Soldier's Field Chicago, Illinois
July 4, 2015 WXRT FM 

Disc 1 
01. WXRT Intro
02. Shakedown Street
03. Liberty
04. Standing on the Moon
05. Me & My Uncle
06. Tennessee Jed
07. Cumberland Blues
08. Little Red Rooster

Disc 2 
01. Friend of the Devil
02. Deal
03. WXRT Outro
04. WXRT Intro
05. Bird Song
06. The Golden Road
07. Lost Sailor >
08. St. of Circumstance

Disc 3 
01. West L.A. Fadeaway
02. Foolish Heart >
03. Drums >
04. Space >
05. Stella Blue
06. One More Saturday Night

07. Donor Rap
08. U.S. Blues
09. Fireworks (Stars and Stripes Forever)
10. WXRT Outro

Part 1: Grateful 2015
Part 2: Grateful 2015
Part 3: Grateful 2015 (changed, thank you)
Part 1: Grateful 2015
Part 2: Grateful 2015
Part 3: Grateful 2015