Thursday, January 25, 2018

Bee Gees - Odessa (Maybe Their Best Album UK 1969)

Size: 149 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

The group members may disagree for personal reasons, but Odessa is easily the best and most enduring of the Bee Gees' albums of the 1960s. It was also their most improbable success, owing to the conflicts behind its making. 

The project started out as a concept album to be called "Masterpeace" and then "The American Opera," but musical differences between Barry and Robin Gibb that would split the trio in two also forced the abandonment of the underlying concept. 

Instead, it became a double LP -- largely at the behest of their manager and the record labels; oddly enough, given that the group didn't plan on doing something that ambitious, Odessa is one of perhaps three double albums of the entire decade (the others being Blonde on Blonde and The Beatles) that don't seem stretched, and it also served as the group's most densely orchestrated album. 

Yet amid the progressive rock sounds of the title track and ethereal ballads such as "Melody Fair" and "Lamplight" were country-flavored tunes like "Marlery Purt Drive" and the vaguely Dylanesque bluegrass number "Give Your Best," delicate pop ballads like "First of May" (which became the single off the album), and strange, offbeat rock numbers like "Edison" (whose introduction sounds like the Bee Gees parodying Cream's "White Room"), and "Whisper Whisper" (the latter featuring a drum break, no less), interspersed with three heavily orchestrated instrumentals. 

Even the seeming "lesser" numbers such as "Suddenly" had catchy hooks and engaging acoustic guitar parts to carry them, all reminiscent of the Moody Blues' album cuts of the same era. Moreover, the title track, with its mix of acoustic guitar, solo cello, and full orchestra, was worthy of the Moody Blues at their boldest. 

The myriad sounds and textures made Odessa the most complex and challenging album in the group's history, and if one accepts the notion of the Bee Gees as successors to the Beatles, then Odessa was arguably their Sgt. Pepper's. The album was originally packaged in a red felt cover with gold lettering on front and back and an elaborate background painting for the gatefold interior, which made it a conversation piece.

01. "Odessa (City on the Black Sea)"  07:33
02. "You'll Never See My Face Again"  04:16
03. "Black Diamond"  03:27
04. "Marley Purt Drive"  04:26
05. "Edison"  03:07
06. "Melody Fair"  03:48
07. "Suddenly" Maurice  02:29
08. "Whisper Whisper"  03:24
09. "Lamplight" Robin  04:47
10. "Sound of Love"  03:27
11. "Give Your Best"  03:26
12. "Seven Seas Symphony"  04:09
13. "With All Nations (International Anthem)"  01:46
14. "I Laugh in Your Face"  04:09
15. "Never Say Never Again"  03:28
16. "First of May"  02:50
17. "The British Opera"  03:17

1. Odessa
2. Odessa
3. Odessa


Steve Tilston - An Acoustic Confusion (Rare Folk UK 1971)

Size: 116 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Found in OuterSpace
Artwork Included

Gorgeous stuff. Imagine walking down an isolated country lane and stumbling across an inviting swimming hole (you know, like one out of an old Country Time Lemonade ad or The Andy Griffith Show) and jumping in expecting pleasant relief from simple heat but instead finding the water thicker, as if somehow taking stock of your very essence; memorizing what it is that affects you, what causes you to remember a person or incident warmly, fitting so perfectly into your subconscious that initially you can't quite take in how profoundly it has actually captured all the infinitesimal things that make up who you are. 

What the hell am I talking about you ask? Well, Steve Tilston does just that in musical terms with "An Acoustic Confusion". I liked it on first listen but it took four or five listens until the depth of Tilston's achievement dawned completely on me. Like my analogy of thick water, this music courses around in your heart and head until both take the full measure of the other and find the fit oddly complimentary. 

The opening track, "I Really Wanted You", is one of those songs that seems so at home in your mind that it feels as if you've known it since childhood. Maybe it sheds small glimmers of light on some tucked away memories but the effect is a comforting one. Elsewhere, "It's Not My Place To Fail", features the beautifully juxtaposed vocals of Tilston and Dave Evans, and the overall effect is mesmerizing, like two aspects of the same soul just simply and honestly letting you know how it is. "Train Song" shows off some incredibly nimble, fleet fingered guitar playing from Tilston where, as he puts it in the liner notes, his guitar "tries to emulate the rhythm of a speeding train." I can confirm his attempt is evocatively successful. 

Instrumentally the album is safely in the realm of the simple folk tradition, yet this music is subtly but intrinsically different in that way Vashti Bunyan differs from, say, the folk of Pete Seeger. Tilston is a surprisingly mature and inventive guitarist, vocalist and lyricist (he was only twenty when he recorded this) and the vibe is in the same tradition of Nick Drake, Al Stewart and even Don McLean, without really sounding like any of them. His voice is remarkably fully rounded and assured, forging a unique path all his own. That's why comparisons with other musicians (as several reviewers have attempted) is useful in Tilston's case only as a starting point. It really is pointless to draw out any in depth comparisons with other artists. 

The seeming simplicity of these lyrics belies a depth of emotion that is much more than the obvious collection of mere words.  Poetry itself can be deceptively simple while containing messages much more profound than initially assumed and the overall effect here, of acoustic guitars, the occasional harmonica, string bass and violin, with crisp voices to the fore, is a musical example of that truth. 

The very human details in Tilston's words, often detailing unrequited love, a failed relationship or fond childhood memory, is made complete and fully "poetic" by the snug musical framework. 

This music is thick water and if you allow it, it will take stock of you and soon thereafter you will of it in that strange swimming dance between music and listener that is a rare and special thing. Take a left turn at the next fork in the road and when you find that little placid pond--take the plunge.

♫♪  Guitar, Vocals – Dave Evans, Steve Tilston
♫♪  Violin – Pete Finch
♫♪  Harmonica, Vocals – Keith Warmington
♫♪  Bass [String Bass] – John Turner

01. I Really Wanted You  04:31
02. Simplicity  03:49
03. Time Has Shown Me Your Face  03:51
04. It's Not My Place To Fail  04:05
05. Train Time  03:39
06. Sleepy Time On Peel Street  03:51
07. Prospect Of Love  02:31
08. Green Toothed Gardener  03:29
09. Normandy Day  03:12
10. Rock & Roll Star  04:56

Bonus Tracks
11. Show A Little Kindness  05:00
12. The Price Of Love  04:17

1. Steve Tilston
2. Steve Tilston
3. Steve Tilston

Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton - 1977-03-04 (FM Broadcast) (Bootleg)

Size: 292 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in OuterSpace
Some Artwork Included

With his loud amplified guitar and thunderous beat, Muddy Waters reigned over the Chicago blues scene during the 1950s. Waters' sound was steeped in Delta country blues and his use of microtones, in both his vocals and slide guitar playing, was utterly distinctive. His influence over a variety of musical genres, including blues, R & B, rock 'n' roll, folk, jazz, and country cannot be overestimated. Waters became the most popular bluesman in the world and led the most outstanding band, fueled in large part by Willie Dixon, one of the most prolific and successful blues songwriters of that era. After two decades of great popularity, Waters' career was clearly in decline as the 1970s began. Although he continued recording, most notably in London, with many of the greatest rock musicians Britain had to offer, the results were less satisfying than his groundbreaking work of the 1950s. 

Enter Johnny Winter, who after playing high-energy rock 'n' roll for several years, returned to his musical roots in 1977 and refocused on playing authentic blues. That same year Winter convinced his label to sign Waters, which was the beginning of a most fruitful partnership. Recorded in just two days with Winter in the producer's chair and former Waters' sideman, James Cotton, blowing harp, Waters' comeback album, Hard Again was a return to his original Chicago sound. Its raw feel harkened back to Waters' Chess Records days, and the outstanding musicianship and intimate, good time vibe led to the album exceeding all expectations, earning Waters a Grammy in the process.

Bathing in the glow of such success, Waters, Winter, and Cotton assembled a crack touring outfit that included musicians from the Hard Again sessions and for an all-too-brief time, hit the road together. The group included the renowned guitarist Bob Margolin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Cotton brought in his bassist Charles Calmese as well. With old comrade James Cotton blowing harp and Johnny Winter as his co-stars, Waters was provoked to the heights he regularly reached decades earlier. They were only together for a brief time, but this band was arguably the most impressive assemblage of blues talent ever. Everything they touched had extraordinary intensity. Selected live performances from this tour would be utilized to produce the follow-up albums, Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down and Muddy "Mississippi" Waters Live with enough great material left over for Legacy to later release an expanded edition of the latter with a second disc of un-issued recordings.

One of the most memorable nights of the tour occurred on March 4th, when New York City's Palladium presented this assemblage as "An Evening Of The Blues." The performance was divided into two sets with an intermission between. Johnny Winter and James Cotton, backed by this terrific band, fronted the first set. Following the break, all the musicians would return to the stage with Muddy Waters joining them and they would perform selections from Hard Again as well as choice classics from Waters vast repertoire.

The first set kicks off with Johnny Winter leading the group through a hot rendition of "Hideaway" to warm things up. James Cotton then ups the ante with the harmonica blowout, "Juke," which receives a roar of approval from the New York audience. Winter again takes lead vocals for the slow burner, "Love Her With A Feeling," and the up-tempo shuffle, "Mama Talk To Your Daughter." Winter and guitarist Bob Margolin both tear into these numbers with ferocity, but with plenty of attention to each other so that their playing is always complimentary. Like Winter, Cotton then takes the vocals for the next two, first ripping into Jackie Brenston's 1951 R & B hit, "Rocket 88," often credited as the world's first rock 'n' roll song. Cotton also delivers a driving, energetic performance of his own "How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong." These two performances may be familiar to some as alternate mixes were later issued on the Waters, Winter, and Cotton album, Breakin' It Up, Breakin' It Down

The unidentified instrumental may be the highlight of this first set. Winter and Margolin provide phenomenal intertwining leads with Cotton blowing furiously throughout. Both guitarists Cotton, and pianist Pinetop Perkins all take impressive solos. Clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, this is joyful blues improvisation at its finest and the joyful feeling is palpable on the recording. Perhaps as a preview of things to come, Johnny Winter next leads the band through a thoroughly engaging romp through "Walking By Myself." They conclude the first set with another extended slow blues jam, this time with Pinetop Perkins taking lead vocal for "Anna Lee." This eventually transforms into a catchy vamp in which all the band members are introduced and they announce that they will be back after the break. A remarkable first set, but they were just setting the stage. The best was still yet to come.

The second set kicks off with a loose vamp to introduce Muddy Waters to the already enthralled audience, eager for more blues. Continuing, they begin a nice relaxed groove on the walking blues, "Kansas City." Muddy takes his first vocal of the evening with outstanding support from Margolin, Cotton, and Perkins, with Winter just enjoying the ride and laying low. "Caldonia" begins in swinging style, propelled by Pinetop Perkins energetic piano playing and an undeniably captivating walking bass line from Charles Calmese. "Hoochie Coochie Man" lets them get down and dirty, with both Waters and Winter playing slide guitar. What it lacks in length is compensated for by its raw power. Waters next pays tribute to his friend and chief competition during the 1950s with "Howlin' Wolf," before launching into his own vintage single, "Walking Through The Park." A rousing take on "The Blues Had A Baby," featuring outstanding piano work from Perkins follows. A raw pulsating version of "Mannish Boy" is another fine example of this tight muscular band, before they bring it to a close with a roaring take on the obligatory "Got My Mojo Workin'."

The audience refuses to let them go and eventually they all return to the stage. The two-song encore begins with Johnny Winter fronting the group on the slide guitar shredfest of "Black Cat Bone" into "Dust My Broom." Few musicians have ever applied such ferocity to the Elmore James classic and the sparks are flying. This remarkable performance closes with the smoldering slow blues of "Dealing With The Devil." Cotton leads the way, but everyone gets one last chance to wail, including Winter's brother Edgar, who joins in on piano and adding his trademark vocal exclamations throughout. It's a fitting and powerful closer to one of the greatest evenings of the blues New York City has ever seen.

Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter, and James Cotton March 4, 1977
The Palladium, New York City, New York

 Muddy Waters - Guitar, Vocals
 Johnny Winter - Guitar, Vocals
 James Cotton - Harmonica, Vocals
 Bob Margolin - Guitar
 Pinetop Perkins - Piano
 Charles Calmese - Bass
 Willie Smith - Drums

Set One, Johnny Winter and James Cotton with The Muddy Waters Blues Band
01. I'm Ready  03.36
02. Love With A Feeling  08.22
03. Mama Talk To Your Daughter  04.58
04. Rocket 88  02.14
05. How Long Blues  09.15
06. Blues In My Sleep  11.32
07. Walking By Myself  04.47
08. Anna Lee  08.52
09. Hold It -> Band Introductions  04.21

Set Two, with Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton
01. After Hours -> Muddy Waters Intro  03.41
02. Kansas City  09.20
03. Caldonia  06.34
04. Hoochie Coochie Man  03.11
05. Howlin' Wolf  07.27
06. Walking Through The Park  04.43
07. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock 'N Roll  05.23
08. Mannish Boy  08.52
09. Got My Mojo Workin'  03.35

10. -crowd & tuning-  02.16
11. Black Cat Bone -> Dust My Broom  05.00
12. -crowd & tuning-  01.22
13. Dealin' With The Devil  08.04