Thursday, September 23, 2021

The Illinois Speed Press - Selftitled & Duet (BluesRock US 1969-70) (2CD)

The Illinois Speed Press was an American rock band formed - originally, in 1965, as The Rovin' Kind - in Chicago, later relocating to California. The band was formed by Paul Cotton - later of Poco - and Kal David. According to Allmusic, their sound "combined elements of R&B and country music in a powerful double-lead-guitar attack." Cotton and David have occasionally reunited in recent years to perform together under the name.

The Capitols were a local group formed by schoolmates at Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois in 1958, including Norman Paul Cotton (then known as Norm "King" Cotton) and Keith Anderson. They became The Mus-Twangs in 1961, primarily an instrumental outfit who released a single, "Marie" on the local Nero label, which was picked up for national distribution by Smash, a subsidiary of Mercury Records. The band next became The Starfires, and Cotton also performed around 1963 as a member of the Carol Vega Trio. Around the same time, Kal David (b. David Raskin) fronted another band in Chicago, The Exceptions, who also included Peter Cetera (later of Chicago).

In early 1965, Cotton formed a new group, The Gentrys, with bassist Frank Bartell and drummer Fred Page (b. Frederick Pappalardo). They were soon joined by Kal David and keyboard player Mike Anthony, and later that year they changed their name to The Rovin' Kind to avoid confusion with the Memphis band who had a hit with "Keep On Dancing". They released their first single, "Everybody", on the Contrapoint label, and recorded several further singles for the Roulette and Dunwich labels. In 1966 they won a regional "battle of the bands" contest and, as a prize, appeared on American Bandstand. In 1967, Bartell left and was replaced by Keith Anderson. Back in Chicago, The Rovin' Kind became the house band at the Whisky A Go Go, where they were seen by producer James William Guercio, who signed them to a contract with the Columbia Records subsidiary label Epic, and persuaded them to change their name to Illinois Speed Press in February 1968. Norm Cotton changed his stage name to Paul Cotton at the same time, and the band moved to Los Angeles.

With its twin guitar sound, the band played a mixture of rock and roll, soul and country music. In 1968 they performed regularly at the Whisky a Go Go in Hollywood, and at the first Newport Pop Festival, held in Costa Mesa, California, also recording their first single, "Right On Time". Anderson was then fired, and replaced by Rob Lewine before the band recorded their first album, The Illinois Speed Press, which was produced by Guercio and released in early 1969. Columbia simultaneously released albums by Chicago Transit Authority, The Flock, and Aorta, and marketed them together as part of a so-called "Chicago Sound". All four debut albums entered the Billboard Top 200 album chart, The Illinois Speed Press reaching #144.

Before the album's release, Guercio fired Page, Anthony, and later Lewine; Page died shortly afterwards. They were replaced for performances by Jimmy Rogers (bass) and Rick Allen (drums), but the band recorded their second album, Duet, essentially as a duo of Cotton and David, supported by studio musicians including Joe Osborne (bass), Hal Blaine (drums) and Michael Lloyd (keyboards). The album was released in spring 1970, but shortly afterwards Kal David left to form The Fabulous Rhinestones with bassist Harvey Brooks. Cotton was then approached by Richie Furay to join Poco as a replacement for Jim Messina, which he did a few months later.

In 2009, Cotton and David reunited for some performances as Illinois Speed Press.

Open in a new window for 100% Size

The musical style and dual lead guitar format of Illinois Speed Press have been credited as inspiring Ronnie Van Zant and Gary Rossington to form Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band's two original albums, together with bonus tracks, were reissued on CD in 2003.

Originally known as "The Rovin Kind," ISP toured the country from 1966 to 1971 playing with such prolific musicians and bands as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Chicago and many more. Though much of the personnel changed over the years, Paul Cotton (of Poco fame) and Kal David remained as the driving force. Though the band only released two records, ISP remains an underground favorite for those who were privileged enough to see this band perform.

This is a limited edition remaster of Illinois Speed Press' two releases: "Illinois Speed Press" released in 1969, and "Duet" released in 1970. Bonus tracks, including singles, have been added to the first disc. Flash files providing band information, reviews, timelines, liner notes, have been added to the second disc. The remaster captures the music as the band meant for it to be heard. NOTE TO PURCHASERS: the original source tapes were close to unusable. 

As result, Futuredge was faced with the dilemma as to whether to cut out certain horrible sections or clean them as best as it could to preserve the integrity of the original music. Futuredge opted for the latter. You may hear in one or two songs a short digital glitch. There is nothing wrong with your CD player. Futuredge is continuing to use additional technologies to see if we can restore those few seconds to a more perfect quality.Also note that there were no source materials available for the bonus tracks. As a result, while Futuredge has made every attempt to "clean" these tracks, some noise will be heard.

The Illinois Speed Press - Selftitled US-69
01. Get in the Wind        
02. Hard Luck Story        
03. Here Today        
04. Pay the Price        
05. P.N.S.- When You Come Around        
06. Be A Woman        
07. Sky Song        
08. Beauty        
09. Free Ride        
10. Right on Time [Bonus]       
11. Night People [Bonus]        
12. G.I.T.W (Instrumental version) [Bonus]        

The Illinois Speed Press - Duet US-70       
01. Country Dumplin'        
02. Sadly Out Of Place        
03. The One Who Knows        
04. Dearly, ii. Bittersweet, iii. Random Roads (And His Big Band), iv. Dearly Theme Reprise        
05. Morning Blues        
06. Bad Weather        
07. The Life        
08. The Visit        
09. Seventeen Days  


Open in a new window for 100% Size