Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Ghost - When You´re Dead For One Second (Acid-Folkrock UK 1970, A Stunning Album)

Size: 91.5 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped By: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Ghost formed in Birmingham in the late sixties. They started out playing a heavish sort of blues-rock before they met up with singer Shirley Kent who'd already recorded two tracks on a charity EP, The Master Singers And Shirley Kent Sing For Charec 67 (Keele University 103) in 1966. Paul Eastment had earlier played in Velvett Fogg. 

They recorded their album at the end of 1969, spawning their first 45 at the end of the year. When You're Dead was a strong song with a clear US West Coast influence. It was hardly Chart material, though, so predictably sales were poor. The album came out in January 1970. There's a clear contrast between the folk pieces that Shirley Kent sings on like Hearts And Flowers and Time Is My Enemy, which in style recall Sandy Denny's heyday in Fairport Convention, and the blues-rock numbers contributed by the rest of the band, of which For One Second sounds the strongest. Also worth checking out is the powerful Too Late To Cry. The album has now become a major collector's item, partly on account of its rarity but also on account of the breadth of its appeal to fans of both blues-rock and folk. 

Reissue Back Cover

The band returned to the studio in Spring 1970 to record I've Got To Get To Know You. Another track from their album, For One Second, was put on the flip, but when the 45 failed to sell the band slowly began to fall apart. Shirley Kent left to pursue a solo career and eventually released an album in 1975, Fresh Out, under the pseudonym Virginia Tree. I haven't heard it but it's reputedly folkier than Ghost's output and featured former band members Paul Eastment and Terry Guy on three of the tracks. After Kent's departure, the remaining band members soldiered on for a while using the name Resurrection but this later incarnation of the band didn't make it onto vinyl. 

THE GHOST briefly appeared like a spectral vision in Birmingham, England in the late-1960's. Their hauntingly-titled one and only album "When You're Dead - One Second" rose from the grave in 1970 before the band just as quickly disappeared in a wisp of hazy smoke like a phantom apparition. The spooky album cover showed a ghostly translucent image of the five-piece band gathered around a large tombstone, headed by a Celtic Cross.

Right from the first few opening bars of "When You're Dead", you can tell we're going to be in for a weird and wonderful wild psychedelic ride here. This acid-drenched music is very reminiscent of the American band H.P. Lovecraft. In fact, The Ghost have such a strong resemblance to the American West Coast sixties sound that it's hard to believe they could be from the gloomy backstreets of Birmingham in England. This "phantasmic" bunch of Brummies really know how to Rock! 

The Ghost are listed as Prog Folk on ProgArchives, but make no mistake, this opening number sounds like a wild Psychedelic Rock trip back in time to the flower-power freeway of love in San Francisco in the swinging sixties. In complete contrast, the second song "Hearts and Flowers" is a gorgeous Folk Pop refrain that could quite easily have been recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary or The Seekers. It's a truly beautiful melody floating along on a gentle wave of gorgeous guitar strings and uplifting harmonies. 

This stunning song - featuring Shirley Kent on lead vocals - is a real gem that shines like a sparkling diamond and would have had tremendous hit potential if it had ever been released as a single. We're back on the magic bus again for "In Heaven", and if you love the sound of H.P. Lovecraft, then you'll be "In Heaven" too when you hear this absolutely fabulous psychedelic sixties song. It's groovy, baby! There's a return to gentler Folk Rock territory for "Time is My Enemy", a poignant song about the passing of the years which conjures up fond memories of the classic years of Sandy Denny and Fairport Convention, although this is more of an unconventional slice of Psych-Folk. 

The Ghost - Portugal Picture Sleeve Single 1970

Shirley Kent sounds in magnificent voice on this hauntingly- beautiful song. It's a compelling blend of Sandy Denny's "Fotheringay" and "Who Knows Where the Time Goes", given a liberal psychedelic sprinkling of glowing rainbow colours. This is turning out to be a very good album indeed! Continuing with the intoxicating blend of storming Hard Rock songs and gentle Folk Rock refrains comes "Too Late To Cry", a rousing rip-roaring rocker, featuring an extended psychedelic wah-wah guitar trip back to the Streets of San Francisco in the hippy sixties, or the wild and untamed streets of Chicago in the case of H.P. Lovecraft.

The Ghost - Promo Single UK 1970

We're onto Side Two now "For One Second", which opens as a gently laid-back country-tinged melody, but wait one second because there's a surprise in store when the song metamorphosizes from a caterpillar into a bright and beautiful psychedelic butterfly for the storming crescendo of acid-soaked guitar reverb in the fabulous finale. And now we come to The Ghost's magnificent magnum opus, "Night of the Warlock", a spirited Demons and Wizards song that barrels along at pell-mell speed, taking the listener on a crazy helter-skelter ride in a headlong rush towards psychedelic nirvana. 

This is like a maniacal harum scarum version of "Season of the Witch", wound up to 99 and given an energetic burst of adrenaline and raw power. We're off to meet the "Indian Maid" next, so you can expect to hear some exotic far-eastern vibes from the Indian sub-continent, although the song is still firmly rooted in western psychedelia. Either way, it's another great song wherever you are in the world. It's time now to mount the battlements for "My Castle Has Fallen", a storming medieval ballista firing a relentless percussive artillery barrage of pummelling Psychedelic Rock! 

There's no let-up in the incredible pace either because "The Storm" is on the way, a thunder and lightning display of sonic energy to rattle the windows and light up the sky. It's not all Crash! Bang! Wallop! though, because there's a return to gentler climes for "Me and My Loved Ones", a bright rainbow sunburst of groovy psychedelic colours to close the album in magnificent style. Wait a minute though, we're not quite through yet, because there's the groovy sixties number "I've Got To Get To Know You" added as a bonus track.

The Ghost has risen from the grave of the psychedelic sixties era and reappeared as an awesome apparition fifty years later on ProgArchives. "When You're Dead - One Second" is an album full of haunting Folk refrains and spirited psychedelic acid trips. All in all, it's a heavenly album full of devilishly good songs.

- Terry Guy / organ, piano
- Shirley Kent / acoustic guitar, tambourine, lead vocals
- Paul Eastment / lead guitar, lead vocals
- Daniel MacGuire / bass
- Charlie Grima / drums, percussion

01. When You’re Dead (4:25)
02. Hearts And Flowers (2:54)
03. In Heaven (3:21)
04. Time Is My Enemy (4:06)
05. Too Late To Cry (5:04)
06. For One Second (5:25)
07. Night Of The Warlock (4:22)
08. Indian Maid (4:21)
09. My Castle Has Fallen (2:57)
10. The Storm (3:36)
11. Me And My Loved Ones (4:09)
12. I’ve Got To Get To Know You (4:02)


Neptunian Maximalism - M4 - (Belgium Kraut & Psychedelic Meditation 2018)

Size: 191 MB
Bit Rate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Some Artwork Included

NEPTUNIAN MAXIMALISM, a.k.a. NNMM is a community of “cultural engineers” (*Genesis P-Orridge) using sounds, with a variable line-up. This project was initiated by Guillaume Cazalet (CZLT) and the veteran saxophonist player Jean-Jacques Duerinckx (Ze Zorgs) in Brussels (2018), during a residency with and two drummers Sebastien Schmit (K-Branding) and Pierre Arese (AKSU). 

The result was a bifacial entity, sometimes calling for a primitive voodoo trance with percussive intonations, dominated by rhythm and a savage movement, sometimes towards a psychedelic meditation with prophetic and spiritual accents resting on an amplified drone music where time is explored, harmony, the power of the tonic and its iridescent harmonics, durability, weight, ruin.

From this residency were born a trilogy to come, dedicated to the Sun, the Moon and the Earth and a first album, The Conference Of The Stars, released on the label Homo Sensibilis Records, mixing drone metal and spiritual free jazz, animated by a cosmic and psychedelic energy.

In 2019, Reshma Goolamy (bass), Romain Martini (guitar), Didié Nietzche (48 Cameras, Radio Prague), Joaquin Bermudez (Phoenician Drive) and Alice Thiel (Thot) joined the project that takes the form of an “Opera Drone”. In 2020, Lukas Bouchenot & Stephane Fedele join their forces on drums and turns the music into an heavy psych experience.

By exploring the evolution of the human species, particularly through the use of speculative texts in Homo-sapiens prototypal language (*Pierre Lanchantin), they question the future of the living on earth. They try to create a sense of acceptance of the end of the "Anthropocene" era through a musical and soteriological experience.

° Sebastien Schmit : Drums, percs.
° Pierre Arese : Drums, percs.
° Jean Jacques Duerinckx : Amplified sax baryton.
° Guillaume Cazalet (CZLT) : Amplified bass and guitar, vocals.

01. Dan Ayido Hwedo/ Ngowekara  29:46
02. Daiitoku-Myōō no ŌDAIKO 大威徳明王 鼓童 : L'Impact De Théia durant l’Éon Hadéen  08:49

Bonus Track
03. Sonuf Vaoresajl  39:48 


Temple Fang - Live at Merleyn (Psychelic Rock 2020)

Size: 96.3 MB
Bitrate: 320
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Temple Fang is a jam band from Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

What’s good comes fast. Take Temple Fang, for example. The group could already be admired at Roadburn, Paaspop, Fortarock, Into The Void, Desertfest, Sonic Whip and recently at Sniester in The Hague. In no-time the band attracted a large number of real life followers. 

And rightly so, because both on record and live this bearded foursome enchants and hypnotizes fans of Kyuss, The Grateful Dead and Motorpsycho. How? With long drawn-out proggy space rock songs that make long hair flutter and pants bulge. Enter the spaceship named Temple Fang for an eternal acid rock trip through universe. Safe travels.

After Death Alley ended Vocalist/Bassist Dennis Duijnhouwer started playing with Jevin de Groot who also had been part of Death Alley for a while, as well as previously Mühr. Dennis knew Ivy van der Veer, a much younger guy, as the son of a musician he knew and heard some promising demo's of him. 

The first time the three of them jammed, after the initial trepidation about having two left handed guitar players in the band, it was clear there was a musical connection. They rehearsed in the Vondelbunker in Amsterdam when other bands were unable to and took the opportunity to play with a new drummer every time to find the right one for them. After a while Ivy pointed them towards the best drummer he knew, Jasper van den Broeke. 

They asked him to play and initially he said no as with two other bands and a family, not to mention Death Alley's reputation, he felt his time was spoken for. But at some point he was persuaded and after the first ham together it was clear this was not on opportunity to miss.

They played their first show, April 2018 in Little Devil, Tilburg, Netherlands. This resulted in a support slot for the two Dutch shows of Coven later that year. 2019 brought a prestigious performance at Roadburn Presents 2019, and then the record label interest intensified.

The band did not feel ready for this pressure however and decided to hold off at that time. But pressure of fans increased and due to the efforts of crew members Awkward Steve and Niek Manders several shows were recorded in secret to form the basis of a record. This did not immediately come to fruition but would later be the basis of the 2022 album Fang Temple. Feeling the inevitability of needing an album at their merc booth they decided to release one show on a self-released album, Live At Merleyn.

The 28th of June they announced their own festival, Right on Mountain, to be held October 9th 2022 in Doornroosje, Nijmegen, Netherlands.

01. Gemini-Silky Servants  20.12
02. Not The Skull  19.46

1. Temple
2. Temple
3. Temple

Monday, December 19, 2022

Stone Harbour - Emerge (Heavy Psychedelia US 1974)

Size: 96 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

"‘Emerges’ as in slowly from the primordial sludge of the universe. 'Emerges' like a slow, slouching spectre hauling itself out of the swamps. But then what's a boy to do?

It's 1974, you're young and have a head full of Hawkwind and Roky and the Elevators, old brutalist blues in the Hound Dog Taylor / Fred McDowell backwoods whisky-fucked mode, freakfolk and LSD; you're stuck in Hicksville, USA - that's Youngstown, Ohio to you lot; the music scene sucks; glam's dead or dying slowly; punk a good year of so from even starting to get itself born. Town's too damn small to even muster up a band in. It's just and your buddy and that's it, man.

So you grows your hair and wear satin, wander wide-eyed and tripping across small town railway tracks and hang loose at the weekend in your basement. You gather a bunch if cheapo instruments on the never-never and you start cutting low-fi bedroom demos. Slowly, slowly Stone Harbour emerge.

Stone Harbour were Ric Ballas - electric, acoustic and slide guitars; organ; piano; synthesizers; bass guitar percussion and voice - and Dave McCarty - lead vocals, drums and percussion... and out of nowhere and nothing, at entirely the wrong time, they cut an LP that will blow your head clean off. This is a trip into the true dark heart of psychedelia.

The music? What can I tell you? ‘You'll be a star’ shimmers and aches in the midnight; cymbals wash over you, Dave McCarty's vocals emerge from some subterranean cave and the keyboards flicker, flicker, flash across the periphery of the song; ‘Rock & Roll Puzzle’ is dark, twisted fried garage punk blues brutality in the same mould as 'White Faces' or 'Cold Night for Alligators', pre-empting The Gories and Pussy Galore by a good ten years!!

"Who invented rock & roll? And who invented soul? Was it you or was it me?" Indeed. Songs fade in and out; finger-picking blurs into screaming squeiching synths; guitars melt in the mid-summer heat. ‘Grains of Sand’ frazzles like The Stooges through a fucked-up amp and filtered through a transistor radio with the valves burning out.

‘Thanitos’ is the freak-out ending of ‘Julia’s Dream’ lost in suburban downtown US of A with the taillights cutting on the freeway .. . whilst ‘Summer Magic is Gone’ is the most haunted, haunting song I've heard in many a long strange moon. Shimmers like stars in the 2am fug and haze and bleeds lost and lonely and bruised into the heat-warped dawn. You're still awake though the brain don't work like it used to. Blurred and bleary and exhilarated and stoned the very core of the soul. Best record I've heard all year."

"What's a boy to do? It's 1974, you're young and have a head full of Hawkwind and Roky and the Elevators, and old brutalist blues in the Hound Dog Taylor/Fred McDowell backwoods whisky-fucked mode; you're stuck in Hicksville, USA; the music scene sucks: glam's dead or dying slowly; punk is a good year or so from even starting to get itself born. Town's too damn small to even muster up a band. It's just you and your buddy and that's it, man. So you grow your hair and wear satin, wander wide-eyed and tripping across small-town railway tracks and hang loose at the weekend in your basement. You gather a bunch of cheapo instruments on the never-never and you start cutting low-fi bedroom demos. 

Stone Harbour were Ric Ballas and Dave McCarty, and out of nowhere and nothing, at entirely the wrong time, they cut an LP that will blow your head clean off. This is a trip into the true dark heart of psychedelia! The music? 'You'll Be A Star' shimmers and aches in the midnight; cymbals wash over you, Dave McCarty's vocals emerge from some subterranean cave, as the keyboards flicker, flicker, flash across the periphery of the song; 'Rock & Roll Puzzle' is dark, twisted fried garage punk blues brutality, pre-empting The Gories and Pussy Galore by a good ten years! Songs fade in and out; finger-picking blurs into screaming squelching synths; guitars melt in the mid-summer heat. 'Grains of Sand' frazzles like The Stooges through a fucked-up amp and filtered through a transistor radio with the valves burning out, whilst 'Summer Magic Is Gone' is the most haunted, haunting song in many a long strange moon. 

Shimmers like stars in the 2 a.m. fog and haze, and bleeds lost and lonely and bruised into the heat-warped dawn. You're still awake, although the brain doesn't work like it used to. Blurred and bleary and exhilarated and stoned to the very core of your soul." Booklet includes lyrics and notes; disc has a handful of previously unreleased tracks from 1975 sessions as bonus tracks." 

01. You'll Be a Star - 4.34
02. Rock & Roll Puzzle - 3.16
03. Grains of Sand - 5.14
04. Summer Magic Is Gone - 3.15
05. Stone's Throw - 1.25
06. Thanitos - 1.48
07. Still Like That Rock & Roll - 3.57
08. Ride - 3.27
09. Dying to Love You - 3.24
10. Workin' for the Queen - 3.07
11. Taurus [Bonus] - 4.15
12. Wonderland [Bonus] - 3.58
13. Witch to You [Bonus] - 4.37
14. Battleaxe [Bonus] - 3.17
15. Untitled [Bonus] - 1.00

1. Stone
2. Stone
3. Stone

Curt Newbury - Half a Month of May Days (Acid-Folk US 1970)

Size: 72.8 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Curt Newbury was born and raised in Texas, but while one can hear traces of his Western heritage in his voice, his sole album, 1970s Half a Month of May Days, is an archetypical example of West Coast singer/songwriter-oriented country-rock in its formative stages. Half a Month of May Days features several members of the celebrated psychedelic group Kaleidoscope backing Newbury, and though these sessions lack the sense of trippy adventure that marked that band's best work, Newbury's elliptical wordplay and gently loping melodies mesh nicely with the chiming guitars, fiddles, and organ lines of the studio band, and they turn these tunes into something truly memorable. 

Newbury's songs sometimes sound poetic in all the worst ways, but while there are a few flashes of nearly terminal pretension here, most of the time Newbury has the good sense to reign himself in, and his broad celebrations of women, good times, and the mysteries of the universe (as well as decrying the war in Vietnam that was still raging) are well served by his ambitious phrasing and strong, supple tenor voice. And given Newbury's later career as a photographer specializing in glamor shots of teenage models, "Let's Hang Some Pictures Tonight" sounds more than a little prescient. Half a Month of May Days is a good bit short of a lost masterpiece, but it's certainly the work of a talented artist who was well-served in the studio as he was working out a rather ambitious musical vision, and folks with a taste for the acid-tinged side of country-rock will find it well worth investigating. 

Texan born, Curt Newbury began picking folk guitar in the coffee houses then became a flying instructor and a licensed hypnotist. He recorded his only solo album in 1970 at The Sound Factory in Hollywood, produced by Don Hall. Backed up by four members of Kaleidoscope:- Lagos, Kaplan, the enigmatic Parsley/Budha (aka Fenrus Epp or Chester Crill) and Ron Johnson, plus Mike Deasy and some other players, Newbury composed and sang all the tracks resulting in an interesting album of West Coast folk/rock with some brilliant guitar solos.

It's excellent, West-coast, folk-rock with a fair amount of country twang and some psychedelic influences (both chemical and musical, I imagine). The lyrics are good and touch on the appropriate concerns of the time (love, protesting the war, hanging pictures--I guess times haven't changed that much). 

The band (which consists of the majority of the fine psychedelic group, Kaleidoscope [U.S.]) is in top form, and Mike Deasy contributes some smokin' guitar solos. In addition to writing his own material Newbury was also a flying instructor and a licensed hypnotist (although I'm not sure how those activities influenced his musical work). 

The personnel: 
Richard Aplanalp clarinet 
Mike Deasy guitar, mandolin 
Coffi Hall percussion 
Howard Johnson tuba 
Ron Johnson bass 
Jeff Kaplan guitar, organ, bass, piano 
Paul Lagos drums 
Rick Matthews percussion 
Curt Newbury vocals, guitar 
Templeton Parsley (Max Buda) electric violin, harmonica 
Pat Smith bass fiddle 

01 S&C See Me (04:40)
02 Christ, How Easy It Could Be (04:03)
03 To Marcia (02:41)
04 Highchair Blue (03:16)
05 Let's Hang Some Pictures Tonight (04:04)
06 Half a Month of Maydays (03:40)
07 Colonel Haygood (03:30)
08 Girl Is Just Too Much (04:24)
09 Maybe Summer Bells (03:32)
10 Private Jackson Regrets (02:05) 

1. Curt
2. Curt
3. Curt

Friday, November 25, 2022

Amazing Blondel - Amazing Blondel & A Few Faces (UK 1970)

Size: 77.3 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included

Amazing Blondel are an English acoustic band, consisting of Eddie Baird, John Gladwin, and Terry Wincott. They released a number of LPs for Island Records in the early 1970s. They are sometimes categorised as Psych folk, but their music was much more a reinvention of Renaissance music, based around the use of period instruments such as lutes and recorders.

John Gladwin and Terry Wincott had both played in a loud "electric" band called Methuselah. However, at some point in Methuselah concerts, the duo would play an acoustic number together: they found that this went down well with the audiences and allowed them to bring out more of the subtlety of their singing and instrumental work. They left Methuselah in 1969 and began working on their own acoustic material.

Initially their material was derived from folk music, in line with many of the other performers of the time. However, they began to develop their own musical idiom, influenced, at one extreme, by the early music revivalists such as David Munrow, and the other extreme, by their childhood memories of the Robin Hood TV series, with its pseudo-mediaeval soundtrack by Elton Hayes.

The band was named after Blondel, the musician in the court of Richard I. According to legend, when Richard was held prisoner, Blondel travelled through central Europe, singing at every castle to locate the King and assist his escape. This name for the band was suggested by a chef called Eugene McCoy who listened to some of their songs and commented: "Oh, very Blondel!" and they began to use that name. They were then advised to add an adjective (in line, for example, with the Incredible String Band) and so they became "Amazing Blondel".

Their first album The Amazing Blondel was recorded in 1969 and released by Bell Records. It was directed by legendary session guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. At about this time, Eddie Baird (who had known the other members at school) joined the band. Following what Baird described as "a disastrous 'showbiz' record signing", Amazing Blondel were introduced, by members of the band Free, to Chris Blackwell of Island Records and Artists. Blackwell signed them up to Island, for whom they recorded their three defining albums, Evensong, Fantasia Lindum and England.

The style of their music is difficult to categorise. Most of it was composed by themselves, but was based on the form and structure of Renaissance music, featuring, for example, pavanes, galliards and madrigals. It is sometimes categorised as Psych folk but would probably have been disowned by both the psychedelic community and the folk community, whilst being instantly recognisable to students of early music. Terry Wincott described it as "pseudo-Elizabethan/Classical acoustic music sung with British accents". Eddie Baird is quoted as saying "People used to ask us, How would you describe your music? Well, there was no point asking us, we didn't have a clue."

Their music has been compared with that of Gryphon and Pentangle: however, Amazing Blondel did not embrace the rock influences of the former nor the folk and jazz influences of the latter. They have also been likened to Jethro Tull.

The band employed a wide range of instruments (see above) but, central to their sound was their use of the lute and recorders.

When touring, the lutes proved to be quite difficult instruments for stage performance (in terms of amplification and tuning) and, in 1971, the band commissioned the construction of two 7-string guitars, which could be played in lute tuning. The design and construction of these instruments was undertaken by David Rubio who made classical guitars, lutes, and other early instruments for classical players, including Julian Bream and John Williams.

Gladwin's instrument was designed to have slightly more of a bass sound, as it was used mainly as an accompaniment instrument, whereas Baird's had a little bit more treble emphasis, to allow his melodic playing in the higher register to predominate. The two instruments were individually successful and also blended well together. They also proved to be stable (from a tuning point of view) for stage performance. The guitars were fitted with internal microphones to simplify amplification.

 - John David Gladwin - vocals, 12 string guitars, lutes, double bass
 - Terence Alan Wincott - vocals, 6 string guitar, harmonium, recorders, flute, ocarina, congas
 - Edward Baird - first lute, vocals, glockenspiel
+ Clem Cattini - drums
+ Chris Karan - percussion
+ Gary Taylor - bass
+ Jim Sullivan - arrangements with Amazing Blondel 

01. Saxon Lady  3:09 
02. Bethel Town Mission  3:15 
03. Season of the Year  2:46 
04. Canaan  3:50 
05. Shepherd's Song  6:14 
07. Though You Don't Want My Love  3:58 
08. Love Sonnet  4:08 
09. Spanish Lace  2:45 
10. Minstrel's Song  5:34 
11. Bastard Love  4:10 


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Raincrow - The Jade Room, Austin Texas (Great Performance US 1971)

Size: 147 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in Cyberspace
No Artwork

Raincrow - 12/9/71 The Jade Room, Austin, Texas

The music is rock, blues, soul, but some of the names involved may be of interest to fans of Texas Psych. The original recording is courtesy of George Kinney of The Golden Dawn, who has cleared its distribution.

Stacy Sutherland formed his own band, Ice, which performed only in Houston and never released any material. In 1969, after a battle with heroin addiction, he was imprisoned in Texas on drug charges, the culmination of several years of drug related trouble with the law. After his release Sutherland began to drink heavily. He continued to sporadically play music throughout the 1970s, occasionally with former members of the Elevators. Sutherland was accidentally shot and killed by his wife Bunny on August 26, 1978 during a domestic dispute, and is buried in Center Point, Texas.

The 13th Floor Elevators were an American rock band from Austin, Texas formed by Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, and guitarist Stacy Sutherland, which existed from 1965 to 1969.During their career, the band released four LPs and seven 45s for the International Artists record label..

The 13th Floor Elevators found some commercial and artistic success in 1966-67, before dissolving amid legal troubles and drug use in late 1968. As one of the first psychedelic bands, their contemporary influence has been acknowledged by 1960s musicians such as Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Peter Albin of Big Brother and the Holding Company, and Chris Gerniottis of Zakary Thaks. Their debut 45 "You're Gonna Miss Me", a national Billboard #55 hit in 1966, was featured on the 1972 compilation Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968, which is considered vital in the history of garage rock and the development of punk rock. Seminal punk band Television played their song "Fire Engine" live in the mid-1970s. In the 1980s-90s, the 13th Floor Elevators influenced important bands such as Primal Scream and Spacemen 3, both of whom covered their songs, and 14 Iced Bears who use an electric jug on their single "Beautiful Child". In 2009 the International Artists released a ten CD box set entitled Sign of the 3-Eyed Men, which included the mono and new, alternate stereo mixes of the original albums together with two albums of previously unreleased material and a number of rare live recordings.

The 13th Floor Elevators emerged on the local Austin music scene in December 1965, where they were contemporary to bands such as The Wig and The Babycakes, and later followed by Shiva's Headband and The Conqueroo. The band was formed when Roky Erickson left his group The Spades, and joined up with Stacy Sutherland, Benny Thurman, and John Ike Walton who had been playing Texas coastal towns as The Lingsmen. Tommy Hall was instrumental in bringing the band members together, and joined the group as lyricist and electric jug player.

The band's name was developed from a suggestion by drummer John Ike Walton to use the name "Elevators" and Clementine Hall added "13th Floor". In addition to an awareness that a number of tall buildings don't have a 13th floor, it has been noted that the letter "M" (for marijuana) is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet.

In early January 1966, the band was brought to Houston by producer Gordon Bynum to record two songs to be released as a 45 on his newly formed Contact label. The songs were Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me", and Hall-Sutherland's "Tried to Hide". The 45 was a major success in Austin, and made an impression in other Texas cities. Some months later, the International Artists label picked it up and re-released it.

Throughout the Spring of 1966, the group toured extensively in Texas, playing clubs in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. They also played on live teen dance shows on TV, such as Sumpin Else, in Dallas, and The Larry Kane Show in Houston. During the Summer, the IA re-release of "You're Gonna Miss Me" became popular outside Texas, especially in Miami, Detroit, and the San Francisco Bay Area. In October 1966, it peaked on the national Billboard chart at the #55 position. Prompted by the success of the 45 the Elevators toured the west coast, made two nationally televised appearances for Dick Clark, and played several dates at the San Francisco ballrooms The Fillmore and The Avalon.

The International Artists record label in Houston, also home to contemporary Texas underground groups such as Red Krayola and Bubble Puppy, signed the Elevators to a record contract and released the album The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators in November 1966, which became popular among the burgeoning counterculture. Tommy Hall's sleeve-notes for the album, which advocated chemical agents (such as LSD) as a gateway to a higher, 'non-Aristotelian' state of consciousness, has also contributed to the album's legendary status.

Singer Janis Joplin was a close associate of Clementine Hall and the band. She opened for the band at a benefit concert in Austin, and considered joining the group[5] prior to heading to San Francisco and joining Big Brother and the Holding Company. Her style of singing has been described as having been influenced by Erickson's trademark screaming and yelping as showcased in "You're Gonna Miss Me."

Drug overuse and related legal problems left the band in a state of constant turmoil, which took its toll, both physically and mentally, on the members. In 1969, facing a felony marijuana possession charge, Roky Erickson chose to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital rather than serve a prison term, thus signaling the end of the band's career.

Bull of the Woods, released in 1969, was the 13th Floor Elevators' last released album on which they worked as a group and was largely the work of Stacy Sutherland. Erickson, due to health and legal problems, and Tommy Hall were only involved with a few tracks, including "Livin' On" and "May the Circle Remain Unbroken".

During the initial months of their existence as a band, the electric guitars used both by Roky Erickson and Stacy Sutherland were Gibson ES-335s. Sutherland's pioneering use of reverb and echo, and bluesy, acid-drenched guitar predates such bands as The Allman Brothers Band and ZZ Top. According to Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top in an article that originally appeared in Vintage Guitar magazine, the guitars were run through "Black-Face" Twin Reverbs with both guitarists using external Fender "tank" reverb units and Gibson "Maestro" Fuzz-tones as distortion devices.

A special aspect of The Elevators' sound came from Tommy Hall's innovative electric jug. The jug, a crock-jug with a microphone held up to it while it was being blown, sounded somewhat like a cross between a minimoog and cuica drum. In contrast to traditional musical jug technique, Hall did not blow into the jug to produce a tuba-like sound. Instead, he vocalized musical runs into the mouth of the jug, using the jug to create echo and distortion of his voice. When playing live, he held the microphone up to the mouth of the jug, but when recording the Easter Everywhere album, the recording engineer placed a microphone inside the jug to enhance the sound.

The band was unique, even in the 1960s, in that they (at Tommy Hall's urging) played most of their live shows and recorded their albums while under the influence of LSD, and built their lifestyle and music around the psychedelic experience. Intellectual and esoteric influences helped shape their work, which shows traces of Gurdjieff, the General Semantics of Alfred Korzybski, the psychedelic philosophy of Timothy Leary, and Tantric meditation.

The classic 13th Floor Elevators line-up was built around singer/guitarist Roky Erickson, electric jug player Tommy Hall, and guitarist Stacy Sutherland. The rhythm section went through several changes, with drummer John Ike Walton and bass player Ronnie Leatherman being the longest permanent members. Hall was the band's primary lyricist and philosopher, with Sutherland and Erickson both contributing lyrics as well as writing and arranging the group's music. Along with Erickson's powerful vocals, Hall's "electric jug" became the band's signature sound in the early days. In July 1967, Walton and Leatherman left the band and were replaced by Danny Thomas (drums) and Dan Galindo (bass). Ronnie Leatherman later returned for the third and final studio album, Bull of the Woods.

• Roky Erickson - guitar, lead vocals, songwriter
• Tommy Hall - electric jug, vocals, songwriter
• Stacy Sutherland (May 28, 1946 – August 24, 1978) - lead guitar, vocals,          songwriter  
• John Ike Walton - drums (November 1965 – July 1967)
• Benny Thurman (February 20, 1943 – June 22, 2008) - bass, vocals                  (November 1965 – July 1966)       
• Ronnie Leatherman - bass, vocals (July 1966 – July 1967; July 1968 –                A ugust 1968)     
• Danny Thomas - drums, vocals (July 1967 – October 1969)
• Danny Galindo (June 29, 1949 – May 17, 2001) - bass (July 1967 – January      1968)    
• Duke Davis - bass (January 1968 – April 1968)

★ Stacy Sutherland (guitar) 
★ Ronnie Leatherman (bass) 
★ Obi Hardeman (vocals) 
★ Bobby Rector (drums) 
★  Cecil Morris (harp)

01. Let It Roll  04:36
02. Slippin' And Slidin'  03:00
03. Mathilda  03:35
04. Stagger Lee  03:42
05. So Long  04:12
06. instrumental  03:07
07. All Along The Watchtower  03:14
08. Brown Sugar  03:06
09. I Feel Good  03:49
10. Cripple Creek  04:21
11. Something On Your Mind  04:47
12. Money  03:25
13. Shadow Falling  05:38
14. For Your Love  04:26
15. Band song  02:34
16. Honky Tonk Women 04:00
17. Blues instrumental 02:45


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Spriguns of Tolgus - Jack With a Feather + 1 Unreleased Bonus Album 1974 (Folk UK 1975)

Former folk star Mandy Morton has gathered all of her music from her lead singer days with Cambridge band Spriguns of Tolgus and her later solo career into one six-album box set and discovered it reveals the story of her life.

After running away to Cambridge in the Sixties at the age of just 15, Mandy Morton stepped into a world of flower power and music that led her into a glittering decade as a folk artist.

Leaving behind her rowing parents, she came to live with her older sister in the city and soon found everyone had a guitar and was joining a band.

When she and her husband at the time, Mike, started a regular folk night at The Anchor pub, their band Spriguns of Tolgus was talent spotted and it led to a 10-year recording career. But Mandy later left it all behind to become a journalist and novelist.

Now those albums have been repackaged as a retrospective CD box set called After The Storm, that features the band’s albums plus previously unreleased material and a DVD of a live performance from 1979. After many years not even listening to her own songs, she is finally ready to talk about those heady days.

Mandy says: “I did run away in 1968 when I was just 15, which was a bit naughty. But my parents argued a lot and my childhood was quite unhappy. My father had been a fighter pilot in the Second World War and was highly decorated by the king. But of course when all the men came home, it was not a home for heroes. So he’d sort of changed who he was and my mother, who had married a gallant fighter pilot, ended up with a bit of a shambles of a marriage, so the two of them kept the war going between them, to put it mildly.

“Consequently, all three of us children got out as soon as we could. And luckily my sister had married an undergraduate by 1968 and was living in Cambridge. So it was an obvious place to run to because my sister always tended to look after me when I was younger. She sent a van with some friends who had a band to Nottingham. We loaded up anything that was precious to me and that began my life in Cambridge.”

Mandy described the part of Cambridge she arrived in as “bedsitter-land” and as soon as she reached 18, she moved into her own bedsit.

“It was a wonderful time. The Folk Festival had been going for a few years, so there was a big folk scene. There were gigs everywhere in pubs, at the university and the Corn Exchange. And of course, Cambridge was full of hippies. It was a time when people walked the streets without shoes on, wearing kaftans and beads. The economy was bad but we were young and we had our lives ahead of us so we didn’t care much about that.”

By day, she was running a fashion store called Pussycat Boutique on Petty Cury, but evenings were given over to music.

“Boutiques were all the rage in the late 60s, bringing fashion from swinging London - we were the first shop in the city to stock hot pants,” recalls Mandy.

“It was owned by a lovely lady called Mrs Atkins who roamed around doing all the buying, bringing in gear from London, and left it to my sister and I to actually run the day-to-day business there.”

During this time, Mandy met and married Mike Morton and together they launched the band Spriguns of Tolgus in 1972. It was named after a Cornish piskie and the location of a tin mine in a village close to where they went on holiday. They became big names on Cambridge’s music scene and before long were spotted by a talent scout.

“Ted, the landlord of The Anchor pub on Silver Street asked if we would run a music club to entice more of the students into his bar on Fridays,” says Mandy.

“We had no idea about running a club but started up by playing covers of Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention and from the audience eventually came the rest of the band.”

The Mortons, with Mandy on vocals and Mike on bass, were joined by Rick Thomas (fiddle) and Chris Russon (electric guitar). They would take the lyrics of traditional folk ballads and Mandy wrote music to accompany them. Particularly popular were the “bawdy ballads”, very rude traditional songs that make her blush to remember them now.

“When the record company approached me to say shall we do a complete collection of your music rather than just a couple of re-releases, they were very keen to include a cassette called Rowdy, Dowdy Day that we had recorded with a couple of other members of the band in our kitchen in Cross Street in Cambridge, using a dilapidated tape recorder,” says Mandy.

“I listened back to it and realised how thoroughly and disgustingly rude virtually every song was! It really is quite something that we got away with it - the sexual content was quite alarming. My blood started to boil and I thought, oh my God! We can’t unleash these things. But the record company said no, that’s the point. We are trying to show a history of how your music has developed. So I agreed.”

After they made that cassette, the band came to the attention of a recording studio in Leicestershire, which recorded their first vinyl album, Jack with a Feather. It was this album that got them noticed by Decca, who signed them up in 1976 and shortened their name to Spriguns.

Mandy says: “That’s when I started writing my own lyrics and, looking back, they were influenced by what had gone on in my life. Back in the 70s, we didn’t know much about mental health or that some things that had happened in our childhoods had damaged us beyond all measure.

“I wasn’t abused sexually and there was no violence towards us children. It was simply that my parents were unliveable with. It was their war that we didn’t want to be part of. It literally was mental torture. I was astonished to see people discussing all kinds of nonsense about my background and theories about the meaning of my lyrics on YouTube and I want to set the record straight.

“As a child, the reason that I started collecting dolls house pieces, and I went into my own little world and had conversations with myself because I wasn’t allowed to have friends. I mean, my parents didn’t believe in that. I did have quite a lonely childhood. So I made up my own stories.

“People say that if something terrible has happened you should write it down and throw it on a fire, because you feel better afterwards. And I guess that’s exactly what I did with all my song-writing, because when I look back on it now, 40 years later, and I listened to some of those lyrics it really does put me on edge. I can see what I was saying. It was fantastic to be able to write these things down and then go to perform them to lots of people who became fans and appreciated what you were doing.”

Spriguns brought out two albums with Decca (Revel, Weird & Wild, and Time Will Pass) and then when their deal ended they launched their own record label.

These next album, Magic Lady, which had an original print run in the hundreds, is now hugely collectible and sells for large sums of money.

As the UK folk music trend began to wane and punk exploded onto the scene, Mandy and Spriguns were wondering if they had reached a natural end point.

Rowdy Dowdy Way Studio Album, Private on Cassette released in 1974

She says: “I was thinking of throwing the towel in for a few years, because new wave and punk had sort of set fire to the country and bands like us that had a pride in what we did and created proper stage shows just weren’t needed anymore.

“The university circuit collapsed. People stopped having gigs in all the halls up and down the country where we used to make a living. And we had to think seriously about what we were going to do, whether we were going to scrap the band and get proper jobs, as my mother used to say, or alternatively, to forge new areas. And luckily we discovered after we’d been offered a residency in Oslo for the summer in 78 that there was a whole new world for us in Scandinavia.

“They were about three or four years behind the music scene in England. Therefore, they were still enjoying the hippie and progressive folk rock music, and so we toured Norway, Denmark and in Sweden. It felt like a rebirth of the band, rather than us sort of falling down like an awful lot of the bands did in this country.

“We had winter tours where we crossed the Arctic Circle and summers at amazing festivals. It was just the most wonderful experience and the penny dropped that we could make a living and we could continue with the band for a little bit longer. Scandinavia was beautiful and welcoming. The scenery we used to fly past in our little old van that climbed up the mountains and down the other side, was stunning.”

It was there in 1979 that Mandy signed a deal with Polydor Scandinavia, where she gained quite a following and produced the album Sea Of Storms. But around that time her marriage to Mike was coming to an end. He returned to Cambridge, where he died unexpectedly in his forties on November 27, 1995, after a short illness.

Mandy has spent the past couple of years going through all their old music and notes and materials to create the box set and it has brought back a lot of memories for her.

“I had the most wonderful lockdown just reliving all my own past history,” she says.

“And following my story from this distance was a revelation because as an older woman you have a completely different attitude to those days than you did when you were actually living through them. Because living through it was full of anxiety. Now I can look back and say, look at least I survived.

“The hardest part has been looking back on anything to do with Mike because we were very, very happy and we forged the band together and we grew up together. We were married very early. I was 18 when we got married and our marriage lasted 10 years with the band. Then we grew up and we realised that both of us wanted other things in our lives and we remained friends right up until his death.

“So, that was a very, very sad thing for me. And it was lovely doing this project because it was sort of like having him alive again in all the music I was listening to, all the photographs that I was looking at, and reliving that time and realising what a very special time it was. And of course the box set is dedicated to him because the band was a team. It wasn't just me, it was him and me. When Mike left the band after the marriage broke up, it just didn’t feel the same anymore. It had been a magical concoction. Without one or the other, it never could have happened.

“I used to get up and write songs in the middle of the night. And then I used to wake Mike up at four o'clock in the morning and say I’ve got one and he’d crawl out of bed and he’d get his bass guitar out and he’d listen to the new song. And by five o’clock in the morning, we had an arrangement ready to present to the band.

“I wrote songs and he ran the business and it was a marriage literally made in heaven. It was a good relationship. We managed to sort of get through the storm of the 70s, which wasn’t an easy time, and then by the 80s there were new things to think about. And Mike was a very good teacher. Eventually he was persuaded into going back into teaching and he ran the St Andrew’s tutorial centre for many years.

“I was very much married to the band while I knew that Mike wanted to have a family. He went on to do that and I’m very pleased that that’s what he did, because it never really fazed me. I had enough trouble being a child. I certainly didn’t want to create any more in this life. I wanted to keep my independence and I always wanted to plough my own furrow without having that sort of family concern around me. I don’t think that would have suited me in any way at all and I’ve never regretted it.”

The opportunity to bring all the music together in one box set presented itself when Mandy was approached by Cherry Red Records to write liner notes for a re-release of the Decca albums.

She says: “They came back and asked me if I wanted to release the other albums, and I thought, yes I would like to see them released again, especially Sea of Storms, which had been brought out by Polydor Norway and which I owned. I was also sick of seeing my work being bootlegged or going for silly prices - I thought this box set would stop all that. It was a wonderful opportunity that they offered me, so I grasped it with both paws.”

Since her stint as a folk star, Mandy has been an arts presenter on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and most recently has been writing a series of detective novels with cats in the lead roles called The No 2 Feline Detective Agency.

Mandy says: “One day I was writing my own songs and recording albums. The next day, I was writing about somebody else doing the same thing. So it was a natural transition. And then after leaving the BBC and sort of continuing to make programs now and again, I actually got so bored that I felt that I needed to get into something else. So that's when the book started. Of course my own music career creeps in occasionally because one of my main characters in the books had a music career.”

Mandy now splits her time between Cambridge and Cornwall where she and her partner, crime writer Nicola Upson, pen their novels.

Bass – Mike Morton
 Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin – Chris Russon
 Producer – Mike Morton
 Vocals, Acoustic Guitar [12-string], Dulcimer, Bongos – Mandy Morton
 Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle, Dulcimer – Rick Thomas

01. Lambton Worm (Traditional) (04:06)
02. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (Traditional) (02:53)
03. Derby Ram (Traditional) (02:45)
04. Jigs - Rakes Of Malo/St. Patricks Day/Ten Penny Bit (Traditional) (03:45)
05. Flodden Field (Traditional) (06:38)
06. Troopers Nag (Traditional) (03:36)
07. Curragh Of Kildare (Traditional) (04:44)
08. Keys Of Canterbury (Traditional) (03:31)
09. Twa Magicians (Traditional) (03:59)
10. Seamus The Showman (Tim Hart) (02:44)
11. Barren Banks Of Aden (Traditional) (01:13)

Bonus: Rowdy Dowdy Way Studio Album, Private on Cassette released in 1974
Amanda Morton / 12-string guitar, dulcimer & vocals
Mike Morton / bass guitar
Rick Thomas / guitars, mandolin, violin, pipe & vocals
Chris Russon / lead guitar & mandolin

12. Let No Man Steal Your Thyme (02:39)
13. The Jolly Tinker (02:11)
14. The Laily Worm & The Mackerel (02:11)
15. Spanish Ladies (01:56)
16. Matty Groves (07:15)
17. The Trees They Do Grow High (03:05)
18. Three Drunken Maidens (02:40)
19. Scotia Reel (02:08)
20. Keys Of Canterbury (02:59)
21. Sir Brian Botany (02:53)
22. Troopers Nag (03:26)
23. Cuckoos Nest (02:25)

1:  Tolgus
2: Tolgus
3: Tolgus
4: Tolgus