|The James Gang
|Yer' Album (1969)
The debut record from The James Gang Yer'
Album (1969), featuring Jim Fox (drums), Tom Kriss (bass) and Joe Walsh (guitar) was one of the finest debut
records by an American group at the time, but was nothing compared to what the power trio sounded like in concert.
produced by ABC Records and Bill Szymczyk, was a Walsh showcase, yet, like so many albums at the time, it had a loose,
communal feel to the sound. The album was "state-of-the-art" for its time and still sounds great today.
Part of its appeal was that the band had more
to offer than just heavy jamming. The record starts with a string and acoustic guitar arrangement "Introduction" before breaking
into Walsh’s beautiful "Take A Look Around."
Songs such as "Bluebird" (Buffalo
Springfield) and "Lost Woman" (The Yardbirds) became a showcase for Walsh’s talents. The album closes with a twelve
minute version of "Stop" which was another showpiece allowing Walsh to stretch out and build more of the tight
"R&B" inspired patterns that are his trademark sound. At one concert while opening for The Who, the James Gang (and Walsh) impressed Peter Townshend so much, that
Townshend raved about Joe Walsh for weeks.
|Sea Train (1969)
I purchased the original Sea Train album on A&M Records (SP 4171) in 1969. This album was the next step by the
group previously performing under the revamped "Blues Project" name and their "Planned Obsolescence" album of 1968. The Blues
Project made serious changes after Al Kooper, Danny Kalb and Steve Katz left for other musical interests.
This original Sea
Train album had some marvelous, haunting melodies, including two great instrumentals, "Pudding Street" and
"Sweet Creeks Suite" (both Andy Kulberg tunes). Two other songs, "As I Lay Losing" and "Outwear the Hills," both surfaced
on future albums. The band consisting of John Gregory (guitar, vocals), Donald Kretmar (sax, bass), Richard Greene (violin),
Roy Blumenfeld (drums), Andy Kulberg (flute, bass) and Jim Roberts (lyrics) created a fascinating montage of country,
rock, jazz and classical compositions.
The difference between Sea Train
and other American bands were their lyrics. The group had a dedicated lyricist, Jim Roberts, whose words were more poetic
than most bands of this era, focusing on personal experience and frail romance.
After another shake-up of band members,
the new and improved SeaTrain (1970) emerged on Capitol Records. This was
the album which gained moderate success for the band, including the finest version of the "Orange Blossom Special" issued!
The band issued another two albums Marblehead Messenger (1971) and Watch
(1973) before calling it quits.
Thirty plus years later, the original Sea Train LP ranks high in my collection. I had the opportunity a few years back to speak
with Andy Kulberg, prior to his passing. I asked Andy if the guys ever thought of getting together for a reunion album.
He told me everybody was off doing their own thing and truthfully, not enough fans were around to warrant a reunion.
Andy also presented me with a hand written (never before released) music sheet for "Flute Thing" (since he was impressed with my
daughter's interest in the song, while
also playing the flute).
So sit back and let your ears wander through the beauty
of this album and wish that it would go on "forever more" as the record loops at the end...
seventh dawn, of the sixth sun, during fifth moon, for the fouth time.....
|Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970)
Spirit's fourth album Twelve
Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (1970) is a classic of the progressive rock era. A concept album that blends
peace and love into an overall nature theme, all washed with tones of jazz, blues, and classical music. The album opens gently
with Randy California on acoustic guitar, singing softly on "Prelude" with the inspiring lyrics "You have the world at
your fingertips, no one can make it better than you..." However, this quickly bursts into the full-bodied "Nothing
to Hide" with fat chords, sardonic lyrics and a driving sound that sets the tone for most of the album. The next song is "Nature's
Way" which is a beautiful, haunting warning to humanity that Mother Nature has a way of telling man how to correct his mistakes
(if only someone would listen).
"Animal Zoo" is a quirky, up-tempo song that
you can't help but sing along. "Mr. Skin" is another up-tempo tune that received a fair amount of FM airtime in its day.
My favorite song on the album is "Love Has Found a Way" which utilizes some excellent reverse taping to create a spooky,
yet, progressive sound.
Twelve Dreams of
Dr. Sardonicus is excellent throughout and
is considered by many Spirit fans to be their best work. This is a classic "psychedelic" era album, advanced for its
time and as fresh sounding today as the day it hit the record stores. The "remastered" CD version of the album, featuring unreleased
new material, has rekindled interest in this unorthodox and innovative band.
|Street Corner Talking (1971)
This is another classic album of the early 1970's
that is overlooked by today's progressive rock stations. Savoy Brown's Street Corner Talking
is simply outstanding from beginning to end. The album's first track and most popular song "Tell Mama" is an anthem for
drifters and losers. The band's version of "I Can't Get Next To You" is deep and powerful (turn up the volume and experience
Paul Raymond's Hammond organ). "All I Can Do Is Cry" has been a concert staple for many years and features great guitar/keyboard
interplay between Kim and Paul. "Time Does Tell" has enticing lyrics, plus more great guitar riffs from Kim Simmonds.
|Savoy Brown Concert
We have come a long way
our 1st street hello
Spend our time looking for
The key to the door
My mind is made up
I know where I'm headed
When your days are over
The world is through with you...
Kim Simmonds (1971)
Met Kim at this 2006 concert
in Rochester (NY).....
|It's a Beautiful Day
|It's a Beautiful Day (1969)
The debut LP from "It's a Beautiful Day" (issued by
Columbia in 1969), was a startling amalgam of folk and psychedelia, driven by David LaFlamme's electrified five-string violin
playing, Hal Wagenet's guitar, David's wife Linda who provided sterling keyboard work and the magnificent vocals of Pattie
Santos. "White Bird" the first track, established itself as an FM-underground radio staple. Other tracks received some airplay,
notably "Wasted Union Blues" and the atmospheric instrumental "Bombay Calling." The haunting "Hot Summer Day" which mixes
vocals by David LaFlamme and Pattie Santos, is one of my all time favorites.
|The Flock (1969)
Their first album The Flock
released in 1969, focuses on classical violinist Jerry Goodman and the group's horn section. One of four bands heavily
marketed by Columbia Records in 1969 (the others were Chicago Transit Authority, Illinois Speed Press & Aorta), the
group shifted styles within songs to create a melting pot, varying between rock, jazz, classical and blues. A progressive
rock band with sounds somewhere between Seatrain and Chicago. Goodman left after their second LP, with the group disbanding
|Crown of Creation (1968)
Jefferson Airplane's 1968 release Crown
of Creation is a rich collection of songs highlighting the different talents of the main songwriters. Among
the various memorable moments are Grace Slick's beautiful vocal on "Lather," the band's sensitive cover version of David Crosby's
"Triad" and Jorma Kaukonen's stunning wah-wah solo on "If You Feel." Add to this the intense lyrics of "In Time" and "Greasy
Heart," Marty Balin and Paul Kantner's consistently strong vocals and Jack Casady's remarkable dexterity on bass. The album is
a true masterpiece!
|Chicago Transit Authority
|Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
Chicago Transit Authority, an innovative "jam-band"
featuring the sensational guitar work of Terry Kath, released this imposing "double-LP" debut on Columbia Records during the
spring of 1969. The album opens with Terry's composition "Introduction" followed by a blistering "Poem 58"
and the instrumental session "Liberation." The group coupled "horns" with a progressive sound, never again achieved
on their subsequent "bubble-gum" releases.
|In the Land of Grey and Pink (1971)
Along with Camel and Soft Machine, Caravan was
a pioneering band known as the "Canterbury Sound" consisting of original styles of jazz, rock and classical English influences.
In the Land of Grey and Pink was a harmonious mélange of northern English rock
complexities, considered by many as one of the greatest progressive rock albums. Richard Sinclair's contribution of "Winter
Wine" is a standout, along with David Sinclair's masterful 23 minute excursion "Nine Feet Underground."
There are many bands comprised of excellent
musicians, but few will attain a high level of creativity or musical prowess. The Blues Image out of Florida approached this
legendary status. Their second (and final) release Open is jam-packed with several
"tight" blues and jazz compositions, filled with strong riffs in a heavy rock format. Listen to the bass,
percussion and keyboard interplay with Mike Pinera's guitar on "Clean Love" and "Take Me" from this short lived, seminal
As I lay losing the years I had
Down beneath the shower of each stone I'd thrown,
In the mist stood someone I had known.
I saw the mist of
one I might have known.
Jim Roberts (1969)
Hope you enjoyed our website.
Proud to be, own and buy . . . AMERICAN!