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Old 11-28-2009, 10:40 AM   #151 (permalink)
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Great, great album that ^. Their first debut will always have a more special place in my heart though as it was playing through my very early childhood, along with Pink Floyd and Thirteenth Floor Elevators.
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Old 12-01-2009, 03:19 PM   #152 (permalink)
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This weekend, I'll be attempting to sum up in a few short paragraphs, just exactly how marvellous The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and their album, Part One from 1967, were.

In my research I have come across this interview from Cherry Red TV. Not only is this about one of my favourite albums, but itís hosted by the editor of my favourite publication, Shindig! Magazine.

Anyway, over to Jon Mills

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Old 12-05-2009, 12:33 PM   #153 (permalink)
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The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Part One
(1967)



Tracks

1 Shifting Sands 3:54
2 I Won't Hurt You 2:21
3 1906 2:18
4 Help, I'm a Rock 4:22
5 Will You Walk With Me 2:57
6 Transparent Day 2:15
7 Leiyla 2:51
8 Here's Where You Belong 2:47
9 If You Want This Love 2:47
10 Scuse Me Miss Rose 3:01
11 High Coin Parks 1:52

Frank Sinatra has a lot to answer for from his long and illustrious career. A little appreciated fact about Frank Sinatra was that in the sixties he founded his own label under the umbrella of Warner. Called Reprise; it became the home of such 1960ís marvels as The Kinks, The Electric Prunes and The Fugs. Now donít get me wrong, I doubt very much that old blue eyes was a fan of any of these bands, hell the man didnít even like The Beatles, so how on earth would he like The Prunes for example? However, I do believe that there may have been a band signed to his label, that Frank was even less likely to have appreciated.

The history of The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band is unclear to say the least. This is due mostly to the fact the band has had a shroud of mystery hanging over them since their inception. What is clear is that they were signed to Reprise, in part due to their fantastic light and music shows, delighting audiences throughout Los Angeles. The formation and roots of this band rest with three individuals in particular, two talented brothers, Shaun and Danny Harris, and the son of a wealthy oil baron by the name of Bob Markley. On the back of witnessing The Yardbirds at his mansion, Markley developed aspirations to be in a band of his own, enter the Harris brothers and the rest, as they say, is as clear as mud!

To further confuse you; in 66 the band recorded their first album entitled Volume One, however this wasnít released to a wide audience until the 90ís. It was in 1967 however, that the band properly released a debut, called Part One. To some this 67 ďdebutĒ has become the ultimate cult album to own, particularly as now The Velvet Underground are probably just a few days off being handed out for free in a Sunday newspaper. Located within are some of the finest, most under appreciated and strangely varied pieces of Psychedelia ever to have been recorded.



At times on this album The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, sound like The Byrds, with harmonies equal to anything produced by their Californian counterparts. Songs like Transparent Day and Hereís Where You Belong just soar musically, reaching heights, which are totally unexpected for an album that youíve never heard of before. Whilst at other times, they well and truly jump into the avant-garde deep end. Covering brilliantly the Zappa song Help, Iím A Rock and then combining all of the above for the exceptional track, Leiyla. The best song on the album though is reserved for the beauty and eeriness of I Wont Hurt You, a song which combined with the crackle of a vinyl, is just splendid.

Now reissued on Sundazed, this album is truly marvellous. It is after all very trippy, very compelling, very eerie, very California and very 1967. So in closing, Frank Sinatra, even if you did have no idea that they even existed, I salute you for The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and their album, Part One, superb!
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Old 01-09-2010, 02:18 PM   #154 (permalink)
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Donovan - Sunshine Superman (US)
(1966)



Tracks

1 Sunshine Superman 3:15
2 Legend of a Girl Child Linda 6:50
3 Three King Fishers 3:16
4 Ferris Wheel 4:12
5 Bert's Blues 3:56
6 Season of the Witch 4:56
7 The Trip 4:34
8 Guinevere 3:41
9 The Fat Angel 4:11
10 Celeste 4:08

Donovan Phillips Leitch was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1946, although you more than likely know him better as just plain old Donovan. Many folk would probably describe the man as just a mere British version of Bob Dylan, this however is very much disingenuous to both Donovan and Dylan. Sure, both men started off with folk and the beatnik culture running through their veins, but by the time 1966 came along they couldnít be more different.

Donovanís launch pad was his folk driven debut from 1965, entitled What's Bin Did and What's Bin Hid. But, by 1966 Donovan was branching out somewhat into territories not really touched by Guthrie, Baez or even Dylan for that matter. This transition ironically was due to Donovan spending more time in the presence of other Americans. Indeed, Donovan was probably the first of the British Invasion acts to gain influence from the flower power generation.

This new influence can be heard in all its glory on an album released in September 1966, distributed initially in The States alone. Sunshine Superman would become the album that would set Donovan apart from the Greenwich Village crowd. Donít get me wrong, it still has its folky moments, but this second release from Donovan is far too grand and trippy for that run of the mill tag. Instead, this album takes Donovan into the realms of Psychedelia and back again, which for 1966, would put Donovan right at the forefront of the emerging trippy era. Not bad for a poor manís Dylan eh?



Produced by Mickie Most, with lovely arrangements from John Cameron, Donovan on this album paints a very broad canvas with these songs. Many Cellar Dwellers would know the title track, which sets Donovanís stall out firmly in the court of the Psychedelic, but strangely it remains grounded in the beatnik style, thanks predominantly to Donovanís marvellous vocal and finger plucking style carefully maintained in the production. This song opens side one, but the opener to the second side of the album, Season of The Witch, isnít bad either. As songs go you will be hard pushed to find a song as brilliant as this one, the best on the album in my humble opinion.

Some of these songs are obviously quite lengthy, only four venture below the four minute mark. Yet all these songs remain marvellous due to how weighty they truly are. Glorious, textural and vibrant numbers like Celeste, Legend of a Girl Child Linda and Guinevere elevate this album to levels of brilliance only matched by a couple of other releases from 1966, but certainly it is never overshadowed by them.



Due to a bit of a dispute with his record label Pye in the UK, Donovan had to wait a year before releasing this album in his homeland. That said the US version remains far superior, mostly because of the inclusion of The Trip on the US release, but also because in 1967, this album is just one of many Iím afraid, whereas in 1966 this album feels special, a true pioneer of the Psychedelic genre and a must for any Cellar Dweller.
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Old 01-23-2010, 12:58 PM   #155 (permalink)
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Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow
(1967)



Tracks

1 She Has Funny Cars 3:13
2 Somebody to Love 3:01
3 My Best Friend 3:04
4 Today 3:02
5 Comin' Back to Me 5:24
6 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds 3:45
7 D.C.B.A. -25 2:39
8 How Do You Feel 3:34
9 Embryonic Journey 1:55
10 White Rabbit 2:33
11 Plastic Fantastic Lover 2:40


Jefferson Airplane were one of the first of those marvellous Californian outfits to gain some form of national recognition back in the mid sixties, along with San Fransisco stalwarts like The Grateful Dead. But these San Fransisco bands were much more than a genre wave, they were originally right at the forefront of the expansion of folk music, taking this form of oldie worldie music and kicking it into the sphere of rock, helping create the genre better known as Americana. Yet Jefferson Airplane are still better known as a Psychedelic band first and foremost.

Jefferson Airplane's follow up to their debut 1966 "Take Off" album, was released in the early part of 1967 on the RCA Label entitled Surrealistic Pillow. At its core was a well crafted, well forged link between Folk Rock and Psychedelia, which would ultimately form the soundtrack to the Summer of Love for San Francisco and probably for the rest of the world too.

The first Jefferson Airplane album was heavily influenced by front man Marty Balin, but with Surrealistic Pillow, the song writing duties were well and truly shared out between the band. These songs are all underpinned by the excellent work of producer Rick Jerrard, who curbed Jefferson Airplane's tendency to drift musically and got them instead to create wonderful 3-4 minute classics. Maybe this was not to the taste of some Airplane enthusiasts, but I love the combination of sharp songs with the trippyness of it all, quite a feat for the period.

Another noticeable difference between Jefferson Airplane debut and the Surrealistic Pillow album was the inclusion of Grace Slick into the line up, replacing Signe Anderson, who left the band to raise a family. Grace came from other San Francisco stalwarts The Great Society; she came with some new songs and an unmistakeable powerful voice. It should be said that Anderson too when given the chance could belt out a few notes, like with the song Chauffeur Blues for example. But Slick, certainly on Surrealistic Pillow anyway, stepped into the band like she owned the joint.



This is by far Jefferson Airplane's finest hour, songs like the beautiful Embryonic Journey, mixed in with powerful Grace Slick performances on White Rabbit and Somebody to Love, with a dash of Marty Balin on songs like Plastic Fantastic Lover, and combining all of the above with the brilliant 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds, this release really is a quality piece of work, which must truly match any tangible landmark San Francisco can offer................and I'm talking to you Golden Gate Bridge.

Although Jefferson Airplane had at least three more quality albums in their repertoire by 1970, ultimately I don't think they ever topped this album in their golden spell era. This is not only a bookmark on popular culture from 1967; it is also a pretty brilliant album too, which can only mean that you should own it. Buy it now.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:31 AM   #156 (permalink)
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Concluding my look at Dylan's Holy Trinity

Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
(1965)



Tracks

1 Subterranean Homesick Blues 2:21
2 She Belongs to Me 2:47
3 Maggie's Farm 3:54
4 Love Minus Zero/No Limit 2:51
5 Outlaw Blues 3:05
6 On the Road Again 2:35
7 Bob Dylan's 115th Dream 6:30
8 Mr. Tambourine Man 5:30
9 Gates of Eden 5:40
10 It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) 7:29
11 It's All over Now, Baby Blue 4:12



By 1964, Robert Allen Zimmerman had already established himself as the figurehead for an entire generation, and in particular for those souls living in a little corner of New York called Greenwich Village. On albums like The Freewheeliní and The Times They Are A-Changin, Bob Dylan seemed to be able to hit the right nerve every time with his lyrics and presence. His demeanour was unrepentant; in a style like no other, he could captivate a whole audience with his biting words, harmonica and guitar.

But what of the year Dylan became the legend? 1965, yes, it is all very well documented about Dylanís Judas moment back at Manchesterís Free Trade Hall and of course the first time Bob plugged in at Newport, but such renowned tales can often overshadow the actual qualities of what has physically been created along with the fable.

In March 1965, Dylan released his fifth album. Entitled Bringing It All Back Home, many probably would describe it as the moment Dylan went electric, but for me it is much more than that. What can be overlooked in all the emphasis on Dylanís backing band and his quality of amp, is that this album is well and truly one of the great transitional albums. On timings alone, this fifth release by Dylan is almost as acoustic as it is plugged in, yet it is still renowned for being the latter.

Bringing It All Back Home was produced by Tom Wilson, the same producer for Dylanís Another Side Of and The Times They Are A-Changin'. His role here I think cannot be underestimated, what is actually really impressive about the production on this album, is the way it seamlessly wonders between Folk and Rock with ease. So good are these transitions, you can be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss was actually about, as this record sounds the perfectly logical step forward for Dylanís song writing that it indeed was, somewhat softening the explosive leap forward it must have in fact been.

On the matter of the songs themselves, well any album containing songs as raw as Maggieís Farm, merged with the jumping Subterranean Homesick Blues, mixed with the wondrousness of Bob Dylanís 115th Dream, combined with the political Mr Tambourine Man and topped off nicely with the poignant Its All Over Now, Baby Blue, yes an album this ranging must be worth a note of attention me thinks.



Along with Highway 61 Revisited from the same year, and 1966ís Blonde on Blonde, Bringing It All Back Home was one of Dylanís Holy Trinity; it does not get much better musically than these three albums. However, what does make this particular album different from the other two is its nod to Dylanís initial persona from 1962. Despite its initial detractors, I think Bringing It All Back Home has become the unlikely gateway into Dylanís time as a folk icon, as well as becoming the gateway into Dylanís time as the greatest songwriter from the mid sixties period. So on that bombshell; do you honestly need anymore reasons to own this album?


The Rest of The Holy Trinity

Highway 61 Revisited - 1965

Blonde on Blonde - 1966
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:26 PM   #157 (permalink)
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The Beatles - Abbey Road
(1969)



Tracks

1 Come Together 4:19
2 Something 3:02
3 Maxwell's Silver Hammer 3:27
4 Oh! Darling 3:27
5 Octopus's Garden 2:50
6 I Want You (She's So Heavy) 7:47
7 Here Comes the Sun 3:05
8 Because 2:45
9 You Never Give Me Your Money 4:02
10 Sun King 2:26
11 Mean Mr. Mustard 1:06
12 Polythene Pam 1:12
13 She Came in Throught the Bathroom Window 1:58
14 Golden Slumbers 1:31
15 Carry That Weight 1:36
16 The End 2:21
17 Her Majesty :27



After an almost era closing recording session in front of the cameraís in Twickenham in early 1969, The Beatles were on their last legs. The brief of these infamous Let It Be recordings was simple, almost too simple in fact. Lennon had already agreed to the presence of George Martin at the sessions, on the proviso that there would be none of his production methods going anywhere near the music. After a few weeks of this back to basics method and several bloody noses, The Beatles threw in the towel.

Aside from the feeling that the band had well and truly ran out of steam; money, poor business decisions, internal rivalry, women and artistic differences had all conspired together to ensure that no matter how special they may have been once upon a time, this band were now going the way of all bands, to a break-up of some kind.

But could the band end on Let It Be? It wasnít that bad an album was it? Well, no it was not, but The Fab Four went back into the studio for one last hurrah anyway. George Martin after witnessing the sorry state of the Twickenham episode laid down the law from outset, there would be no backseat for Martin in these new sessions. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios in the Spring of 1969, the results of the last ever Beatles recording session was the release of their 11th studio album, entitled Abbey Road.



Call it a complete and utter rebound on the back to basics approach from Let It Be, but this album was criticised back on its original release for the general over production feel of it all. You can certainly hear the effort that has gone into producing such an album and considering this was the follow up to the formidable White Album, you can understand the criticism to some extent. But you do have to remember that everyone pretty much knew this was the last time they were ever going to work together and that includes George Martin, who certainly rose to the occasion.

Also knowing deep down that this was the last goodbye was of course the band. Everywhere you look on this album there is a memorable flash from at least one of the four. Be it George Harrison pulling out Something and Here Comes The Sun from the bag, Lennonís iconic performance of Come Together, Ringoís drum solo or McCartneyís twist and shout moment on Oh! Darling, The Beatles were certainly in their own special place recording this LP.

The now celebrated part of this album was very much a team effort though. The sixteen minute medley from track nine onwards must surely rank up there with one of the most momentous creations in musical history. The idea of merging two half finished songs had already been done on A Day in The Life on Pepper in 67, but on Abbey Road, The Beatles take it to new heights. For me personally though, there is no better song on this album than track number 6; I Want You (Sheís So Heavy), is just an unbelievable and staggering song.



Now heralded as one of the greatest albums ever recorded, it is easy to forget what an endeavour this album actually was. Five men, who had become tired of each other musically and personally, put their issues to one side and for a couple of weeks anyway, regressed back in time to create an album which some call their finest work ever. It is sad to think that this was actually the last time these men were ever together in a studio, but thankfully, someone brought a couple of mikes and pressed record.
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Old 02-14-2010, 02:04 PM   #158 (permalink)
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One from the archive now,

Here is another chance to hear me talking to Gary Burger, lead singer of legendary sixties band the Monks, first aired on July 11th 2009.

The Monks were five ex-American GIs based out in Germany during the mid sixties. They made one album in 1966 entitled Black Monk Time, which has developed into quite the cult album on this forum

Gary Burger Interview


Album Review
Monks - Black Monk Time (1966)

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:51 AM   #159 (permalink)
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The Hollies - Evolution
(1967)



Tracks

1 Carrie-Anne 2:55
2 Stop Right There 2:23
3 Rain on the Window 3:10
4 Then the Heartaches Begin 2:44
5 Ye Olde Toffee Shoppe 2:17
6 You Need Love 2:28
7 Heading for a Fall 2:17
8 Games We Play 2:46
9 Lullaby to Tim 3:00
10 Have You Ever Loved Somebody 2:57
11 When Your Lights Turned On 2:31
12 Water on the Brain 2:22
13 Jennifer Eccles 2:44
14 Signs That Will Never Change 2:29
15 Open Up Your Eyes 2:49


Once upon a time, there were three big bands who ruled the airwaves in the UK in the 1960ís. One was a band from London who frightened parents, this group of degenerates were known as The Rolling Stones. There was also a band from Liverpool called The Beatles who did quite well. But there was another, a five piece originating from my hometown of Salford, near Manchester, whose use of harmonies, melody and hooks would make them a match for any band from their day, I am of course referring to The Hollies.

However, time has been cruel, The Hollies for whatever reason have now faded away from memory somewhat over recent years. Lack of mentions in the NME and a sorry list of revival tours and albums, have probably put to bed any hope that The Hollies will ever be considered hip enough to gain back their rightful place alongside more illustrious names. Truth be told, when you think of The Hollies, you either remember your initial surprise when you were first told Graham Nash was once in the band, or likelier, you remember how your Gran used to play them an awful lot when you were growing up.

But maybe the tide is finally turning, yes for The Hollies have two albums now reissued on the marvellously hallowed Sundazed Records, one of which I want to share with you today. Originally released in 1967, Evolution by The Hollies marked a noticeable directional shift for the band. Being 1967, The Hollies would have been lagging slightly behind if they had maintained the nicey nicey approach of previous records. Instead, on this release they have embraced the Psychedelic nature of the time but still managed to stay true to their roots, which has ensured that this album is easily one of the most accessible Psychedelic records from the period.



Of course the strength of this album, as was the strength of the band through the sixties really, was the duo of Graham Nash and Allan Clarke. These two could literally make peopleís hairs stand on end at the first hint of a note to come from their mouths. But also with key hook contributions coming from Tony Hicks' guitar, The Hollies could seriously write a quality tune or two, and guess what? This album has several.

Obviously songs like Carrie Anne and Jennifer Eccles could be described as your standard Holliesí fare, but aside from these brilliant pop songs, there is some quality Psychedelia on here and the odd toe dip into Freakbeat too, there is even a time when Baroque is called upon in places. I somehow doubt this was the album my Gran played to me as a child thatís for sure! And with a front cover designed by Apple Boutiqueís very own shopkeepers, The Fool, you could describe this album as one of the essentials of 1967.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:51 AM   #160 (permalink)
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I am not that knowledgeable of The Hollies but you tweaked a childhood memory that's for sure. Jennifer Eccles is a song that I have not heard since.................well a very very very long time ago. So very very very long ago that I would never have even thought of it ever again except for this review. It has brought back the memoires of my youth. I have just played it on Youttube and am wolf whistling at the appropriate moments. Well done TheCellarTapes, not only for that nostalgic tweak but for a fine fine Journal.
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