tisdag 19 mars 2019

BESSIE SMITH/BLUES TO BARRELHOUSE - THE BESSIE SMITH STORY VOL. 2 CL 856 (-51/-55) US MONO

The second of four Bessie Smith (1894-1937) compilations of early recordings, originally issued November 1951 on Columbia (GL 503-506). The one shown here is a mid-fifties re-press of the second, containing transfers from 78:s recorded 1924-33. She was one of the first blues artist on record and also early part of the "Rabbit Foot Minstrels" gang around Ma Rainey (1886-1939) - the woman who's been crowned "The Mother Of Blues". Important history indeed - doesn't matter if you're into the black American 20th century blues heroes or later white blues and hard rock...this is right from where it started. Not the subsequently more common solo guitar-vocal setting, but as a growth from New Orleans jazz and accompanied by a band. Of course there may have been others performing it differently even before, but they didn't record anything so we'll never know for sure. The audio they managed to get out of the 78:s here is surprisingly good - strong, clear and warm. Her singing is emotional with lots of zest, personal yet touching. I'm moved, not only by the songs, but by getting a chunk of 1920:s New Orleans transported to my living room and thus allowing me to be a witness to the birth of blues as we know it. Just have to close my eyes in my listening chair and I'm there. Hunky-dory. This second issue came on the six-eye label as shown here on thick vinyl, but keeping same sleeve design as the original. (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*) (NYFÖ*) (FÄV*)

söndag 17 mars 2019

CLARENCE CARTER/THIS IS CLARENCE CARTER SD 8192 (-68) US

A couple of years ago as my interest for American sixties soul was reawakened I got a new start with some renowned stars as Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Arthur Conley and the Motown gang. Very good indeed, yet after getting in closer and finding more and more tophole black soul I didn't have a clue about before I'm starting to realise what an extensive genre it is and that my time here may be too short for any attempt to a blanket screening. But I can live with that as long as gems like this keeps showing up. Still learning about his background and carreer myself from this wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarence_Carter . If interested it's better you go there than me copying assorted facts...or just read the liner notes below. This was his debute album, built by a mix of single tracks - four A:s and two B:s - and ones recorded solely for the LP. Anyway made it all sounds pleasant to my ears. His voice is touching - dark and rich, fitting both ballads and power soul - and the backing emotionally supportive. I'm surprised the record wasn't a bigger success back then and that it isn't mentioned more today, cause it has everything needed to be a hit - tophole vocals carried by a proficient band and a number of great songs. My favorites are the uptempo ones - "Looking For A Fox", "I'm Qualified", "Funky Fever" and "She Aint Gonna Do Right" - but it's all good listening and a keeper for sure. Also originally issued on Atlantic in Canada, Germany, UK and as US mono promo. First US stock release had label as shown here and glossy cover. (YZÄ*)

fredag 15 mars 2019

DAVID BOWIE/RARE PL 45406 (-82) UK

A collection originally compiled at RCA studios in Rome for the Italian market, whereafter it was picked up and released all over Europe and Downunder. Not approved by Bowie himself, who even publically announced that he didn't like the album and it has been cited as one of the reasons he decided to leave RCA for EMI. However the partnership didn't work out and why he disliked is history now, but the LP still exists and listening today it's not bad at all as you get lots of rare cuts for the first time on LP. Beside the Italian "Space Oddity", part German "Heroes" and the US 45 edit of "Young Americans" I get no less than six previously non-LP 45 B-sides and a couple of such A-sides. The former flips are all aces in my book - "Holy, Holy", "Round And Round" "Velvet Goldmine", "Amsterdam" and the "Panic In Detroit" live take. Of the A:s "Moon Of Alabama" is odd enough listening and even if I prefer the initial 45 version of "John I'm Only Dancing" this disco take is quite good too. "Crystal Japan" - released as both A (1980 in Japan) and B (1981 to "Up The Hill Backwards") - isn't one I dive into a lot, but as it was a product of the "Scary Monsters" sessions I just gotta have it. Audio a-ok providing good listening. All the songs and takes have shown up later on countless vinyl, cassette and CD compilations, but since this was the first it's also my first choice. To my knowledge never issued in US or on legal CD. First UK had label as shown here and thin fully laminated cover with lyric inner. (PKÅ*)

onsdag 13 mars 2019

STATUS QUO/ON THE LEVEL 9102 002 (-75) UK

My fourth and last post handeling the band's early Vertigo tetralogy. This their eighth album in total also became a first major breakthrough - entering the UK chart at #1 and having top sales Downunder and all over Europe - with the spawned 45 - "Down, Down" - getting a similar result. Back then I found it less exciting than their pervious ones. After the hard "Hello!" and downright cruel "Quo" this felt more mellow and crowd pleasing and therefore didn't hit me the same way. The young man I was then needed more rage. But forgetting about the past and listening today it's still a very good rock'n'roll album, tighter and more swinging than much from other now more publically appreciated bands. These guys could really play, welded together as one. "Most Of The Time" is heavy blues with an abundance of good guitars, "Where I Am" a sweet ballad and "Bye Bye Johnny" a fast and intense version of the Berry song. The rest signature boogie rock with lots and lots of prominent guitars. A positive journey without second thoughts or pondering of any kind. So if you're into easy-peasy rock'n'roll and for some reason haven't got it yet I recommend you try. Issued and reissued on about every format all over the world through the years. US vinyl on Capitol (ST-11381). Japan 2013 CD Vertigo UICY 75695) came with single version of "Down Down" and four live takes as bonus. Premiere UK had label as shown here and fully structured fold/out cover with lyric insert. (WLÖ*)(STÄQ*)

måndag 11 mars 2019

CROSBY, STILLS, NASH & YOUNG/CELEBRATION RECORD ATL 40.273 (-71) US/GERMANY

In USA and Canada released as promo only in both mono and stereo, titled "Month Celebration Copy" (Atlantic PR-165), but eventually also issued as stock compilation in a couple of other countries. Made from the same matrixes, or tapes, though in some cases having differering titles and/or sleeve designs. What you get is twelve recordings from the combo's early years. Side one solo cuts with two each from Stills, Crosby and Nash, side two group efforts with four from the quartet and two by Crosby, Stills & Nash only. Even if I have all tracks before and this German isn't the promo original it still has valuable features. Track choice is superduper, only thing I'm not 100% in with is the audio. Though more or less ok not up there with the original US issues of each song - here brighter and less natural, maybe from adjustments for radio play. Matrixes are etched like the promo, showing on a US Presswell make, and the "Broadway" label design also as US, bar a small "GEMA" upper right and German number at bottom above the "PR 165". Judging from that I'm confused to what extent you can call it a German issue or a US export, so I'll leave that be. After what I can see by checking the net the US came in a single cover, which apparently was used as a model for the thin glossy inner sleeve here. The outer cover on this is a thick three-way folded giant poster, having six natural size front pics from the involved albums on one side and a huge "Deja Vu" image on the other. Beautiful! (GÖXÄ*) (ZHÄ*) (ÖRJ*)

lördag 9 mars 2019

LED ZEPPELIN/IV SD 7208 (-71) US

Another of those LP:s this page wouldn't be complete without and I don't have a clue what to write that would add anything to the cornucopia of info already on the net, or how to flaunt any special personal experience. But let's give it a try. I agree it is a masterpiece deserving a high position on any best rock albums list. A fine blend of quirky and common, making it at the same time both slightly odd and very catchy. I especially like the interaction between Page and Bonham, where the drums sometimes seem to be linked to the guitars rather than the bass thus creating an almost organic rhythm pattern. Have to admit I am very tired of "Stairway To Heaven" after all those years. Big lover from the start, but after getting it shoved down my ears and being constantly reminded of its greatness for decades I'm fed up. Can watch it from afar and agree it's good, but I never wanna sit through it again...ever. Happy all the other songs still work for me and then especially "When The Levee Breaks" carried by some of the most hard hit drums ever recorded, the psych rock marvel "Four Sticks" and "The Battle Of Evermore" embellished by a graceful Sandy Denny. Issued and reissued on every possible format through the years, sometimes recognized as "Untitled" or "Zoso". Premiere UK on Atlantic plum label (2401012). Not sure about the exact timeline for this US copy, but as the matrixes have "Porky" and "Pecko Duck" and all other signs coinciding with a UK 1st press it's with all certainty a UK George Peckham mastering then exported to US. It came with label as shown here in a matt fold/out cover and slightly structured inner with tracking, credits and lyrics to "Stairway To Heaven". (LÖZ*)

torsdag 7 mars 2019

THE GUITAR ALBUM 2488 162 (-73) GERMANY

Just a reminder of an excellent guitar album. 2-LP set expedient for all us lovers still into vinyl who don't have the ability to get everything on original 33 or 45 rpm:s. Containing good deeds from sixteen top players, with sleeve having added info on artists and recordings. Feels fantastic to get Eric Clapton, BB King, Pete Townsend, John McLaughlin, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, Jan Akkerman, Mick Taylor and many more guitar legends on one album. Here represented by original recordings of some classic numbers - "All Along The Watchtower", "The Ox", "Let It Rain", "Extrapolation", "Tell The Truth" and "Sweet Sixteen"...just to name a few. Audio shifts a little depending on origin, but non bad and larger part tophole. First released all over Europe and in Israel, Downunder plus a couple of South American countries. Premiere UK on Polydor (2489-079/80). To my knowledge never issued on CD. First German had label as shown here and laminated fold/out cover. (SÄM*) (GÖXÄ*)

tisdag 5 mars 2019

WILSON PICKETT/THE SOUND OF WILSON PICKETT SD 8145 (-67) US

After the debute being released on Liberty's Double-L label and the next three on Atlantic (check here for those - https://monolover.blogspot.com/search?q=%28P%C3%96C*%29) , this was his fifth full-lengther with no sign of weakening of any kind. Sounding more like a Greatest Hits than a regular album, and in a way it was as almost all songs from it were issued on 45 and many of them doing well on toplists. A very good blend of funk, soul and blues performed by devout vocals to a skilled and empathetic backing. If you're like me and appreciate or even love US period soul there's not a bad cut on it. Either slow moving - as "I Found The One", "I'm Sorry About That" and "Something Within Me" - or sped up - like "Love Is A Beautiful Thing", "Mojo Mama" and "You Can't Stand Alone" - it's a safe and delectable journey you don't wanna end before the last track has ceased. Both stereo mix and audio tophole. Issued and reissued all over the world on vinyl and CD through the years. Also as US mono (8145). UK mono and stereo on Atlantic (587/588 080). Not sure about timeline or circumstances for this US press. Matrixes ST-A-671041/2-A with both "AT" and "W" on the dead vinyl. Maybe You can figure it out. Anyway I'm guessing early having ridged label as shown here and glossy stickered cover with Atlantic ad inner. (YZÄ*) (PÖC*)

söndag 3 mars 2019

IAN MATTHEWS/IF YOU SAW THRO' MY EYES VEL-1002 (-71) US

An LP I've seen to and from in the used bins for decades, but for some reason never could raise enough interest to pick up. Now after finally done it and connected the dots I regret it didn't happen earlier. Cause besides being a good folk rock album, offering catchy well performed songs, it also has an obvious Fairport Convention connection...a band I'm always trying to collect. After quitting FC during the recordings of "Unhalfbricking" Matthews started his own band "Matthews Southern Comfort" and then in style moving towards American country and rockabilly. They issued two albums and got one big hit with a cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woostock" - topping the UK list and reaching #23 on Billboard - after which he left for a solo carreer. This was the first of two albums he recorded for Vertigo. On this backed by, among others, guitarist Richard Thompson - just out of FC himself - and the lovely Sandy Denny singing backgound on most tracks and playing piano on one. A very appealing blend of UK folk and US country with his voice bright and sensitive to a carefully adaptive backing. Three cuts - "Reno Nevada", "Desert Inn" and "Morgan The Pirate" - uptempo, the rest tender. Nothing bad here, but if to choose a favorite it'd be the sweet title track where he's sharing lead vocals with Denny. The audio on this US press is top of the line - strong and natural with perfect separation - providing very good listening. Issued and reissued in a large part of the world through the years on vinyl, Cassette, reel and CD. Premiere UK on Vertigo (6360 034). First US had labels as shown here and sturdy matt fold/out cover. (WLÖ*) (FÄHZ*) (BRYF*)