Thursday, 27 October 2016

"Teenage Licks/Ontinuous Performance" by STONE THE CROWS [feat Maggie Bell on Vocals, Lesley Harvey and Jimmy McCulloch on Guitars] (2015 Angel Air 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Keep On Rollin'..." 

England's Angel Air Label did a 2CD solid by the first two albums from Scotland's STONE THE CROWS back in September 2015 (see separate review). This October 2015 next-stage twofer gives us their 3rd and 4th platters on Polydor from 1971 and 1972 before the band imploded after the loss of their founder and inspiration Lesley Harvey (brother of Alex) from a freak electrocution accident on stage in May 1972.

Both their debut "Stone The Crows" and its follow-up "Ode To John Law” had been released in July 1970 and February 1971 to critical acclaim but few sales. Fronted by not one but two stunning Vocalists in Maggie Bell and James Dewar – Scotland's STONE THE CROWS also boasted the guitar talents of Leslie 'Les' Harvey (younger brother of Alex Harvey) and the songwriting genius of Keyboardist John McGinnis. Both Dewar and McGinnis had jumped ship by album number three "Teenage Licks" – replaced by Keyboard wizard Ronnie Leahy and then adding Jimmy McCulloch on Guitars for their final studio LP "Ontinuous Performance" (ex Thunderclap Newman and later with McCartney's Wings).

I've been after their wicked run of four albums on Polydor between 1970 and 1972 on affordable/decent CD remasters for years now – and at long last Angel Air of the UK (and in conjunction with the band) have acquired the tapes and remastered all four back into digital form and even found space to chuck on four bonus live tracks. Here are the pious birds of good omen...

UK released October 2015 – "Teenage Licks/Ontinuous Performance" by STONE THE CROWS on Angel Air SJPCD468 (Barcode 5055011704688) gives us their last two studio albums onto a 2CD set with four bonus tracks and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (49:22 minutes):
1. Big Jim Salter
2. Faces
3. Mr. Wizard
4. Don't Think Twice
5. Keep On Rollin' [Side 2]
6. Ailen Mochree
7. One Five Eight
8. I May Be Right But I May Be Wrong
9. Seven Lakes
Tracks 1 to 9 are their third studio LP "Teenage Licks" – released September 1971 in the UK on Polydor Super 2425 071 and January 1972 in the USA on Polydor PD 5020. Produced by MARK LONDON – Engineered by EDDIE OFFORD, GEORGE CHIANTZ and MARTIN RUSHENT.

BONUS TRACKS:
10. Let It Down (Live)
11. Going Down (Live)
Tracks 10 and 11 are from the "Radio Sessions: 1969-72" – originally UK released May 2009 as a 2CD Stone The Crows set on Angel Air SJPCD272

For "Teenage Licks" STONE THE CROWS was:
MAGGIE BELL – Lead Vocals
LESLEY 'Les' HARVEY – Guitars, Recorders
RONNIE LEAHY – Keyboards
STEVE THOMPSON - Bass
COLIN ALLEN – Drums and Percussion

Guests:
Dundee Horns (pre Average White Band) featuring:
Roger Ball, Malcolm 'Molly' Duncan and Noel (?) who play brass on "Mr. Wizard"
Wee Marie (?) sings on "Faces" and "Don't Think Twice"

Disc 2 (48:05 minutes):
1. On The Highway
2. One More Chance
3. Penicillin Blues
4. King Tut [Side 2]
5. Good Time Girl
6. Niagara
7. Sunset Cowboy
Tracks 1 to 7 are their 4th and final studio album "Ontinuous Performance" – released October 1972 in the UK on Polydor Super 2391 043 and in the USA on Polydor PD 5037. Produced by MARK LONDON – Engineered by MARTIN RUSHENT and JOHN BROMLEY.

BONUS TRACKS:
8. Good Time Girl (Live)
9. Penicillin Blues (Live)
Tracks 8 and 9 are from the "Radio Sessions: 1969-72" – UK released May 2009 as a 2CD Stone The Crows set on Angel Air SJPCD272

For "Ontinuous Performance" STONE THE CROWS was:
MAGGIE BELL – Lead Vocals
LESLEY HARVEY – Guitars on Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6
JIMMY McCULLOCH – Guitars on Tracks 5 and 7
RONNIE LEAHY – Keyboards
STEVE THOMPSON - Bass
COLIN ALLEN – Drums and Percussion
Guests: Roger Ball and Malcolm Duncan of the Dundee Horns

Although the 8-page inlay has new liner notes from Malcolm Dome and includes interviews with Maggie Bell and Colin Allen as well as a few photos – it's a disappointingly slight affair that doesn’t even bother to provide catalogue numbers for the LPs or proper release dates. What you do get is a potted history of the Scottish band arising out of the ashes of The Power who were managed by Zeppelin's Peter Grant. Grant had them change their name because an American group had already nabbed it – and it was he who suggested the much cooler moniker of STONE THE CROWS. A nice touch is that each CD is a picture disc of the album front covers – and the inner gatefold artwork for the beautiful-looking "Teenage Licks" album (done by C.C.S.) is used as a backdrop to the text on most pages. But there are sloppy typo errors in the band names like Jimmie instead on Jimmy and Collen instead of Colin. The inside of the rear inlay advertises other Stone the Crow and Maggie Bell releases on Angel Air...

There is no mention of who remastered the albums but there is a credit that the material is licenced from Maggie Bell and Colin Allen. The audio is a mixed bag of brilliant clarity one moment followed by awful hiss the next (thankfully the later is more in ascendancy).

The moment you play the two opening tracks of "Teenage Licks" - the kick-ass boogie of "Big Jim Salter" and the Rod Stewart soulful saunter of "Faces" - you're aware of two things - the great Remaster and why Maggie Bell won 'Vocalist Of The Year' so many times in those early years. Her rasp is fabulous and combined with the huge organ sound achieved by Leahy - the effect is like The Faces meets The Stones in 1971 with a woman leading out front instead of Jagger or Rodders. I still don't know the identity of 'Wee Mary' credited on the back cover of the album who harmonises so perfectly with Maggie Bell on "Faces" - answers on a postcard please. We then get the Brian Auger funky "Mr. Wizard" - a chugger written by Allen, Bell and Harvey. It starts with Auger organ notes floating over a cool backbeat but is soon joined by what Maggie Bell nicknamed the 'Dundee Horns' - several members of the Average White on brass. And dig that Harvey guitar work as Maggie roars about incantations. It's a dreadful cliché to cover a Dylan song but Stone The Crows turn "Don't Think Twice" into something Rock-Soulful - a superb version with real power.

Side 2 opens with the rollicking "Keep On Rollin'" - a boozy piano/guitar boogie with Maggie letting rip on those 'carry our heavy load' images while Harvey riffs alongside some Leahy organ soloing. The Scottish Traditional "Ailen Mochree" is 25-seconds of Maggie doing an Acapella rendition before things get all guitar/organ trippy and weird on the McGinnis composition "One Five Eight". I love this track - just when you've pigeonholed Stone The Crows as purely a good-time band - they give you the slightly Proggy five-minutes plus of "One Five Eight". Surely one of everyone's fave raves is the brilliant Faces boogie of "I May Be Right But I May be Wrong" - the kind of early Seventies piano/guitar romp that I've stuck on countless 70ts Fest CD-Rs. The album then ends on the slow piano and acoustic guitars of "Seven Lakes" and you're left thinking - why didn't this corking LP create more of a stir?

After three good LPs failed to make an impression on the British album charts – inexplicably the public seemed to notice record number four and the weirdly titled "Ontinuous Performance" charted first week of October 1972. Spurred on by this – Polydor launched "Good Time Girl" backed with "On The Highway" as a British 45 in November 1972 (Polydor 2058 301) but it failed to make the desired impression. No other singles were tried. With the whole album dedicated to Harvey who had passed in May 1972 from a freak accident (killed on the stage) - many feel "Ontinuous Performance" is somehow a lesser album but I've always liked it. Leahy's "One More Chance" allows Maggie to be Soulful while the (admittedly hissy) slide of "Penicillin Blues" lets both Harvey and Bell give it some Delta like its in their very DNA. I love the slinky instrumental "King Tut" but I'd warn that it's incredibly hissy here. 

Things cheer up with the obvious British Rock 'n' Roll single of "Good Time Girl" - where Maggie assures us that she's not after the local talent (no matter what the people might say). The nine-minute Leahy composition "Niagara" rocks for a few minutes before slowing down into an ambling Blues for its centrepiece - Harvey proving why his guitar playing was such a loss to the band. The power-ballad of "Sunset Cowboy" ends Side 2 with a very Soulful feel as Maggie matches Leahy's echoed piano playing. Very tasty indeed...even if it is a tad hissy in places...

It's not all undiluted genius for sure but Scotland's Stone The Crows are remembered with huge affection – and on the strength of this cool British CD Reissue - it's easy to hear why...

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

"Runt: Deluxe Edition" by TODD RUNDGREN (September 2014 Edsel 'Deluxe Edition' 2CD Reissue/Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Post Hanging Days..."

Back in May 2014 - Edsel of the UK began celebrating TODD RUNDGREN albums with 'Deluxe Edition' packaging upgrades - hardback book editions of key albums in his extensive back catalogue. The first three were "Something/Anything?" (a double-album from 1972), "A Wizard A True Star" (a single album from 1973) and "Todd" (another double from 1974). 

So here's the next batch of three for September 2014 - "Initiation" and "Hermit Of Mink Hollow " from 1975 and 1978 (see reviews) - and this - the forgotten "Runt" album - his 1970 solo debut LP for Ampex Records in the States - now extended into a double-CD edition with a bonus. Here are the details...

UK released 9 September 2014 (23 September in the USA) - "Runt: Deluxe Edition" by TODD RUNDGREN on Edsel EDSK 7075 (Barcode 740155707538) is a 2CD reissue of their October 2011 double that combined "Runt" (both versions). For this 2014 issue you get "Runt" only in its original 10-track album form on Disc 1 - with a 12-track 'Alternate Runt' on Disc 2 that also boasts a further bonus track. Here are the finite details for both versions:

Disc 1 "Runt" - US-only LP released May 1970 on Ampex A 10105 (40:50 minutes):
1. Broke Down And Busted (4:32 minutes)
2. Believe In Me (2:01 minutes)
3. We Gotta Get You A Woman (3:06 minutes)
4. Who's That Man? (2:59 minutes)
5. Once Burned (2:06 minutes)
6. Devil's Bite (3:52 minutes)
7. I'm In The Clique (4:55 minutes)
8. There Are No Words (2:09 minutes)
9. Baby, Let's Swing / The Last Thing You Said / Don't Tie My Hands (5:25 minutes)
10. Birthday Carol (9:12 minutes)

Disc 2 "The Alternate Runt" - November 1970 Version (51:47 minutes):
1. Broke Down And Busted (Intro: There Are No Words) (4:56 minutes)
2. Believe In Me (Alternate Mix) (1:58 minutes)
3. We Gotta Get You A Woman (Alternate Mix) (3:04 minutes)
4. Who's That Man? (Same as on the original version)
5. Once Burned (Same as on the original version)
6. Hope I'm Around (Early Version - different to the one that's on "The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren" album
7. Devil's Bite (Alternate Mix with extended guitar solo)
8. I'm In The Clique (Same as on the original version)
9. There Are No Words (Same as on the original version)
10. Baby Let's swing (Full Length Song)
11. Say No More (Exclusive to this version)
12. Birthday Carol (With some alterations)

13.Broke Down And Busted (Live At Carnegie Hall, June 8, 1972) - a BONUS TRACK. Originally released on the "Something/Anything" 2CD set in 1998

The attached 12-page booklet within has liner notes by Paul Myers from his superb tome "A Wizard, A True Star - Todd Rundgren In The Studio" and is an excellent read. There are black and white photos of a young and shorthaired Rundgren in the studio as well the hand-written album credits. The lovely Bob Zoell cartoon artwork on the rear of the original Ampex Records album is reproduced on the back of the hardback book gatefold. There is no new remaster that I can hear - this is the Edsel February 2012 version - that in itself was a Peter Rynston UK master using the 1993 American Rhino remasters. Don't get me wrong - the sound is superb. The only upgrade here is the cool-looking book packaging - which is a rather lovely thing to behold...

As a debut after NAZZ - "Runt" showed great promise and tracks like the 3-part "Baby Let's Swing" song (about Laura Nyro) were amazingly complicated and accomplished at one and the same time - and yet the whole album to me always lacked some kind of cohesion. I say this because when you hear the `Alternate' version - it hangs together better. Right from the get go there's the beautiful and ethereal vocals of "There Are No Words" as an opening for about 30 seconds - then it goes into the "Broke Down And Busted" we all know and love. The released album version of the delicate and rather lovely "Believe In Me" is better than the remix which gets too busy with instrument flourishes that distract. I love the inclusion of "Hope I'm Around" - it gives the whole album a more mellow feel and somehow makes "Runt" more about feelings rather than studio trickery. And the extended "Devil's Bite" rocks more. The "Laura" song "Baby, Let's Swing" stretches out and is better for it and the brass-meets-rock of "Birthday Carol" amazes me even to this day. With its hooky melody - "We Gotta Get You A Woman" was an obvious single (lyrics from it title this review) and the gorgeous 2-minute spacey vocal piece that is "There Are No Words" is properly amazing.

So there you have it - remastered and remixed - this is a very cool little reissue really - and a timely reminder of his genius...
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"Dog Of Two Head" by STATUS QUO (2003 Sanctuary/Castle Music 'Expanded Edition' CD - Sean Magee Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Something's Going On..." 

If 1970's "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" started the Status Quo Boogie Blitz of the Seventies rolling - November 1971's "Dog Of Two Head" is where 'From The Makers Of' began to win real legions of devoted fans.

Their last studio effort for Pye Records (the label would issue a cash-in 'Best Of' in 1973) - the quirkily named "Dog Of Two Head" album is a good old Rock record and a hair's breath away from the sheer head's down riffage of "Piledriver" in late 1972 (their first LP for England's Vertigo Records). In fact re-listening to it in 2016 and I'm brought back to zits, jeans and throwing embarrassing shapes with tennis racquets in the front room of my Dublin home as my poor parents looked on in their Black and White Minstrel Show amazement (and moral despair). I'd also forgotten how good it is (even the three "Nanana" extracts). Here are the Mean Girls, Gerdundula's and Railroads...

UK released February 2003 (reissued August 2013) - "Dog Of Two Head" by STATUS QUO on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMQCD 755 (Barcode 5050159175529) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with five Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (56:13 minutes):

1. Umleitung
2. Nanana (Extraction)
3. Something's Going On In My Mind
4. Mean Girl
5. Nanana (Extraction)
6. Gerdundula [Side 2]
7. Railroad
8. Someone's Learning
9. Nanana
Tracks 1 to 9 are their 4th studio album "Dog Of Two Head" - released 5 November 1971 in the UK on Pye Records NSPL 18371 and Pye Records PYE 3301 in the USA. It didn't chart in either country.

BONUS TRACKS:
10. Mean Girl (Early Rough/Alternate Mix)
11. Tune To The Music (7" Single) - 18 June 1971 UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N 45077, A - Non-album track
12. Good Thinking (7" single) - 18 June 1971 UK 7" single on Pye Records 7N 45077, B-side to "Tune To The Music" - Non-album track
BBC Session for the John Peel Show 3 March 1972
13. Mean Girl
14. Railroad

The 8-squares-per-side foldout inlay is a feast of fan memorabilia that is itself bolstered up by superlative and seriously detailed liner notes from DAVE OXLEY. Chief-mover and idea's man on the reissue was JOHN REED who has been behind so many great reissues and is a compiler fans trust and admire. SEAN MAGEE at Masterpiece did the superbly muscular Remasters and there's a special thanks to LIAM MOORE at the BBC for the Sessions. There are repro's of pictures sleeves for singles I've never seen - a Euro version of "Railroad" cut into a Part 1 and 2 - "Tune To The Music" with the boys at astride a car and a fab live shot of the boys 'heads down' on stage for "Mean Girl". In-between those are press adverts and uber-rare gig posters with them and Nazareth. It's beautifully done...

As with the "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" LP in 1970 – the numbskulls at Pye didn't prep the new and far better November 1971 album with any singles that would tempt and despite initial good sales - "Dog Of Two Head" failed to chart on either side of the pond. But as with Kelly’s it did increase a growing legion of fans both in Blighty and in Europe (especially Germany).

It's amazing even now to think that an obvious winner like "Something's Going on In My Head" with its hugely catchy guitar chords wasn't considered as a 45 (it would take Pye until 1973 to release "Mean Girl" as a single and that was only to promote their sour-grapes LP 'The Best Of'). They tried the stand-alone Rock/Bopper "Tune To The Music" as a Pye single in June 1971 and backed it with the cool Bluesy instrumental "Good Thinking" (both non-album at the time) - but it tanked and has proved a 45 rarity ever since. Even an edit of the seven-minute Boogie fest that is the LP opener "Umleitung" (German for diversion) would surely have elicited interest in the album - but wicked LP artwork in a gatefold sleeve or no - the album failed to sell.

"Nanana" turns up three times on the LP across two sides - the first two stabs are short acoustic/piano 'Extractions' that last less than a minute - until the final version simply called "Nanana" ends the album on Side 2 as a 2:25 minute full song. In a strange way the snippets make for brilliant interludes between the rockers like the brilliant "Someone's Learning" - apparently a comment on the Northern Ireland war raging in the six counties at the time. The other huge tune for Quo nuts is "Railroad" - a five and half-minute rocker with a catchy-as-a-cold hook that just won't quit.

I can't quite make up my mind as to which take of "Gerdundula" I like the most - the original October 1970 more acoustic-based 7" single mix (a Bonus Track on the "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" CD reissue that also came out in February 2003 also on Castle Music) or the re-recorded more filled-out album version presented here? July 1973 would see the 'Dog' version from 1971 belatedly released as a 45 on Pye 7N 45229 with "Lakky Lady" from 'Kelly's' on the B-side. Whichever take - the nonsensically-titled "Gerdundula" is a total winner - a clever and endlessly cool little Quo tune...

"Dog Of Two Head" is a great Seventies Rock album and this CD Reissue does it proud. The 'Quo' folks - would we have them any other way...
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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

"Pinball And Other Stories" by BRIAN PROTHEROE (May 2006 EMI Music CD Compilation Of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...



"...Run Out Of Pale Ale..."

Long forgotten UK song troubadour BRIAN PROTHEROE released three albums on Chrysalis Records in the mid Seventies and they make up the bulk of this excellent and long overdue mini-retrospective (a sort of mini 'Best Of'). Here are the flees in the bedroom...

UK released May 2006 – "Pinball & Other Stories" by BRIAN PROTHEROE on EMI Music 360 7182 (Barcode 094636071824) is a CD compilation of Remasters that breaks down as follows (72:58 minutes):

1. Pinball
2. Goodbye Surprise
3. Money Love
4. Changing My Tune
5. Fly Now
6. The Monkey
Tracks 1 to 6 are from his album "Pinball" - released October 1974 in the UK on Chrysalis CHR 1065

7. Enjoy It
8. Oh, Weeping Will
9. Running Through The City
10. Soft Song
11. Pick-Up
Tracks 7 to 11 are from his 2nd album "Pick-Up" - released October 1975 in the UK on Chrysalis CHR 1090

12. I/You
13. Dancing On Black Ice
14. Never Join The Fire Brigade
15. Hotel
16. The Face And I
Tracks 12 to 16 are from his 3rd album "I/You" - released September 1976 in the UK on Chrysalis CHR 1108

17. Thick And Creamy
18. Cold Harbour
19. Holyoke Hotel
Tracks 17 and 18 are on a CD called "Unreleased" - only available in a rather expensive 4CD box set called "Brian's Big Box" on Basta from 1997. The box contains all 3 of the above albums plus a 4th disc of unreleased songs. Track 19 "Holyoke Hotel" is a new song from the "Citysong" CD of 2003.

Most of the tracks are similar (if not as good as) "Pinball" - a superb lone hit for him in the UK in September 1974 on Chrysalis CHS 2043 (sort of 10cc meets The Beach Boys pop). And as you play through the tracks after it - IAN SMITH's remastering hits you - clear, muscular, revealing - similar in fact to the superlative job EMI did on the 5 Labi Siffre albums they also re-issued in 2006 (his UK catalogue from 1970 to 1975 on both Pye and EMI).

There are traces of Seventies singer-songwriter Gilbert O'Sullivan, Pete Wingfield, Phillip Goodhand-Tate and Al Stewart too. "Money Love" is very "Year Of The Cat" territory - clever acoustic guitars meets bass runs and a catchy 10cc pace. While "Changing My Tune" feels like Colin Blunstone circa "Say You Don't Mind". "Enjoy It" from 1975's "Pick-Up" is plucky with a little Salsa thrown in while "Running Through The City" is very Seventies Clifford T. Ward ("I ordered from the menu but I never paid the bill...") and its easy to see why Chrysalis tried it as a 7" single in September 1975 on CHS 2077 (it didn't chart). "Face And I" is a lovely melody (sort of Eric Carmen) while the growing up song "Never Join The Fire Brigade" is fun if not a little slight. And on it goes to the big production values of "Holyoke Hotel" which is lyrically brilliant and full of lush string arrangements.

It's not all genius by any means - but those nuggets are worth it - and the remaster sound is absolutely top notch...

Monday, 24 October 2016

"Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" by STATUS QUO (2003 Sanctuary/Castle Music 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...Junior's Wailing..."

Across many decades of record collecting and buying/selling rarities for Reckless Records in London - I can count on one-hand the number of times I've seen a British original of Quo's "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" August 1970 LP with it's 'S/Quo' black and white poster inside. I suspect like the poster in The Who's "A Quick One" - the number is under 1000 - possibly even only 500. But it's a measure of how comprehensive and well thought out this superb 2003 CD reissue from England's Sanctuary Records is - that said rarity is pictured in all its hairy-rocker glory on Side 2 of the foldout inlay - along with a huge array of other relevant memorabilia much of which is seriously hard to find.

As all Quo fans know - "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" was the band's 'real' beginning. Gone were the garish coats and frilly shirts and the 60ts Psychedelic warbling about Matchstick men and what not - and in came the start of their head's down no-nonsense Rock Boogie that Status Quo became so famous for (and have been continuing into 2016). Along with England's Slade and The Rolling Stones - they can claim to be a band for over 50 years. In fact I'd argue that the "Ma Kelly's..." album is actually more diverse and shows a group maturing rapidly and not just finding their twelve-bar feet - a flowering that would explode on "Dog Of Two Head" in 1971 (their final LP for Pye) and enter British hearts on "Piledriver" in late 1972 (their first LP for Vertigo). Here are the egg and chips...

UK released February 2003 - "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" by STATUS QUO on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMQCD 754 (Barcode 5050159175420) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with ten Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (71:58 minutes):

1. Spinning Wheel Blues
2. Daughter
3. Everything
4. Shy Fly
5. (April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays
6. Junior's Wailing [Side 2]
7. Lakky Lady
8. Need Your Love
9. Lazy Poker Blues
10. Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home
Tracks 1 to 10 are their 3rd studio album "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" - released August 1970 in the UK on Pye Records NSPL 18344. The American copy on Janus Records JLS-3018 wasn't released until March 1971 so dropped the last track on Side 2 "Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home" and replaced it with the single "In My Chair" as Track 1 on Side 2 (followed by 6, 7, 8 and 9 above). The front sleeve was the same but the 'table/menu' photo on the back of the British LP was replaced with a black and white photo of the band as a four-piece (minus Roy Lynes who is shown on the 'S/Quo' poster in UK copies - he officially resigned the band).

BONUS TRACKS:
11. Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home (Early Rough Mix)
12. Daughter (Early Working Mix)
13. Down The Dustpipe - 6 March 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17987 (B-side was "Face Without A Soul" from the 1969 "Spare Parts" LP)
14. In My Chair - 23 October 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17998 - A-side
15. Gerdundula - 23 October 1970 UK 7" single on Pye 7N 17998 - B-side to "in My Chair" - features the 'Original Version' which is different to the cut on the 1971 "Dog Of Two Head" LP
16. Down The Dustpipe (BBC Session)
17. Junior's Wailing (BBC Session)
18. Spinning Wheel Blues (BBC Session)
19. Need Your Love (BBC Session)
20. In My Chair (1979 Pye Promo Flexidisc)

STAUS QUO were:
FRANCIS ROSSI - Guitar and Lead Vocals
ALAN LANCASTER - Guitar and Lead Vocals
RICK PARFITT - Bass and Lead Vocals
JOHN COUGHLIN - Drums

The outer card-wrap/slipcase gives this reissue a classy feel and the 8-squares-per-side foldout inlay is a feast of fan memorabilia that is in itself bolstered up by superlative and seriously detailed liner notes from DAVE OXLEY. Chief moved on the reissue was JOHN REED who has been behind so many great reissues and is a compiler fans trust and admire. SEAN MAGEE at Masterpiece did the Remasters and there's a special thanks to LIAM MOORE at the BBC for the Sessions.

There's a repro of the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' advert for the UK single of "In My Chair" with the brill "Gerdundula" on the B-side (Pye 7N 17998) - it depicts the ludicrously hard-to-find British picture sleeve for "In My Chair" which they wittily refer to as 'a pretty bag' (I've never seen one in 45 years and sure its £45 price tag in the RC 2018 Price Guide is a tad low).

Even though the bopping "Shy Fly" was considered as a 45 - the album actually produced no singles. But the then non-album 45's for "Down The Dustpipe" and "In My Chair" in March and October of 1970 changed everything for the band - getting them radio play and crucial sales. Written by Australian songsmith Carl Groszmann - apparently the initial demo Quo heard for "Down The Dustpipe" was none other than an uncredited MAN - the Welsh Rock Band. Initially ignored by Radio - Quo toured and pushed the catchy "Dustpipe". Two months later it debuted in May 1970 and eventually crept up to a healthy No. 12 on the British charts. And although the non-album follow-up "In My Chair" only made it to No. 21 (hit the charts in November of 1970) - it signalled 'their sound' - a fabulous slow Boogie Rocker with the boppy and unpronounceable "Gerdundula" on the B-side. Their inclusion as 'Bonus Tracks' on this CD ups the listening ante in a big way (Tracks 11 and 12 are Previously Unreleased).

Album tracks like "Spinning Wheel Blues", "Lakky Lady" and "(April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays" would be used by Pye to sell a "Best Of" in May 1973 after the band had broken huge with their debut Vertigo album "Piledriver" in December 1972 (afforded the luxury of an eye-catching gatefold sleeve) and the single "Paper Plane" which busted the UK Top Ten in January 1973 by landing at No. 8.

British proto-metal band Steamhammer provided the cover version of "Junior's Wailing" and Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac the slow burner cover of "Lazy Poker Blues" - but the rest are band originals. The other great unsung hero of the band in the early years was songwriter and occasional Harmonica player BOB YOUNG who co-wrote "Spinning Wheel Blues",  "Shy Fly", "(April) Spring, Summer And Wednesdays" and "Need Your Love" with Rossi while Lancaster trumped up two in the shape of "Daughter" and "Is It Really Me/Gotta Go Home". Parfitt co-wrote "Everything" and "Lakky Lady" with Rossi.

An often overlooked part of the mighty Quo's career and yet an album held in real affection by true fans. A wolf in sheep's clothing indeed and the beginning of a classic LP run with those 'From The Makers Of' logos on the back on each album sleeve. Ah them was the days...

Sunday, 23 October 2016

"Geordie Boy: The Anthology" by ALAN PRICE (2002 Sanctuary/Castle Music 2CD Reissue - SIMON MURPHY Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...






"...Just For You..." 


This 46-song comprehensive overhaul of ex Animals front man ALAN PRICE brings together a huge swath of his largely forgotten catalogue stretching from early 45s on Decca in August 1965 (as Alan Price Set) - through his singer-songwriter Seventies output on CBS, Warner Brothers, Polydor and Jet Records to finally rest at the CD "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo Records in 1995.

And since its original release in late 2002 (reissued in 2008) – the jam-packed "Geordie Boy: The Anthology" has been deleted and become very pricey ever since. Ex Record Collector writer and musicologist Peter Doggett (who wrote the liner notes) thinks that Price’s output is just as important as his more famous Newcastle compatriot Eric Burdon and his solo stuff - I'm not sure if the aural evidence here confirms that but there's plenty to uphold his enthusiasm. Here are the details for Fatfield's finest (Fatfield, Co Durham that is)...

UK released October 2002 (reissued February 2008) - "Geordie Boy: The Anthology" by ALAN PRICE on Sanctuary/Castle Music CMEDD 384 (Barcode 5050159138425) is a 46-track 2CD Remastered compilation that plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (78:45 minutes):
1. Any Day Now (My Wild, Beautiful Bird) - August 1965 UK 7" single on Decca F 12217, A (as Alan Price Set)
2. I Put A Spell On You - March 1966 UK 7" single on Decca F 12367, A (as Alan Price Set)
3. Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo - July 1966 DUTCH 7" single in a Picture Sleeve on Decca F 12442, A (as Alan Price Set)
4. Take Me Home - July 1966 DUTCH 7" single in a Picture Sleeve on Decca F 12442, B (as Alan Price Set, written by AP)
5. Getting Mighty Crowded - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
6. Simon Smith And His Amazing Dancing Bear - February 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12570, A
7. Tickle Me - February 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12570, AA (double A-side)
8. The House That Jack Built - July 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12641, A
9. So Long Dad - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
10. To Ramona - on his 1966 UK Debut LP "The Price To Pay" on Decca LK 4839 (Mono only)
11. Shame - November 1967 UK 7" single on Decca F 12691, A
12. Don't Stop The Carnival - January 1968 UK 7" single on Decca 12731, A
13. Love Story - July 1968 UK 7" single on Decca 12808, A
14. The Trimdon Grange Explosion - June 1969 UK 7" single on Deram DM 263, A
15. Sunshine And Rain (The Name Of the Game) - May 1970 UK 7" single on Decca F 13017, A
16. Rosetta - March 1971 UK 7" single on CBS Records S 7108, A - and on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
17. Yellow Man - on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
18. That's How Strong My Love Is - on the 1971 UK LP "Fame & Price Together" on CBS Records S 64392 [with Georgie Fame]
19. O Lucky Man! - September 1973 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16266, A - and on the 1973 UK LP "O! Lucky Man! on Warner Brothers K 46227
20. Poor People - November 1973 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16293, A - and on the 1973 UK LP "O! Lucky Man! on Warner Brothers K 46227
21. Jarrow Song - March 1974 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16372, A - and on the June 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
22. Between Today And Yesterday - on the June 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
23. In Times Like These - August 1974 UK 7" single on Warner Brothers K 16452, A - and on the 1974 UK LP "Between Today And Yesterday" on Warner Brothers K 56032
24. Papers - June 1975 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 613, A - and on the April 1975 UK LP "Metropolitan Man" on Polydor 2442 133
25. The Drinker's Curse - on the April 1975 UK LP "Metropolitan Man" on Polydor 2442 133

Disc 2 (78:25 minutes):
1. Changes - on the December 1975 UK LP "Performing Price" on Polydor 2683 062
2. Goodnight Irene - January 1976 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 682, A
3. Kiss The Night - October 1976 UK 7" single on Polydor 2058 806, A
4. Glass Mountain - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
5. I Know When I've Had Enough - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
6. Shouts Across The Street - on the October 1976 UK LP "Shouts Across The Street" on Polydor 2383 410
7. I've Been Hurt - November 1977 UK 7" single On Jet Records UP 36315, A - and on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
8. Just For You - April 1978 UK 7" single on Jet Records UP 36358, A - and on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
9. I'm A Gambler - on the January 1977 UK LP "Alan Price" on Jet/United Artists UAS 30133
10. England, My England - May 1979 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 143, A - and on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
11. Baby Of Mine - February 1979 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 135, A - and on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
12. Those Tender Lips - on the 1978 UK LP "England, My England" on Jet Records DLP 207
13. The House Of The Rising Sun - April 1980 UK 7" single on Jet Records JET 177, A - and on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
14. I'm Coming Back - on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
15. Perfect Lady - on the 1980 UK LP "Rising Sun" on Jet Records JET LP 227
16. Over And Over - on the 1980 UK LP "A Rock 'n' Roll Night At The Royal Court Theatre" on Key Records KEY 1
17. Don't Slam That Door - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
18. 50 Pence - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
19. People Are Talking - on the 1986 UK LP "Travellin' Man" on Trojan Records APB 101
20. Boom Boom - on the 1995 UK CD album "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo IGOCD 2048
21. Some Change - on the 1995 UK CD album "A Gigster's Life For Me" on Indigo IGOCD 2048

At the time of release I remember thinking how good the Sanctuary compiled CD sets were - and if you want proof of that - the 8-square-per-side foldout insert is a minor work of presentation art. Quite apart from Peter Doggett's superb liner-notes assessment of Price's up-and-down career (someone Doggett feels has been unfairly overlooked) - each and every square on both sides of the foldout page is festooned with pictured memorabilia from the varying periods of his long career - 7" single labels from Decca and Deram - 60ts and 70ts press clippings, reviews and trade adverts and of course all those album sleeves. There are even foreign picture sleeves of "Rosetta" (with his pal Georgie Fame), snaps with Brenda Lee, Lulu and Brian Poole as well as a repro of the rare "A Price On His Head" Decca LP from 1967 that you never see. Compiled by ROGER DOPSON for Castle Music and 'Sound Restored' by SIMON MURPHY at SRT Studios in St. Ives - the whole set reeks of class and has wickedly good audio too (given the myriad sources). Let's get the music...

The opening 7" single is awful pap and to add insult to injury - the audio sounds like some poor Reggae 45 recorded in a bucket. Things improve immeasurably with the very-Animals cover of the Screaming Jay Hawkins classic "I Put A Spell On You" - Price digging into great material as that lone organ whines in the background. I can't be certain but I'd swear the chipper Dutch single "Hi Lili, Hi Lo" and its non-album Alan Price penned flipside "Take Me Home" are both in Stereo (the flip could easily be a Mod dancer). Next up Price has a go at Betty Evertt's "Getting Mighty Crowded" - a wickedly good talcum-powder dancer on Vee Jay Records 628 from late 1964 penned by a young Van McCoy (one of the jewels on here no doubt). Randy Newman's witty "Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear" has always been grit for the cool covers mill - and Price does a great job at capturing its vaudeville charms (a No. 4 chart hit in 1964). Even better is "Tickle Me" - another Newman track on this 1967 Double-A (is that Page on guitar?) and he returns to the American songsmith for "So Long Dad" on the debut LP. The lyrics and melody to his "The House That Jack Built" show why Price was so drawn to Newman songs - they share the same wit and cleverness with a melody and set of words (another No. 4 chart hit).

With "To Ramona" Price's inner singer-songwriter is truly awakened - as I'm sure Bob Dylan songs did for so many. With just him and the piano - it's a sweet and well-chosen performance. His own bopper "Shame" is a stab at chart action while he's probably copying Nilsson a little too much in his piano and vocal phrasing for Randy Newman's acidic "Love Story" - or is it the other way around. "The Trimdon Grange Explosion" represented a new start with the weird and wonderful Deram label - the song laden with banks of brass, strings and organ all competing for your ears (the Remaster sounds great). We reach a genuine hit with "Rosetta" in the early Seventies - a successful pairing on single and LP with his pal Georgie Fame. The pair go after Randy Newman again with Newman's typically clever take on just how ripped-off Indian culture was and still is in "Yellow Man". A change to Warner Brothers brought on a renaissance - especially in his LPs. "O Lucky Man!" sounds great while "Poor People" again reflects his likely-lad upbringing - thoughts on the plights of the hard-pressed 'working man' who has to smile while he's 'making it'. An unlikely hit - "Jarrow Song" put his tale of Geordie McIntyre into the charts - the 4:36 minute edit peaking at an impressive No. 6 in May 1974 (in fact I remember Pans People doing a dance routine to the historical song on Top Of The Pops). A sophistication crept into his work on the beautifully orchestrated "Between Today And Yesterday" where Price sounded like really good Gilbert O'Sullivan on Mam.

Disc 2 opens with the lovely self-penned "Change" recorded live for the "Performing Price" LP that bookended a good year for AP – 1975. He sounds almost gaunt on the Leadbelly classic "Goodnight Irene" and "Glass Mountain" has both wicked keyboard moments and production values. His own "Shouts Across The Street" is so Randy Newman as to be embarrassing but its also a cool little 'trick-or-treat' song with smart lyrics. The utterly delightful "Just For You" saw him back in the British charts for a brief brush with a No. 46 placing (I recall Jet Records put it on a heart-shaped picture disc - yikes). "I'm A Gambler" is a guitar-bopper where our hero keeps on taking too many chances - a gentleman of fortune laying it on the line a little too much. "England, My England" and "Baby Of Mine" show his fast vs. ballad combo to great effect (and lovely production too). Of the later material I'm partial to the old-time barroom slobber of "Don't Slam The Door" while his cover of Hooker's "Boom Boom' returns to his first love - American Rhythm 'n' Blues.

"Geordie Boy..." is not all genius by any stretch of the imagination but the compilers are right to be proud of their 'anthology' which seems to have changed artwork during its run too both front and rear (see my photos of the original below). Huge playing times on both CDs - great annotation and audio - fans needs to own this... 

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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