Monday, July 29, 2019

Blue Cheer : Vincebus Eruptum 1968

Blue Cheer was an American rock band that initially performed and recorded in the late 1960s and early 1970s and was sporadically active until 2009. Based in San Francisco, Blue Cheer played in a psychedelic blues rock or acid rock style, and are also credited as being some of the earliest pioneers of heavy metal, with their cover of "Summertime Blues" sometimes cited as the first in the genre.

They have also been noted as influential in the development of genres as disparate as punk rock, stoner rock, doom metal, experimental rock, and grunge.

"Blue Cheer" was the name of a variety of LSD made by chemist and Grateful Dead patron Owsley Stanley and the band was probably named after that, although the name existed earlier, as the name of a laundry detergent after which the LSD variety itself was named.

Blue Cheer came together in 1967. The band was put together by Dickie Peterson. Peterson lived at 369 Haight Street in San Francisco, where the sixties music scene was starting to hit the high note. Peterson had previously been with the Davis-based band Andrew Staples & The Oxford Circle, as well as future Blue Cheer members Paul Whaley and Gary Lee Yoder.

The original Blue Cheer personnel were singer/bassist Peterson, guitarist Leigh Stephens and Eric Albronda as drummer. Albronda was later replaced by Whaley, who was joined by Peterson's brother Jerre (guitar), Vale Hamanaka (keyboards), and Jere Whiting (vocals, harmonica). Albronda continued his association with Blue Cheer as a member of Blue Cheer management, as well as being the producer or co-producer of five Blue Cheer albums.

The band was managed by an inactive member of the Hells Angels named Allen "Gut" Terk. Early on, it was decided that the lineup should be trimmed down. It was said that Blue Cheer decided to adopt a power trio configuration after seeing Jimi Hendrix perform at the Monterey Pop Festival, but was later proven to be false. Hamanaka and Whiting were asked to leave. Jerre Peterson didn't want to remain in the group without them, so he departed as well, leaving Dickie, Leigh and Paul as a trio.

Vincebus Eruptum  is the debut album of Blue Cheer. Released on January 16, 1968, the album features a heavy-thunderous blues sound, which would later be known as heavy metal. It also contains elements of acid rock, experimental rock, blues rock, stoner rock, and garage rock. A commercial and critical success, Vincebus Eruptum peaked at number 11 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spawned the top-20 hit cover of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues". Being an example of hard rock,it is also lauded as one of the first heavy metal albums.

From the opening rampage through Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" (which miraculously became a hit single), to the final one-two punch of "Parchment Farm" and "Second Time Around," Vincebus Eruptum is a glorious celebration of rock & roll primitivism run through enough Marshall amps to deafen an army; only a few of Blue Cheer's peers could come up with anything remotely this heavy (the MC5's Kick Out the Jams and side two of the Velvet Underground's White Light/White Heat were its closest rivals back in the day), and no one could summon so much thunder with just three people.

On October 12, 2009, Peterson died in Germany after the development and spread of prostate cancer. After Peterson's death, longtime Blue Cheer guitarist Andrew MacDonald wrote on the group's website that "Blue Cheer is done. Out of respect for Dickie, Blue Cheer (will) never become a viable touring band again.". Under ten years later, in January 2019, drummer Paul Whaley died of heart failure.


    Dickie Peterson – vocals, bass
    Leigh Stephens – guitar
    Paul Whaley – drums


1. Summertime Blues    (Eddie Cochran, Jerry Capehart)     3:47
2. Rock Me Baby      (B.B. King, Joe Josea)  4:22
3. Doctor Please    (Dickie Peterson)  7:53
4. Out of Focus      (Dickie Peterson)  3:58
5. Parchment Farm    Mose Allison  5:49
6. Second Time Around    (Dickie Peterson)  6:17

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Tones On Tail : Pop 1984

Tones on Tail was a British post-punk band formed in 1982, originally as a musical side project of Daniel Ash of the gothic rock group Bauhaus. Their music was described by one critic as "doom-and-dance-pop." 

While still a member of Bauhaus, Ash formed Tones on Tail early in 1982, originally as a duo with art school friend, flatmate and Bauhaus roadie Glenn Campling. The band's name was a reference to the way calibration tones were recorded on the "tail" of reel-to-reel tape.

The pair issued their debut eponymous EP on 4AD in March 1982, followed by the single "There's Only One!", released by Beggars Banquet Records on 24 September.
After the break-up of Bauhaus in 1983, they were joined by drummer Kevin Haskins, and became a full-time concern for all three members. Their first release as a trio was the Burning Skies EP, issued by Situation Two on 6 May 1983.

Their sole studio album, Pop, was released by Beggars Banquet on 6 April 1984 in the UK; featuring the singles "Performance" (released 9 March) and "Lions" (released 11 May). The album was also issued in North America in altered form as The Album Pop. "Go!", the popular B-side of "Lions", was issued on its own as a single in Canada, licensed by Vertigo Records. 

Pop is the only studio album by English post-punk band Tones on Tail, a side project of Bauhaus members Daniel Ash and Kevin Haskins (who later went on to form Love and Rockets with David J), and Bauhaus roadie Glenn Campling. It was released on 6 April 1984 by record label Beggars Banquet. 

[ AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett  

The trio's one actual album is an impressive, wide-ranging effort collaging a range of influences into an inspired, often unpredictable experience. With their former band's generally gloomier shadows left behind, what Ash and Haskins draw from their time with Bauhaus is that group's melange of styles -- their most underappreciated strength. 

Ash, with his breathy purrs and slinky all-around singing, works absolute magic on the quieter numbers, while more strident pieces like the nervous tension of "War" benefit from his abilities at more upfront projection as the need arises. Campling isn't quite as strong a bassist as, say, David J, but he is more than fine. In the simple but effective work he does on the opening "Lions," for instance, his deep, fuzzy but not fuzztone effort locks the samba feeling of the song into place perfectly. 

Haskins, meanwhile, is as in form as Ash, offering up everything from minimal tapping and textures to full-bodied slams. Variety is clearly the spice of Pop's life; the goofy, jazzy swing of "Happiness" and catchy, dark shimmer of "Performance" are miles from "Real Life" and its brittle, bitter acoustic/electric sentiments. 

Though one could call the album schizophrenic in form, it's all still clearly the work of one group with a set vision rather than a bunch of musicians chasing after any number of styles. One of the most hilarious, truly trippy songs ever recorded by anyone is right in the album's middle -- "Slender Fungus" -- consisting of Ash's nonsense main lyric, weirdly soothing backing vocals, and an utterly strange percussion loop that sounds like people clicking their tongues more than anything else.

Pop ends on a fine high note with the ambient-into-slow-paced-rock of "Rain." Ash's crooning has rarely been finer, while the sheets of organ and e-bowed guitar that introduce and then continue throughout the song are as atmospheric as it can get. ]

Side A

1. Lions    3:57
2. War    3:18
3. Happiness    3:08
4. The Never Never (Is Forever)    3:21
5. Performance    4:12

Side B

6. Slender Fungus    3:35
7. Movement of Fear    3:51
8. Real Life    5:06
9. Rain    8:27


    Daniel Ash — vocals, guitar, production
    Glenn Campling — bass, production
    Kevin Haskins — drums, percussion, production

Additional personnel

    Juan Pedro Diego Ignatius Barraclough y Valls – rhythm guitar on "War"
    Caroline Lavelle – cello on "Performance"


Your eyes flash bright
But no longer have fire
Everywhere you turn
This world is your shadow
With a pretty face
You burn so many eyes

This is the movement of fear

Weird pop
You can't control
A smashing guy
A sack of gold
Teach me to be happy
Teach me control

This is the movement of fear
This is the movement of fear

Loved the stare
That never cracked
Loved the doors
They were never locked
Loved the fools
At your fingertips

This is the movement of fear
This is the movement of fear


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Electric Prunes : Too Much To Dream Original Group Recordings Reprise 1966-1967 (2007)

The Electric Prunes are an American psychedelic rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1965.
The band was signed to Reprise Records in 1966 and released their first single, "Ain't It Hard", in the latter part of the year. Their first album, The Electric Prunes, included the band's two nationally charting songs, "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" and "Get Me to the World on Time".

With the appearance of their second album, Underground, the band was more free to create their own material. However, the original group disbanded by 1968 when they proved unable to record the innovative and complex arrangements by David Axelrod on the albums Mass in F Minor and Release of an Oath.

Both albums were released under the band's name, the rights to which were owned by their record producer David Hassinger, but were largely performed by other musicians. Several of the original band members reconvened in 1999 and began recording again. The band still performs occasionally, although the only remaining original member is lead singer James Lowe.

[For a band that scored two major hit singles in their first year as recording artists, the Electric Prunes were given precious little respect by their record label, Reprise Records; the group was allowed to perform a mere two original tunes on their debut album I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night), and when their second, Underground, didn't sell, they became glorified session men under composer and arranger David Axelrod on Mass in F Minor.
When the Prunes couldn't play Axelrod's charts to his satisfaction, they were replaced by session men, and the original bandmembers weren't even invited to participate on two "Electric Prunes" albums later released by Reprise, Release of an Oath and Just Good Old Rock and Roll.

Despite it all, the Electric Prunes' best work is still the stuff of legend among garage rock enthusiasts, and with good reason -- the freaked-out, fuzz-enhanced guitar lineup of Ken Williams, Jim Lowe and Weasel Spagnola created a wild and distinctive sound most of their peers would envy, and they fused the energy of the garage generation and the sonic experimentation of the burgeoning psychedelic scene with a skill few have matched before or since.

Reprise finally gives the genuine Electric Prunes the tribute they deserve with Too Much to Dream -- Original Group Recordings: Reprise 1966-1967, a two-disc set that features the albums I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night) and Underground in their entirety, as well as handful of non-LP singles, unreleased tracks and monophonic mixes.

Disc one, featuring the debut album, is more enjoyable, featuring the group's biggest hits and most memorable tunes, but Underground suggests the real tragedy that the Prunes were not allowed to follow their own muse in the studio again -- the group sounds tighter, more creatively unified and more mature on Underground, and it's not hard to imagine they could have had several more fine albums in them if they'd had the chance to chart their own path.

As it is, this set collects some superb and atypical '60s garage stuff, the bonus material is solid and intriguing if not always revelatory, Jim Lowe and Mark Tulin tell the band's story in the thick liner booklet, and the Prunes' famous radio ad for Vox wah-wah pedals even makes the cut.

This is a first-rate anthology from a wildly underrated band, and folks with a jones for mid-'60s rock will want to find room for this in their collections.

AllMusic Review by Mark Deming] 

The Electric Prunes – Too Much To Dream Original Group Recordings: Reprise 1966-1967
Label: Rhino Records (2) – 8122-74882-2, Reprise Records ?– 8122-74882-2
Format: 2 CD, Compilation
Country: UK & Europe
Released: 2007
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock, Garage Rock.

CD 1.

01. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
02. Bangles
Written-By – J. Walsh
03. Onie
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
04. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less)
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
05. Train For Tomorrow
Written-By – Spagnola, Williams, Tulin, Preston Ritter, Lowe
06. Sold To The Highest Bidder
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
07. Get Me To The World On Time
Written-By – Tucker, Jones
08. About A Quarter To Nine
Written-By – Dubin, Warren
09. The King Is In The Counting House
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
10. Luvin'
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
11. Try Me On For Size
Written-By – Annette Tucker, Jill Jones (2)
12. Tunerville Trolley
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
13. Ain't It Hard
Written-By – Tillison, Tillison
14. Little Olive
Written-By – Lowe
15. World Of Darkness
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
16. I've Got A Way Of My Own (Outtake)
Written-By – Ransford
17. Luvin' (Mono Single Version)
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
18. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
19. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoying It Less) (Mono)
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
20. Get Me To The World On Time (Mono)
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
21. Vox Wah Wah Pedal Radio Spot (Hidden Track)

CD 2.
01. The Great Banana Hoax
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
02. Children Of Rain
Written-By – Williams, Williams
03. Wind-Up Toy
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
04. Antique Doll
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
05. It's Not Fair
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
06. I Happen To Love You
Written-By – Goffi/King
07. Dr. Do-Good
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
08. I
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
09. Hideaway
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
10. Big City
Written-By – T. Walsh, Walsh
11. Captain Glory
Written-By – Lowe
12. Long Day's Flight
Written-By – Yorty, Michael "Quint" Weakley
13. Everybody Knows (You're Not In Love)
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
14. You Never Had It Better
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
15. Shadows
Written-By – Gordo, Phillips
16. Dr. Do-Good
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
17. Hideaway
Written-By – Tucker, Mantz
18. Wind-Up Toy
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
19. The Great Banana Hoax (Alternate Version)
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe
20. Long Days Flight
Written-By – Tulin, Lowe


CD1: Tracks 1-12 released on Reprise album "I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night" RS 6248 (mono/stereo), April 1967.

CD2: Tracks 1-12 released on Reprise album "Underground" RS6262 (mono/stereo), August 1967.

CD1. Take it HERE

CD2. Take it HERE

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Rain Parade : Emergency Third Rail Power Trip 1983 - Explosions in the Glass Palace 1984 (EP)

Originally called the Sidewalks, the band was founded in Minnesota by college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar, vocals) in 1981, while they were attending Carleton College. David's brother Steven Roback (bass, vocals) joined the band shortly thereafter. David and Steven had been in a band called The Unconscious with neighbor Susanna Hoffs (who went on to lead The Bangles, the most famous of the Paisley Underground bands). The band soon added Will Glenn (keyboards and violin) and later Eddie Kalwa (drums). They self-released their debut single, "What She's Done to Your Mind" on their Llama label in 1982.

In 1983, they released their debut album, Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, on the Enigma/Zippo label. Critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in his book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (2003) that "Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is not only the best album from any of the Paisley Underground bands, it ranks with the best psychedelic rock efforts from any era", with uplifting melodies offset by themes that were "dark and introspective." According to DeRogatis, the album showcased "the Robacks' ethereal vocals, Eddie Kalwa's precise drumming, Will Glenn's colorful sitar, violin, and keyboard accents, and an intricate, chiming, but droney two-guitar attack that picks up where the Byrds left off with 'Eight Miles High.'"

Rain Parade fashioned traditional, gentle psychedelic pop on Emergency Third Rail Power Trip, including the dreamy "What's She Done to Your Mind" and the Byrds-ish "This Can't Be Today" (with the Dream Syndicate's Kendra Smith). They were clearly way ahead of their time, and it would take years before sleepy music (a la founding Rain Parade member David Roback's Mazzy Star) would catch on. This record sounds no more made in the '80s than in the '60s or '90s.

\After David Roback left to form a new band, Opal, the rest of the band continued to record as a four-piece, releasing the mini-LP Explosions in the Glass Palace in 1984. NME would later write, in praise of Explosions in the Glass Palace: "Sound cathedrals? We got ‘em ... mind-meltingly beautiful guitar sounds, employed sparingly and dynamically amid dark, dizzy tales of murder, madness and drug paranoia." The song "No Easy Way Down" was cited as a "mantra for an altered state of mind, and testament to a band who, however fleetingly, made music that sounded like the best drugs ever."

 Emergency Third Rail Power Trip 1983
 Explosions in the Glass Palace 1984


01. Talking in My Sleep   03:49         
02. This Can't Be Today (feat: Kendra Smith)   04:36         
03. I Look Around   03:07         
04. 1 Hour 1/2 Ago   04:14         
05. Carolyn's Song   04:05         
06. What's She Done to Your Mind   02:56         
07. Look at Merri   06:34        
08. Saturday's Asylum   03:45         
09. Kaleidoscope   05:35    
10. Look Both Ways   03:10
11. You Are My Friend   03:04    
12. Prisoners   03:49    
13. Blue  02:51    
14. Broken Horse   03:40    
15. No Easy Way Down   06:50 

 "No Easy Way Out"  LYRICS

They call
And told me this again
But all I know is inside out
I can't believe it

A room
Holds a thousand ghosts
Each bridge burned before the words
Are even spoken

No easy way down (down)
No easy way down (down)

No easy way down
 No easy way down

You give
And you take then you give
'Till the day you know it's timeTo stop the counting



Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Wim Mertens : Struggle For Pleasure (Reissue) 2003

This Belgian composer is not well-known among U.S. audiences, although he has made several highly regarded appearances at the New Music America festivals. In Spain, however, where he was the subject of a major television special, he is a new-music celebrity.
Mertens' style employs mesmerizing minimalist techniques with a sense of the romantic that appeals to both serious music aficionados and more mainstream listeners. The keyboardist uses a certain amount of electronics along with some acoustic instruments like violin, flute, and saxophone.

"Struggle for Pleasure" is a musical piece released in 1983. It is the theme music used by the Belgian phone operator Proximus. It was featured in the Peter Greenaway movie The Belly of an Architect. Energy 52's track "Cafe Del Mar" features a main melody based on "Struggle for Pleasure". It was also covered by Belgian dance music group Minimalistix in 2000 and reached dance charts across Europe.

The fourth release by Belgian post-minimalist composer Wim Mertens, 1983's Struggle for Pleasure, is a brief EP's worth of, as the composer puts it, "petite musique de chambre." It sounds a bit stuffy, but it's indicative of Mertens' talent that one of these six tracks, the hauntingly beautiful piano instrumental "Close Cover," actually became a hit on the continent when it was released as a single. Although "Close Cover" is the clear highlight of Struggle for Pleasure, the other five tracks are beautifully arranged pieces of modern chamber music.

Although Mertens is clearly heavily influenced by American minimalist composers -- the title track and "Gentleman of Leisure" are unalloyed Philip Glass homages -- he brings his own brilliant compositional sense and a genuine gift for unexpected arrangements to these pieces. The opening "Tourtour," for soprano saxophone and harp, brings entirely unexpected textures out of both instruments, and "Salernes" keeps from sounding too much like early Terry Riley through the unexpected start-stop motif that reappears throughout the piece. Mertens, who began composing and recording at the age of 28, has the melodic sensibility of someone who grew up not only with the modern classical tradition, but with jazz and pop as well.

Indeed, Mertens' piano style on "Close Cover" recalls the fragmented impressionism of Bill Evans. As a result, his music is accessible to more listeners than just the die-hard 20th century classical crowd, making the album title considerably less descriptive than it might otherwise be. Like all of Mertens' early releases, Struggle for Pleasure was originally released under the group name Soft Verdict and reissued under Mertens' own name in the late '80s.

Label: Les Disques Du Crepuscule ?– TWI 1189, Les Disques Du Crepuscule ?– 085.1189.029
Format: CD, EP, Reissue
Country: Belgium
Released: 2003
Genre: Electronic
Style: Modern Classical, Minimal


01. Tourtour
    Harp – Anne Van Den Troost Soprano Saxophone – Luk Schollaert  2:30
02. Struggle For Pleasure
    Piano – Hans Francois, Wim Mertens Soprano Saxophone –Luk Schollaert
    Synthesizer [Bass] – Pieter Vereertbrugghen  3:53
03. Salernes
    Clarinet – Dirk Descheemaeker Electric Piano – Hans Francois, Wim Mertens Harp – Anne     Van   Den Troost Piccolo Flute – Marc GrauwelsSoprano Saxophone – Luk        Schollaert  2:59
 04. Close Cover 
   Luk Schollaert Synthesizer [Bass] – Pieter Vereertbrugghen Voice, Piano,  Synthesizer – Wim     Mertens  3:15
05. Bresque
    Effects – Marc Francois Harp – Anne Van Den Troost Soprano Saxophone – Luk  Schollaert  2:33
06. Gentleman Of Leisure
    Clarinet – John Ruocco Electric Piano – Wim Mertens Piano – Hans Francois  Piccolo Flute –      Marilyn Maingart  4:34

Take It FLAC HERE : Size: 94,7 MB