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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Moby Grape: Jam 1968 + Wow 1968


One of the best '60s San Francisco bands, Moby Grape, were also one of the most versatile. Although


they are most often identified with the psychedelic scene, their specialty was combining all sorts of roots music, folk, blues, country, and classic rock & roll, with some Summer of Love vibes and multi-layered, triple-guitar arrangements. All of those elements only truly coalesced for their 1967 debut LP. Although subsequent albums had more good moments than many listeners are aware of, a combination of personal problems and bad management effectively killed off the group by the end of the '60s.
                                                                


Moby Grape was an American rock band founded in 1966, known for having all five members

contribute to singing and songwriting, which collectively merged elements of folk music, blues, country, and jazz with rock and psychedelic music. They were one of the few groups of which all members were lead vocalists. The group's first incarnation ended in 1969, but they have reformed many times afterwards and continue to perform occasionally.
                                                

Wow/Grape Jam is the second album by the rock band Moby Grape. It was first released in April 1968.

It is different from most double album releases in that it was released as two different albums in separate covers, but packaged together and sold for only one dollar more than price of a single LP. This was Moby Grape's highest charting release in the U.S., peaking at #20 on the Billboard 200 album chart.
                                                                               

Wow had a color gatefold sleeve, while Grape Jam had a color non-gatefold sleeve. Early copies of Wow omit the band's name from the record label, for unknown reasons.
                                                      

Original US copies of the 2 album package had a large blue sticker on the front of shrink wrap which

identified the albums and showed the songs of Wow in the correct order. The song titles for Grape Jam were only shown on the back of that album and were not visible on the outside of the sealed package. The back cover of Wow also showed the song titles in an incorrect order, and again, this was not visible on the sealed package. Each album was later released as an individual CD with bonus tracks.
                                                       


MOBY GRAPE - GRAPE JAM 1968

                                                           


Moby Grape's two greatest strengths were that the five members of the band were all top-notch musicians and great songwriters. Grape Jam amply demonstrates the former virtue, while the latter barely figures into the formula at all. As the title suggests, Grape Jam consists of five semi-improvised

selections in which the players stretch out at length, primarily on slow, blues influenced numbers, with plenty of ace guitar work from Peter Lewis, Jerry Miller, and Skip Spence, while Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield sit in on keyboards for a few numbers. While there's some potent soloing here, and the rhythm section of Bob Mosley and Don Stevenson show they can adapt to whatever the band throws their way, the tunefulness and tight performances that made Moby Grape one of the finest debut albums of all time is missing in action.
                                                   

As good as the chops on display here may be, great soloing doesn't mean all that much without the context of a good song, and that becomes painfully obvious on "Boysenberry Jam" and "Black Currant Jam." Grape Jam was originally released as a companion piece with Moby Grape's overcooked but compelling second album, Wow (folks who bought Wow could get Grape Jam at a discount), and as a bonus item it's not without interest, but all by itself this meanders far too much for its own good. Grape Jam is akin to hearing a handful of talented musicians goofing off, and while the talent is obvious, so is the aimlessness of the music.
by Mark Deming

Moby Grape – Grape Jam
Label: Sundazed Music – SC 11192
Format:    CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Carded Sleeve
Country: US
Released: 2007
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock

TRACKS

                                                     


01. Never   6:12
Bass Guitar [Bass], Vocals – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Skip Spence, Jerry Miller
Written-By – B. Mosley
02. Boysenberry Jam   6:00
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Skip Spence
Written-By – S. Spence, B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, P. Lewis
03. Black Currant Jam   7:07
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Al Kooper
Written-By – S. Spence, B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, P. Lewis
04. Marmalade   14:02
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Mike Bloomfield
Written-By – B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, M. Bloomfield
05. The Lake   3:58
Lyrics By – Michael Hayworth
Written-By – S. Spence, B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, P. Lewis

SPONTANEOUS STUDIO RECORDINGS, 1968

    
06. Grape Jam #2   9:18
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Skip Spence
Written-By – S. Spence, B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, P. Lewis
07. Grape Jam #9   9:10
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – Don Stevenson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Joey Scott
Written-By – B. Mosley, D. Stevenson, J. Miller, J. Scott
08. Bags' O Groove   13:21
Alto Saxophone [Alto Sax] – Fred Lipsius
Bass Guitar [Bass] – Bob Mosley
Drums – David Rubinson
Guitar – Jerry Miller
Piano – Al Kooper
Trumpet – Jerry Weiss, Randy Brecker
Written-By – M. Jackson   

MP3 @ 320 Size: 161 MB
Flac  Size: 347 MB

MOBY GRAPE - WOW 1968

                                                       


Between the time that Moby Grape released their brilliant self-titled debut and when their second album Wow appeared in 1968, a little thing called Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band happened, and for the next few years it was no longer enough for a band with some claim to importance to just play rock

& roll, even if they approached it with the freshness and imagination Moby Grape displayed on their first LP. Bowing to the pervading influences of the day, Wow is a far more ambitious album than Moby Grape, trading in the latter's energetic simplicity for an expansive production complete with strings, horns, and lots of willful eccentricity, best typified by the helium-treated vocals on the hillbilly pastiche "Funky Tunk" and "Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot," a woozy '60s dance band number complete with introduction from Arthur Godfrey (the band went so far as to master the tune at 78 rpm on the original vinyl edition).
                                                      

While at first glance Wow pales in comparison to the instant classic Moby Grape, repeated listening reveals this album has plenty of strengths despite the excess gingerbread; the horn-driven boogie of "Can't Be So Bad" swings hard, "Murder in My Heart for the Judge" is a tough and funky blues number, "He," "Rose Colored Eyes," and "Bitter Wind" are lovely folk-rock tunes with shimmering

harmonies (even if the latter is marred by a pretentious noise collage at the close), and "Motorcycle Irene" is a witty tribute to a hard-livin' biker mama. Wow lacks the rev-it-up spirit of Moby Grape's masterpiece, but Peter Lewis, Jerry Miller, and Skip Spence's guitar work is just as impressive and richly layered, and the group's harmonies and songwriting chops are still in solid shape. While the unobtrusive production on Moby Grape showcased the group's many virtues, those attributes are visible on Wow despite the layers of studio excess, which sapped the momentum and charm of this band without snuffing them out altogether.
by Mark Deming
                                                       


Moby Grape – Wow
Label: Sundazed Music – SC 11191
Format:    CD, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Stereo
Country: US
Released: Nov 6, 2007
Genre: Rock
Style: Psychedelic Rock

TRACKS

                                         


01. The Place And The Time  (Written-By – D. Stevenson, J. Miller)   2:07
02. Murder In My Heart For The Judge  (Written-By – D. Stevenson, J. Miller)   2:58
03. Bitter Wind  (Written-By – B. Mosley)  3:09
04. Can't Be So Bad  (Written-By – D. Stevenson, J. Miller)  3:41
05. Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot  (Written-By – S. Spence)   3:05
06. He  (Written-By – P. Lewis)   3:36
07. Motorcycle Irene  (Written-By – S. Spence)   2:23
08. Three-Four  (Written-By – B. Mosley)   5:01
09. Funky-Tunk  (Written-By – S. Spence, J. Miller)   2:11
10. Rose Colored Eyes  (Written-By – B. Mosley)   4:00
11. Miller's Blues  (Written-By – B. Mosley, J. Miller)   5:22
12. Naked, If I Want To  (Written-By – J. Miller)   0:52

Extra Tracks: Studio Recordings, 1967 - 1968 

   
13. The Place And The Time (Demo Rec.)  (Written-By – D. Stevenson, J. Miller)   2:27
14. Stop (Demo Rec.)  (Written-By – P. Lewis)   2:24
15. Loosely Remembered  (Written-By – B. Mosley)   3:27
16. Miller's Blues (Alternative)  (Written-By – B. Mosley, J. Miller)   5:23
17. What's To Choose  (Written-By – P. Lewis)  2:03
18. Seeing  (Written-By – S. Spence)   5:11

MP3 @ 320 Size: 138 MB
Flac  Size: 319 MB

8 comments:

  1. Moby Grape a very good band but of course also very well known S. F. band. I got two S. F. bands about 6 or 7 years ago. Discovered bands that never realized anything during their existence but are both quite excellent.
    CRYSTAL SYPHON 2 lps now on Gear Fab as do-cd.
    DEVILS KITCHEN i have a cd, an lp and various unreleased live recordings of 100 minutes in very good sbd quality.
    Maybe for someone who didn't know the bands before and i said very very good.

    ReplyDelete
  2. One of the best SF bands, indeed! Thanks for the FLAC versions I had not.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow!!! Great post and the posters and all ... way cool. Thanks much.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A magnificent post. As per norm. Many thanks. - konrad useo

    ReplyDelete
  5. As i just read, you can already get tickets in advance for the Stones concert in Berlin.
    There are 3 categories.
    238, 499, 599 Euro !
    The latter amounts is probably to closest to the gods.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't want to go to any concert. It is prohibited for me, after my operation in hospital a month ago.

      Delete
    2. The last time i was there was in May 1987 by the Fuzztones at a concert.

      I hope your health is good and you have recovered from your operation ???

      Just made a nice order of 400e of cds & lps. On the 1st of the month i can afford it.

      Delete