Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Firefall Part 3 - The Phoenix

Break of Dawn (1982)
Jock Bartley was the only original member who hadn't quit the band.
Bartley were suggested with John Sambataro and Chuck Kirkpatrick. Sambataro was a versatile Miami based singer / guitarist / keyboardist / songwriter who sang on record with Stills, Clapton, Dave Mason, McGuinn, Clark & Hillman among others. John and Jock had actually met back in '78 when they both played on the Criteria sessions for Andy Gibb's platinum album, Shadow Dancing. Kirkpatrick was a local
Miami singer / guitarist who sang with Johnny on a number of the aforementioned sessions and had worked as an engineer. Albert then talked to Alan Jacobi, a Miami entertainment lawyer who had a relationship with Atlantic; Jacobi convinced the label to help fund Firefall's rekindling. Atlantic sprung for some new demos, which led to a new album deal and the spring of 1982 Criteria sessions for the Break of Dawn album, with Ron and brother Howard producing once again. Backing Bartley, Sambataro and Kirkpatrick were an number of Miami session players. The album featured special appearance by Stephen Stills (vocals, guitars, piano), David Sanborn (alto sax), plus former band mates Rick Roberts (additional background vocals) and David Muse (flute, harmonica and vocoder). The first single, the power ballad Always penned by Sambataro and frequent collaborator Paul Crosta, hit the airwaves in late January '83 - two years after the band's last single. Always topped local charts in several markets around the country, but nationally didn't quite break the Top 40. The album, out in March, made few industry waves.

Mirror of the World (1983)
The new Firefall nonetheless got the go-ahead to record another LP - and fast. Adding Scott Kirkpatrick, Chuck's brother on drums and backing vocals, and Colorado bassist, Greg Overton, the group cut their seventh studio album, Mirror of the World named after Bartley's song about the effects of violent TV on children. The album had a much harder edge than it's predecessors, which many programmers thought reflected too great a departure from the classic Firefall sound. Though the first single, the rockin' 'Runaway Love,' written by Bartley, Sambataro and Crosta, briefly appeared in video on MTV and received only limited radio airplay, Mirror of the World quickly disappeared.

Messenger (1994)
While touring the Midwest in 1993, Firefall encountered first hand the early devastation of the terrible Flood of '93. In cities like Alton, Illinois, Des Moines, Iowa and St. Louis, the band felt the tragedy and overwhelming impact of the flood. One of their gigs was canceled and a few had to be moved back from danger. The night they returned home to Colorado, a song woke Jock up at 4:00 AM - he sat up in bed in the dark
with the hook playing in his head. Getting up, he hurried into his music room and, twenty minutes later, When The River Rises was finished. It is a uplifting song with a positive message of gaining strength in adversity. The next day, Steven, Bil and Steve joined him to work out the intricate harmonies. Two days later, the band recorded the song in Colorado Springs at Startsong Recording Studio, with engineer / programmer, Tom Gregor, co-producing the song with Bartley. Five days after it was written, 'When The River Rises' was played on the radio for the first time. The flood waters had not yet crested. Vowing to give a large portion of the publishing to Flood Relief, the song was sent to numerous radio stations in a dozen flooded states. Soon it was receiving heavy regional airplay and was used by CNN and other TV networks and stations behind coverage of the disaster.
The band parlayed the attention that 'River' brought to Firefall into the search for a new record deal. Many smaller companies showed interest but no major labels. They decided to go with a Colorado independent label, Redstone Records, who'd had a few impressive successes in the smooth jazz genre. Though Redstone might be out of their league trying to break a band in the piranha tank of rock and pop. Messenger was recorded in Denver and Boulder and was released in mid 1994. Bartley had been writing songs for ten years for just this opportunity. Along with the hard edged When The River Rises and Secret his songs Love Find A Way Very First Moment and Who Ran Away gave the album a familiar but updated Firefall sound. Bil Hopkins' classy song, Say It's Over and Steve Manshel's powerful Innocent Victim gave depth to the CD. Bartley, Weinmeister, Hopkins, Ficca and Manshel played and sang on the entire CD, with Clawson and Waddell adding most of the keyboards, sax and flute. Mark Andes and Richie Furay made guest appearances on the sessions.. The album was critically acclaimed as their best record since the early days of Firefall and gave the group a new touring impetus.
See Richie Furay - Part 3.

Recently, both Firefall and Jock Bartley has new CD's out.
Firefall - Acoustic Colorado To Liverpool
Jock Bartley - Blindsight

The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers - Blue Grass Favorites

The early-'60s bluegrass group the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers are most known for including Chris Hillman, who would join the Byrds a year after the band broke up. While they were together, they recorded an album of traditional bluegrass that marked the first recording not only by Hillman, but also by dobro player Larry Murray, who went on to the underrated Los Angeles country-rock group Hearts & Flowers.
The LP has solid and at times extremely rapidly picked bluegrass for musicians so young. Future founding Eagles member Bernie Leadon
was also in the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, although he doesn't appear on the album, joining after it was recorded. Establishing the basic details of the group's career has been a little confusing, but basically they formed in San Diego in 1961 or 1962, recruiting Hillman as the final member of the quintet during his last year of high school. In 1963 they recorded the LP
for budget Crown label live in about four hours, according to Hillman's recollection. To confuse matters, Crown also reissued the album at one point with the title Best of the Blue Grass Favorites, changing the group billing to the Kentucky Mountain Boys. The ten songs from the record also show up on an album called The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, billed to a nonexistent artist named Ray Waters, on Custom, which like Crown was a subsidiary of Modern. Bernie Leadon played with the group for a while after the album was cut, replacing banjo player Kenny Wertz.
The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers actually did a reunion gig about 40 years after they broke up in April 2003 at the 30th Annual Roots Festival in San Diego, with Hillman, Murray, Wertz, Leadon, and guitarist Doug Jeffords.
If you a Byrds / Chris Hillman fan and you never heard this one it's highly recomended to get this album!
Quality: VBR

Monday, January 14, 2008

Firefall Part 2 - The Fire Begins To Fall

Firefall Part 2 - The fire begins to fall

Publicly, Firefall was burning hotter than ever in 1979. Behind the scenes, the band members were toast. They'd spent more than five solid years gigging, writing, recording, and touring and had finally made it. Yet their financial situation was in doubt. Relationships - both personal and business, inside and outside the band - were in shambles. One or two band members weren't on speaking terms. The six-headed democracy, with no one in charge, was splitting at the seams. Their bodies, minds, and souls suffered the effects of touring, self abuse, and neglect, typical of the era's booze'n'blow rock'n'roll lifestyle. In short, Firefall needed a break. Attempts to straighten out all the above and more added up to the lengthy delay in getting the next album out. With Joe Lala again as an unofficial member of the group, sessions for Undertow were spread out over several months and both coasts. There was much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth by the band, the producers and the record company. The resulting Undertow was finally launched. The single, Headed For A Fall, put the band back in the Top 40. But much momentum had been lost. The second single, Love That Got Away stalled on the charts during the summer of 1980. Financial troubles increased with a growing Atlantic debt and a lawsuit settlement with their first manager.
Quality : VBR

After the band completed a Japanese tour, Mark Andes and Michael Clarke left the band; Andes would later join the Wilson sisters for great success in Heart. Opting to carry on, Roberts, Bartley, Burnett and Muse quickly replaced them with Kenny Loggins' Grammy winning rhythm section: bassist George Hawkins and drummer Tris Imboden. Out at year's end, Clouds Across The Sun hit the charts in January 1981, followed a few weeks later by the single, Staying With It, which, unbeknownst nor agreed to by the band, ended up featuring a duet between Rick Roberts and Lisa Nemzo. After TV appearances George Hawkins left the band to join Mick Fleetwood's solo band. Boulder bassist Kim Stone was his replacement. Then, just after Firefall hit the road to support the new record, Larry Burnett bowed out of the band due to ill health. On the charts, Staying With It moved into the Top 40 but Clouds Across The Sun never caught on. Negotiations for a new record deal with RCA were in progress, but after a final concert on Maui Rick Roberts told his band mates he was history, and Firefall went into limbo. Later in '81, Atlantic Records, as an afterthought, released The Best Of Firefall before Christmas, then turned the page and dropped the band from it's roster.
Quality: 320 kb/s vinyl rip

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Lokomotive Kreuzberg - Fette Jahre

Lokomotive Kreuzberg's Fette Jahre is their 1975 album. It marks the last album which will posted, because we have the full discography now here availble. Cheers.
Quality: VBR

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lokomotive Kreuzberg - James Blond

Today I've found something for our Krautrock friends. Lokomotive Kreuzberg's 1973 album James Blond. It was the Lok's second album, released a year after Kollege Klatt.
For reference please look for the already posted albums in the archives.
Quality: VBR