Friday, August 22, 2008

The Hannover Connection

In the late 60's / beginning 70's there were three major forces coming out of a single town, Hannover-Germany, which in parts defined a genre known as krautrock these days. The bands came all three to great success throughout Europe. The bands itselfs named

The Scorpions - Eloy - Jane.

Here are four solo recordings from four of their members.

1981 Hermann Rarebell - Nip In The Bud
Herman Rarebell is a German drummer, best known for his time in the Scorpions 1977-1995, playing on 8 studio albums. He was an important composer writing or co-writing songs like Another Piece of Meat, Falling in Love and Passion Rules The Game. In 1981 he released his first solo album Nip In The Bud. He remains the only member of the Scorpions to have released a solo project while still a full member of the band.

1983 Klaus Peter Matziol - Matze
Klaus Peter Matziol is a German bassist, known from the band Eloy. As a longtime member of Eloy he recorded 10 albums 1976-1984, 1994.
In 1983 he recorded his solo album Matze with german lyrics.

1983 Klaus Hess - Sternentanz
Klaus Hess is a German guitarist, known from the band Jane. With Jane he recorded 11 albums from 1972 - 1982. Much of the bands output in these Years are compositions from Klaus Hess. In 1994 Jane disbanded, but 2 different Jane's are still touring with a changed lineup(Peter Panka's Jane, Mother Jane).

1987 Manfred Wieczorke - Transfer
Manfred Wieczorke is a German keyboardist, who played with two of the Hannover bands. First together with Eloy 1971 - 1975 releasing four albums. Then together with Jane 1976 - 1979 releasing again four albums.
Amazingly, the albums with his involvement are the best of the two bands.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Richie Furay - Part 5

1964 Au Go-Go Singers - They Call us Au Go-Go Singers

The Au Go-Go Singers included Kathy King (who later toured with Bobby Vinton and appeared in the Broadway show, Oh!Calcutta! and currently works as Kathrin King Segal), Jean Gurney, Michael Scott (who afterward performed with the Highwaymen and the Serendipity Singers), Rick Geiger (who later was accepted into a light opera company), Roy Michaels (who later performed with Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys, and toured with Jimi Hendrix), Nels Gustafson, Bob Harmelink, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay. Gustafson and Harmelink had been in an earlier trio with Richie Furay, but quit show business after the demise of the Au Go-Go Singers. It was also at the Cafe au Go Go that a new folk group, The Company, was formed from some remnants of the Au Go-Go Singers: Geiger, Michaels, Scott, Gurney and Stills. While on tour, Stills first met Neil Young, who was performing with the Squires, an opening act for The Company. Stills, Young, Furay, and two others formed the Buffalo Springfield.

1990 Poco - The Forgotten Trail

In their own words:
The Forgotten Trail is that we discovered, just as you about to, as the listener. This trail of recorded performances was discovered by historical Poco scouts and devoted musical trackers searching through the musical treasures of the vast Epic Records vaults. We thank those professionals, who are devoted to the music of Poco, for reminding us that the original heart from which this music came has passed the test of time. A new generation stands side by side the old, and enjoys the songs and performances that still continue to inspire us today. Kick back, and enjoy some of the musical memories that we ourselfs had forgotten.

1989 Poco - Legacy

After years on the circuit, playing a country tinged West Coast type sound, Poco attempt to poke their nose into the melodic rock camp, and guess what? They do real well. This album Legacy has a few things in it's favor, namely the production camp of David Cole and Richard Marx and some of the friends who helped out, like Lee Sklar, Gary Mallaber, Jeff Porcaro, C.J Vanston, Joe Chemay and Richard Marx himself.
The lineup on this album harks bark to Poco's formative years, the late sixties no less(Furay/Messina/Young/Meisner/Grantham). So the gentlemen, have reformed and given us a reminder that no matter how old you are, if you've got it, you'll always have it. And so be it, some twenty years on, the Poco brigade is playing a melodic rock road. You could actually say that the material here is a pre-cursor to the stuff we're seeing in the new country arena now. So, lets have a listen..

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Gib Guilbeau - On the way to Burrito Town, or was it Sin City?

1967 Gib Gilbeau & Gene Parsons - Louisiana Rain
Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons released a couple of singles in 1967-1968, and also recorded an album of material at the time that almost got released in 1968. It didn't appear in the late '60s, though, and eventually a slightly altered version of the original album came out, credited to Gib Guilbeau and titled Cajun Country, in the early '70s. This 25-track disc, has the album, the singles, a half-dozen previously unreleased Guilbeau & Parsons demos and outtakes and a 1969 Gib Guilbeau solo single. It's for a specialized collector market, for sure. But anyone seriously interested in the genesis of country/rock should hear this, both for its historic importance and for the quality of the music. Gib Guilbeau and Gene Parsons, as well as other musicians heard here like Clarence White and Wayne Moore (who played with Gillbeau and Parsons in Nashville West), were forging some country-rock directions on these recordings that anticipated the late-'60s work of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Later Gene Parsons and Clarence White were members of the Byrds, Gib Guilbeau was a member of the later Flying Burrito Brothers.

1968 The Reasons (aka Nashville West) - Nashville West
Gene Parsons
and Gib Guilbeau were hired for a recording session with the Gosdin Brothers' singing duo of Vern and Rex Gosdin. The session, being produced by Byrd Chris Hillman, included guitarist Clarence White, who had formerly played with the Kentucky Colonels. Parsons, Guilbeau and White then went on to play on sessions together. They became a band, joining with fellow session player, bassist-vocalist Wayne Moore, who played in the Castaways with Parsons and Guilbeau. The group was known by various names, including The Reasons, Gib Guilbeau and The Reasons, the Gary Paxton Band or Cajun Gib and Gene. Gene Parsons and Clarence White quit to be Byrds. The Nashville West moniker was taken from the name of the El Monte, California club where they sat as the house band. The album was reissued on CD by Sierra in 1997, and added four more tracks not included on the LP edition.

1970 Swampwater - Swampwater
Swampwater formed and started out as Linda Ronstadt’s backing group in 1969. In that time they featured Linda's first three solo albums. Eric White, Clarence’s brother was also in the band and prior to forming Swampwater had been in the excellent Kentucky Colonels. Swampwater made two distinct albums in the early 70’s. This album was different than many notable country rock acts of the time for adding cajun and swamprock elements. The album opens and closes with two certified country-rock classics, Louisiana Woman and Big Bayou. Guilbeau had recorded the classy Louisiana Woman with both Nashville West and on his 1970 album with Parsons, though the version heard on Swampwater is the best. Big Bayou is a hard rocking, white hot country song with pretty fiddle that has been covered by many popular artists including Rod Stewart. Other songs like the acoustic flavored Man From New Orleans are highlighted by beautiful harmonies and a tear in your beer ambience. Swampwater’s musicianship is high caliber and Guilbeau’s lyrics are always first-rate and thoughtful. Great songs like Kathleen, Desperation’s Back Again (an Everly Brothers homage) and River People are beautifully arranged and display superior craftsmanship. It’s really a wall of greatness, with each song just as good as the next. Swampwater mastered all the rural styles from cajun to folk-rock but just never received the breaks they so justly deserved. Their members were slugging it out in bars playing this sort of music years before anyone else had thought to do so. This album is a masterpiece and recommended to any true country fan.

1971 Swampwater - Swampwater
First, the album title is no error. These guys have two different albums with the same title!?
Their second album and another really good country-rock outing. This self-titled effort was released off RCA in 1971 and came packaged in a strange jacket. Swampwater’s lineup had remained the same since their debut.In comparison to that debut, there were a few more rock n roll tracks like the album opener Ooh-Wee California, the raw Dakota, and Ol’Papa Joe. These songs were good though, with well constructed guitar solos and strong bluegrass and cajun flavors. There were a few covers too but all were standouts like the excellent heartfelt version of One Note Man, a track with nice jangly Byrdish guitar solos and pretty fiddle, which gave the song real atmosphere. Guilbeau also resurrected Gentle Ways of Lovin’ Me, a track he had recorded on numerous occasions with many different bands. Swampwater turned in one of the best versions of this song which is highlighted by barrelhouse banjo and a delicate, sincere arrangement. Another great track, Headed For The Country, compared favorably with the country-rock era Byrds, and had beautiful, sad folk-like harmonies and fine guitar playing. All in all the album was strong, lacking any weak moments and showcased a great band that should have been at least as well known as Poco or Firefall.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Bee Gees - Horizontal (Remaster)

Horizontal is the Bee Gees second real album. It was released in early 1968, and included the international hit singles Massachusetts and World. Other standout tracks include And the Sun Will Shine, a love song by Robin Gibb complete with psychedelic references to trains walking by and pastoral orchestral backing conducted by Bill Shepherd. Two other Robin-led tracks are worth noting. Harry Braff is a rocking story about a racing driver that is reminiscent Beatles or Kinks and the poignant Really and Sincerely. Psychedelia also abounds in the quirky Lemons Never Forget which without the familiar string backing and featuring guitar work from Vince Melourney as well as the piano and bass interplay of Maurice Gibb, shows a side of the early Bee Gees rarely seen by singles buyers.

This is the 2006 remaster with both stereo and mono mixes on one disc and a bonus disc of unreleased songs, non-album tracks, and alternate takes.