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It’s almost impossible not to love The Zombies and no better place to start than “Time of the Season” from March 1968. I previously profiled their 2nd album “Odessey and Oracle” (it is spelled that way on the album).

http://timbrosnan.wordpress.com/2014/04/30/rock-masterpiece-odessey-and-oracle-the-zombies/

“Time of the Season” was released as a single and became a surprise hit in early 1969.  It was written by keyboardist Rod Argent (later of the eponymous band Argent) and it was the third single released from the album.  Once again we see the return influence of Al Kooper, who by then was an A&R rep at Columbia, who urged the label to release “Time”.  His instincts were correct.

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The song includes the powerful vocals of lead singer Colin Blunstone and a memorable bass riff which is similar to the one that opens “Stand By Me”).   The lyrics evoke the Summer of Love and use a sort of call-and-response technique (“What’s your name? (What’s your name?) / Who’s your daddy? (Who’s your daddy?) / Is he rich? (Is he rich like me?)”.

Over the years there have been a number of covers, with few better than the original, but the more recent version by The Dave Matthews Band is worth a listen.  I’ve included it below as well.

Enjoy…

 

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A few favorite tunes that have been going through the headphones this week.  It’s Friday and the end of a long week so crank it up and have a great one!

“You Can Be My Yoko Ono” - Barenaked Ladies - One of my favorite tunes from BNL.  I like that part where he says “I don’t like all these people slaggin’ her for breaking up The Beatles”.  I read where they played this song for Yoko and she said it was nice but she liked “If I Had $1.000.000″ better!

“Mrs. Robinson”  – The Lemonheads – A great rock cover of the Simon & Garfunkel tune from this alternative band best known (to me) for being fronted by Evan Dando.

“Save It For A Rainy Day” – The Jayhawks - I like most of The Jayhawks tunes and always found this one to stand out a bit from the others.  Another great tune from Gary Louris and Mark Olson although I still don’t have an explanation as to why Louris was filmed standing waist-deep in swimming pool.

Heat Wave’ – Linda Ronstadt – Originally recorded by Martha & The Vandellas, this was a huge hit for Linda back in 1975 and was released on her album Prisoner in Disguise.  Brings back memories of Linda at the old Academy of Music wearing a slightly too-small Cub Scout uniform.

Dime A Dozen Guy” – Marshall Crenshaw - MC may be the most underrated musician I’ve ever had the pleasure to hear.  He’s just an encyclopedia of pop music culture although this tune is one of his groovy original efforts.  The video was shot at a live gig in Maplewood, NJ.

Last Train to Clarksville” – The Monkees - Sung by Mickey Dolenz this was one my favorite tunes on the very first album I ever owned (not bought, owned)!  It was their debut single in 1966 and I was soon a regular viewer of their TV show.  Listen for the striking similarities to The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer”.

Enjoy….

 

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The Blues Project formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village.  They merged a lot of styles but are mostly remembered as an early developer of psychedelic rock and one of the first jam bands.  The title for “first” jam band is often debated (usually after drinking for a while) as to whether it was The Blues Project or the Grateful Dead.  Hmm…doesn’t everything start on the east coast and head west?

Elektra Records produced a compilation album of various artists entitled, The Blues Project, which featured a number of very skilled musicians from the Greenwich Village area who played acoustic blues. One of the featured artists on the album was Danny Kalb.  Kalb hung up his acoustic later that year and went electric when The Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. pretty much ended the return of the “folk movement”.

Kalb’s started a band based on his two-song contribution and called it The Blues Project.  With Kalb and Steve Katz on guitars, Andy Kulberg on bass and flute, Roy Blumenfeld on drums and Tommy Flanders on vocals, the band was an instant success in the Village.  At an upcoming audition at Columbia they added the great Al Kooper on organ.

As New York’s answer to The Grateful Dead, the band rocked San Francisco and even impressed Jerry and Bobby with their improvisational style.

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The band more or less fragmented after that, with Koop leaving, but not before penning their only charting single Kooper’s “No Time Like the Right Time”.   They played Monterey but by then half of the original band was gone and Kooper was in his own group (and also playing Monterey).  The remaining band fulfilled on last contractual obligation and, after that, they released songs under the name “Seatrain”.

The rest, of course, is history.  Kooper wanted a band with a horn section and went on to form Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Enjoy……

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As many of you are aware I’m a fan of jazz fusion guitar and progressive guitar work.   Artists like Al DiMeola, John McLaughlin, Wayne Krantz, and Jimmy Herring are among both my regular listening these days and artists seen live in the last few years.  I’m happy to add California-based guitarist Al Garcia to the list of guitarists who amaze me with their total command of the fretboard and dexterity combined with an amazing musicality.  These aren’t just the diminished or minor pentatonic scale runs that a lot of shredders spend hours woodshedding in order to play at Eddie Van Halen speed.  This is jazz technique taken to a new level.

Born in Newark, NJ, Al began playing the bass guitar at the age of 13. He was influenced early on by Jack Bruce and Felix Papalardi, two bass visionaries who helped expand the role of the bass guitar in rock music. His musical horizons were broadened to include Jazz, Classical, and Indian music after hearing John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Later on, the music of Allan Holdsworth inspired Alfred to take up the electric guitar as a means of expressing another side of his musical persona. Other influences on his playing include the music of J.S. Bach, Charlie Parker, Bela Bartok, Eric Johnson, Jaco Pastorious, Jeff Berlin, Brand X, ELP, Yes and pianist Bill Evans.

Al has performed and recorded many types of music. These include Fusion, Progressive Rock, Jazz, Rock, Afro-Cuban, Blues, Country, and Reggae. Alfred believes this varied experience is responsible for his desire to create music that transcends musical boundaries yet remains respectful of tradition.

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Al is one of the few players who double on bass and guitar to appear in Guitar Player Magazine’s Spotlight column.

He is currently performing with the jazz/rock group Continuum.

If you’re a fusion fan or interested in hearing some serious guitar playing, I’d recommend giving Al a close listen.

Enjoy….

 

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I came across the band known as The Codetalkers in a round-about fashion.  I was looking for some Derek Trucks music online and stumbled across a bootleg copy of a show The Codetalkers did at Ripplefest on June 17, 2005.  Seems that Derek sat in with the band on a cover of the Cream song “I’m So Glad” (actually it’s an old Skip James song first recorded in 1931).

No longer a cohesive group, The Codetalkers were formed in Savannah, GA in 1999.  They caught the attention of Col. Bruce Hampton with their tight balance of jazz, bluegrass, rock, blues, and funk.  Hampton played with them for a while (he’s on guitar on the boot I have) but eventually left to avoid the rigors of touring.

The band was made up of Bobby Lee Rodgers, (lead vocals, electric banjo, guitar, “air trombone”), Mark Raudabaugh (drums, vocals) and Andrew Altman (bass, vocals).  Widely versed across genres, the band layered in a mind-bending array of improvisations.   From what I could hear on the bootleg, they really cooked.

They were taper friendly and supported the notion that the live music recordings could be shared and traded.  They were apparently also known for their stage antics but I haven’t found proof of this.  I also havent found any of their albums yet but I’m looking.

“Release the hounds!!!”

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The group leader and principal composer, Bobby Lee Rodgers,  was one of the youngest professors ever to teach at the Berklee College of Music.

The group disbanded in 2009 for reasons related to financial management.

Enjoy….

 

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[Second in a multi-part retrospective leading up to the release of The Endless River scheduled for October 2014.]

Find Part One of the retrospective here:  https://timbrosnan.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/the-pink-floyd-retrospective-chapter-one-1963-1967/

The period of 1968 thru 1977 covers a lot of change and a great deal of international success for the band.

David Gilmour (2nd from left above) joined Pink Floyd as the fifth member in December 1967. Gilmour came on at a salary of £30 per week, and a month later was announced as the band’s newest member.  Barrett was a becoming more non-functional but was to stay on as a non-performing member and potentially a writer.

According to Gilmour, the band was on their way to a gig and someone asked if they should stop to pick up Syd.  The answer was “Nah, let’s not bother”, signalling the end of Barrett’s tenure with Pink Floyd.  In March 1968, the band met with their business partners to discuss the band’s future plans and Barrett agreed to leave.

As Barrett was the main creative force behind the band, his departure shifted the songwriting to Roger Waters.  Gilmore took on Syd’s vocal parts but eventually the band shifted the set list to avoid Barrett compositions and focused more on Waters’ and Wrights’ works with songs like “It Would Be So Nice” and “Careful with That Axe, Eugene”.

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Saucerful of Secrets (1968)
In 1968, Pink Floyd returned to Abbey Road Studios to record their second album, A Saucerful of Secrets.

The LP included Barrett’s final contribution to their discography, “Jugband Blues” which included Barrett’s last contribution to the band “Jugband Blues”.  On the day after the album’s UK release, Pink Floyd performed at the first ever free concert in Hyde Park.

In support of the album that summer, they returned to the US and toured with Soft Machine and The Who.  It was their first significant tour although their singles release (“Point Me at the Sky”) did no better than the singles since “See Emily Play”.  They wouldn’t release another single until 1973’s “Money”.ntil their 1973 release, “Money”.
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Ummagumma (1969) represented a departure from their previous work. Sides one and two contained live performances recorded at Manchester College and a music club in Birmingham. Sides three and four contained an experimental contribution from each band member.  Despite the departure, it was favorably reviewed and climbed the charts.

In October 1970, they released into Atom Heart Mother .  It’s been noted as among their most difficult and contentious to record and this acrimony led Gilmour to be dismissive of it (“rubbish”) and Waters to comment that he’d prefer it be “thrown into the dustbin and never listened to by anyone ever again”.  It was their first number one hit.

They headed into the studio following the Atom tour and began a long effort to create “Meddle” (1971).  Again great reviews followed but more importantly the album cemented David Gilmour as a creative force within the band.  Long considered one of the all-time rock guitar gods Gilmour started to shine during this period (and as far as I can tell hasn’t dimmed a bit).

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The Dark Side of the Moon

Among the most important milestones in rock history, Dark Side of the Moon was released in March of 1973.  I previously blogged about DSOTM here:

http://timbrosnan.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/40th-anniversary-of-a-masterpiece-the-dark-side-of-the-moon-pink-floyd/

Engineered by Alan Parsons (of the later Alan Parson Project) at Abbey Road Studios, the album was an instant success.  The band credits Parsons (who also worked on The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Let It Be) as a key contributor to the album’s success. I won’t repeat my treatment of DSOTM here but please take a moment and check out my earlier post.

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Wish You Were Here
Although I’m a big fan of Dark Side, Wish You Were Here (1975) edges it out as my favorite Floyd album.  The guitar work s beyond compare and the band was at the peak of it’s songwriting talents.

Returning to the studio after the Dark Side tour, the band set to work quickly on their 9th studio effort.  Parsons passed on the project (he was established as a musician by then) and the band later described the entire effort as “difficult” and “tortuous”.

Waters soldiered on and Gilmour stepped up.  The album addressed Syd’s departure and mental state quite directly and Waters later commented “Because I wanted to get as close as possible to what I felt … [that] indefinable, inevitable melancholy about the disappearance of Syd.”
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Animals (1977)

With the iconic Battersea Power Station in London on the cover, the band started work on Animals.  They had recently bought a group of church halls in Islington and set to work converting them to a storage area and their own recording studios.  This among my least favorite Pink Floyd albums and although I picked up a used bargain bin copy to round out my Pink Floyd collection, it doesn’t get much airplay.

Enjoy….

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The Kooks

OK. I need to admit upfront that I think the guy on the left in the above photo has an uncanny resemblance to a young John Lennon. And, no, it isn’t Julian.

Back in 2004, The Kooks formed in Brighton, East Sussex, in 2004.

The Kooks are Luke Pritchard (vocals/guitar), Hugh Harris (lead guitar/synth), Alexis Nunez (drums), and Peter Denton (bass guitar).  The describe themselves as a “pop” band and that’s exactly correct.  They also say that their tunes are “catchy as hell”.  Right again.  Despite comparisons to Arctic Monkeys, they’ve honed their own sound quite well.

They debuted on Virgin in 2006 with the album Inside In/Inside Out (2006).   Right up the UK charts to double platinum.  Forget Arctic Monkeys.  They’re soaring like those other Liverpoolian lads, The Beatles.

They had huge success with “She Moves in Her Own Way” (added below) and followed up with repeated releases. Yep, you guessed it.  They were all “catchy as hell”.

Enjoy….