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Record Round-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jukebox Mambo Roger Cook Felt

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Jukebox Mambo: Rumba & Afro-Latin Accented Rhythm & Blues 1949-1960

Jazzman CD

Arriving as a sister collection to the previously released juke joint spectacular, Jukebox Jam sets itself the not inconsiderable task of charting the impact of Afro-Cuban and Latin influences on post-war R&B and, in the process, rescues from oblivion 22 historic tracks selected and annotated with Jazzman’s customary attention to detail.

From the moment the needle hits the groove we’re led off on an exploration of all things frenzied, exotic and uninhibited as typified by the decidedly hot and bothered moods of Mabel Scott’s ‘Fool Burro’, Larry Dale’s ‘Down in The Bottom’, Marvin Phillips’ ‘Salty Dog’ and Mad Man James’ ‘Snake Charmer’. And just so you know – in true Jazzman style, the album is also available in super deluxe musical book format, comprising six 10” records that include four bonus tracks.

Grahame Bent

ROGER COOK
Running With The Rat Pack: Albums, Singles, Unreleased 1972-1973

RPM 2-CD

It’s incredible to think that in 1972, while Rogers Cook and Greenaway were busily teaching the world to sing - yep, they wrote that New Seekers smash, along with hits for the likes of Cliff, Cilla, The Hollies and White Plains – Cook was also sharing vocal duties with Madeleine Bell in the chart-friendly Blue Mink, and forging ahead with a solo career.

The latter failed to boost his bank balance, however, although it’s difficult to understand why. Two years after his debut Study (1970) slipped by unnoticed, Cook had another shot at solo glory with Meanwhile Back In The World, the first of three albums featured on this retrospective. That also bombed, and whilst the title track has a dated, Jesus Christ Superstar-style theatrical rock vibe about it, a few songs are too good to remain in obscurity– most notably ‘I’ll Bet Jesus Is A Lonely Man’, a Cook/Greenaway co-write that’s an MOR pop classic in waiting.

Meanwhile’s follow up, 1973’s Minstrels In Flight, also has its moments, and if we need to know why Cook’s previously unreleased collaboration with Blue Mink buddy Herbie Flowers, Rose On Fire, has a frivolous Smiley Smile feel, the sleeve notes provide a clue: one of the album’s proposed titled was Smile… Cook and Flowers In Joint Control.

Chris Twomey

FELT
Felt
Anazitisi LP

For many years the target of counterfeiters, the sole 1971 LP by Alabama guitar prog/psych-rockers Felt was an early candidate for the ‘under the counter’ reissue market. Saved at last by Nick Karanthanassis’ Anazitisi label the album gets a high quality definitive reissue with detailed insert and a 7” of two new recordings. If you don’t know the record it’s an excellent psychy prog outing with twin lead guitars, melodic vocals and keyboards combined into a melancholic anglophile sound clearly influenced by the UK progressive rock invasion. The guitar solos retain something of a West Coast feel reminiscent at times of Wishbone Ash.

Originally issued on the Nashville-based Nasco label (also home to the similar, yet less interesting Whalefeathers) within months of its original release the band had fallen apart due to a drug bust, leaving this as their only legacy.

Richard Allen

Jukebox mambo Morlocks Bob Andrews

VARIOUS ARTISTS
Gilles Peterson: Black Jazz Radio

Black Jazz/Snowdog CD

During its five-year lifespan (1970-75), Oakland-based independent Black Jazz carved out a niche as a champion of the emerging spiritual jazz scene alongside other labels associated with the genre, including Impulse!, Flying Dutchman and Strata East. Founded by pianist Gene Russell, Black Jazz released 21 albums before ceasing operations with Russell’s death in ’76, and this Gilles Peterson-compiled anthology offers an introductory overview of the label’s catalogue.

With selections on show from all principal members of the Black Jazz roster including choice cuts from Henry Franklin, Cleveland Eaton, Kelle Patterson’s take on Herbie Hancock’s ‘Maiden Voyage’ and Doug Carn, whose stunning ‘Higher Ground’ arguably forms the centrepiece of the album, the collection positively resonates with echoes of late ’60s and early ’70s electric Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane and Lonnie Liston Smith.

Grahame Bent

THE MORLOCKS
Submerged Alive

Area Pirata CD

A surreptitiously recorded live set sneaked out as a semi-bootleg (without the consent of the band) by Epitaph Records in 1987 was sure as shit never going to be the most fitting follow-up to The Morlocks' debut, Emerge, which had come out two years early and which was one of thee great garage punk LPs of the ’80s: mind-shredding, brutal, breakneck, dark and mysterious. In the interim, there'd been a change of guitarist and a slight shift of direction towards a slower, looser, denser more Stooges-inspired thrust. In places, Leighton sounds uncannily like Iggy in his prime and some of the searing lead runs bear the mark of Ron Asheton.

There are respectable covers of ‘Leavin' Here’ and Cuby & The Blizzards' ‘Body Not Your Soul’ and primal originals such as ‘She's My Fix’, though all marred somewhat by the preposterously overdubbed crowd noise that gives the impression the band was playing Shea Stadium!

Hugh Dellar

BOB ANDREWS & RKR-CB
Invisible Love

RKR-CB Productions CD/book

Not content with recording and touring with the reformed Graham Parker & The Rumour, Bob Andrews has, with his partner RKR-CB, just issued a new CD and book. Invisible Love is a concept audio/visual project inspired by the Marginy suburb of New Orleans with the story played out by Andrews’ dogs. It’s not as silly or pretentious as it might appear. Andrews has created a seamless blend of pop, funk and rock ‘n’ roll that’s as eclectic and spicy as the city that inspired him.

‘Suck My Pipes’ sounds like Prince mixed with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. ‘Pretty In My Dreams’ is a near perfect pop confection. ‘Dynamite Doll’ could be Fats Domino on speed. Invisible Love brings a little bit of New Orleans direct to your hi fi. Turn up the volume, roll back the carpets and shake your booty. You’ll wish you lived a little closer to New Orleans.

John Blaney

Annamy Hollis Brown Eric Burdon
ANNAMY
Woodpecker

Subliminal Sounds CD

AnnaMy recorded this, her debut album, in the lonely tract of Värmland, in her native Sweden. Despite the title, and her image, Woodpecker is as much rock as it is folk.

Parts of Woodpecker have much in common with AnnaMy’s compatriots, Lisa O Piu (whose members also guest on this album); ‘Snowflakes’ sounds like a lost track from that band’s first album. But, overall, Woodpecker’s folk influence is less psychedelic and more Joni Mitchell. AnnaMy isn’t overt in pinching Joni’s trademark trills, but her influence on this record is still keen. Unfortunately, however, she doesn’t appropriate Joni’s lyrical skill, and clichés abound. The rock element is also patchy. At its best – on the underground sound of ‘Stegen’, for example – AnnaMy comes across like a lost ’70s diva, someone who’d turn up on a compilation of forgotten Scandi-rock. But, too often, these tracks don’t quite have enough edge.

An uneven album, then, but it’s still likeable. A bit more maturity and reflection, and AnnaMy could really stand out.

Jeanette Leech

HOLLIS BROWN
Ride On The Train

Alive CD

New Yorkers Hollis Brown’s debut full-length record will have tuned-in listeners hearing CCR and Crazy Horse, as well as My Morning Jacket and The Black Crowes (and I’m also hearing Supergrass, which is good because it makes what they do less predictable). But the one album this one most conjures up to my own ears is Grant Lee Buffalo’s superb 1993 debut, Fuzzy.

Regardless of what might be in their record collections, though, through this consistently impressive first long player, HB have carved out their own space with a set of timeless, rustic, and eminently tuneful and soulful sounds. The rocking songs work, the ballads are effective, there’s excellent pacing. Think of CCR banging out a swampy groove like ‘Run Through The Jungle’, then later pulling back with a soaring ballad such as ‘Who’ll Stop the Rain’ and you’ll have a sense of what to expect here. Sounds better over each successive listen.

Brian Greene
ERIC BURDON
‘Til Your River Runs Dry

ABKCO CD

After the break-up of the original Animals in 1966, white soul singer Eric Burdon promptly hired a new line-up and morphed into an LSD-dropping, flower power philosopher of sorts with international hits like ‘San Franciscan Nights’ and ‘Monterey’. By ’70 he was fronting the black R&B group War, who had one of the most radio-friendly songs of the era in the anthem-like ‘Spill The Wine’.

Fast forward 40 years and Burdon’s latest is probably his most personal to date as he takes an unsparing, decidedly jaundiced look at religion (the tormented ‘Devil And Jesus’, with Johnny Lee Schell on guitar), the environment (on both ‘In The Ground’ and ‘River Is Rising’, the latter featuring Jon Cleary) and politics – with a hauntingly edgy ‘Memorial Day’ and the bluesy, dreamlike commentary ‘Invitation To The White House’, that recalls blues poet JB Lenoir. Burdon also pays tribute to an early influence on ‘Bo Diddley Special’ and the freewheeling shout-out, ‘Before You Accuse Me’. He’s still got the chops.

Gary von Tersch
Sugar Stems Telekinisis Pretty
THE SUGAR STEMS
Can’t Wait

Screaming Apple LP

Following their debut LP The Sweet Sound Of, this American four-piece boy/girl pop combo continue in the same vein on their sophomore. Lead singer Betsy has a clear, strong and mellifluous voice. All 10 songs here are group originals, none of which have anything profound to say. But then, that’s not the point with this kind of ringing guitar pop. It’s life affirming, spirit-lifting, catchy and hook laden. It’s summer listening and optimistic.

‘Told You So’ is something of a foil to all this with its chorus refrain of “the world you live in is so fucked up”, effectively bringing a little rain to the clouds… but it’s only a shower. Even a maudlin title like ‘6 Feet Under’ is a breezy, happy and highly danceable number. This is just the thing to shake off the long winter nights. Don’t worry, be happy!

Paul Martin
TELEKINESIS
Dormarion

Merge CD

In 2009, Seattle’s Telekinesis (really a one-man show in the person of Michael Benjamin Lerner, with odd bits of support from various parties) released a striking debut that featured the powerpop gem, ‘Coast Of Carolina’, and a pleasing assortment of various kinds of catchiness built around that centrepiece. The follow-up EP and second record from Lerner and co both had their highlights, without quite reaching the peaks of the initial endeavour.

On Dormarion, the heights from the debut have been re-scaled. Nicely balanced, the album contains one pretty ballad played on acoustic guitar, one kinetic dance track, and an overarching edgy ’80s-ness that will bring knowing nods and smiles from fans of the likes of Bauhaus and New Order. For the powerpop enthusiast, though, it’s the irresistible hooks on immediately captivating songs like ‘Power Lines’ and ‘Lean On Me’ that will have people singing too loud in the shower and hugging strangers.

Brian Greene
PRETTY
Mustache In Your Face
THE CAVE DWELLERS
Run Around
WICKED LESTER
You Are Doomed EP

All Numero 2-45 sets

These three double singles are beautifully packaged but what of the music? Pretty’s ‘Mustache In Your Face’ and ‘The Electric Hand’ are fairly well known from compilations like World Of Acid. The unissued ‘Red Spoon Gravy’ is a mid-paced garage-psych workout, mean but groovy whilst ‘Fun House’ (not Iggy’s) is in the same style but with a half-spoken, half-chanted vocal.

The Cave Dwellers’ ‘Run Around’ is a fast, frantic garage screamer whilst ‘You Know Why’ is a mid-paced moody teen angst winner. Alas, both sides of the second 45 are lame ballad fillers.

Wicked Lester’s ‘Here Comes My Girlfriend’ is a melodic punker, akin to The Flaming Groovies if they’d forgotten how to play. Though dating from the late ’70s it sounds mid-60s – a raw one-take sound and fuzz guitar. Garage fans will love. Their other three tracks are enjoyable sub-Sabbath downer-rock affairs.

Get all three now!

Paul Martin