Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rare Cactus & Pat Travers Archive Albums

Cactus Live In The U.S.A.
Legendary rock ‘n’ roll drummer Carmine Appice has worked a deal between his Rocker Records label and Cleopatra Records to dig into the musician’s archives and pull out previously-unreleased plums from his hard-charging blues-rock band Cactus as well as a musical collaboration between Appice and longtime musical foil Tim Bogert and yet another album with extraordinary guitarist Pat Travers. 

Cactus was formed by Vanilla Fudge alumni Tim Bogert on bass and Appice on drums. Their original plan was to hook up with legendary guitarist Jeff Beck, but when a motorcycle accident put the guitarist on the shelf for a year and a half, the rhythm section recruited Jim McCarty – guitarist for Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels – and leather-lunged singer Rusty Day, from Ted Nugent’s Amboy Dukes. The band displayed all of the high-octane, livewire rock ‘n’ roll chops one would expect from a Motor City gang, releasing four albums between 1970 and 1972 that earned them a reputation as “America’s Led Zeppelin.”

After leaving Cactus, Bogert and Appice worked on their long-delayed project with Jeff Beck, a short-lived union that resulted in a 1973 studio album and subsequent live disc before the members all went their separate ways. Appice would go on to play in bands like KGB (with Michael Bloomfield) and Blue Murder, and he was Rod Stewart’s longtime drummer during Rod’s salad days of the 1980s. Appice and Bogert reunited with McCarty in 2006 to re-form Cactus with former Savoy Brown singer Jimmy Kunes replacing the late Day. The reunion resulted in a well-received studio album, Cactus V, but first there was a special reunion show held at B.B. King’s club in New York City in June 2006.

On August 5th, 2014 Cleopatra Records will release Live In The U.S.A., a double-CD set that documents that historic 2006 Cactus reunion show in its entirety. The album features new performances of all of the band’s long-time fan favorites, including songs like “Long Tall Sally,” “One Way…Or Another” (the title track of their sophomore album), “Parchman Farm,” and the band’s unique take on the Willie Dixon/Howlin’ Wolf gem “Evil.”

Live In The U.S.A. just scrapes the top of the barrel from Appice’s Cactus archive, however. Cleopatra recently released An Evening In Tokyo, a ten-track album that captures a late 2012 concert recorded at the Garden Shimokitazawa club in Tokyo, Japan. Featuring a Cactus line-up that included Appice, McCarty, Kunes, bassist Pete Bremy and harmonica player Randy Pratt, the album offers up performances of several Cactus fan favorites as well as turbo-charged takes on several obscure but worthy songs. On September 2nd, 2014 Cleopatra will also release the band’s TKO In Tokyo – Live In Japan, a three-disc set that documents the performance on the night after An Evening In Tokyo in the same venue, 15 live tracks on two CDs and a DVD that features clear digital video.

Tom Bogert & Carmine Appice's FriendsThat’s a wealth of music for any Cactus fan, but Appice isn’t stopping there, nosirree – on August 19th, 2014 Cleopatra will release Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice’s Friends, a six-song collection that reunites the longtime Cactus/Vanilla Fudge rhythm section with friends like Fudge alums Bill Pascali, Teddy Rodinelli, and Vince Martell as well as talents like bassist T.M. Stevens (who played with Appice in Pat Travers’ band) and keyboardist Brian Auger (a British rock ‘n’ roll legend who has played with Rod Stewart, John McLaughlin, and his own bands).

If that wasn’t enough music to exhaust your poor ol’ eardrums, on September 16th, 2014 Cleopatra will release Live In Europe from guitarist Pat Travers and drummer Appice, with bassist Tony Franklin (The Firm) as a guest. The live album offers up 14 rockin’ tracks from both the Travers and Appice songbooks, including raw-boned performances of “Snortin’ Whiskey,” “Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights),” and “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” co-written by Appice and sounding nothing like Rod Stewart. We have links for all of these releases from Amazon.com and, personally, I can’t wait to see what else Carmine Appice has hiding in his musical vault!

Buy the albums from Amazon.com:

Cactus - Live In The U.S.A.  

Cactus - An Evening In Tokyo 

Cactus - TKO Tokyo - Live in Japan  

Bogert & Appice - Friends  

Travers & Appice - Live in Europe

Tommy Bolin’s Zephyr Revisited

Tommy Bolin & Zephyr
You may know guitarist Tommy Bolin as the gun for hire in such bands as the James Gang, where he was Joe Walsh’s replacement, recording two albums with the band; or Deep Purple, where he stepped into Ritchie Blackmore’s shoes for the band’s 1975 album Come Taste The Band. Maybe you know Bolin from his two solo albums – 1975’s Teaser and the following year’s Private Eye…or maybe your tastes run towards another end of the musical spectrum and you’re familiar with Bolin’s stellar fretwork on such jazz-fusion classics as Billy Cobham’s Spectrum or Alphonse Mouzon’s Mind Transplant album.

Regardless of where you may know Tommy Bolin from among his many musical endeavors, the legend began with the late 1960s Colorado band Zephyr. Formed by singer Candy Givens and her husband, bassist David, with Bolin, keyboardist John Faris, and drummer Robbie Chamberlin, Zephyr paired hard rock with blues and jazz influences to create a highly unique and fresh rock ‘n’ roll sound that wasn’t entirely blues-rock and not quite jazz-fusion.

The larger-than-life vocals of Candy Givens were originally the band’s main draw, but Bolin’s awe-inspiring six-string mastery brought the band a reputation as dynamic and entertaining on-stage performers. Bolin left the band after its self-titled 1969 debut and its 1971 follow-up, Going Back To Colorado, to hook up with the James Gang, but Zephyr kept plugging away until frontwoman Givens’ death in 1984. Along the way, the band proved to be the first stop in a career for a number of successful musicians, including bluesmen Otis Taylor and Eddie Turner, Zack Smith (Scandal), Jock Bartley (Firefall), and others.

On August 5th, 2014 the Cleopatra Records imprint Purple Pyramid Records will reissue Zephyr’s self-titled 1969 debut, remixed and re-mastered under the aegis of founding band member David Givens. In a press release for the album, Givens says “for the first time you can hear what we heard before everything went wrong. I’m happy with the results!” Bolin fans will be overjoyed by a number of bonus tracks added to Zephyr, the album, including previously unreleased live tracks as well as a long-lost studio jam taped during a band rehearsal.

Zephyr was reissued earlier this year as a limited-edition three-disc box set of 2,000 copies, all of which have long since sold out to hardcore fans. For the more budget-minded among you, this single-disc version provides the entire original album as well as a taste of the live tracks available on the previous box set. The album will also be reissued as a special 180gram colored-vinyl release later this year, minus the bonus tracks; we have the entire track listing for the album below, as well as an Amazon.com link to purchase the album should you choose to do so…believe the Reverend, kiddies, it’s well worth your time for Bolin’s guitar playing alone...

Zephyr track list:

1. Sail On
2. Sun’s A Risin’
3. Raindrops
4. Boom-Ba-Boom
5. Somebody Listen
6. Cross The River
7. St. James Infirmary
8. Huna Buna
9. Hard Chargin’ Woman
10. Guitar Solo / Cross The River (Reed’s Ranch, Colorado Springs, CO - July 3, 1969) *
11. Jam *
12. Uptown (To Harlem) *
13. Sail On (Tulagi’s - Boulder, CO June 19, 1973) *

* Bonus tracks, CD only

Buy the album from Amazon.com: Zephyr's Zephyr w/Tommy Bolin

There isn't much video footage available on Bolin and Zephyr, but this recording will give you an idea of the band's sound:


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Michael Bloomfield, Al Kooper & Stephen Stills - Super Session

Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills' Super Session
It is, perhaps, the “Holy Grail” of Michael Bloomfield recordings, the ground-breaking 1968 album Super Session with Al Kooper and Stephen Stills. All of the marquee names on Super Session were “in between” bands – Bloomfield having left Electric Flag, Kooper kicked out of Blood, Sweat & Tears after producing that band’s magnificent Child Is Father To The Man album, and Stills in the process of leaving Buffalo Springfield (but before Crosby, Stills & Nash). They were joined by Bloomfield’s former Electric Flag bandmates bassist Harvey Brooks and keyboardist Barry Goldberg as well as drummer Eddie Hoh.

On August 19th, 2014 Audio Fidelity will release a limited-and-numbered edition of Super Session as a 5.1 Multichannel Hybrid SACD. This new version pares back the 2002 reissue’s four bonus tracks in favor of improved sound for the original nine album tracks; Kooper produced the original album and completed the previously unreleased 5.1 Surround Sound mix in 2006.

In a press release for the album Kooper says “Surround Sound allows the listener to get up close to each musician and hear details you can't hear in stereo.” The two-channel CD stereo can be played on all standard CD players while the SACD stereo requires a SACD player. SACD Surround Sound requires a Multichannel SACD player and system to be properly heard.

Super Session has its roots in the free-wheeling ‘60s. Kooper had become an A&R executive with Columbia Records after leaving Blood, Sweat & Tears, and would go on to work with talents like Nils Lofgren, the Tubes, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Kooper had an idea to record a studio jam session with guitarist Bloomfield, who he had worked with on sessions for Bob Dylan. He enlisted the other instrumental talents to back them in the studio on a set of rock, soul, and blues tunes mixing newly-minted originals with covers like Curtis Mayfield’s “Man’s Temptation” and the Philly soul classic “Stop.”

Bloomfield worked one day in the studio, recording the five tracks that would become the first side of Super Session, before packing his bags and going home. Kooper knew that his unpredictable friend suffered from insomnia and heroin addiction and, without dropping a beat, he recruited Stills for the second studio session, recordings that would become side two of the album including a lengthy jam on Donovan’s “Season of the Witch,” Dylan’s “It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry,” and bluesman Willie Cobbs’ “You Don’t Love Me.”

The result would be a classic of late 1960s rock ‘n’ blues, the album rising to #12 on the Billboard albums chart and eventually earning a Gold Record for sales. Super Session has been reissued numerous times through the years, and it’s earned its classic status, displaying timeless performances that still sound great 45+ years later.  

Super Session track list:

1. Albert's Shuffle
2. Stop
3. Man's Temptation
4. His Holy Modal Majesty
5. Really
6. It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes A Train to Cry
7. Season of the Witch
8. You Don't Love Me
9. Harvey's Tune

Buy the SACD from Amazon.com: Super Session (Hybrid Multichannel SACD)

Friday, July 11, 2014

CD Preview: The Flock’s Heaven Bound – The Lost Album

The Flock's Heaven Bound
The Flock was one of the more interesting of the great lost bands from the late 1960s/early ‘70s, the Chicago-based outfit incorporating elements of jazz, fusion, and progressive rock into an entirely unique sound that revolved around talented violinist Jerry Goodman. More adventuresome, both on stage and in the studio, than contemporaries like Chicago (a/k/a Chicago Transit Authority) or Blood Sweat & Tears, the Flock was signed by Columbia Records, back in the days when major labels would take a chance on any crazy old sounds.

The band recorded a pair of albums for the label – their acclaimed self-titled debut in 1969 (which hit #48 on the Billboard albums chart), and which featured liner notes by British blues-rock legend John Mayall, and 1970’s Dinosaur Swamps, which was less successful commercially, but yielded a memorable track in the soaring “Big Bird.” The band had begun work on a third album for the label when Columbia Records president Clive Davis allegedly stole Goodman away from the band to play with guitarist John McLaughlin’s new Mahavishnu Orchestra project and the Flock dissolved.

The band re-formed a couple years down the road to record 1975’s Inside Out for Mercury Records, but when the album received poor reviews and failed to meet sales expectations, they were dropped by the label. The band’s singer and guitarist, Fred Glickstein, continued to write and record new material with fellow Flock founding members Jerry Smith (bass) and Ron Karpman (drums) in anticipation of a record deal that never came. The tapes were stored away until now, and will finally see release on CD as Heaven Bound – The Lost Album on July 22nd, 2014 by Cleopatra Records’ imprint Purple Pyramid.
 
In a press release for the long lost album, Fred Glickstein says “we are all very lucky to have had that happy musical trip and the chance to entertain people in the U.S. and Europe. A special thanks to everyone at Cleopatra Records for helping this project become a reality and for keeping the spirit of the Flock alive.” We have the tracklist for Heaven Bound below.

The Flock’s Heaven Bound track list:
1. Heaven Bound
2. The Bells
3. Reasons
4. Crying Out/The Voice
5. Don't You Know (Who I Am)
6. Makes It All Worthwhile
7. Noise Boys
8. Mama
9. Rolling With the Clones
10. Love Away
11. C'mon Let's Walk
12. Be Strong and Survive
13. The Christos Jig
14. The Test
15. Outroduction

Buy the CD from Amazon.com: The Flock's Heaven Bound-The Lost Album

CD Preview: Jim Croce’s Lost Time In A Bottle

Jim Croce's Lost Time In A Bottle
Singer/songwriter Jim Croce enjoyed a too-brief career – just five studio albums in seven years, from 1966 until his tragic death in a small plane crash in 1973. Only five singles were released during his lifetime, three of them Top Ten hits, including the chart-topping “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown.” In the wake of Croce’s death, six more singles were released over the following couple of years, most notably “Time In A Bottle,” which went number one in 1973, and “I’ll Have To Say I Love You In A Song,” which hit number nine in 1974.

Croce’s imaginative mix of folksong storytelling, pop melodies, and late 1950s/early ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll innocence struck a chord with a mainstream audiences, albeit briefly, resulting in three Gold™ albums and seemingly endless possibilities. As record labels are want to do, various rights holders have released 18 compilation albums that have seemingly scraped the barrel clean of Croce’s extant recordings. The best of these discs is the posthumous Photographs & Memories: His Greatest Hits, released roughly a year after Croce’s death, the 14-track collection including all of the singer’s biggest hits and quickly achieving Platinum™ sales status. 

On July 22nd, 2014 Cleopatra Records will release what is certain to be one of the more interesting of the post-millennial Croce compilations, Lost Time In A Bottle, and one that offers some long-lost new material. The 24 songs on the collection include rare demo versions of Croce hits like “Operator,” “Time In A Bottle,” and “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown,” among others, as well as ten live performances from a February 1973 concert at Harper College. The crown achievement of Lost Time In A Bottle, however, is a previously-unreleased 1964 radio broadcast from a Cazenovia College performance early in Croce’s career, the six songs clearly displaying his rapidly-maturing songwriting and storytelling skills.

Lost Time In A Bottle will initially be released on CD, with a two-album vinyl set to follow. We have the complete track listing below, and a link to buy the CD from Amazon.com because we’re just that helpful...
   
Jim Croce's Lost Time In A Bottle tracklist:

1. Next Time, This Time (Harper College 2/5/73)
2. New York’s Not My Home (Harper College 2/5/73)
3. You Don’t Mess Around With Jim (Harper College 2/5/73)
4. Careful Man (Harper College 2/5/73)
5. A Good Time Man Like Me (Demo)
6. Tractor Trailer Story Intro (Harper College 2/5/73)
7. Speedball Tucker (Demo)
8. Operator (Demo)
9. Hard Time Losin’ Man (Demo)
10. Seems Like Such A Long Time Ago (Demo)
11. It Doesn’t Have To Be That Way (Harper College 2/5/73)
12. Bar Story Intro (Harper College 2/5/73)
13. Roller Derby Queen (Harper College 2/5/73)
14. One Less Set of Footsteps (Harper College 2/5/73)
15. Dreamin’ Again (Harper College 2/5/73)
16. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown (Demo)
17. Time In A Bottle (Demo)
18. I Got A Name (Live 1973)
19. Charley Green, Play That Slide Trombone (Cazenovia College 1964)
20. San Francisco Bay Blues (Cazenovia College 1964)
21. Washington At Valley Forge (Cazenovia College 1964)
22. La Bamba (Cazenovia College 1964)
23. Seek and You Shall Find (Cazenovia College 1964)
24. Woke Up This Morning (Cazenovia College 1964)

Buy the CD from Amazon.com: Jim Croce's Lost Time in a Bottle