-= 7-FLOOR =-

Friday, August 29, 2008

Bo Grumpus - Before The War (1968)

Great 1968 Atco US psych/pop/rock album by this Boston four piece, produced and arranged by Felix Pappalardi before he joined Mountain. Pappalardi also shares some writing credits with the band (there is an early version of "Travelling In the Dark" later recorded with Mountain) and he plays on a couple of cuts, but this is by no means a heavy rock record. At times the album has quite an unusual spaced out folky pop feel to it and overall is more of a typical 1968 pop/rock psych album - certainly not what one would normally expect from Pappalardi. Singer/guitarist Eddie Mottau went on to play guitar on John Lennon's "Walls And Bridges" and "Rock'n'Roll".

BO GRUMPUS was formed in Boston in 1967 and are not to be confused with the group using the name in the 1990s. N.D. Smart and Jim Colegrove traveled from Ohio to team up with guitarists, Eddie Mottau and Joe Hutchinson. Eddie and Joe had performed as a duo in the mid-sixties called Two Guys From Boston. They had done some recording with Noel “Paul” Stookey as their producer but had only one single released on the Scepter label. N.D. had met the Two Guys when they performed in Dayton, Ohio at the local folk club, The Lemon Tree. N.D. then both recorded and performed with them. When they asked him to join them to make a band he was prompt to say yes. N.D. asked Jim Colegrove to join them on bass. The group first performed at The Loft on Charles Street in Boston using the name The Bait Shop. It wasn’t long before Eddie and Joe called their friend Felix Pappalardi in New York to come to Boston to hear the group play. Felix had played bass with The Two Guys on their recordings. At the time, Felix had already produced The Youngbloods records for RCA and was in the midst of recording Cream for their upcoming Disraeli Gears LP. Felix came to Boston and heard the group. He and his partner, Bud Prager, liked the band and set about to secure a recording/publishing deal for them. The Bait Shop moved to New York City in June, 1967 and prepared to record.

The first of many changes occurred when Felix asked the band to change their name. His suggestion was a name that his wife, Gail Collins, came up with. Gail was an artist and had a drawing that hung on their living room wall she called Bo Grumpus. It was a strange-looking creature with other equally strange-looking creatures crawling out of a hole in its stomach. Felix thought the name was so unusual that it would be defined by the style of music that the group recorded. Felix was quoted as saying, “It’s a good name that means nothing.” The band made its New York debut at the Gaslight Café on MacDougal Street.

In the autumn of 1967 they began working at The Café Wha?. The group still hadn’t completed an LP. By the end of the year N.D. decided to leave the group to join John Hall's band, Kangaroo. The former Hello People drummer, Ronnie Blake, replaced N.D. Music at The Wha? worked in two shifts. The bands on the night shift when Bo Grumpus started were Cat Mother and the All-Night Newsboys and the Peepl. Cat Mother went on to have a big hit with Good Old Rock and Roll on Polydor. Two of the guys in the Peepl, Joey DeJesus and Peter Alongi, went on to record with a group called Banchee on Atlantic and Polydor. Comedian David Frye appeared there that summer. Other bands that worked there during this time were the Raves, the Cherry People, the Roman Numerals, Kangaroo, the Hello People, the Turnkeys, Meat (with Rob Stoner), The Castilles (with Bruce Springsteen), Watertower West (with Alan Merrill) and Jessie’s First Carnival (with Jeff Gutcheon).

In the spring of 1968, Before The War was issued on the Atco label. A couple of tracks were engineered by Chris Houston, former member of The Undertakers. Felix said that the roots to his rock group, Mountain, can be traced to this recording. When Bell Records approached Felix with an offer for him to produce a record, he wanted Bo Grumpus to be the band. The problem was, The Richmond Organization (the group’s publishing company) owned the rights to the name Bo Grumpus being used for a musical group. That meant another name change.

At the suggestion of Eddie Mottau, the group changed its name to Jolliver Arkansaw. They went into the studio early in 1969 to record. On one of the tracks, Gray Afternoon, they were joined by guitarist Leslie West. The solo that Leslie played on this track convinced Felix to start a band with him. That band became known as Mountain. Jolliver Arkansaw’s LP, titled Home, was issued on Bell in 1969. Gray Afternoon has been reissued on a Sound Stories compilation CD (see below). It still gets played on cable music channels.

By August, 1969, Jolliver Arkansaw had come to its end and the group’s members went their separate ways. Jim Colegrove joined Ian & Sylvia’s band Great Speckled Bird and reunited with N.D. Smart. Eddie Mottau became Noel Stookey’s producer, recorded and performed with John Lennon then started his own solo career.

It is a strange twist of fate that in this day and age some characterize the original Bo Grumpus as “the psychedelic band from Boston”, or “anti-war band,” when in fact they were a ragtime group in their formative years performing tunes such as “Sister Kate,” “Gimme A Pigfoot,” “The Preacher and The Bear,” “Big Fat Woman,” “Charlie Green (Trombone Charlie)” and many others in that style.

(Info by: CGR)

Size: 59.7 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Badger - One Live Badger (1973)

Badger were one of those seventies bands that are barely remembered outside the circle of hard-core Yes fans. Only in existence for a couple of years, they managed to produce two albums, White Lady, the 1974 studio album which was a fairly mellow, soul-influenced affair featuring ex-Apple Records artist Jackie Lomax, and the altogether more interesting progressive rock debut One Live Badger. Formed in mid 1972, the roots of the band stretch back a few years earlier when Tony Kaye linked up with David Foster who was getting material together for a prospective solo album. Foster, a former band mate of Jon Anderson in The Warriors, was first introduced to the Yes camp when he co-wrote Sweet Dreams and Time And A Word with the vocalist with for the band's second album. Although the solo album was eventually scrapped, Foster and Kaye kept in touch and following Kaye's departure from Yes and brief involvement with Flash, set about remixing and reworking the original material.

Deciding to form a band to play and record the songs, drummer Roy Dyke was recruited from the recently disbanded Ashton, Gardener and Dyke who recommended that guitarist Brian Parrish, who had recorded a largely ignored album with Adrian Gurvitz, should complete the line-up. After intensive rehearsals, the band made their debut at "The Rainbow Theatre" in December 1972 supporting Yes at the infamous concerts that spawned the sprawling Yessongs live album. Atlantic Records, to whom both groups were signed, decided that as the equipment was in place they should make the most of their financial outlay and record the support group's set as well. In a bold move that seems rather extraordinary by today's standards, it was these recordings that formed the basis of One Live Badger.

And what a great album it is, the material is strong and the group sound as if they have been playing and writing together for years. The production, by the group, Jon Anderson and Geoffrey Haslam, is crisp although somewhat more raw and aggressive than the resulting Yes recordings from the same concerts. As expected, Kaye's signature Hammond organ sound is to the fore on most of the tracks (and in particular on the album closer On The Way Home), although he does use other keyboards to add different textures: the chorus of Wind of Change features the mellotron, The River utilises an electric piano to great effect and a Moog synthesiser is evident on other tracks. Guitarist Brian Parrish plays some great solos, although nothing too flash (excuse the pun!) or overburdened with technical virtuosity. The solid and efficient rhythm section are quite prominent in the mix, as one would expect from a live recording, Foster's bass in particular being particularly clear - the dynamic mix of driving bass, riffing guitar and wailing Hammond during On The Way Home is superb and probably something that could only be got away with on a live recording. The closest comparison would be akin to a rockier Traffic.

Overall, a wonderful live album and worthy of inclusion in the collection of any fan of 1970s rock music, not just those drawn by the Yes connections. My only complaints are with the quality of the packaging. Roger Dean's cover artwork is poorly reproduced (the band name and album title are hard to see in detail), the booklet (four sides with only the front and rear artwork in colour) contains no extra information aside from the original sleeve notes and just reproduces the four colour photographs from the tray inlay in black and white. There are probably no bonus live recordings that could have been added to the album, 40 minutes would no doubt have been the length of the support act's set, and the inclusion of any existing rehearsal or demo cuts would have been incongruous, but one does feel that the addition of a few extra photos, a potted history of the band and even some reminiscences from the group members themselves would have helped justified what is effectively a full-price release. Still, it is the music that matters and on that score you can't complain at all.

(Info by: CGR)

1. Wheel of fortune (7:04)
2. Fountain (7:12)
3. Wind of change (7:00)
4. River (7:00)
5. The preacher (3:35)
6. On the way home (7:10)

Size: 77.1 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included

Monday, August 25, 2008

Dragonwyck - Chapter 2 (1972-74)

This release, available on CD for the first time, is the second of World In Sound´s Dragonwyck trilogy. The group from Cleveland were one of the most promising bands from the early 70´s in that area. After their first legendary 1970 heavy-psych album the keyboardist changed, and the band left their garagey Doors influences to create their own sound. The music on these well producedstereo-recordings exists only on acetate (10 copies), and drifted more into the British vein of progressive rock, like King Crimson, Pink Floyd or Yes, but also reflects US-West Coast feeling like It´s a Beautiful Day. By 1972 Dragonwyck was performing Moody Blues´complete 'Days of Future Passed' live on stage (!!!) The 10 original cuts included here, however, are intense and very unique with strong melodies/vocals, heavy guitar solos and an extreme variety of keyboard and vocal sounds an awesome mix of heavy underground rock with classical chamber-music style/elements. There are 2 bonus tracks from a 45´record which was released in 1974, a bio, authentic press-releases and cool photos. Comes in a digipack-fold cover with a 12 page booklet: also remastered from the original mastertapes.

(Info by: CGR)

01 - Kimberly - 0.32
02 - He Loves You - 3.18
03 - Fire Climbs - 6.41
04 - Relics - 5.11
05 - Freedom Son - 3.57
06 - Lady - 3.47
07 - Run To The Devil - 3.45
08 - Dead Man - 4.15
09 - The Music - 3.14
10 - Forever Only Last A Little While - 4.40
11 - Lovin' The Boys (Single -74) - 3.14
12 - The Music (Single -74) - 3.07

Size: 87.2 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included

Peter Green - Fleetwood Mac - The Blues Years (1960s)

(No Info)

Size: 263 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included
Download part.1
Download part.2
Download part.3

Monday, August 04, 2008

Victoria - Victoria (1971)

Locally New Jersey demo release (200 made), beyond rare fantastic concept psych beauty, maybe 5 or 6 known copies. 3 girls 1 guy. They tried to get attention from big labels but this never happend. They wanted him to sound like Blood Sweat & Tears. But this was not Greg's idea of music. The music has everything you need, like a wild version of early Moby Grape combined with New Dawn and C.A. Quintet, sometimes dreamy sometimes totally wild underground-psych, with female vocals and splattering leads, Titanic horns & destorted guitars. Sweet tunes turn into dark psychpower. TOTALLY STONED!!

Super rare US psych concept album that has a Neighbr'hood Childr'n feel. This psych beauty, sometimes dreamy sometimes totally wild has female vocals, titanic horns & distorted guitars. Sweet tunes turn into dark psych-power. Greg Ruban, the composer and front-man of Victoria recorded this album just before he had to go to Vietnam. When he returned from War, obviously mentally fucked, he took his unreleased album on a 3 month trip to Europe on a motorbike to promote it, but unfortunately that did not work out at all. The album was unreleased until only a few years ago...

(Info by: CGR)

01 - Peace - 2.44
02 - Cumberland - 4.41
03 - Gevaro - 4.11
04 - Ride A Rainbow - 2.50
05 - Never Knew Blues - 4.58
06 - Down To The Park - 2.57
07 - Village Of Etaf - 12.23
08 - Core Of The Apple - 8.09
09 - Mister Let Me Go (Bonus Acetate) - 3.37
10 - Johny & Lisa (Bonus Acetate) - 3.02
11 - Peace (Bonus Acetate) - 2.52
12 - Cumberland (Bonus Acetate) - 2.51
13 - Child Of Princess (Bonus Real-To-Real Track) - 3.07
14 - Sundance (Bonus Real-To-Real Track) - 1.46
15 - Wheels (Bonus Real-To-Real Track) - 2.02

Size: 116 Mb
Bitrate: 256 mp3
Artwork Included