Thursday, February 25, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Time Has Come" - The Chambers Brothers (1967)

"The Time Has Come" - The Chambers Brothers (1967)

It is the psychedelic "in-your-face" "Time Has Come Today" that punches everyone's ticket.  Written by Joseph and Willie Chambers, "Time..." is an eleven-plus minute psychedelic tour de force filled with revelry and pronouncement.  It has a wonderful middle freakout with dripping time all powered by some of the most definitive cowbell ever put to wax.  The song is a fun, but blistering warning to those who promote war and inequality.  It's a polaroid of the times.   It is why the song has been used a gazillion times in films and television and documentaries.  The rest of the album is mostly straight r&b in various shades of pretty good, but nothing comes close to touching this tour de force.

"The Time Has Come" (back)

Other favorites are the first three tracks on the album.  The fun and energetic opener "All Strung Out Over You."  The oft-covered "People Get Ready" is nicely done and reminds everyone how smooth and soulful The Chambers Brothers were.  And the harmonica-driven "I Can't Stand It" written and played by Lester Chambers, is tasty stuff.  You can easily find a nice copy of "The Time Has Come" for a five-spot or less and I'm glad I have it in my collection.

Columbia 360 Two-Eye label

Cat #
CS 9522
o XSM118795-1F  1 J D
o XSM118796-1F  1 J  1G  C

"I Can't Stand It" - The Chambers Brothers (1967)

A1  "All Strung Out Over You" 2:30
A2  "People Get Ready" 3:52
A3  "I Can't Stand It" 2:42
A4  "Romeo and Juliet" 4:32
A5  "In The Midnight Hour" 5:32
A6  "So Tired" 4:05
B1  "Uptown" 2:56
B2  "Please Don't Leave Me" 3:00
B3  "What The World Needs Now Is Love" 3:20
B4  "Time Has Come Today" 11:06

Willie Chambers - guitar, vocals
George Chambers - bass, vocals
Joseph Chambers - guitar, vocals
Lester Chambers - harmonica, vocals
Brian Keenan - drums

Good stuff.


Monday, February 22, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Cellophane Symphony" - Tommy James And The Shondells (1969)

"Cellophane Symphony"Tommy James and the Shondells (1969)

"Cellophane Symphony" was Tommy James and the Shondells' 7th album and is filled with trippy and catchy pop and soul psych goodness.  And as fun and enjoyable as this 1969 psych offering is, the album didn't even break the Top 100 on Billboard.  You can find it in the wild for single bills and it's a steal of a deal when you do.

Favorites are the nearly 10-minute psych-driven instrumental title track and the floaty and equally exhilarating rush of "Changes.”  “I Know Who I Am” is especially groovy and funky and a bit of a worm.  And the top 10 hit “Sweet Cherry Wine” is always nice to hear.  I'd never paid attention to the lyrics before, but the song was a protest against the war.  There is enough variety on this album to entertain without drifting too far away from the boat, which is cool.  There are two 'throw-away' songs that close out both sides of the album, a bit novelty in nature, but they're good for what they are and nothing to lift the needle over.  Tommy James is not really an underrated artist, but he is very much under-appreciated, I think.  His music was a sneaky kick in the ass for AM radio and easily transcended FM with little effort.  “Cellophane Symphony” is an enjoyable biscuit and one to keep an eye out for.

"Cellophane Symphony" (back)

Roulette Records

Cat #
RSD 535A  ℬℯ𝓁𝓁 𝒮ℴ𝓊𝓃𝒹  9-69 AB
RSD 535B  ℬℯ𝓁𝓁 𝒮ℴ𝓊𝓃𝒹   9-69 AB

"I Know Who I Am" - Tommy James and the Shondells / "Cellophane Symphony" (1969)

A1  "Cellophane Symphony" 9:37
A2  "Makin' Good Time" 2:41
A3  "Evergreen" 2:07
A4  "Sweet Cherry Wine" 3:57
A5  "Papa Rolled His Own" 1:46
B1  "Changes" 5:36
B2  "Loved One" 4:02
B3  "I Know Who I Am" 3:25
B4  "The Love Of A Woman" 4:29
B5  "On Behalf Of The Entire Staff And Management" 3:53

Tommy James - vocals, guitars, keyboards
Eddie Gray - guitar, b-vocals
Ronnie Rosman - keyboards, b-vocals
Mike Vale - bass, b-vocals
Pete Lucia - drums, percussion, b-vocals

Good stuff.

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Sunday, February 14, 2021

Interview -- Michael Conner Humphreys (Actor)

"There's a lot of benefits.
But there's also a lot
of fallbacks, too."
~  Michael Conner Humphreys ~ 

He was just eight years old when Michael Conner Humphreys was cast as one of the most iconic characters of all time in one of the most iconic films of all time...“Forrest Gump.” (1994)  The movie won the Academy Award for Best Picture of the Year while stacked up against equally powerful films...“Pulp Fiction” and “The Shawshank Redemption.”   And after the filming was over and the dust had settled, Michael decided he'd had his fill of longline auditions and just wanted to be a regular kid again.  And so he walked away.  He finished school.  He chose to join the military, serving in the Army, and among other things, worked a dangerous tour in Iraq.  Presently, Michael Conner Humphreys' life has come full circle...finding him diving back into the acting pool...honing his skills doing theater and stage, and studying the craft.  There's still quite a bit of truth in the oft-quoted saying..."Life is like a box of chocolates..."  Michael Conner Humphreys.  Go get you some.

Michael Conner Humphreys Interview -- February 2021
Michael Conner Humphreys

Casey Chambers:  You barely had time to give your first-grade teacher an apple before you were cast in one of Hollywood's all-time great pictures.  So acting was already your thing?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Well, prior to actually getting the role in the movie "Forrest Gump," I was just a fan of films like most kids were.  I was really into Steven Spielberg's stuff.  "Indiana Jones" in particular.  I liked "Star Wars."  I was really into anything that was science-fiction or fantasy.  Military stuff too like "Top Gun" and all that.  It was all '80s and early '90s movies because that's the age I was at the time.  And I told my mom a couple of times that one day I would like to make movies.  It was just an arbitrary thing for a six or seven-year-old kid to say, really.  But whenever the audition rolled around in Memphis, which is where we lived at the time, she was like, 'Hey, there's an audition for a movie. Would you want to go try out for it just for fun?'  So we went and I actually ended up getting the part.  It was really just luck when it came down to it.

Casey Chambers:  And what a great movie and part to score.  What was that audition like for you?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Well, for "Forrest Gump"...they obviously had no idea what child they wanted to use for the role, so they did open calls in the South because they were looking for a kid who was from the South.  Atlanta.  Memphis.  St. Louis.  Places like that.  They had put out an ad saying they were looking for a kid of this age and this height and all that stuff who looks like Tom Hanks.  And my mom just took me in, like I said, for the fun of it.

The first time I went in, I didn't even read from the script. They just asked us a few questions.  Me and the other kids.  They asked us questions and had us talk to the camera for about 10 minutes and then we left.  Then about a week later, I got a call back saying, 'Hey, you've been narrowed down to a smaller lineup.'  So I went back in and actually read from the script that time.  A week after that, I got a call to go to L.A. where I actually auditioned for Bob Zemeckis, the director of the film.  So within two weeks, it went from just chatting with some people to actually going in and doing a screen test.  It started out with about 5,000 kids and two weeks later, it was down to three of us.  I would compare it to like doing, "American Idol" or something like that.  You're just kind of in a lottery-type situation.

"Forrest Gump" Official 25th Anniversary Trailer

Casey Chambers:  How much did you know about the movie and story going in?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Man, I knew nothing about the film itself.  My mom and everybody else told me that it was a Tom Hanks film.  They kept saying...Tom Hanks...and I'm like, 'I don't know who you're talking about.'  Being an eight-year-old kid, I had seen Tom Hanks movies. but I did not know who he was by name.  It wasn't until I met him in person.  And then I was like, 'Oh! It's that guy!'  I had seen "Big" and "Splash" and all that good stuff.  I also figured out that the director Bob Zemeckis had also done, "Back To The Future" and other films that I was a big fan of.  But as for the movie, I really knew nothing about it other than who was going to be in the film and who was directing it.  It was all kind of a mystery to me, to be honest.  Because even when they explained the story to an eight-year-old kid...I could not take it in, y'know?  I was just too young to really understand what was going on.  So it all came down to was a day by day thing for me.  'Today, you're going to do this. Today, you're going to say this.'  It just is what it is.

Casey Chambers:  Where were most of your scenes shot?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  South Carolina.  All of them.  The majority of the film that's set around the Gump house and area is gonna be in South Carolina just outside of Charleston.  I had a little bit of stuff I did in L.A.  Pre-production and post-production stuff and whatnot.  But yeah, it was all done in South Carolina, and it all just kind of happened.  I was watching an interview with James Cameron, and he was talking about kids and films, pointing out how kids have a remarkable way of just dealing with whatever's thrown at them.  They don't know how the world's supposed to be yet and so they just take it as it is.  And so when I was doing all this stuff...I just dealt with it casually.  It was no big deal.  It was no big change in my life.  Had I been older, I'm sure I would have been like, 'Oh my God, I'm in a movie. And I'm with all these people.'  But as an eight-year-old, it was just, 'Hey what am I doing today?'

Casey Chambers:  Oh, for sure.  It's really easy for us to forget that sometimes.  Looking back, are there any scenes that were especially memorable for you?

Forrest Gump...with Elvis

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Well, as far as my scenes go, I liked the scenes on the bus. That was pretty cool because as a kid, I was so impressed with the production aspects.  The bus was obviously not a real school bus.  It was on a trailer and it was being towed.  And I was so enamored with just how they actually shot it...the practical effects involved in everything.  Getting to do stuff like that and seeing how they actually set it up was really impressive.  But to be honest, the scenes that really stick out for me are not my own.  I enjoyed witnessing some of the other scenes being shot including the Vietnam scenes with Tom Hanks in particular.  The Vietnam scenes were shot on the tropical islands off the coast of South Carolina.  On the islands off the coast of Buford.  So I actually got to be present when those were being shot.  I was actually punching the buttons that set off all the explosions and everything.  They were just trying to keep me entertained. (laughs)  But those are the things that really stick out for me.  Not so much my own scenes.

Casey Chambers:  "Blowed up real good!" as John Candy would say. (laughs)  After the movie was completed, when did you have the opportunity to watch "Forrest Gump" for the first time?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  I'm sure there was a premiere and everything in L.A. prior, but I actually went to see the movie in Memphis with my family when it was released nationwide.  I guess it was June or July of '94.  And yeah, I just went and saw it for the first time like everybody else. However, I had like 20 of my family members with me. (laughs)  I went in not thinking about it.  And as I was coming out of the theater, all of the other moviegoers recognized me...realizing who I was...and it turned into a big scene at that point.  So that was my first tactile experience with fame and all that. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Excellent.  A little paradise by the dashboard popcorn machine. (laughs)  How strange was it seeing yourself on the big screen?

Forrest Gump...on the school bus

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Oh, it was weird.  It was really weird.  I didn't really know what the story was about and if you had tried to tell me then, I wouldn't have understood.  So watching it for the first time, I was like, 'Oh, I see how this all fits together now.'  And I was genuinely surprised to see how the Forrest character turned out in the long run.  And then coming out of the theater, I was not expecting any kind of reaction from other people.  It was so great.  And it was at that point I realized, there was something really special about this movie.

Casey Chambers:  Oh man, it's an Oscar winner that people really enjoy watching again and again.  You were also nominated for an award.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  There was some "young artist only" award that I was nominated for.  I honestly don't remember the actual name of it, but it was not an Oscar.  Not an Academy Award.  But I do remember that I got something in the mail for it and that was nice.  And I received the German equivalent of an Oscar. when I went to Germany to promote the film about a year later.  And Tom Hanks actually gave me an honorary Oscar.  Just from him in particular.  I've got the only Tom Hanks Oscar in the world, I believe.

Casey Chambers:  That's a cool button to button.  You mentioned Germany.  So you were doing some traveling for the film then.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Nowadays, whenever they release a film, it all comes out at the same time.  Worldwide streaming and whatnot.  But in '94 or '95, they would release the film by region every six months in different parts of the world. So it would come out in Europe and it would come out in Asia.  Then it would come out, y'know, just here and there. So from the release of the film in '94 until I'd say about '96...I was traveling worldwide to promote the film.  Every time it came out in a new region.  At that time it was easier to send me than it was to send Tom Hanks or Gary Sinise or whoever to do it. So for about two years, they would send me to Germany, England, Japan...just various places to promote it.  It was really cool.  I was getting to travel the world.

Casey Chambers:  How exciting that must have been.  You were doing the kind of traveling most of us don't get to do 'til after high school or college if ever.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Oh yeah.  It was all just an insane experience.  I never really had a chance to think about it all until years I grew up and it was like, 'Oh, wow, I can't believe I did all that.'  But yeah, it was just a very surreal, but very valuable experience, I would say.

Forrest Gump...running

Casey Chambers:  You mentioned Tom Hanks earlier.  As a young kid, do you remember much about working with him?

Michael Conner Humphreys:  From what I remember he was always very nice.  They had cast me to do the part and I had this really deep Southern accent.  And sometime into the film...Bob Zemeckis, the director had realized, 'Okay, we're going to have to get this kid to start talking like Tom.  He's going to have to start talking and acting like him or else this isn't going to work.'   But since I was just eight years old, Tom had the idea, 'How about we just do it the other way around?  How about I talk like him and I act like him?'  And so they went with that.  So I was in this situation where Tom started to study me. (laughs)  My way of speaking.  My way of moving.  My way of everything.  He just started to like study me intently for weeks.  Tom was basically trying to turn Forrest into the adult version of me as an eight-year-old child.  For weeks I was just with him all the time and he was just engaging with me at all moments.  Trying to like...become me, I guess you could say.  So he ended up doing that and it worked for the character.  He was just a really cool guy.  Really down to earth.  I've met a few people over the years that are on his level of fame...and I've never met anyone that didn't somehow let it go to their head.  They always call him the nicest guy in Hollywood.  I don't know if he is or not, but I'd say if he's not the nicest guy, he's probably the most genuine.

Casey Chambers:  That's a really nice share.  Thanks for that.  You stepped away from acting after the film.  And later, after finishing school you decided to join the military.  Thank you very much for serving.  And now you're jonesing to do more theater and film.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Absolutely.  It's a weird thing.  By the age of like 10 years old,  after doing that movie and promoting it, I was at the point where I just wanted to be a kid.   You can't convince a 10-year-old to spend all his time doing auditions.  I was just not interested in it.  My parents didn't force me and I'm glad they didn't.  So I just left it.  But there are consequences of having been in a successful film and then trying to be a regular person.  That doesn't always work out that well.  I went through my years as a teenager trying to be a regular kid, but I always had that following me around.  And it affected everything.  And y'know, it was great.  There's a lot of benefits.  But there's also a lot of fallbacks too.  Whoever met me after that...only knew me as that.  So it affected my social situation.  By the time I was 18 or 19, I was like, 'Well, hell, I've got nothing else to do, why don't I just go be in the army?'  So I did.  I joined the army.  Went to the war in Iraq.  Was like, 'Hey, maybe this is another form of success.'  Anyways. the fallout of having been in a war.  The PTSD and all that other crap.  It basically took me about 20 years to get around to saying, 'Hey, what do you want to do with your life?'  So the last few years, I've actually been doing theater and acting classes and trying to get back into it sincerely.  I have found that the acting has been like therapy after being in Iraq.  The acting and PTSD therapies have been one and the same as far as I'm concerned.

Casey Chambers:  It'd be great seeing you out in front of the camera again.  And the added benefits of working the stage is just bonus.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Oh yeah, definitely.  The thing you'll find with a lot of that you've got two kinds of trauma coming out of a war.  There's the shell shock kind where somebody slams the car door and you think a gun went off and you jump.  And then you've got the other kind.  Which is the untraumatized trauma.  When you deal with the trauma by sealing it all off and not letting it affect you.  But the problem with that is that nothing affects you.  You lose your emotions.  You can't love.  You can't hate.  That kind of stuff.  And that's something I've dealt with a little over the last decade, after coming back from Iraq.  Once I started doing theater and classes, it's been a really enlightening experience getting back into acting.  It's definitely something I would like to pursue.  I'm working my way back into it.  Obviously, the events of 2020 have temporarily put a hold on that, like for everyone else.  But things are looking up.  I hope they are for everyone else too.

Casey Chambers:  I always like to find out what kind of music people have been getting into, so would you mind sharing an album that you particularly enjoy?

"Unknown Pleasures" - Joy Division (1979)

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Well, I'll tell you right now.  I've got two.  One of my lifelong favorite bands is Nine Inch Nails.  I've always loved Trent Reznor and anything he does.  Always been one of my faves.  So, always worth mentioning there.  And also, I just discovered Joy Division last year.  They're an English band from the late '70s and early '80s.  Post-punk.  They call it post-punk.  They only had two albums before their singer committed suicide.  He was an epileptic.  He had a bunch of depression issues and whatnot.  They were only around for a brief period, but I've heard them referenced a million times by other bands and artists.  I was always like, 'I really need to check them out.'   And then last year, I started listening to them and I swear to God, they don't have a single song that has not been copied a hundred times by somebody else.

"Shadowplay" - Joy Division / "Unknown Pleasures" (1979) 

They are up there with your David Bowie's and your Pink Floyd's and your Led Zeppelin's and Rolling Stones. When the story is all said and done, they will be at the top of the list of one of the most influential bands ever.  Yeah, they're worth a listen if you've never heard them.  As far as an album goes, "Unknown Pleasures." (1979)  That was their debut album.  I mean, you can't find a song on there that's not just insanely...I don't even know what the word is for it, man.  It's just influential and creative.  It's just everything it has to be. Just amazing.

Casey Chambers:  You're making everybody want to grab their copy and give it another spin.  Good stuff.  Thank you so much for hangin' out with me this morning.  It's been a lot of fun and I appreciate you taking the time.  Stay safe out there and hope to see you soon.

Michael Conner Humphreys:  Yeah man, absolutely.  Thank you.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" - The Incredible String Band (1968)

 "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" - The Incredible String Band (1968)

"Sometimes I think you keep forgetting that you don't know me."  The first time I listened to this folk-psych album "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter"...I wasn't even there.  I was reading this and looking at that and moving around and leaving the room.  And when the album was over...I'd missed it.  You know how that goes.  Anyway, when I gave the record a proper listen later that afternoon, I was rewarded by having my mind dropped off somewhere in the middle of a long-ago forest courtesy of Dr. Who.  No worries or dangers.  Just one curiosity after another.  Weird lyrics carried along by a cacophony of strange mind-pleasing instruments  Led by Mike Heron and Robin Williamson, The Incredible String Band gives us a tasty slice of some British folk psych pie.  A time-travelers delight and a great follow-up to their 1967 offering..."The 5000 Spirits..."

"The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" - The Incredible String Band (back)

Favorites (and I enjoyed them all) are the epic 13-minute "A Very Cellular Song" with its left-turn lyrics and musical directions.  It all makes for an enjoyable journey.  The mysterious curio "Witches Hat" is a mind-taker.  And the charming "Mercy I Cry City" is probably the closest to radio-friendly they get on this album.  The opening track "Koeeoaddi There" is a perfect gauntlet to lay down.  Best of all, this album continues to reward even after frequent spins.  

Elektra tan label (photo looks orange)

(Insert 10 x 10 lyric & credit sheet)

Cat #
E KS 74021 A-CTH- 4  W  A2  T1
EKS 74021 B-CTH- 4  1  W  T 

"Witches Hat" - The Incredible String Band / "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" (1968)

A1  "Koeeoaddi There" 4:41
A2  "The Minotaur's Song" 3:18
A3  "Witches Hat" 2:30
A4  "A Very Cellular Song" 2:55
B1  "Mercy I Cry City" 2:40
B2  "Waltz Of The New Moon" 5:01
B3  "The Water Song" 2:47
B4  "Three Is A Green Crown" 7:40
B5  "Swift As The Wind" 4:50
B6  "Nightfall" 2:29

Robin Williamson - vocals, guitar, gimbri, whistle, percussion, panpipe, piano, oud, mandolin, jew's harp, chahanai, water harp, harmonica
Mike Heron - vocals, sitar, Hammond organ, guitar, hammer dulcimer, harpsichord
Dolly Collins - flute organ, piano
David Snell - harp
Licorice - vocals, finger cymbals
Richard Thompson – vocals (A2)
Judy Dyble – vocals (A2)

Good stuff.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Silent Land" - Graham Joyce (2010)

"The Silent Land"
 by Graham Joyce
Hardcover, 262 pages

Curling up with "The Silent Land" is a lot like watching a trippy episode of "Black Mirror."  The story is both eerie and atmospheric with very off-kilter vibes.  Very little can be written without giving too much away, but suffice it to say, a young romantic couple on a ski vacation gets caught up in an avalanche.  Graham Joyce cleverly creates a very claustrophobic world void of almost any sounds and then covers it with snow and spooky, ominous goings-on.  It's a very easy read, and perfect for the cold, wintry nights ahead.  I was also delighted with the beautiful dust jacket design.  It has a frosted transparent cover with gray letters on the jacket and black letters on the book.  It's a very cool and unusual presentation and the extra effort is appreciated.

"Winter Time" - Steve Miller / "Book Of Dreams" (1977)

Good stuff.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Livin' Love" - The Feminine Complex (1969 - Rei 2020)

"Livin' Love" - The Feminine Complex (1969)

The Feminine Complex were five high school girls from Tennessee and historically one of the earliest all-girl rock and roll groups on the scene.  Playing their own instruments and singer/guitarist Mindy Dalton writing most of the songs, their music was a spectrum of catchy garage pop-rock and dreamy, melancholic ballads with some soft psych nuggets thrown into the mix.  The band was all hot pants and high boots and high energy on stage for those lucky enough to have seen them.  Apparently. they toned it down somewhat for their lone album, "Livin' Love," but the square is still filled with infectious energy and commitment.  And I found it quite enjoyable.

"Livin' Love" - The Feminine Complex (back)

The band is also listed in The Acid Archives, but the review is a little bit misleading.  The album is described as being "horn-led pop" and that is just so not true.  Horns show up on a couple of songs, but tastefully so, and are nothing to get hung about.  "Livin' Love" is a groovy snapshot of the times from a teenage feminine rock heart.

"Livin' Love" - The Feminine Complex (inside gatefold)

Favorites are the psych dusted "Time Slips By" and "Hide And Seek."  "Run That Thru Your Mind" is a "kiss-it" barnburner.  The last two tracks on the bonus vinyl have a couple of tasty keyboard trippers with "Is This A Dream" and "Movin."  Both are very cool.   Finally, the Mindy Dalton penned ballad "Are You Lonesome Like Me" is an amazing piece of sultry atmosphere.
Original copies are harder to find and becoming pricey.  My copy is the 2020 RSD Sundazed reissue that includes the original '69 LP and a second vinyl with demos and tracks never before on vinyl.  Both are on hot pink colored vinyl and the sound quality is top-notch.

Colored hot pink vinyl

Modern Harmonic label / Distributed by Sundazed Music

Obi (barcode on back)

Cat #
MH-8204-A  KPG@CA
MH-8204-B  KPG@CA
MH-8204-C  KPG@CA
MH-8204-D  KPG@CA

"Hide And Seek" - The Feminine Complex / "Livin' Love" (1969) 

A1  "Hide And Seek" 3:39
A2  "Now I Need You" 3:28
A3  "Are You Lonesome Like Me?" 2:52
A4  "I Won't Run" 3:14
A5  "Six O'Clock In The Morning" 3:19
B1  "Run That Thru Your Mind" 2:27
B2  "It's Magic" 2:34
B3  "I Don't Want Another Man" 2:29
B4  "Forgetting" 2:11
B5  "I've Been Working On You" 2:33
B6  "Time Slips By" 4:04
C1  "Hold My Hand" 3:41
C2  "Love Love Love" 2:27
C3  "I've Been Working On You" (Demo) 2:44
C4  "Hold Me" 3:35
C5  "Now I Care" 2:51
D1  "A Summer Morning" 2:34
D2  "The Warmth Of Your Smile" 1:59
D3  "Are You Lonesome Like Me?" (Demo) 2:26
D4  "Time Slips By" (Demo) 2:25
D5  "Is This A Dream?" 2:54
D6  "Movin'" 2:05

Mindy Dalton - lead vocals, guitar
Judi Griffith - tambourine, vocals
Jean Williams - bass
Pame Stephens - keyboards
Lana Napier - drums, vocals

Good stuff.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Home" - Jolliver Arkansaw (1969)

"Home" (front)

This was a blind buy.  It was $8 and it looked interesting enough to take a chance.  Plus the back cover mentioned guitarist Leslie West as a guest musician on one of the songs.  Felix Pappelardi was the producer.  Turns out Jolliver Arkansaw was really the psych band...Bo Grumpus.  When the band changed labels from ATCO to Bell Records, for some legal reason or other, the band was forced to also change their name.  So the band from New York, via Boston, went with the name Jolliver Arkansaw.  Whaddyagonnado?

Anyway, "Home" wound up being a surprising chance purchase.  The music is catchy and rocks pretty hard with a rural garage attitude.  There is occasional psych dustings on a couple of songs as well.  Side two is the stronger spin with Leslie West playing nice on the closing track..."Gray Afternoon."  The fuzzier "Lisa My Love" is heavy with a Hendrix vibe all over it.  The wonderful "Hatred Sun" is a gentle cushion for the busy head.  That's Felix playing the ocarina.  There are two rather "meh" jugband songs on the album, but the rest is solid.

By late summer of '69, Jolliver Arkansaw would call it a day.  A few months later, Leslie West and Felix Pappelardi would be burning the walls down in a band called Mountain.   

"Home" (back)

"Home" (inside gatefold)

Bell Records

Cat #
6031SA  [script] Bestway  Bell Sound  5-7-69
6031SB  [script] Bestway  Bell Sound 

"Gray Afternoon" - Jolliver Arkansaw / "Home" (1969) 

A1  "Frou Frou" 2:24
A2  "Mr. Brennan" 2:22
A3  "Bright as Fire" 3:12
A4  "The Eye" 3:01
A5  "A Girl Like Mary" 2:20
A6  "Hatred Sun" 2:13
B1  "Lisa My Love" 2:43
B2  "Migrant Fowl" 2:12
B3  "King Chaos" 3:32
B4  "You Keep Me Satisfied" 2:44
B5  "St. Justina" 2:32
B6  "Gray Afternoon" 3:09

Jim Colegrove - bass, guitar, dobro, vocals
Joe Hutchinson - guitar. vocals
Eddie Mottau - guitar, vocals
Ronnie Blake - drums
Felix Pappalardi (producer, keyboards, guitar, ocarina, bass, A6)
Leslie West (guitar, B6)

Good stuff.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Interview -- Pete Agnew (Nazareth)

"...if you were prone
to stage fright...
then you were in
the wrong occupation."
~ Pete Agnew ~

    “Heartbreaker, soul shaker.”  Nazareth's classic hard rock album “Hair Of The Dog” (1975) has just celebrated its 45th anniversary.  Filled with blistering rock gems and a definitive power ballad, “Hair Of The Dog” is a no-filler must-own square.   Dan McCafferty's scorching vocals. Manny Charlton's guitar burns.  The drumming of Darrell Sweet.  The tight, low down bass runs from Pete Agnew.  Together...they made a little rock and roll magic.  Nazareth has been rollin' the ball since their self-titled debut album in 1971.  After 24 albums, (the last being their 2018 barnburner "Tattooed On My Brain")...Pete Agnew is the only member to have played on every single one.  But it is “Hair Of The Dog” that has cemented Nazarerth's place on shelves of rock and roll ass-kickery.  A son of a bitch, indeed.   Go get you some.

Pete Agnew Interview -- January 2021
Pete Agnew

Casey Chambers:  This is the 45th anniversary of Nazareth's classic rock album..."Hair Of The Dog." (1975)  I'd like to ask about that "crank it up" title track.  I'll take all the cowbell ya got!  How did the title track come about?

Pete Agnew:  Well, obviously it's not really called, "Hair Of The Dog."  It's called "Son Of A Bitch." (laughs)  That's what the album was supposed to be called.  Us being Scottish, the phrase 'son of a bitch' didn't mean that much to us.  It was just an Americanism.  We used to hear people saying it in the movies. I mean, hey, John Wayne said 'son of a bitch!' (laughs)  But you've got to remember what it was like in those days compared to now.  We were with A&M records at the time, and they wouldn't let us call the album that.  They told us, 'Sears won't sell it.  It's a big swearword and sure it makes ya laugh, but you can't have that on records.' (laughs)  And of course, it meant nothing to us back here. (laughs)

No one uses it in our country.  I mean, nobody in Europe uses that expression.  So it was just an Americanism.  We wanted to call the song, "Son Of A Bitch" obviously, but we couldn't.  So we started getting smartass and called it "Heir Of The Dog"... as in H-E-I-R. (laughs)   But then we thought, well, that's just too clever.  So of course, us being clever...and Scottish, we went...'Oh, hair of the dog...for after you've been drunk.'  Sort of a subtle son of a bitch. (laughs)  But anyway, that was a big deal.  See the big, big hit from that album was "Love Hurts" and it got played everywhere.  It was a massive hit for us.  But what happened was...when people bought the album, they realized that ya know, Nazareth was a rock band!  And this was not an album full of ballads.  This was a rock album.  "Hair Of The Dog"...the AM radio stations wouldn't play it.  They couldn't play it.  But the college stations and the FM stations...they wielded a lot of power.  And they did play it.  They weren't just playing "Love Hurts"...they were playing, "Son Of A Bitch."  And that was the reason that the album was so huge.  Everyone got to hear it and it quickly became a favorite track and so, there ya go.

"Hair Of The Dog" - Nazareth / "Hair Of The Dog" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  "Hair Of The Dog" lives and spins in every jukebox bar you walk into to this very day.  Just killer.  And you mentioned, "Love Hurts."  That's another song that lives in jukeboxes everywhere.  One of the first really great power ballads.  You guys recorded the definitive version of that classic.  What made Nazareth decide to dust off that gem?

Pete Agnew:  When we were traveling in vans through the nights around Europe back in the old days, we'd play cassette tapes.  Just stuff when guys were all dozing and sleeping.  We were very diverse in Nazareth.  We listened to everything from Frank Zappa to Joni Mitchell.  It didn't matter to us.  We all liked so many different things.  We played the Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris album "Grievous Angel" for years.  And one of our favorite tracks was "Love Hurts."   They had done that song.  So we were in the studio doing the album "Hair Of The Dog" and decided we needed some B-sides for when a single was released.  Used to...if you took two singles off an album, then you would have to take four songs off the album because you needed B-sides. So what bands started doing was to record just B-sides.  Just throwaway tracks that they didn't necessarily spend a lot of time on.  So we decided that we would do "Love Hurts."

When we first released the album in Europe and the rest of the world, there was a track on it called, "Guilty."  It was a Randy Newman track.  It was a slow one on the album.  But "Hair Of The Dog" didn't get released in America until about a month later.  And Jerry Moss from A&M records...he was the boss there...when he heard "Love Hurts" he said, 'Oh God, this thing's amazing. Take "Guilty" off the album and put "Love Hurts" on it...'cause I want that on the album in America.' And of course, thank God he did, because that became the biggest hit we ever had.  And like I say, that was just supposed to be a B-side, ya know?  Funny how things turn out like that.

Casey Chambers:  A good song is a good song.  But Nazareth's arrangement gave it some balls, no doubt.

Pete Agnew:  Thank you and yeah, it's incredible because I'll tell you what happened.  When the band was recording the album in England, a friend of ours was getting married up in Edinburgh, Scotland.  So Dan (McCafferty) and me...we flew up to the wedding on a Friday night and didn't get back 'til Sunday.  While we were away, Manny (Charlton), our guitar player, and Darrell (Sweet), our drummer had already laid down the guitar and drums for that song.  And of course, these guys weren't singers.  We were originally going to do the song in the same way as Gram Parsons and like the Everly Brothers.  Singing harmony, you know.  Like it was always done.  But they had recorded the song in the same key as Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons and, of course, when Dan started to sing the song, it was far too low. (laughs)  I was trying to sing the harmony and we thought, 'No, that's not going to work.  It just didn't sound good.'   If we would've been there, we would have done it in a different key.  But anyway Dan said, 'I'll tell you what...let me try singing it on the octave.'  And that's what he did.  He sang it an octave higher.  And of course, Dan came away with just a completely, incredible vocal.  It makes your hair stand on end.  That amazing vocal came about because the guys had accidentally got the wrong key.  It was very, very late. (laughs)

"Love Hurts" - Nazareth / "Hair Of The Dog" (1975)

Casey Chambers:  The song stands the test.  And not just on the radio.  "Love Hurts" has been featured in everything from Rob Zombies' "Halloween" to "Joe Dirt 2."  Is it a coffee-spitter when that happens?

Pete Agnew:  Well, if you were over in Britain at the moment, you would be hearing it getting used in a kitchen towel advert. (laughs)  As I say, it could have been worse. (laughs)  But yeah, I mean, "Love Hurts" has been used a lot in films and stuff.  Another song of ours that is used a lot is "Dream On." (1982)  It was a huge song for us in Europe and in the rest of the world.  "Dream On" is probably just as big as "Love Hurts"...North America excepted.  And in some places, it's bigger.  If you're in Germany or Austria or Switzerland and you watch daytime soap operas, you'll hear "Dream On" at least two or three times a day.  So it's good.  Your music's being heard.  But ya know, there are limits.  Johnny Cash's family had to stop Preparation H from using his "Ring Of Fire" song. (laughs)  Nothing like that's happened to us.  Nothing objectionable.  So far it's been okay.

Casey Chambers:  Nazareth played several times at "The Old Grey Whistle Test."  There's a lot of cool footage from those shows. What do you remember about that place?

Pete Agnew:  Well, ya know, it was the show because it was on very, very late at night. That was the only way you could see a lot of rock acts and stuff that wasn't Top 40.  And it was all really good bands that would appear on that show.  Bob Harris was the guy who introduced it and I mean, it was where you saw bands for the first time on TV.  You had bands like Little Feat.  People like James Taylor.  People like Frank ZappaThe Alex Harvey Band.  Just all the bands that weren't pop groups.  And we got to do the show, too.  And we were very fortunate because the producer of the show really liked Nazareth.  And when the show got a last-minute cancellation....usually if an American band got held up when they were coming across, ya know.  Or if their flights were delayed and they couldn't get to the show.  Held up at customs or whatever.  They'd get in touch with us when we were at home and ask us, 'Can you do the show again for us tonight?'  (laughs).  So I think we ended up doing "The Whistle Test" maybe four times or something like that.

"Bad Bad Boy" - Nazareth (at The Old Grey Whistle Test 1973)

When you see us, we were playing at the original "Whistle Test" studio.  What you see is the width of the studio!  It was like. . .like a big living room.  Unbelievable.  No space.  Nothing.  The show was done on a shoestring budget.  After a few years, they got a much bigger stage, which I would love to have done.  It was very cramped where we did it.  "The Whistle Test" was built like The Cavern in Liverpool.  It was dainty.  But a lot of the real great sessions I remember were at that original place.

Casey Chambers:  You mentioned the Alex Harvey Band playing there.  He was from your neck of the woods.  Did your paths ever cross in those days?

Pete Agnew:  Oh, yeah.  Yeah.  Alex was an old friend.  When I was a kid, he was a big Scottish star, but he never got really very famous.  He was playing in a pit band near the orchestra in the show "Hair" in London.  In the West End.  And what happened was. . .we went to London with our manager who was a big friend of Alex from the old days.  Alex was up there with his guitar.  And he'd usually play with one of those stomping boards, ya know, stamp his feet to keep in time and play the guitar and all these crazy songs.  He was an incredible presence on stage.  And so we helped to get Alex and that band together.

One night when we went to this club together in London, Alex was saying that he needed to get a band.  How he really, really needs to get a band.  And we were all talking.  And there was a band up in Scotland called Tear Gas.  A really brilliant band, but they'd had enough, ya know?  They were just playing around in Scotland.  They weren't really doing anything nationally or internationally.  Their singer left and they were thinking about packing it in.  So we flew Alex up to Scotland and he went in and rehearsed with us and Tear Gas.  And they went on to become the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.  We were all pals, we was.  They were absolutely amazing.  Alex knocked them into shape and made them a real performance.  It was one of the best live bands, ya know, and it was great because they were all mates of mine. (laughs)  I saw them blow off a lot of big, big names in the early days.  We had the same management for years and years. And when that management company went bust, we actually took it over and were their managers for about a year.

"Midnight Moses" (live) - Sensational Alex Harvey Band (1974)

Casey Chambers:  Wow, I didn't know that.

Pete Agnew:  Well, at the time, neither did they! (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Alex Harvey Band never blew up here in the states like they did over there...but I've always enjoyed their stuff.  Any particular songs or favorites?

Pete Agnew:  I loved the album "Next"...the one when they did "Faith Healer."  And "Next" was a big one.  And "Framed."  Seeing them do "Framed" live was incredible.  "Midnight Moses."  We were gonna cover that song one time. "Isobel Goudie."  I liked all their stuff they did. "Gang Bang."  If we ever had a night off, and they were playing in the area. . .we would go and see them.  An excellent, excellent, band.

Casey Chambers:  When did Nazareth first come to America?  Was that an eye-opener for you guys?

Pete Agnew:  Oh, it was different.  The very first tour we did in America, we did with Deep Purple.  They were pals of ours and they took us there as their opening band.  The first gig was at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City.  And that was in 1972 on St. Patrick's Day.  I'll never forget.  It was the 17th of March, 1972.  And yeah, the was an eye-opener.  I mean, the cops had guns for God's sake!  We'd never seen people wandering around with guns and that kind of thing.  And McDonald's! (laughs)  And other Americany stuff.   I mean we knew about it, but we'd never really experienced it.

And we thought America was lovely.  We thought it was wonderful.  It's funny actually...when our first album came out, and this is a thing that a lot of people don't know...but when our very first album came out..."Nazareth" it was called.  Very imaginative. (laughs)  It was released in 1971 and it did nothing really.  Our first album had just come out and it was hardly getting noticed.  It was being played in Europe a little bit here and there,   But I remember finding out it went to number one in Wichita, Kansas.  We'll never forget that.  Some radio station in Wichita, Kansas liked the album and for some unknown reason, they played that album upside down!  And somebody told me about it being #1 in Wichita, and I went, 'What?!' (laughs)  We couldn't believe this because we were hardly being played anywhere else.  So we kinda got a soft spot for Wichita because of that.  And I'm telling you because you're there, ya know?

"Nazareth" 1971 debut album

Casey Chambers:  Very cool.  Thanks for sharing that.  When Nazareth began headlining large, who were some opening acts you guys enjoyed touring with?

Pete Agnew:  Oh, aye!  When we came to the States, we brought Thin Lizzy with us as a guest band.  They did a whole tour with us in the States.  It was a big, long tour we did over there.  And that Thin Lizzy lineup was a great lineup.  "The Boys Are Back In Town" was out at the time.  It was a lot of fun.  One night we ran into Slade who was actually huge in Britain for years.  We ran into them along the way and did three or four gigs together.  It was Slade opening, Thin Lizzy in the middle, and Nazareth headlining.  So that was quite a bill.  We had a lot of fun with Thin Lizzy because we were all pals. We knew Phil (Lynott) from way, way, way back.  Back before either of the two of us...well, it was just when we did our first albums.  And we played together up in Glasgow.  In that Devil's Gate roundabout.  Just clubs.  We'd always try to get friends of ours to tour with us.  It's always good when ya got an opening band that's going to be there for ya.  If you're on a tour for six weeks, it might as well be with someone that ya like. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  Oh, no doubt. (laughs)  I often wondered if stage anxiety ever entered into the picture for artists playing the big, big shows.  Did any of you guys ever experience any of that when you started playing the larger shows?

Pete Agnew:  Not really.  Not really.  We were always looking forward to playing.  We tried not to take ourselves too seriously.  We were there to entertain.  Have a few beers and go have a laugh, ya know?  We always came away with a happy vibe after a gig.  One of the bands we toured with a lot was The FacesRod Stewart and The Faces.  When you were playing with them, their stage show was just an extension of what they did in the dressing room. (laughs)  And we did a long tour with Aerosmith.  It was like a party, really.   I remember doing the Superdome in New Orleans.  RFK Stadium in Washington.  And we did that one with Alice Cooper.  All these huge places.  Back then in the '70s, we used to do these summer gigs.  And it had bands like Van HalenBostonSammy HagarHeartTed Nugent.  And  Nazareth, of course.  They would get all these bands on the same bill.  All these stadium gigs playing for 70,000 or 80,000 people a show.  So, if you were prone to stage fright, then you were in the wrong occupation. (laughs)

Casey Chambers:  My deep cut favorite from the  "Hair Of The Dog" album is "Beggar's Day" / "Rose In Heather" which opens side two.  I'm cherry-picking.

"Beggar's Day" (live in London) - Nazareth  (1985)

Pete Agnew:  Well, the song "Beggar's Day" came from one of our favorite bands at the time...Crazy Horse.  They were the same band that used to back up Neil YoungDanny Whitten was the singer and Jack Nitzsche...he was their keyboard player and one of the writers.  They were just amazing.  They did an album just called, "Crazy Horse" (1971) and it was incredible.  The guy who wrote "Beggar's Day" was Nils Lofgren.  He's played with Bruce Springsteen for years and years, ya know, but Nils Lofgren was in Crazy Horse as well and wrote that song.  We all loved it.

When we cover songs, we like to change them up a that it makes it ours.  There's no point in doing the song if you're just going to do their version.  We knew we could really do something with that song...and we did.  Nils Lofgren later said our version of "Beggar's Day" was fabulous and one of his favorite tracks.  So that was good to hear. (laughs)  "Rose In Heather" was a B instrumental we had recorded earlier and we stuck it on the end of "Beggar's Day."

Another song we did from that Crazy Horse album was "Gone Dead Train."  Our version of it was on "Expect No Mercy." (1977)  Randy Newman covered it as well.   Another song from "Crazy Horse" that everybody recognizes is "I Don't Want To Talk About It."  We were gonna do that one next, but then Rod (Stewart) came along.  He always had excellent taste in music. (laughs)  "Crazy Horse" was a very influential album.  We listened to that album a lot.  In fact, I still do.

Casey Chambers:  Besides Crazy Horse's self-titled square...what's another album or two you'd recommend?

Pete Agnew:  Well, for me...the first three Little Feat albums are all excellent.  There was "Little Feat."  "Sailin' Shoes."  And "Dixie Chicken."  All just incredible.  They are one of my favorite bands of all time.  And one of the bands I came to very late is Rival Sons.  I must've been sleeping because they are absolutely incredible.  We did a festival in France a couple of years like a huge castle...fountains on the grounds  And before we did that gig, I asked, 'Who is this band?'  I'd never really heard them.  And one of the guys said, 'Oh, you'll like them.'  And he played me a record and I thought, 'My God! Who's the singer?  The guy is absolutely unbelievable!'  And it was Jay Buchanan.

I normally go to the side of the stage to watch part of a show.  Watch a band do a song.  Maybe a half a song.  Most people do that.  So I went up to see Rival Sons for their first song at the festival and I was still there when they did their encore.  Those guys were absolutely unbelievable.  I think Jay Buchanan is one of the best rock singers on the planet at the moment.  So if anybody's not listening to them already...definitely listen to Rival Sons.

Casey Chambers:  Excellent.  Thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today.  And thank you for all the great music you've given us with Nazareth.  It's been a real pleasure.  Be safe out there and thank you.

Pete Agnew:  Well, the pleasure was all mine, Casey. Thanks very much.

"Hair Of The Dog" (live) - Nazareth (1985)

Good stuff.

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Thursday, December 31, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Ars Nova" - Ars Nova (1968)

"Ars Nova"Ars Nova (1968)

I didn't dislike Ars Nova's debut album, but the wow factor was fairly low.  Nothing bad, but nothing stands out either.  There are a few Baroquish tracks that have occasional low-bottom brass and a Medieval presence that throws off a bit of a time-traveling vibe.  There are subtle hints of psych ghosts yet-to-come...but they never stay for very long.  I'm glad I picked it up, but I'm not sure how often I'll play it.

"Ars Nova" (back)

The band sometimes sound like they might've kicked some dirt wandering through the English countryside, but they are just good-ol' New York boys.  The guys look dark and foreboding on the front cover.  If only the album had more of that attitude.  Favorites are the opener "Pavan For My Lady."   The most psych-ish track..."And How Am I To Know" a grower that whips itself up into a nice, if short, fuzz-burner midway through the spin.  And the closing "March Of The Mad Duke's Circus" ends this Elektra square on an upswing.

This Ars Nova self-titled album is not an expensive album to own.  If you stumble upon one in the brush...and it falls near the $10 range...that may be compelling enough for you to add the album to your collection.  However, any more cabbage than that, and I recommend streaming it first.  The vinyl is on the Elektra tan label and the album cover is a gatefold-unipak with lyrics on the inside.  My copy came with the original record sleeve.  

"Ars Nova" (inside gatefold unipak)

Elektra sleeve

Elektra label

Cat #
EKS-74020-A  A1  C4X3X8
EKS-74020-B  AL  4X3X8

"And How Am I To Know" - Ars Nova / "Ars Nova" (1968) 

A1  "Pavan For My Lady" 2:45
A2  "General Clover Ends A War" 2:12
A3  "And How Am I To Know" 4:45
A4  "Album In Your Mind" 3:01
A5  "Zarathustra" 3:30
B1  "Fields Of People" 2:52
B2  "Automatic Love" 4:06
B3  "I Wrapped Her In Ribbons" 2:18
B4  "Song Of The City" 2:08
B5  "March Of The Mad Duke's Circus" 3:17

Jon Pierson – vocals, bass trombone
Bill Folwell – trumpet, b-vocals, double bass
Giovanni Papalia – lead guitar
Wyatt Day – guitar, b-vocals, piano, organ
Jonathan Raskin - bass, b-vocals, guitar
Maury Baker - drums, percussion, organ

Good stuff.