Sunday, March 29, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Station Eleven" (2014)

"Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel (2014)
Softcover, 333 pages

Don't you hate it when you over-expect?  In this instance, I was wanting to really, really like "Station Eleven."  After all, it was considered one of the best reads of 2014.  Unfortunately,  Emily St. John Mandel's best-selling novel was just an okay read for me.  The story follows a troupe of Shakespearean actors and musicians who survive a devastating pandemic and decide to continue to travel and perform in hopes of keeping the Arts from dying.  There are a lot of backstory moments before the pandemic, as well.  And though sometimes interesting, the back and forth made everything a little too busy for such a short novel.  There are bad guys to be met along the way, of course, and choices to be made.  But I just was not feeling the moments.

Here is my conundrum.  Emily St. John Mandel's writing style is simply beautiful.  I mean, sentences and paragraphs are filled with observations and descriptions that are moving and sometimes breathtaking.  Are the Arts worth living for?  Are they worth dying for?  And especially in darker times like these,  the story should have made me feel more concerned about which way the needle would point.  Sadly I wasn't.  Still, "Station Eleven" reads fast and as I was okay.  I hate it when I over-expect.  "Now go wash your hands."

"No Myth" - Michael Penn / "March" (1989)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Blue Mountain Eagle" (1970)

"Blue Mountain Eagle" (front)

Blue Mountain Eagle was a one-and-done acid rock band from the West Coast, that had splashes of psych and occasional moments of a California country-rock vibe.  The album has plenty of tasty fuzz guitar, but not the dirty heavy fuzz.  Here, the fuzz is stinging and biting.  Almost surgical.  I love both.  The vocal harmonies work really well too and make for an altogether entertaining spin.  And my God is that album cover ever beautiful!  I can't nail down the shade of red, but whatever it is...I'll take all of it you got.

"Love Is Here" is a fantastic fuzz-driven opener and makes friends with you right away.  "Winding Your String" is another favorite I liked right from the get-go.  "Loveless Lives" is a ballsy fuzz-burner and "Sweet Mama" is a fun cranker with a proverbial drum solo that thankfully does not wear out its welcome.  None of the lyrics are deep or Dylanesque, but sometimes you don't want to think, right!?  There are also a couple of songs that bring to mind The Shocking Blue, as well as Skynyrd, but only briefly.  I'll leave those for your own ears to find.

"Blue Mountain Eagle" (back)

The founding member was Dewey Martin, the original drummer for Buffalo Springfield.  They were touring under the moniker...The New Buffalo Springfield...until Stills and Young...and a 'cease and desist' letter from their lawyer made him cut the crap.  Shortly after, Dewey was replaced by drummer Don Poncherto and told to take a hike.  They eventually took the name Blue Mountain Eagle and were personally signed by Ahmet Ertegun and then quickly went into the studio.

Overall, Blue Mountain Eagle's self-titled album is pretty good.  Nothing mind-blowing, but no duds, either.  Just a good spin.  According to Wiki, the band only sold a few thousand copies so that may explain the difficulty finding original copies for a reasonable price.  My original pressing was an eBay find after a few years looking in the wild.  The album has since been reissued by Rhino in 2015.

And this is kind of cool.  One of the guitarists and singers from the band...David Price...was once a stand-in for Davey Jones on "The Monkees" TV show.  I had no idea they needed stand-ins.  David is the one standing in the album cover photo.

ATCO label

ATCO company sleeve

"Love Is Here" - Blue Mountain Eagle / "Blue Mountain Eagle" (1970) 

A1  "Love Is Here"  4:25
A2  "Yellows' Dream"  2:42
A3  "Feel Like a Bandi"  t3:03
A4  "Troubles"  3:07
A5  "Loveless Lives"  3:32
B1  "No Regrets"  4:08
B2  "Winding Your String"  2:55
B3  "Sweet Mama"  4:18
B4  "Promise of Love"  3:00
B5  "Trivial Sum"  3:08

Joey Newman - lead guitar, keyboards, vocals
Bob "BJ" Jones - lead guitar, vocals
David Price - rhythm guitar, vocals
Randy Fuller - bass, guitar, vocals
David L. Johnson - bass, vocals
Don Poncher - drums, vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Thursday, March 19, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Irish Tour '74.." (1974)

"Irish Tour '74" (front)

These live performances were recorded while really dangerous goings-on were happening in Ireland.  Bombs and the like.  So much so, musical acts were canceling dates preferring to take the short bow with promises to return at a safer time.  This is just another reason to admire Rory Gallagher and the rest of his band for hitting the stage running and letting the devil be damned.

 "Irish Tour '74" is a really good album.  Live or otherwise.  Rory Gallagher with his Strat in tow sounds ready for bear when rockin' out the blues.  And a bit haunting when bringing it down a notch.  His vocals sound well-traveled and lived in.  No trick mirrors.  Rory Gallagher is the kind of guy who's easy to pull for.  You like him and you want everyone else to like him too.  And that also goes for his long-time bassist, Gerry McAvoy.  Gerry attacks like a tireless badger.  And he's Rory's biggest cheerleader leaving little doubt..."I got your back, mate.  Wherever you go, I'm right there with you."  And your ears appreciate the loyalty.

There's a lot of energy and love captured on this album.  You can feel it in the crowd.  And you can certainly hear it when you spin it.   The opening “Cradle Rock” is a great table-setter for things to come.  And I love, love, love his self-penned “A Million Miles Away.”  To me, that song is Rory in a nutshell.  Aching heart. Wandering spirit.   And his Tony Joe White cover...“As The Crow Flies” is killer at large.  You remember Tony Joe White from his funky-fried...Polk Salad Annie” gem.   And Rory covers the older blues stuff with plenty of personality and respect that bespeaks his common plaid shirted attire.  Honestly, every side of this two-record treasure is an enjoyable experience.  And this is from someone who rarely gravitates to the live stuff.  Now go wash your hands.

"Irish Tour '74" (back)

"Irish Tour '74" (inside gatefold)

Polydor label

"As The Crow Flies" - Rory Gallagher / "Irish Tour '74" (1974)

A1  "Cradle Rock"  6:31
A2  "I Wonder Who" 7:35
A3  "Tattoo'd Lady"  4:52
B1  "Too Much Alcohol"  8:13
B2  "As the Crow Flies"  5:15
B3  "A Million Miles Away"  9:14
C1  "Walk on Hot Coals"  10:40
C2  "Who's That Coming"  9:25
D1  "Back on My (Stompin' Ground)"  5:20
D2  "Just a Little Bit"  7:58

Rory Gallagher - vocals, guitar, harmonica
Gerry McAvoy - bass
Lou Martin - RMI Electra piano
Rod de'Ath - drums

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Batman: The Black Glove" (2008)

"Batman: The Black Glove"
Grant Morrison, J.H. Williams III  /  Tony S. Daniel (Illustrator)
DC Comics (2008)
176 pages

(I stumbled upon a good-sized box filled with a variety of graphic novels at an estate sale. No official count as I've just been pulling from the box when I find time to read one.  Afterward, I post the book and go from there.)

We are presented with two stories.  The first story is a murder mystery about an invitation-only meetup amongst a variety of lesser-known superheroes and the big kahuna himself,...Batman.  It has a familiar...“one of us here is a murderer”...who-dun-it rhythm.  Very nostalgic and a lot of fun to flip.

However, the second tale was a bit disappointing.  The artwork was nicely done, but the story finds Bruce Wayne dining with a young socialite mixed-up with a fustercluck of flashbacks and maybe/maybe-nots.  I never was quite sure what was going on.  It all felt rushed and confusing.  But that's just me.  YMMV.  Now go wash your hands.

"Fist In Glove" - Golden Earring / "N.E.W.S." (1984)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Monday, March 16, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Psychedellic Guitars" (1967)

"Psychedellic Guitars" (front)

This is an early example of a cash-in psych album.  And yes, the word “psychedelic” is spelled wrong on the album.  Not once, but three times.  Kind of funny.  The music is mostly scrappings that were leftover from earlier recordings guitarist Jerry Cole (uncredited) did while making the highly sought-after psych album..."The Inner Sounds Of The Id." (1967)  And then later..."The Animated Egg." (1968)  But he hadn't gotten to that one yet.  Some of the scraps are pretty good.  Others, not so much.  But they were quickly gathered up and shoveled onto albums much like this one.  All trying to get a seat on the magic carpet psych train that was becoming a thing.  As I said, some are better than others, but they're all still fun to spin and quite collectible to many Jerry Cole fans.

The songs on “Psychedellic Guitars” are instrumentals, but more garageabilly than psych.  Like what you might hear at an “A-Go-Go” with cage dancers.  Hey, what do I know?  I don't know anything.  Sure, I was expecting more trippy on my peanut butter, but when you find some Jerry Cole hiding out in the stacks, it's kinda fun to grab it.  “It's all part of the experience, Russ."  Go wash your hands.

"Psychedellic Guitars" (back)

Custom Records label

"Psychedellic Guitars" - Jerry Cole (uncredited) / "Psychedellic Guitars" (1967)

A1  "Lets Ride Again"
A2  "Take A Trip"
A3  "Flowers"
A4  "Love In"
A5  "Psychedellic Ripple"
B1  "Coming On"
B2  "Unchained Soul"
B3  "Way Out"
B4  "Take Me Back"
B5  "Psychedellic Guitars"

Jerry Cole - guitar
L.A. session musicians

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Vol. 3 A Child's Guide To Good And Evil" (1968)

"Vol. 3  A Child's Guide To Good And Evil" (front)

Every psychedelic fan is aware of this classic.  And no wonder.  West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band has plenty of heady psych goodness on here.  Tasty fuzz guitar and sitar nudges the lava lamp around while strange and trippy lyrics both sung and spoken haunt and puzzle the head.  Unexpected sounds and noises provide delightful 'wtf' moments.  And it's all beautifully weird and hauntingly clever.  Plus the overall spin-experience has a passive/aggressive attitude that gives everything a slightly ominous flavor.  I thought WCPAEB Vol. 3 was fantastic.  And it left me feeling like I had experienced a time-machine...unique only to my ears.  The album was time and money well spent.
This original 1968 album was a pony-up for my pockets.  All of WCPAEB albums are.  My copy has a promo sticker on the front but nothing on the label.  The record is very clean and ready for dancing.  Favorites are "Eighteen Is Over The Hill"..."A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death"...and "Watch Yourself."  Get this album any way you can.

"Vol. 3  A Child's Guide To Good And Evil" (back)

Reprise-W7 label

Reprise sleeve

"A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death" - WCPAEB / "Vol. 3  A Child's Guide To Good And Evil" (1968)

A1  "Eighteen Is Over The Hill" 2:40
A2  "In The Country" 2:03
A3  "Ritual #1" 2:09
A4  "Our Drummer Always Plays In The Nude" 2:43
A5  "As The World Rises And Falls" 4:49
A6   "Until The Poorest People Have Money To Spend" 2:15
B1  "Watch Yourself" 5:18
B2  "A Child's Guide To Good And Evil" 2:26
B3  "Ritual #2" 2:01
B4  "A Child Of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death" 2:38
B5  "As Kind As Summer"  1:07
B6  "Anniversary Of World War III"  1:32

Bob Markley - b-vocals, spoken word, tambourine, percussion
Shaun Harris - vocals, bass
Ron Morgan - guitar, sitar, b-vocals
Hal Blaine - drums, percussion

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, March 9, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "Gone Girl" (2012)

"Gone Girl" - Gillian Flynn (2012)
Softcover, 415 pages

I can't say too much about this disturbing suspense-maker without spoiling all the fun.  There are plenty of well-thought roadblocks and menacing detours.  And absolutely one 'wtf' moment after another.  "Gone Girl" made me stressed and uncomfortable and pissed.  Sociopaths are so good at being fake that you're unknowingly painted into a corner before you even see the brush in hand.   "Gone Girl" was not at all what I expected.  All the characters are various shades of off-putting, yet I really enjoyed turning the pages.  But hell, maybe you might hate it.  Me, I think Gillian Flynn does exactly what she set out to do.  Give everyone a giant wedgie.  And I felt like taking a long, hot shower after reaching the final page.

"My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)"  - Chilliwack / "Wanna Be a Star" (1981)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On FACEBOOK 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Interview -- Andy Cresswell Davis (Stackridge, The Korgis, DLM)

"He scooped me up
in his huge grey claws,
and bore me away
without any cause."
~ Stackridge ~

In 1979, Andy Cresswell Davis formed the successful synth-pop band...The Korgis.  Eight years earlier, he was providing some acoustic guitar spankage on John Lennon's iconic album...”Imagine.”  That right there is a tasty slice of butter pie.  And I'll take all of that you got.  Andy...singer, guitarist, and juggler of many instruments...also formed the wonderful prog-rock band...Stackridge in 1968, and that's what brings us here today.

Stackridge was an amalgam of sorts.  A little pastoral and Beatlesque here.  Symphonic and folk-proggish there.  Art-rock and trippy, as well.  Absolutely nothing cheap.  Sometimes Stackridge would take the stairs two at a time.  Other times they chose to take the long way home.  Just throw your Uber driver a Jackson and relax.  Andy Cresswell Davis, and his Stackridge mates, never recorded a bad album.  And they made eight of them.   Grab'em when you can find them.  No risk. All reward.  Go get you some.

Andy Cresswell Davis Interview -- March 2020
Andy Cresswell Davis

Casey Chambers:  Stackridge has always been a hard band to pin down.  Prog-folk.  Baroque-pop.  Art-rock.  Even a bit prog-psych.  Everything works.  The band never put out a bad album.  So I'm just going to cherry-pick a couple of Stackridge favorites.  I want to start with the prog-folk ear-worm..."Slark" from your self-titled debut album. (1971)  A song that sounds like it has been alive forever and a nice one to get lost in.

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, that one's a long time ago now.  "Slark" just came together with a lot of improvisation, I think.  In those days, we used to improvise a lot.  When we did the song live...we had a long middle section where our flute player "Mutter" (Michael Slater) played along with an echo chamber making some strange spacey noises.  And somewhere...we found that that tune sounded a bit like a nursery rhyme.  Our bass player "Crun" (Jim Walter) came up with the lyrics.  It's a story about a monster.  There were all kinds of songs about monsters and fairy stories around that time, ya know?   As soon as we hit upon it, we all thought it was a good tune.  We had been playing the song quite a lot live by the time we got to the studio.  It was like the last number of our set.  It was one of the favorites of the fanbase we were building.  They would all join in and sing along.  It was a very, very popular song for us.

"Slark" - Stackridge / "Stackridge" (1971)

Casey Chambers:  "The monster Slark came in to view." (laughs)  That's such a great song.  I think I got on board the Stackridge train after hearing that song featured as a KSHE Klassic about 10 years ago.   All 14 minutes of it.  Were radio stations in the UK receptive to the music you guys were doing back then?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, not really...apart from the John Peel Show and one or two others.  We didn't even have commercial radio at that time when we started.  If you can believe that. There was the BBC and that was about it.  You had local radio stations, but the music played was very middle of the road.  Straight-laced, ya know?  And the pop shows were very, very commercial pop.  So, it was only the John Peel Show really, which was on once a week, to get any airing at all.

Casey Chambers:  Now John Peel...I've heard he was very eclectic with his music choices but was an important DJ for a lot of bands over there.

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Oh, very important. Yeah, very important.

Casey Chambers:  What was it like doing John Peel's show?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, it was a great privilege at the time.  It was a thrill.  The band's played live.  John Peel was a great guy and had a wry sense of humor.  He really was carrying the flag for all sorts of progressive music at that time.  I think it's difficult for people to remember how restricted it was then.  And let's face it, it was prog-rock.  That sound took the country by surprise really.  There was no radio station that could cope with it.  A band that played a song that was 15 minutes long ruled it out straight away for any airplay.

Casey Chambers:  Stackridge falls under that wide, wide, wide banner that is now called progressive rock.  Was Stackridge formed with the intention of creating that kind of music?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Yes.  But we were an electric folk band as well.  A lot of things didn't really have labels at that time.  Bear in mind, Stackridge started in the winter of '68.  And I think that the country was still coming to grips with what was going on really.  Most of the bands at the time, Stackridge included, played live to underground audiences.  We played a lot of gigs.  Quite a lot of festivals and impromptu things thrown together in fields around the country, ya know?  And nobody was really expecting any radio play to be honest.  Nobody was expecting to get any single played on the BBC because we kind of thought singles and commercial music was a bit below us if you know what I mean.  We were hoping to sell albums when we made them,  So that was it really.  It was all pretty naive I think at the time.  It took a while for everybody to get used to it.  And then by the mid-'70s, commercial radio stations opened up and it was completely different after that.  We were, all of us, kind of pioneers in a way.

Casey Chambers:  Oh yeah.  Untraveled ground.  You had mentioned earlier how much of the music was not easily labeled.  Stackridge's debut had very much a slice into the prog-folk experience whereas your third album..."The Man In The Bowler Hat" (1974) throws a more baroquish art-rock pass to the listener.  Cherry-picking again, this album has become somewhat of an under-appreciated gem for many fans.  And it was also produced by Sir George Martin.  How did he come into the picture?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, our management in London was run by a guy called Mike Tobin and he got to know George.  George was going to start a management agency of his own at the time.  It never actually developed, but that was how we came to meet him.  And two of his kids were very big Stackridge fans.  I think it was them more than anything that got George interested.  'Cause they used to play our stuff at home, so...

Casey Chambers:  That's very cool.  The little Martins were 'Slarking' around the house. (laughs)  What was your impression of the man?  I know you were aware of his reputation.  Was it an enjoyable experience for you guys working with him?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Oh, very much so, yeah.  He was an amazing guy, really.  He had the knack of coming up with just what was needed for a song.  And it was usually quite inventive.  In our case, on one song, he teamed up a string quartet with a Wurlitzer piano which was great.  And I think we had a bassoon solo as well.  I don't think a lot of people appreciated the subtlety of his work.  I think that often got sort of lost.

Casey Chambers:  Yeah, "The Man In The Bowler Hat" is such a good album.  In 2011, Stackridge performed a song from that album on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson."

"The Last Plimsoll" - Stackridge / "The Man In The Bowler Hat" (Live on Craig Ferguson)

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Yeah, that's right.  Flying all that way and only doing one gig, well, it was a little weird, to be honest.  But it was very enjoyable.  Craig's brother had been a big Stackridge fan and that's how that whole thing came about.  We are so thankful to our fans for getting our name around.  It was a great experience.

Casey Chambers:  Was it difficult deciding what song you were going to do?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, there was a lot of discussion about that.  We had recently re-formed and had just recorded a new album..."A Victory For Common Sense." (2010)  That was a good album for us and we're very proud of that one.  But when we were asked to do "The Late Late Show..." we wanted to do something that we all had a part in writing.  And so we chose "The Last Plimsoll" from the "The Man In The Bowler Hat" (1974)  because James (Warren) and I both sang lead vocals.  And "Mutter" played a flute solo.  We all thought that that song would be a nice choice to showcase everybody.  Stackridge had four different lead singers, so we could have chosen one song that was like...all me. (laughs)  Or one song that was all James.  We thought to make it democratic, we'd choose an older song.  And also, "The Late Late Show" had been using part of that song when Craig Ferguson was on stage.  They'd been using it for a long time...part of that song.  So we felt it would be a gas to play the whole of the song.

Casey Chambers:  It was a really good performance and I thought your guitar sounded great.  All those years and it was like you guys never left.  Good stuff.  Tell me some of your musical influences.

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, the Beatles obviously were a big influence. And very British bands like the Kinks.  Some English composers like ElgarThe Incredible String Band, folk-wise.  Peter Green.  The originator of Fleetwood Mac.  Lots of influences really.  But those are the main ones.

Casey Chambers:  Switching gears, you have done quite a bit of session work throughout the years, no doubt.   And it's hard to let that fact pass without bringing up the session work you did on John Lennon's famous album..."Imagine." (1971)  How cool to be associated with John's most celebrated solo square.  How did that all come about?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, that was an accident really.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  George Harrison started using two acoustic guitars on his tracks.  If you think of "All Things Must Pass"...the album.  And "My Sweet Lord."  It's very heavy on acoustic guitars.  And two members of the band Badfinger, who was on the Apple label, used to play the guitars on George's acoustics sessions.  And John thought that he would do the same.  This is how I remember it anyway.  John said he liked the idea of having two acoustic guitars on the tape.  When the tape starts rolling and the band starts playing...having two acoustic guitars gave the songs a lot of depth and atmosphere.  And so he started doing it as well when he recorded..."Imagine"...even if, just maybe, they wouldn't be in the final mix.  Badfinger, the two guys from Badfinger, would have been doing that job for him had they been there, but they were away in the States at the time.  They were over on your side of the pond.  So two guitar players were needed and a friend of mine, Rod Linton was a good friend of Ringo Starr and that's how he got that gig.  And I just happened to be with him when he was asked to go down.  So Rod asked me, 'What are you doing tonight?'  And I said, 'Nothing.  I'll come to Weybridge with you.' (laughs)  It was ridiculous really. And very lucky.

"Gimme Some Truth" - John Lennon / "Imagine" (1971)

Casey Chambers:  To Weybridge?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  That was where John's studio was.  In his house in Weybridge.

Casey Chambers:  So this is all very spur of the moment.  What happened when you got there?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, Mal Evans, his roadie and assistant, kind of welcomed us and showed us where all the attractions were.  Ya rooms and places.  There was a lot of food and a lot of wine and stuff.  They said, 'Make yourselves at home and we'll call you when we need you.'  And then John and Yoko came in with Phil Spector and everybody shook hands and we started working out songs.  It was very casual really, but it was good that way.

Casey Chambers:  And what songs did you play on?

Andy Cresswell Davis:  I played on "Oh Yoko," "Gimme Some Truth," and "How."  Yeah, John was great. You know, it sounds like a cliche, but he was a very down to earth guy. Very personable. Very friendly. And yeah...funny.  It was great to be there and to be part of it.

Casey Chambers:  That's a great little ace to carry in your pocket.  How very cool.  And recently you've been making some music with a new band, I understand.

Andy Cresswell Davis:  I've been writing and recording with an acoustic trio called DLM.  I think you might like it.  And doing a few shows.  Readers can go to our website to hear my latest stuff.

"Baby Good For You" - DLM / "DLM"  

Casey Chambers:  Absolutely.  DLM.  I'll leave a link for readers to take a peek.  Thank you, Mr. Davis, for all the great music.  Thank you for your time today.  It's been a real pleasure speaking with you.

Andy Cresswell Davis:  Well, thank you very much.  It was great.


Andrew Cresswell Davis Official Website

Andrew Cresswell Davis Facebook

DLM Official Website


Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
Follow Me On FACEBOOK 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Hassles" (1968)

"The Hassles" (front)

I picked this album up for two reasons.  I had read that the album does have its share of psych moments scattered around and wanted to hear the band's take.  But to be perfectly honest, like a lot of you, I was more interested in the Billy Joel factor.  Catching a piece of the “piano man” before his gi-normous rise to fame.  Joel has distanced himself from this album, but The Hassles debut is not too bad for what it is.

"The Hassles" (back)

Joel sings sometimes, but he's not the main singer.  And his keyboard playing throws out a familiar psych-groove vibe, not unlike Vanilla Fudge, but not as sludgy.  And the rest of The Hassles bring a garagey soulful energy that sounds much like the music scene at the time.  Nothing amazing.  But certainly nothing embarrassing.  And I liked a lot of it.  There are several, mostly average, covers with a few originals thrown in.  “I Hear Voices” and Traffic's...”Colored Rain” are given psychedelic treatment and are really good.  And they out Vanilla Fudge on the surprising “A Taste Of Honey.”  This one has become a grower.  Finally, the Billy Joel penned...”Every Move You Make” is simply an outstanding pop-rock song.  It is here that we witness the sparks of much better things to come.  The song could've been re-recorded and slipped onto his “An Innocent Man” album without much of a hiccup.  The Hassles were not a stand-out band, but not sloughs either.  They were just...average and I'll leave it at that.  Anyway, it's a fun one to own.  A conversation starter at the very least.  If you can find a copy cheap, pick it up.

"The Hassles" (inside gatefold)

United Artists Records label

"The Hassles" (sleeve)

"I Hear Voices" - The Hassles / "The Hassles" (1968)

A1  "Warming Up" 1:39
A2  "Just Holding On" 2:04
A3  "A Taste of Honey" 4:17
A4  "Every Step I Take (Every Move I Make)" 2:29
A5  "Coloured Rain" 3:23
B1  "I Hear Voices" 2:53
B2  "I Can Tell" 2:57
B3  "Giving Up" 5:16
B4  "Fever" 3:17
B5  "You've Got Me Hummin'" 2:25

John Dizek - vocals, tambourine, harmonica
Billy (Joe) Joel - vocals, keyboards
Richard McKenna - guitars
Howie Arthur Blauvelt - bass
Jon Small - drums

Good stuff.