Thursday, May 28, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Missing Years" - John Prine (1991)

"The Missing Years" - John Prine (1991)

"We all reside down the block inside of 23-Skidoo."  This Grammy award-winning, "The Missing Years" was John Prine's 10th studio album after taking a fairly long hiatus and it's a really good spin.  There's nobody like John Prine.  His songs are sweet and bittersweet; catchy and filled with wonderful and curious Prine-isms and observations.  And his vocals are friendlier than a front porch.  Some of his biggie friends show up to add sugar to the tea like Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Howie Epstein, Bonnie Raitt, and a few others.  And they all do so without being the elephant in the room, which is much appreciated.  There is a lot to like here.  The "Jesus, The Missing Years" track, of course.  "Picture Show."  And the faded love gem, "All The Best"...which John performed frequently while doing the obligatory TV album promotion thing.

My favorite, and maybe lesser-known tracks are "It's a Big Old Goofy World,"  "Unlonely" and "The Sins Of Memphisto"  I have this album in both CD/digital format and grabbed the vinyl copy directly from Oh Boy Records during one of their sales.  It is a double album and the first re-ish.  The album also includes the previously unreleased song..."The Third Of July."  The song is a darker affair about feeling...trapped in one's circumstances.  "I believe that a thought has just gotten caught in a place where words can't surround it."  I really dug it and wonder if he ever performed it on stage.  We sadly lost John Prine from  COVID-19 complications on April 7, 2020.

"The Missing Years" (back)

"The Missing Years" (inside gatefold)

"The Missing Years" (insert-1)

"The Missing Years" (insert-2)

"The Missing Years" (lyrics on back of both inserts)

Oh Boy Records label (Side A-B)

Oh Boy Records label (Side C-D)

"Unlonely" - John Prine / "The Missing Years" (1991)

A1  "Picture Show" 3:22
A2  "All the Best" 3:28
A3  "The Sins of Memphisto" 4:13
A4  "Everybody Wants to Feel Like You" 3:09
B1  "It's a Big Old Goofy World" 5:10
B2  "I Want to Be With You Always" 3:01
B3  "Daddy's Little Pumpkin" 2:41
B4  "Take a Look at My Heart" 3:38
C1  "Great Rain" 4:08
C2  "Way Back Then" 3:39
C3  "Unlonely" 4:35
C4  "You Got Gold" 4:38
D1  "Everything Is Cool" 2:46
D2  "Jesus the Missing Years" 5:55
D3  "The Third Of July" 3:11

John Prine - vocals, guitar
Albert Lee - guitar, mandolin, piano
David Lindley - guitar, bouzouki, fiddle, harp
Mike Campbell - bass, guitar
John Ciambotti - bass
Howie Epstein - guitar, bass, b-vocals
Steve Fishell - dobro
Bob Glaub - bass
Joe Romersa - drums
Mickey Raphael - harmonica
Benmont Tench - organ, piano, harmonium
John Jorgenson - guitar, bass, dobro, mandolin, bassoon, saxophone
Phil Parlapiano - mandolin, accordion, harmonium
Tom Petty - b-vocals
Christina Amphlett - b-vocals
Liz Byrnes - b-vocals
Phil Everly - b-vocals
Bonnie Raitt - b-vocals
Bruce Springsteen - b-vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers
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Friday, May 22, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."H.P. Lovecraft II" - H.P. Lovecraft (1968)

"HP Lovecraft II" - HP Lovecraft (1968)

This was to be H.P. Lovecraft's 2nd (and last) album.  It's filled with mostly chill folk-psych with some electric keys tapping the brush in spots.  The lyrics have very much the spin of the times and the words are carried along in an almost foreboding manner.  Every song has been lightly dipped in psych dust and it's a moody little biscuit, at times, but it never gets boring.  Often, the vocals reminded me of a young Marty Balin and I was totally cool with that.  I dug it, actually.  "HP Lovecraft II" succeeds in feeding the head on a late-night bender.  And with a pair of comfortable headphones, it's bonus.  My favorite songs are "At The Mountains Of Madness"..."It's About Time"...and "Electrallentando."

The band members were from Chicago, but they recorded this square in L.A.  The band quickly fractured into pieces shortly after this release.  The album cover is a gatefold unipak with tracks and credits listed, band shots, and some vintage psych artwork inside.

"HP Lovecraft II" (back)

"HP Lovecraft II" (inside gatefold)

Philips label

"At The Mountains Of Madness" - HP Lovecraft / " HP Lovecraft II" (1968)

A1  "Spin, Spin, Spin" 3:26
A2  "It's About Time" 5:20
A3  "Blue Jack Of Diamonds" 2:55
A4  "Electrallentando" 6:27
B1  "At The Mountains Of Madness" 4:48
B2  "Mobius Trip" 2:46
B3  "High Flying Bird" 3:15
B4  "Nothing's Boy" 0:40
B5  "Keeper Of The Keys" 3:06

George Edwards – vocals, acoustic & electric guitar, bass
Dave Michaels – vocals, keyboards
Tony Cavallari – lead guitar, vocals
Jeff Boyan – bass, vocals
Michael Tegza – drums, percussion, vocals

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, May 18, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."Space Ritual" - Hawkwind (1973)

"Space Ritual" - Hawkwind (1973)

If this is space rock, I'll take all of it you got!  This is so good.  But you already knew that.  As for me, I just listened to it for the first time a few weeks ago.  Lord have mercy.  "Space Ritual" was Hawkwind's 4th album, an incredible live double album that was recorded in London.  Everything on here is a force to be reckoned with.  There's plenty of head-spinning sounds from insane sax to the spacey oscillating whatever-it-is.  And the energy from the beloved bassist known as Lemmy drives the ship with his crazy and exciting bass runs.  I even enjoyed the short spoken poetry breaks.  I know it sounds lame, but the spoken poetry actually throws an almost portent vibe into the kettle that allows the listener to catch their head before it segues back into the music.  And it does that surprisingly well.  It all makes for a wonderful space-metal-psychedelic vacation.

"Space Ritual" (back)

The "Space Ritual" album cover is also very cool having a gimmx six-fold panel that opens up to display interesting and trippy pictures.  My favorite songs on this anyway...are “Orgone Accumulator”...“Lord of Light”...and “Master of the Universe.”  My copy has a thumb-size tear at the top-right, but the seller made allowances for that snafu and gave me a pretty good deal.  The vinyl is nice and clean, so I'm cool.  "Space Ritual” is starting to go high dollar for a cheapskate like me, so I was glad to find this one.  And it's one of my 10 favorite finds from last year.  I'll never part with it.

"Space Ritual" (inside tri-fold)

"Space Ritual" (inside unfolded)

United Artists Records label

UA sleeve

"Lord of Light" - Hawkwind / "Space Ritual" (1973)

A1  "Earth Calling" 1:46
A2  "Born to Go"  9:56
A3  "Down Through the Night" 6:16
A4  "The Awakening" 1:32
B1  "Lord of Light" 7:21
B2  "The Black Corridor" 1:51
B3  "Space Is Deep" 8:13
B4  "Electronic No. 1" 2:26
C1  "Orgone Accumulator" 9:59
C2  "Upside Down" 2:43
C3  "10 Seconds of Forever" 2:05
C4  "Brainstorm" 9:20
D1  "7 by 7" 6:13
D2  "Sonic Attack" 2:54
D3  "Time We Left This World Today" 5:47
D4  "Master of the Universe" 7:37
D5  "Welcome to the Future" 2:03

Dave Brock - guitar, vocals
Nik Turner - saxophone, flute, vocals
Lemmy (Ian Kilmister) - bass, vocals
Dik Mik (Michael Davies) - audio generator, electronics
Del Dettmar - synthesizer
Simon King - drums
Robert "Bob" Calvert - poetry, vocals ("poet and swazzle" on album credits)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Saturday, May 16, 2020

TCCDM Dig and Flip: "The Snowman" (2010)

This novel is a mystery/thriller about a serial killer who targets certain women and leaves behind a freshly built snowman at the scene of each murder.  Often with the snowman facing, not toward the street...but toward the victim's room.  What a very disturbing idea.  Our protagonist is a police detective named...Harry Hole.  I snickered like a 9-year-old when I first read it, too.  Harry's good at what he does but he's been damaged by alcoholism, divorce, and life in general.

I really dig Jo Nesbo's noirish writing style.  The story moves along quickly with plenty of plot twists and ducks to keep everything edgy.  And the author plays fair with the clues, which is always cool.  Clues are scattered here and there and help thread the needle, but thankfully, not too easily.  This was book #7 in Jo Nesbo's..."Harry Hole" series.  I believe each story is "stand-alone", but correct me if I'm wrong.  "The Snowman" was all good, but for a few of the Norwegian names that caused me to trip over my tonsils.  I got over it.  You will, too.

"Snowblind" - Ace Frehley / "Ace Frehley" (1978)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, May 11, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."The Holy Mackerel" (1968)

"The Holy Mackerel" - The Holy Mackerel

This is a lesser-known psych album led by...Paul Williams.  Yeah, Paul Williams gets a little bit trippy on this "one-and-done" album.  Most of the songs float around in a folk-psych pool that's gentle and sometimes floaty.  There are also a few country-rock tracks that are reminiscent of what Michael Nesmith was trying to do.  I liked those songs as well, but they sorta broke the spell with their placement.  Still, nothing boring or cheap.  There are occasional flutes and sitar and good harmonies.  And apart from one silly stinker that closes out Side One, "The Holy Mackerel" is an enjoyable spin worth picking up.

The band also included bassist Jerry Scheff who played on The Doors' "L.A. Woman" and was a member of Elvis' "TCB" band.  My favorite tracks include the 4-minute "Wildflowers" ...a very "float downstreamish" psych-driven song.  "Scorpio Red" has a mysterious and beautiful pop-psych vibe that really jumps out of the speakers.  The flutey opener "The Secret Of Pleasure" with its great harmonies set the table nicely.  "Bitter Honey" is a Paul Williams lost gem.  AM radio should've eaten this one up.  Over-all this is an enjoyable "soft-psych" spin and I liked it a lot.  I grabbed my original copy online.  I wanted the album for the Paul Williams connection, not the rainbow...and the music was a pleasant surprise.

"The Holy Mackerel" (back)

Reprise Records label

Reprise company sleeve

"Scorpio Red" - The Holy Mackerel / "The Holy Mackerel" (1968)

A1  "The Secret of Pleasure"  (3:35)
A2  "Scorpio Red"  (3:26)
A3  "The Lady Is Waiting"  (2:05)
A4  "Wildflowers"  (3:59)
A5  "The Somewhere in Arizona at 4:30 AM Restaurant Song (And Now I Am Alone)"  (2:25)
A6  "Prinderella"  (2:44)
B1  "Bitter Honey"  (2:22)
B2  "Nothin' Short of Misery"  (2:35)
B3  "The Golden Ghost of Love"  (2:42)
B4  "The Wild Side of Life"  (2:52)
B5  "10,000 Men"  (3:42)
B6  "1984"  (4:27)

Paul Williams - (vocals)
Mentor Williams (rhythm guitar, vocals),
Jeremiah Scheff -  (bass, vocals) 
George Hiller (lead guitar, vocals)
Cynthia Ann Fitzpatrick (flute, vocals)
Michael Cannon (drums)

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers

Monday, May 4, 2020

TCCDM Pulls One Out..."On The Beach" (1974)

"On The Beach" - Neil Young (1974)

"Sooner or later it all gets real."  I skipped over "On The Beach" more than once before finally pulling the trigger and taking a copy home.  I'm really glad I did.  This was his 5th album.  Neil Young was still a relatively young man.  It was 1974 and he was angry, scared, depressed, and a bit high.  Everything on here hits close to the nerve.  And it's all worth your time and money.  The opening track "Walk On" is a response to Skynyrd and critics in general.  "See The Sky About To Rain" is a beautiful song that's familiar in a good way.  My favorites are the deeper tracks.   "Ambulance Blues" a 9-min rambling of word-play that I really dig.  And the beautiful despair heard in the title-track is some heady stuff.  And "Revolution Blues" is a crunchy and anger-filled jam said to have been very much Manson inspired.

For the longest time, Neil refused to allow the album to be reissued or even made available on CD.  It's not a terribly expensive album to own, but it is becoming harder to find.  I think it's because people tend to hang on to this album, once they have it.  My copy set me back $15 at a Wichita swapmeet.  I've seen it go for more.  My copy has "C. Stevens” written in cursive located in the matrix.  I could find no mention of this on Discogs.  One other cool feature is the flowery inside jacket matching the lawn chairs on the album cover.  "On The Beach" has a reputation for being a downer of an album, but it's not that way to my ears.  Everything works.  Like a wake-up call from a forgotten alarm.  Don't sleep on this one.

"On The Beach" (back)

"On The Beach" (inside cover)

Reprise Records label

"On The Beach" (sleeve front w/local Poverty Records sticker)

"On The Beach" (sleeve back)

"See the Sky About to Rain" - Neil Young / "On The Beach" (1974)

A1  "Walk On"  2:40
A2  "See the Sky About to Rain"  5:03
A3  "Revolution Blues"  4:02
A4  "For the Turnstiles"  3:13
A5  "Vampire Blues"  4:11
B1  "On the Beach"  7:04
B2  "Motion Pictures"  4:20
B3  "Ambulance Blues"  8:57

Neil Young – vocals, guitar, harmonica, Wurlitzer electric piano, banjo, electric tambourine
Ben Keith – slide guitar, vocals, Wurlitzer electric piano, hand drums, bass
Rusty Kershaw – slide guitar
David Crosby – rhythm guitar
George Whitsell – guitar
Graham Nash – Wurlitzer electric piano
Tim Drummond – bass, percussion
Billy Talbot – bass
Rick Danko – bass
Ralph Molina – drums, vocals, drums, 
Levon Helm – drums

Good stuff.

Casey Chambers