Friday, June 29, 2007

Thundermug - Bang the Love Drum (1997)

Thundermug's 5th album came in 1997 after a number of years touring with a largely reunited lineup. This album saw the band delivering a gritty batch of songs that have more in common with modern alternative than a Thundermug revival. Suffice it to say, this self-financed release cannot be taken strictly as a Thundermug album. Sounding like The Toadies with Billy Gibbons at the helm, the ten tracks here pack the wallop of a hungry new band instead of some tired old 70's throwback. Though diehards will most certainly miss the reckless abandon of old-school Thundermug, there is plenty to love here.

The album went quickly out of print and is now quite difficult to locate, so enjoy this CD rip while you search for the real thing. You'll be floored!

Paris - Paris (1976)

Paris was a brief project between former members of Fleetwood Mac, Jethro Tull and The Nazz. Keeping this in mind, one would've never expected this unholy marriage to result in a solid and dark Zeppelinesque hard rock album. Furthermore, there's an unmistakeable darkness to the material here with mysticism clearly at the fore. Considering what came before and what followed after the band's dissolution a few years later, it's quite amazing. The album was reissued briefly in 2001 and has since gone out of print again. Fear not! Dig this sweet transfer and take a glimpse of what happens when you put musicians from opposite ends of the musical spectrum together. Sometimes we find out that what we thought we knew was totally off the mark. Paris illustrates this in spades. Try it out. You just might like it.

William Lyall - Solo Casting (1976)

William (Billy) Lyall was a founding member of Scotland's premier pop group, Pilot. He exited the band in 1975 over creative issues as well as the frustration he was feeling as a live performer. Determined to do things his way, Lyall recorded and released "Solo Casting" in 1976. With a star studded cast of dozens helping him realize his vision, Lyall created a tapestry of many influences and flavors on the album. Bouncing from power pop to vaudeville to hard rock to prog, the album is musically all over the map. The hooks are often sublime and require repeat listenings to really grasp. Despite the genre shifting, it does indeed bear a striking resemblance to his former band. I suppose you get a greater sense of just how influential Lyall's presence was in Pilot, if anything. There are many strong cuts here and any lovers of cheerful quirky pop will find much to enjoy.

Sadly Lyall passed away in 1989 from an AIDS related illness, but his music has been reissued numerous times over the years to varying degrees of interest. This elusive album is available here in all its digital glory. Breathe in his pop goodness...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Attila - Attila (1970)

By request...Attila is an infamous psych/hard rock duo from NY, which included one William Joel prior to his days as the "Piano Man". Recorded and released in 1970, the album was met with general indifference and vanished into thin air. Attila was formed from the remnants of Joel's previous band, The Hassles. Along with the former drummer, Jon Smalls, the newly dubbed Attila crafted an extremely unique sound consisting of nothing but organ and drums. What made this so unique was Joel's use of effects pedals (wah wah, fuzz, distortion and flange), which mimed guitars so effectively that you really didn't notice their absence. To their discredit, by and large the material was dreadful. Aside from the two opening tracks, the remainder of the album is rife with meandering improvisation and juvenile lyrics. The album has been bestowed the honor of being called the worst album recorded in the history of rock. Now THAT is a mighty claim!

So is it all that bad? Well, download at your own risk and find out for yourself. There's a good reason why Billy Joel has spent decades buying up any copies he can track down!

Stepson - Stepson (1974)

Portland's Stepson were a sweatdrenched bluesy hard rock act that rose from the ashes of defunct area band, Touch. Their sole album was released on ABC/Dunhill Records in 1974, though the band were essentially a studio creation. Despite the fact that the band never toured in support of this amazing album, over the years the word has gotten out about this incredible album and the band enjoys cult success among collectors and obscurity geeks. Though the album doesn't reinvent the wheel, it is a fine example of Detroit style hard rock with a healthy dose of punk attitude. Easily one of the best example of "cock rock" to come along at such an early stage of the genre's existence, Stepson deserve recognition for their meager contribution to rock music. After the band's efforts to record a followup were snuffed out, several members went on to later work for Elektra Records. Others went on to do session work for notably fluffier artists like Carole King, James Taylor and Shaun Cassidy.

Check out this top notch album in all it's digital glory. You'll be glad you did!

Left End - Spoiled Rotten (1974)

I could write volumes about this ill-fated theatrical shock rock act from Youngstown, OH. The Left End were a hybrid of Kiss, New York Dolls, Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, The Tubes and Grand Funk. With a bottom heavy punkish sound and the formidable vocal chops of Dennis T. Menass, Left End made huge waves in the midwest before Polydor signed the band in late 1972. Upon the release of their sole album, the band were set on a non-stop cycle of sharing the bill with many of the legendary bands from the era. Audiences were left speechless and all of the major magazines were emphatically proclaiming their love for the band. All seemed perfect until Polydor began undergoing major reorganization in 1975, resulting in the dismissal of the key personnel responsible for promoting the band. As a result, Left End were sent packing back to their hometown where they spent several more years headlining smaller venues in the region. Eventually, the band vanished from the scene, though in recent years they have enjoyed a revival in the area and have performed regularly to packed houses.

This albums demands to be heard, so I suggest you check out this hard rock nugget and listen in awe at one of the midwest's most unsung treasures. Long live Left End!

Sammy - Sammy (1972)

Sammy were a short lived supergroup featuring ex-members of Audience, Quatermass, The Herd, Silverhead, Episode Six and Ginhouse. Sporting a brass driven hard rock sound, the band released their sole album in 1972 to an apathetic record buying public. Though the band toured relentlessly for two years, their efforts were not met with success and the band folded by the end of 1974. In retrospect, this was a stellar effort despite the two pointless prog interludes that are featured here. At times the band sounded a bit like Audience and there were elements of Deep Purple scattered throughout. This isn't a surprise, considering the album was produced by Ian Gillan. In fact, drummer Mick Underwood would later join Gillan's solo project for a number of years. He would also form Strapps and a revamped Quatermass in the 90's.

Most surely not a candidate for the digital treatment, enjoy this sweet vinyl transfer instead. You'll wonder why this band slipped under the radar...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Baby Grand - Ancient Medicine (1978)

Baby Grand, a Philadelphia based band, wrote a unique blend of AOR and progressive rock that melded the sounds of artists like Yes, Steely Dan and Morningstar to name a few. Though their two album career was rather short, they managed to wow critics and industry insiders with their fluid and complex instrumentation. This, their 2nd album, was released by Arista records and found itself at the mercy of a growingly fickle audience. In a time where Journey and Boston were ruling the airwaves, it seemed as though Baby Grand was just to sublime for their own good. This of course, takes nothing away from the material here, as it was so well executed and written that you can't help but take notice. Sadly, within a year, this band was in the throes of a breakup. Half the band went on to join Nektar in 1980 for their excellent "Magic Is a Child" album. The other half formed The Hooters and experienced the mainstream success they were waiting for.

It's doubtful that we'll ever see the Baby Grand catalogue reissued, so this vinyl rip will have to suffice in the meantime. Look out for Baby Grand's other album in the coming days!

Centaurus - Centaurus (1978)

Centaurus were a little known AOR unit from Los Angeles, who only lasted long enough to record and release one album. Bearing a sound that fell somewhere between Led Zeppelin and a more modern sounding Uriah Heep, Centaurus were not a particularly original or distinctive sounding band. Being signed to Doug Moody's low budget Azra label didn't help the band either, as the production here sounds more like something from the mid 60's than the late 70's. In spite of it all, there are a few highlights here, particularly the Uriah Heepesque "If I Build My World For You" and the Deep Purple influenced workout, "In the Mood".

After the split in 1979, several members went on to join other notable acts like Toronto and Beggars & Thieves. This album has never been reissued and it is likely it never will, so why not post it here for your scrutiny? Check out this decent vinyl rip and make your own judgement.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thundermug - Strikes (1972)

Thundermug's debut, "Strikes", is mostly known for having spawned their only hit single, "Africa". In truth, most of the album's remaining tracks are superior to the single as evidenced by the trilogy suite, "Page 125 / What Would You Do? / Help Father Sun" among others. This is pretty sprawling stuff considering the audience they were targeting at the time. It's difficult to find a real standout among the band's 70's output, since each album was distinctly different from the other. In any case, this album demands your attention from start to finish. I recommend you visit excellent fellow blogger XXXRockrula for Thundermug's final 70's album, "Ta-Daa".

I'll be posting both of Thundermug's 90's albums in the coming days, so be sure to visit again. In the meantime, grab this sucker and rock out Canadian style!

Thundermug - Orbit (1973)

Thundermug were a quirky hard rock band from Ontario who released a handful of albums in the early 70's before splitting in 1976. Their sole charting single, "Africa", came early in 1972 and the band spent the remainder of their career trying to match its success. It's quite surprising that they didn't, because much of the material was strong and very unique. With pitch-perfect vocals, powerful guitars and a vacuum tight rhythm section, Thundermug were an incredibly distinct sounding band. As it often happens, the band has found more accolades in the years since their initial breakup than they ever did during their brief career. The band did manage to reunite in the late 80's and release two more albums before calling it quits for good.

Their albums are difficult to locate and with just a few short pages in the Canadian history books, Thundermug has seemingly become a mere blip on the radar. In an effort to fix that problem, I'm posting this clean vinyl rip of their 2nd album, "Orbit". Fans of hard rock, glam and power pop should eat this one up. This is fabulous stuff. Enjoy!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sleepy Hollow - Sleepy Hollow (1972)

Sleepy Hollow, a Philadelphia based power pop unit, is one of the biggest mysteries I've encountered in my years of digging for obscurities. Virtually no information about the personnel or the band's history can be found online. Having said that, this entry will be posted strictly on the strength of the album's contents. Sleepy Hollow very much subscribe to the late era Beatles perspective and it permeates everything found here. Taking more of a simplistic route, in the vein of the Hudson Brothers, their self-titled album is chock full of quality classic pop. With the piano at the forefront, each lilting track serves up hook after hook, and it's all produced quite well considering its age and obscurity. Most certainly not destined for reissue anytime soon, I recommend you snag this fine album before it slips into nowhere land once again!

Crow - Mosaic (1971)

Minnesota's Crow were one of those bands who made an impressive dent in the charts early on, only to be victimized by a ruthless business and left in disarray before they could truly capitalize on their success. Led by Dave Wagner, this quintet flourished in the midwest for several years under the guise of 'South 40', before changing their name in 1969. That year, Crow bypassed an offer from Atlantic Records and signed with the smaller Amaret instead. This decision marked the beginning of what would eventually cause the band to implode. Their debut, "Crow Music" was issued that year and quickly their first single began its run up the Billboard charts. "Evil Woman" (which was later covered by Black Sabbath) went on to be the band's highest charting single. Despite the grand entrance the band had made, Amaret was unable to market the band properly due to their financial limitations and soon the band's momentum began to wane. Crow hurried into the studio and released "Crow By Crow" in 1970, which did not measure up to the success of their debut. A few singles made low chart entries and the album quickly vanished from distribution.

This album, "Mosaic" was released the following year and features some of the band's most memorable material. With Wagner's gritty vocals falling somewhere between Jim Dandy Mangrum and Janis Joplin, the material here is fiery and driving. Bearing a strong bluesy hard rock feel, each of the nine cuts smolder with a passion that borders on spiritual. Despite the quality of the songwriting, this album sank without a trace and the band fizzled by late 1972. It's sad because alot of the band's early material had been saddled with horn sections, which was forced upon the group by Amaret Records. The band were never happy with the change of direction and it is this album where the band finally return to their true sound. Unfortunately, it was a case of too little too late. Adding insult to injury, the band's three albums have never seen reissue. Luckily, this clean vinyl rip will provide listeners a chance to hear the band at its most distilled and clear. Try this out....you'll dig it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hounds - Puttin' on the Dogs (1979)

Hounds were a midwestern quartet comprised of three Johns and a Jim. One of those Johns, John Hunter, acted as the guiding force and primary writer for the band throughout its lifespan. That lifespan ran almost a decade, and despite their longevity, global success was not in the cards. In retrospect, Hounds have become cult heroes to those who remember when rock and roll was still the voice of a rebellious generation. Their 2nd album, "Puttin' on the Dogs", is a quirky mixture of hard rock, new wave, progressive rock and AOR. With predominant keyboards and majestic arrangements, Hounds were at the forefront of the AOR movement which swept american radio at the close of the 70's. It is therefore unjust to exclude them from the history books, despite their low profile. Though the band's recorded output has never seen digital reissue, their music is still reaching new audiences through traders circles and collectors. Add yourself to the growing number of people who are just now appreciating this unique band for its contributions to modern music.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Post Your Comments...Please!

While doing an analysis of visits to my blog, I've noticed most visitors are of the "hit & run" variety. However, I encourage anyone who is taking the time to read or download the content here to leave their feedback. I do this blog out of a love for music AND sharing that music with others. I enjoy hearing your feedback and opinions. Does my content need to be corrected? Do you like the band in question? Is there something you'd like to see included here? Is there something you'd like to contribute for other readers here? Let me know, please. I spend quite a bit of time researching, editing, tweaking and posting here. Your comments justify the time I put in. I'd like to hear from you!

Dialogue - Dialogue (1972)

Dialogue is an extremely obscure Philadelphia duo who issued an impressive self-titled private pressing in 1972. Two subsequent pressings were reissued in 1974, then the duo virtually fell off the map. What they managed to leave behind is a highly evolved and sophisticated collection of songs that recall everything from 60's psychedelic to 70's power pop. To be accurate, however, these songs were slightly left of center with a skewed sense of melody and angular harmonies. The result is a challenging album filled with sublime hooks that seep through over repeated listenings. While it is true that copies of the album are literally impossible to locate, this vinyl rip does more than enough to illustrate the essence of Dialogue. Please pardon the lower bitrate, but at this time I have nothing better. I did do some cleaning up and slight mastering myself to insure the best possible listening experience. Download and be challenged. Dialogue may not be ear candy, but it's certainly not throwaway pabulum. Check it!

Stingray - Stingray (1979)

South Africa's Stingray was a short-lived AOR act who managed two albums before folding in the early 80's. This, their debut, is chock full of pomp rock with infectious melodies and lush harmonies. Sounding eerily American, Stingray should've been poised for international success, but fate had other plans. Though both albums had very strong chart activity in their homeland, there was no crossover success to support the band's long-range aspirations and the band split up after continuous frustration. Despite their short run in the business, Stingray have left behind a wealth of memorable and well written AOR songs. Need an example? Wait no further and download this clean vinyl rip in full digital glory. You'll be glad you did!

Magic Bubble - Magic Bubble (1969)

Toronto's Magic Bubble was essentially a brother/sister duo backed by an ensemble of session players. The duo consisted of Rita and Frank Rondell. Though often referred to as a psych album, their self-titled debut is far too schizophrenic to bear the label completely. With a diverse batch of songs covering pop, psychedelic, hard rock and several other genres, this album was at least consistent in its scattershot approach. What results is a pretty good mix of everything that works in unison to create an appealing and quaint vibe throughout. Columbia Records would drop the duo after their debut failed to chart and not much else was heard from them again, though Rita would return to music in the 80's as a solo artist. In any case, this pricey and highly collectable release has never seen reissue, thus warranting its inclusion here. Enjoy this charming album from Canada's long lost Magic Bubble.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bluebeard - Bad Dream (1978)

Bluebeard, a Los Angeles neo-prog act that thrived in the 70's, only released one proper album in 1978 before disintegrating into darkness. Bearing a resemblance to Angel, Bluebeard's album has languished in obscurity for almost 30 years, fetching insane amounts of money for quality copies. The 1994 suicide of singer, Barry Leech, was the impetus for a reformation of the band. To date, the band has released an album reworking some of the classic material, but the debut still eludes proper digital treatment. With over-the-top vocal dramatics, noodly synths and churning guitars, "Bad Dream" is a classic example of neo-prog at its most self-indulgent. Featuring a wild recut of "Paint it Black" and a host of proggy originals, this album demands your attention. Check out this quality vinyl rip and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Potliquor - Levee Blues (1970)

Potliquor hailed from Louisiana and straddled the line between country, blues, southern rock and hard rock...all the while throwing in horns just to keep things fresh. With a powerful singer in George Ratzlaff, Potliquor were able to muster some pretty inspired moments on vinyl. This, their elusive second album, "Levee Blues" is widely considered their artistic peak. With an ensemble of female background vocalists in tow, the album bears a certain gospel charm that some of their other efforts were missing. This is a passionate and visceral collection of songs and any lover of the aforementioned genres would be well served to check them out. Ripped from vinyl, here it is, "Levee Blues".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bighorn - Bighorn (1978)

Bighorn hailed from the Pacific Northwest believe it or not and like their unlikely stomping grounds, they came and went without much fanfare despite releasing two excellent albums, I Get High (1974) and Bighorn (1978). It's quite a surprise since this very distinct and talented quintet were solid writers and performers. Resembling fellow AOR acts, Kansas, Styx, and Starcastle, the band dabbled with light progressive rock and added a heap of pomp to their sound. The band's history goes all the way back to 1970 and for a number of years, members came and went until finally settling on the lineup featured here. The band's label deal crumbled shortly after the this album's poor sales figures, but the band continued slagging away on the club circuit until finally coming to rest in 1981. I'm not sure what happened to all of the members after the split, but a few of them went on to join AOR group, Aviary. Vocalist Bob Marcy passed away as well. I recommend lovers of smooth AOR to check this talented band out and see for yourself why Bighorn should've been destined for bigger things.

Chopper - Chopper (1979)

This obscure Los Angeles based AOR band cut only one album in 1979 before splitting the following year. Signed to A&M/Ariola Records, it's a mystery why we don't know more about the band. Perhaps the misleading name is to blame, since there's not a single shred of the sleaze or raunchiness the name would imply. Less hard rock and more pomp, Chopper nonetheless created a solid album featuring top shelf performances from everyone involved. Not much can be said of the lineup, except that keyboardist Kim Bullard went on to join Poco and Y Kant Tori Read. In any case, this album will likely never see reissue and that is why it is posted here for your discerning tastes. Dig in and see what you think.

Finch - Thunderbird (1976)

Besides being one of Australia's finest hard rock obscurities, Finch also once employed former AC/DC bassist, Mark Evans. Finch recorded three albums before changing their name to Contraband. A single and an album later, they disappeared. This, their debut album, is the finest of the bunch. Excellent vocals and charging guitars punctuate this album, which is filled to the rim with hard rock goodness. There is a very slight progressive temperment to some of the material, but by and large, this is a hard rock album. Please pardon the low bitrate, as this is all I have at the moment. Sadly, Finch's output has never been remastered and pressed to disc. In the meantime, while we wait (don't hold your breath), check out this clean vinyl rip & see for yourself why collectors drool over Finch.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bull Angus - Free For All (1972)

Poughkeepsie's Bull Angus were one of those bands that should have been huge. With Franke Previte handling the vocals with extraordinary ease and a style that blended Zeppelin, Deep Purple and southern rock, the band released two exceptional albums for Mercury before folding and disappearing. Not much is known about the whereabouts of the former members, but Previte went on to front Franke & the Knockouts before writing the grammy award winning, "The Time of My Life" from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Bull Angus' debut was reissued a few years ago by Skyf Zol Records, but this gem has yet to see the digital treatment. Feast your ears upon this hard rock classic and marvel at one of the 70's lost talents.

Paper Lace - First Edition (1972)

As promised, "First Edition", the debut album from Paper Lace. It's interesting hearing this album because it is clearly not the bubblegum sound most will associate with the band. Though the album is surely lightweight fare, it comes closer to being a folk rock album instead. Whether this means we can take the band's artistic merits more seriously is debatable, but there's no denying the somber mood here. Take a listen and decide for yourself...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Jigsaw - Letherslade Farm (1970)

Wow, now this is a true rarity. The debut album by Jigsaw bears no resemblance to the disco pop titans they later became in the mid-seventies. In fact, upon first hearing it, you might find them more along the lines of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Such a comparison is truly deserved, as the album takes on more of a cinematic point of view, with trippy songs strung together by completely bizarre spoken word sketches. Fetching well over $300 these days, "Letherslade Farm" is an extremely difficult album to find. Being the proud owner of this psychedelic cult classic, I feel compelled to share this with others. Not enough people have heard this highly distinct album. Here's hoping my post will bring this nugget to a wider audience. 37 years late is better than never, eh?

The Hello People - Fusion (1969)

One of the most unique rock groups of the 1960s, The Hello People, was created during late 1967 in New York by producer Lou Futterman. The idea for creating the group stemmed from Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis). Etienne De Crux, the father of French mime, plays the part of Bapties's father in the film. During the sixties De Crux taught painting to a group of musicians. Since these musicians learned to paint so quickly, De Crux reasoned that musicians could also learn mime and apply it in some new way to create a new form. The manager of the musicians De Crux taught, Lou Futterman, decided he would implement this new concept. He then put together a new group of musicians who would perform in mime makeup and do mime routines between songs, never speaking a word to the audience.

The group recorded for Philips Records and although the group didn't have a hit record, they were often seen on major network television shows such as The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and the controversial Smothers Brothers Show. The group reorganized and moved to the Los Angeles area during the early 1970s and toured with comedians Richard Pryor and George Carlin. Later, two members left the band leaving it a four-piece group for the remainder of its days.

The Hello People went on tour with Todd Rundgren in the '70s and became a part of his touring group. During this period George Kiernan joined the group as an extra mime performer holding signs for the group.

The Hello People continued as a group through the late seventies then went their separate ways. Though by their breakup, the band had been releasing flimsy lightweight rock for a number of years, their first few albums were strange forays into psychedelia. "Fusion", the album featured here, is perhaps the most well-known of those early releases. Though it doesn't possess any monumental qualities, it is a charming slice of listener friendly folky psych. Considering its rarity, there was no question about its inclusion here. Download away!

Paper Lace - Paper Lace (1974)

Paper Lace was a Nottingham based pop group, formed in 1969. They are known to Americans as a classic one-hit wonder; however, in the UK they were a classic two hit wonder. The core of the band originally formed in 1967 as Music Box, but changed their name to Paper Lace when Phil Wright joined as drummer and lead singer.

The band took their name from lace products created from a special grade of high quality paper manufactured in Nottingham; their hometown. Paper Lace was one of hundreds of pop bands in England looking for the big time while slogging their way through small club gigs and brief television appearances. A season at Tiffany's, a Rochdale club, led to more television appearances, but a passport to the charts did not arrive until a 1974 victory on Opportunity Knocks, the ITV talent contest series.

Thanks to that show, songwriters/producers, Mitch Murray and Peter Callender quickly signed them. The smash hit "Billy Don't Be A Hero" stayed three weeks at Number one on the UK Singles Chart in March 1974. It was followed by an equally catchy story song, which reached the Number 3 called "The Night Chicago Died". Another hit, "The Black-Eyed Boys", took Paper Lace to Number 11 in late 1974.

With their subject matter about the Vietnam War, it was logical that "Billy Don't Be A Hero" should become a hit in the United States; however, Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods were the first to release "Billy" in the United States, and Paper Lace had to be content with a #96 placing. Although, the follow-up song, "The Night Chicago Died", set in the Prohibition era with reference to Al Capone, was untroubled by any such competition and topped the Billboard Hot 100.

The group released two albums, "First Edition" (1972) and "Paper Lace (1974); however, they quickly faded from the public eye as the band's popularity waned. Philip Wright and Cliff Fish carried on as Paper Lace, with other musicians filling in for the missing band members. In 1978, they surfaced briefly with a sing-along version of "We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands" with their local football team, Nottingham Forest Football Club. The 7" single, with "The Nottingham Forest March" as the B-side, reached Number 24 in the UK chart.

Since then, the band has ceased to be a creative unit and only performs sporadically in a largely revamped lineup thoughout the UK. This first album, however cheesy, is a worthy entry simply because the entirety of the band's hit singles are all present. Stay tuned for the band's rare debut LP, "First Edition", which will be posted here in the coming days. In the meantime, check out this bubblegum classic, "Paper Lace".

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Foot In Coldwater - All Around Us (1974)

In 1971 Alex Machin and Paul Naumann of the Toronto band Leather were struggling along with a new act called Island (which also included Ed Clemens and future Zon member Kim Hunt). The members of Nucleus heard about Machin and Naumann, auditioned them at their farm in Pickering and soon the new five-piece were searching for a record deal. They soon signed with Frank Davies' Daffodil Records who rechristened the group A Foot In Coldwater -- which is an old English term meaning 'bad luck'. They recorded their self-titled debut in 1972 and the band's first single "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want" reached the Canadian charts as Top-25.

Later came other moderately successful singles such as "Isn't Love Unkind (In My Life)", and "Love Is Coming" which were both released in 1972 and would end up on the band's sophomore release 'The Second Foot In Coldwater' LP in 1973.

The disappointment in what should have been initial success was re-thought and the band proceeded with a third album, 1974's 'All Around Us', which was padded with their three charting singles -- "Isn't Love Unkind (In My Life)", "Love Is Coming" and a shortened version of "(Make Me Do) Anything You Want". The latter tune being re-issued as a single and climbing, this time, to Canada's Top-10.

Despite the revived success of the band, Daffodil was in financial trouble and AFIC only managed one more single, "Midnight Lady" b/w "All Around Us", in 1975 before Daffodil went bankrupt and the band were searching for a new label. It would be nearly a year of internal band turmoil (resulting in Bob Horne's departure in the summer of 1976) before A Foot In Coldwater would land back on deck again. Rush's Anthem label grabbed the new four-piece unit for the Paul Naumann produced 'Breaking Through' LP in 1977.

A single release of the title track did nothing as Anthem focused on its marquee act, Rush, and the band soon folded.

The band reunited in 1988 for a southern Ontario tour, featuring Taylor, Machin, Naumann, and Leggat. They took a break in the fall of that year but continued doing short tours thereafter with keyboardist Rick Lamb (ex-Hellfield) who unfortunately died of cancer in 2004; singer Alex Machin became the new lead vocalist for fellow classic rock act Moxy; the Leggat Brothers now play in a new act called The Mississippi Hippies.

Check out this exceptional album from 1974, "All Around Us", featuring the truncated remake of "Make Me Do (Anything You Want)". This is pure Canadian gold.

Jigsaw - Aurora Borealis (1973)

Several years before Des Dyer and company would become pop disco merchants, Jigsaw was fully entrenched in the psychedelic movement sweeping through the UK during the late 60's and early 70's. Though they were admittedly lightweight in their approach, their material was off-kilter and their stage antics were over-the-top. Between a string of classic psych singles, Jigsaw cranked out three albums worth of trippy goodness before launching fully into their bid for mainstream success. The last of the trio, "Aurora Borealis" barely qualifies as a genuinely psychedelic release, but remnants of their bizarre foray into the genre are still slightly evident here. Though their earliest material can be likened to the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, this album finds the band in the same headspace as the Idle Race.

I highly recommend checking this album out for a glimpse of a band who were still creating challenging music just before the brink of massive global success. You'll hardly recognize them! Keep an eye out for Jigsaw's bizarro debut, "Letherslade Farm", which will be featured here in the coming days...

Song - Album (1970)

This little known quartet's minor claim to fame is that the lineup included Mickey Rooney, Jr., son of the well-known actor. Produced by Curt Boettcher and released in 1970, "Album" features a sound reminiscent of Badfinger, though it is noticably shorter on hooks and creativity. Shortcomings aside, there are still plenty of hooks to be found here and one can only wonder how the band would have progressed had there been a followup album. Unfortunately, Song was over within a year of the album's release. I have no information about the remaining members of the band, but Rooney did later record and release a solo album which fizzled quickly. Rooney is now a born-again christian and works in various capacities on the production side of showbiz. Check out this rarity NOW...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Orang-Utan - Orang-Utan (1971)

There's not much back story on this fine british hard rock outfit, which is sad considering the talent and chops this formidable ensemble possessed. What is known is that this album was released without the band's knowledge in 1971. An associate of the band took the masters to Bell Records and convinced them to release the album before the band was even aware the album was given the green light to complete. Though this kind of shady behavior is generally frowned upon in the business, kudos are in order for the gesture. Obviously, someone could see the great potential of this band. Unfortunately, this act also precipitated the eventual split of the band shortly thereafter.

It is really a tragedy that we will never know how this fine group would have evolved on its own, but we are at the very least left with one hell of an impressive debut that remains to this day, a classic cult release. Dig in and explore the world of Orang-Utan...

Cain - Stinger (1977)

Infamous for their debut album's garish and tasteless cover art, Cain sprung from Minneapolis in the early 70's. Bearing a clunky and catchy hard rock sound, Cain flourished in the midwest for a few years before splitting in 1978. Their 2nd and final album, "Stinger", was released in 1977 and saw the band's sound refined considerably since their debut release a few years prior. Ultimately it was all for naught and within a year, the band split.

This album, despite its rather bland cover art, sees the band bringing its personal style to the fore. Though not as memorable as the fist, "Stinger" has plenty of goodness to offer. Still awaiting proper reissue, enjoy this quality vinyl rip in the meantime.

Fanny Adams - Fanny Adams (1970)

Fanny Adams were a short-lived Australian hard rock supergroup formed by vocalist Doug Parkinson and guitarist Vince Maloney (ex-Bee Gees) in the UK before they moved back to Australia. They were joined by bassist Teddy Toi and drummer Johnny Dick. In 1970 they recorded an excellent album, full of heavy progressive hard rock and blues that unfortunately didn't do too much for them. Just prior to the album's release, the band's equipment was destroyed in a fire at a venue where they were to perform. The label subsequently dropped them and the band split. Their self-titled debut was released posthumously.