Universal Soldier 45 by Donovan

March 31, 2011

Before Donovan became a full fledged star during the mid to late 1960’s, he released a series of gentle folk singles for the Hickory label. “Catch The Wind,” “Colours,” and “Universal Soldier” all received some chart action in The United States.

The third of the three singles, “Universal Soldier,” was written by folk icon Buffy Sainte Marie and was released September 25, 1965. It would reach number 53 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

While I have never like the abrupt ending, the song is a biting anti-war song that has been covered by numerous artists down through the years. Donovan was wise to present it in a stripped down version.

While not as well know as many of his hits, it remains one of his finer performances.

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The Wind Cries Mary 45 by Jimi Hendrix

March 30, 2011

“The Wind Cries Mary” was the third single issued by Jimi Hendrix in The United States. It was issued May 5, 1967, and failed to chart.

It was one of my favorite tracks from his legendary ARE YOU EXPERIENCED album.

It may not have received any chart action as a single, but ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE ranked it as one of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time. Fair Enough!



No Help Coming by Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs

March 29, 2011

Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs are about to release their fourth album, although Holly herself has been a part of close to 15 albums both as a solo artist and as a part of various groups, during her 20-year career. She received her moniker from her mother, who named her after a character in the film, Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Her real name is Holly Smith, which I have to admit dies not sound as good. Just for the record, she is not connected to the comic book artist of the same name.

Holly and The Brokeoffs are actually a duo. She is joined by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist/songwriter Lawyer Dave. Together they form one of the more eclectic groups or duos on the music scene today.

Their music is basically a garage sound that contains elements of country, pop, rock and even a little rhythm & blues. It is catchy and entrancing in an odd sort of way. The lyrics are often witty while the music is melodic. Holly’s vocal style is an acquired taste. Lawyer Dave, who provides the lead vocal on several of the tracks, is more mainstream in approach. Together they co-wrote nine of the 12 tracks. My only criticism of the release is I would have appreciated some liner notes telling fans about the band and their music.

The uptempo material seems a better fit than the ballads and the album’s lead track is a perfect example of that fact. “No Help Coming” has a chuga-chuga beat with sparse production that fits the duo’s sound well. The second track, “The Rest Of Your Life,” is an odd song. If you are familiar with the ’60s girls group, The Shangri-Las, just imagine them singing while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs.

The old rhythm & blues song, “Here Lies My Love,” is given an ominous feel that is straight out of the American blues. Lawyer Dave’s vocal on “You’re Under Arrest” is strong and pleasurable.

The album’s best track is the old Bill Anderson country song, “Lord Knows We’re Drinking,” and fits their style well. The lyrics are tongue-in-cheek, and their dual vocals are an excellent fit. They maintain the song’s basics but modernize it in a good way.

The album’s final track is a cover of Wavy Gravy’s “L.S.D. (Rock and Roll Prison),” which brings the affair to a fitting close.

No Help Coming is a nice introduction to the quirky nature of Holly Golightly and The Brokeoffs. If you are in the mood for something different and are willing to take a chance, this is an album for you.

Read more: http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-holly-golightly-and-the1/#ixzz1I0P48ttx


I Know A Place 45 by Petula Clark

March 28, 2011

Petula Clark was in her early 30’s before she had her first hit in the United States. “Downtown” would top the American singles charts for two weeks weeks during early 1965.

If at first you succeed, then go to the well again. She released “I Know A Place” on March 20, 1965, and it would reach number three. It was the same type of up-tempo pop as “Downtown.” It had a catchy melody and the song stayed with you. It was perfect for AM radio in the United States at the time.

“I know A Place” would cementt her status as a female superdstar of the 1960’s. She would have 19 chart hits before the decade ended.

Her sixties material, including “I Know A Place,” remains an enjoyable listening experience nearly 50 years later.


One Way Out by The Allman Brothers

March 28, 2011

One Way Out is a two disc live album released by The Allman Brothers on March 23, 2004. It was recorded during a two night stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, March 25-26, 2003. It is the first live album to feature current guitarists Derek Truck and Warren Haynes together. It is also the last Allman Brothers album to date.

The album is a chronicle of the band’s career as both old and new material is included. The songs are both tight and loose extended jams, with five of the tracks clocking in at over tem minutes and two more falling just short of that mark.

While Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes will always be compared to Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, they need to be evaluated on their own terms. When that happens, they emerge as one of the finer guitar combinations working together today. I also like the fact that Trucks’ guitar comes out of the left speaker and Haynes’ from the right.

The four man rhythm section of drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, percussionist Marc Quinones, and bassist Oteil Burbridge are one of the best in the business. When you add in Trucks, Haynes, and keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Allman, you have a solid unit of seven excellent musicians.

The Allman Brothers, whether their classic Duane Allman lineup or their 21st century aggregation, have always been more adept live than in the studio.

I have always been attracted to their longer pieces, especially in a live setting, as it gives the band a chance to stretch out and be spontaneous. The album’s longest track is the 16 minute plus “Instrumental Illness.” While I thought the studio version was okay, this live presentation is classic Allman Brothers at their best. Haynes and Trucks trade solos and everything is connected by a five minute drum solo. Their 15 minute version of “Whipping Post” may not be the equal of its storied past, but it is a very good modernization of this classic song. Gregg Allman steps forward on 13 minute “Desdemona.”

The shorter tracks are tighter and more structured, but are also very good. “Statesboro Blues,” “Midnight Rider,” “Come and Go Blues,” “Trouble No More,” and “High Coast Of Low Living” are all given nice work-outs. They also give a gritty performance on the classic blues tune, “Good Morning Little School Girl.”

The Allman Brothers are one of the great survival stories in rock history, as they have overcome death, addictions, and personnel changes. Their current group may not have the finesse as that of their classic predecessors, but they are probably more powerful. It’s been seven years since their last release, so it’s about time for another.

Alum as first published by me on http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-the-allman-brothers-one/page-2/#ixzz1HxMZGSEX


Hittin’ The Note by The Allman Brothers

March 28, 2011

The Allman Brothers released Hittin’ The Note, March 18, 2003. It was their first studio album in nearly nine years and a lot had changed for the band. Guitarist Warren Haynes and bassist Allen Woody had left to form Gov’t Mule. They were replaced by bassist Otiel Burbridge and guitarist Derek Trucks. Next, Dickey Betts was fired from the band he helped to form. Allen Woody passed away and Haynes decided to rejoin the band. Finally they added conga player Marc Quinones as a third percussionist. If your keeping track, The Allman Brothers now consisted of Haynes, Trucks, Burbridge, Quinones plus original members, keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Allman and drummers Jai Johnny Johanson and Butch Trucks.

Allman and Haynes were now the dominant members of the band and they formed a surprisingly adept songwriting combination and here they co-wrote five of the eleven tracks. Allman’s voice is in fine form and his keyboards are more front and center than in the past. Haynes co-wrote an additional 3 tracks with other partners for a total of eight, plus acted as co-producer for the release.

Trucks and Haynes now occupied the twin guitarist’s role and they brought the band into the 21st century. How they are compared to the classic combination of Betts and Duane Allman is up to the listener, but I tend to take them on their own terms, and their quality is very high. All four guitarists made the Rolling Stone Magazine list of the Greatest Guitarists of all Time. While I miss Betts and his country leanings, Trucks brought a bluesy sound to the band which was a nice change.

One of the positive attributes was the album was basically recorded live in the studio. There were a few overdubs after the fact, but what they played is basically what you get.

There is a lot to like about this album. “Firing Line,” “Maydell,” and “High Cost Of Living” are all very good rock/blues pieces. “Desdemona” at over nine minutes, gives both Trucks and Haynes a chance to provide solos.

“Instrumental Illness” was a Haynes/Burbridge instrumental composition, which will always be compared to the Betts catalogue of instrumentals. It was more solo oriented and not as melodic as the Betts material, but did receive two Grammy nominations. At over 12 minutes, both Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes string together a series of solos that are both creative and memorable.

Hittin’ The Note is a fine modern day Allman Brothers album. The songs are well written, the band tight, and the musicianship is exemplary. It remains an excellent listening experience and a treat for fans of the band

Article first published as Music Review: The Allman Brothers – Hittin’ The Note on Blogcritics.