Frank Zappa Song By Song Thread (1966-96)*

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Zoot Marimba, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Doubleplus Ungood

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    Fantastic track, great extended solo by George. What a lineup too - I'd definitely give this album a spin.
     
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  2. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Billy Cobham, Crosswinds:
    [​IMG]

    This is fusion drumming legend Billy Cobham’s second solo effort, released in 1974 on Atlantic. Produced by Cobham himself and Ken Scott (he off David Bowie, Stanley Clarke, and Beatles fame), the album’s lineup is rounded out by George on keyboards, John Abercrombie on guitars, Randy Brecker on trumpet, his brother Michael (who previously appeared on Zappa In New York) on winds, Garnett Brown on trombone, John Williams (not that one) on bass, and Lee Pastora on Latin percussion.
    Is it quite up to Spectrum? I don’t think so, but still a very worthy follow up featuring some beautiful drum work by Cobham (as always). George’s keyword work is just gorgeous. The band is just so spot on in general. Too bad there’s no track with Cobham, George, and Tommy Bolin. God, would that have ruled. A little fun fact for those who don’t know. In addition to working with George and Michael Brecker, Cobham is connected to a third Zappa figure, that being Art, as both were among the earliest to use open handed drumming. For Cobham, as well as Lenny White among others, this was used to make it easier to play more complex passages and have more flexibility. With Art (and possibly Ruth on those Hamilton Face albums), I’m guessing this was a byproduct of his background as an orchestral percussionist.
    Well, for those into fusion and drumming, this is a definite pick, in addition to Spectrum.
     
  3. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Maxayn, Bail Out For Fun!:
    [​IMG]


    Oh yeah, the third and final album by Maxayn, released in 1974 on Capricorn. Produced by Maxayn and Andre Lewis with help from Hank Redd and Emilio Thomas, the album’s lineup consists:
    • Maxayn Lewis on lead and backing vocals, piano, electric piano
    • Andre Lewis on organ, clavinet, bass, co-lead and backing vocals, Moog synthesizer, drums
    • Hank Reed on guitar, backing vocals, saxophone, organ
    • Emilio Thomas on percussion
    As with the first two, we have a slice of 70s funk, with some stabs at softer soul and pop (and pulled off well thanks to Maxayn’s vocals). It’s not on par with the first two, doesn’t seem quite as fresh or as invested as the preceding albums, the songs rather by the numbers despite the proficient musicianship here.
    Other than for completion’s sake, I don’t recommend this album, there was plenty like it in that time frame, and plenty that did it as well or better.
     
  4. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Roger McGuinn, Peace On You:
    [​IMG]

    Let’s meet up with a Byrd, shall we? This is Roger McGuinn’s first solo effort, released in September of 1974 on Columbia. Produced by Bill Halverson, the album features musical contributions from Mark and Howard, Al Kooper, Dan Fogelberg, vocalists Jorge Calderón, Brian Russell, Tim Coulter, Brenda Gordon, Brooks Hunnicutt, Paul Stallworth, William McLeish Smith, and Gwendolyn Edwards, guitarist Donnie Dacus (who some might know as Terry Kath’s initial replacement in Chicago), session bassist Leland Sklar, Wrecking Crew member Tommy Tedesco on flamenco guitar, steel guitarist Al Perkins, keyboardist Paul “Harry” Harris, and drummer Russ Kunkel.
    As a fan of the Byrds, this was a relatively satisfying effort filled with the vocal harmonies and like that you’d expect from one of them. The songs are good but not great, and are mainly saved by the performances. Mark and Howard compliment the material nicely, and the musicians give solid backing to McGuinn.
    Overall, I can recommend this to people already into the Byrds.
     
  5. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Dave Mason, Dave Mason:
    [​IMG]


    This is Dave Mason’s fifth studio album, released in October of 1974 on Columbia. Produced by Mason himself, the album ended up reaching #25 on the Billboard Pop Charts. The lineup consists of Mason on guitar and lead vocals, Mike Finnigan on keyboards and vocals, Jim Krueger on guitar and vocals, Bob Glaub on bass, Rick Jaeger on drums, Richard Bennett on pedal steel guitar, Tim Weisberg on flute, and the horn section of our very own Sal Marquez, Gary Barone, Jerry Jumonville, And Jock Ellis, with arrangements handled by Mason and Finnigan. Nick DeCaro is credited with string writing and arrangements.
    I know of Mason primarily through his association with Traffic as well as “We Just Disagree” (of course, I discovered that song through Anal C**t’s cover). This is actually the first full album of his I've heard, and I have to say, it’s really good. Mason’s production is top notch, the writing and arrangements are superbly crafted. Vocals are fantastic. This is in the vein of the California country rock sound that Poco, Eagles, and the like made popular, and it’s executed marvelously on this album. Such a beautiful sound, I’m such a sucker for this style, especially when it’s done well. Needless to say, it’s done well here. And since we’re here because of Sal, he and the horn section are used tastefully on here, always complimentary and never intrusive.
    For fans of this style or of Dave Mason, this comes highly recommended.
     
  6. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Herbie Mann, London Underground:
    [​IMG]

    Right here, we have jazz flutist Herbie Mann’s fifty-ninth album as bandleader, released in 1974 on Atlantic. Produced by Geoffrey Haslam, the album sees Mann playing with several British rock musicians of the time while covering then contemporary songs by British acts of the time. Backing Mann is our very own Aynsley Dunbar, who drums on all but tracks 2 and 6 (which feature Robbie McIntosh of Average White Band fame in one of his final recordings), Mick Taylor from the Stones on the first three tracks as well as 6 and 7, guitarist Albert Lee, Mann’s longtime keyboardist/arranger Pat Rebillot, bassist Fuzzy Samuels on all but track 5 (which features Al Gorry), jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli on track 5, ex-King Crimson saxophonist Ian MacDonald on the first track, and percussionist Armen Halburian on track 8.
    While not every track hits the mark ("Layla" sure doesn't beyond the coda), but for fans of early 70s rock or of jazz/rock mashups, it's a fun listen, certainly cool to hear how a jazz flutist might tackle the material
     
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  7. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Freddie Hubbard, High Energy:
    [​IMG]

    We now come to jazz great Freddie Hubbard and his 1974 effort High Energy on Columbia. Produced by Paul Rothschild of Doors/Janis Joplin/Paul Butterfield Blues Band fame, the album features our very own Ian Underwood on synthesizer, Junior Cook on flute and tenor saxophone, trombonists Dick “Slyde” Hyde and George Bohanon, guitarist Dean Parks, electric pianist George Cables, clavinet/organist Joe Sample, bassist Kent Brinkley, wind players Ernie Watts and Pete Christlieb, drummers Harvey Mason and Ralph Penland, and percussionists Victor Feldman, King Errison, and Carmelo Garcia, with Dale Oehler as arranger and conductor.
    Admittedly, this isn’t an album I know that well, and this seems like one of those albums that Ian was often on in the mid to late 70s-the jazz player trying to get with the times. And giving how s*itty Man Incognito was, I was dreading this one. To my pleasant surprise, it was a surprisingly decent listen. Somewhat commercial? Maybe, but the writing is solid, the performances inspired, and Hubbard shows some of his flair from early on. From what I’ve heard, that will not be the case with following albums, but this is one I can get behind.
     
  8. Rne

    Rne Sufferin' succotash!

    Location:
    Malaver
    Don't forget Billy's Inner Conflicts, with Ruth playing in one track (plus the Brecker brothers)
     
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  9. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Cup Full Of Dream:
    [​IMG]

    We meet up with Sugarcane yet again for Cup Full Of Dreams, released in 1974 on MPS. Produced by Sugarcane and Jerry Fox, The album’s lineup consists of drummer Paul Lagos, bassist Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, Sugarcane’s former partner Dewey Terry on electric piano and percussion, and guitarists Victor Conte, Randy Resnik, and Harvey “The Snake” Mandel (who’s credited as “Mystery Guest”).
    First off: man are Mole and Lagos so good on here. Their bedrock is just such a perfect platform for Sugarcane. What a shame that Mole is gone now. And Sugarcane, wonderful work as always. His playing so sweet and sublime on here, while retaining the passion that always made his performances so compelling. Plus, it’s cool having Dewey on electric piano, and he’s great on here.
    Another Sugarcane record, another gem worth looking into.
     
  10. Rne

    Rne Sufferin' succotash!

    Location:
    Malaver
    Were the Canned Heat albums mentioned already? (Henry Vestine connection)
     
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  11. CassetteDek

    CassetteDek I’m sorry, it won’t go any louder!

    Location:
    Chicago
    That album cover is cringeworthy on so many levels...
     
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  12. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    No. I didn’t cover them since Vestine was never on an album proper. Then again, a lot of the early demos feature him, so we can talk about them if you’d like.

    Likewise, the Cobham album with Ruth I didn’t plan on covering since Ruth plays a minor role, and Michael Brecker was never a full time member of Frank’s band to begin with.
     
  13. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Doubleplus Ungood

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    The Dave Mason cover isn't exactly a work of art either. Couldn't they at least close those damn venetian blinds?
     
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  14. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Time to update the list!
    1. Canned Heat, Canned Heat (Henry Vestine) [1967]
    2. Canned Heat, Boogie With Canned Heat (Vestine) [1968]
    3. Canned Heat, Living The Blues (Vestine) [1968]
    4. Canned Heat, Hallelujah (Vestine, Elliot Ingber) [1969]
    5. The Hamilton Face Band, Hamilton Face Band (Ruth Komanoff-Underwood) [1969]
    6. Canned Heat, Vintage (Vestine) [1970]
    7. Hamilton Face Band, Ain’t Got No Time (Ruth) [1970]
    8. John Mayall, USA Union (Sugarcane) [1970]
    9. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Sugarcane (Sugarcane) [1970]
    10. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Keep on Driving (Sugarcane) [1971]
    11. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Fiddler On The Rock (Sugarcane) [1971]
    12. Nolan Porter, No Apologies (Lowell George, Roy Estrada, Jimmy Carl Black) [1971]
    13. Bob Smith, The Visit (Don Preston) [1971]
    14. T. Rex, Electric Warrior (Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan) [1971]
    15. Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker, Hooker n Heat (Vestine) [1971]
    16. Canned Heat, Live At Topanga Corral (Vestine) [1971]
    17. Canned Heat, Historical Figures And Ancient Heads (Vestine) [1971]
    18. Maxayn, Maxayn (Andre Lewis) [1972]
    19. Nolan Porter, Nolan (George, Estrada, Black) [1972]
    20. Domenic Troiano, Domenic Troiano (Bunk Gardner, Buzz Gardner) [1972]
    21. Nicholas Greenwood, Cold Cuts (Bunk) [1972]
    22. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Sometime In New York City (Live Jam/tracks 3-6 featuring Frank, Mark and Howard, Ian, Don Preston, Bob Harris #1, Jim Pons, Dunbar) [1972]
    23. T. Rex, The Slider (Mark And Howard) [1972]
    24. Pure Food & Drug Act, Choice Cuts (Sugarcane) [1972]
    25. New Violin Summit (Sugarcane, Ponty) [1972]
    26. Roxy Music, Stranded (Jobson) [1973]
    27. Buddy Miles, Chapter VII (Lewis) [1973]
    28. Johnny “Guitar” Watson, Listen (Lewis) [1973]
    29. Maxayn, Mindful (Lewis) [1973]
    30. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Sugar Cane’s Got the Blues (Sugarcane) [1973]
    31. Canned Heat, The New Age (Vestine) [1973]
    32. Canned Heat, One More River to Cross (Vestine) [1973]
    33. Mick Ronson, Slaughter on 10th Avenue (Dunbar) [1974]
    34. Roxy Music, Country Life (Jobson) [1974]
    35. Howdy Moon, self titled album (Lowell George, Roy Estrada) [1974]
    36. Luis Gasca, Born to Love You [1974]
    37. Billy Cobham, Crosswinds (George Duke) [1974]
    38. Maxayn, Bail Out For Fun! (Lewis) [1974]
    39. Roger McGuinn, Peace on You (Mark And Howard) [1974]
    40. Dave Mason, Dave Mason (Sal Marquez) [1974]
    41. Herbie Mann, London Underground (Dunbar) [1974]
    42. Freddie Hubbard, High Energy (Ian Underwood) [1974]
    43. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Cup Full Of Dreams (Sugarcane) [1974]
    44. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, I’m On Your Case (Sugarcane) [1974]
    45. Junior Hanson, Magic Dragon (Lewis)
    46. Roxy Music, Siren (Jobson) [1975]
    47. Jean-Luc Ponty, Aurora (Ponty, Tom Fowler) [1975]
    48. Freddie Hubbard, Liquid Love (Ian) [1975]
    49. Billy Cobham, A Funky Thide Of Sings (Walt Fowler) [1975]
    50. Down And Dirty Duck Soundtrack (Preston, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan, Pons, Dunbar) [1975]
    51. Mick Ronson, Play, Don’t Worry (Dunbar) [1975]
    52. Nils Lofgren, self titled (Dunbar) [1975]
    53. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Keyzop (Sugarcane) [1975]
    54. Mallard, Mallard (Art Tripp) [1975]
    55. Journey, Look Into The Future (Dunbar) [1976]
    56. Jean-Luc Ponty, Aurora (Ponty, T. Fowler) [1976]
    57. Roxy Music, Viva! [1976]
    58. Spirit, Farther Along (Ian) [1976]
    59. Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage (Ponty, T.Fowler, Allan Zavod) [1976]
    60. Grand Funk, Good Singin, Good Playin (Produced by Zappa) [1976]
    61. Billy Cobham, Life & Times (Duke, Zavod) [1976]
    62. Air Pocket, Fly On (T. Fowler, Bruce Fowler, W. Fowler, Thompson) [1976]
    63. Stephen Stills, Illegal Stills (Mark And Howard) [1976]
    64. Ian Hunter, All American Space Boy (Dunbar) [1976]
    65. Flo and Eddie, Moving Targets (Mark, Howard, Ian) [1976]
    66. T. Rex, Futuristic Dragon (Mark and Howard) [1976]
    67. Nils Lofgren, Cry Tough (Dunbar) [1976]
    68. Carmen MacRae, Can’t Hide Love (Ian) [1976]
    69. Sammy Hagar, Nine On A Ten Scale (Dunbar) [1976]
    70. Alphonso Johnson, Moonshadow (Ian) [1976]
    71. Marathon Man Soundtrack (Ian) [1976]
    72. George Duke, Liberated Fantasies (Duke, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Ruth) [1976]
    73. Jean-Luc Ponty, Live in Hamburg (Ponty) [1976]
    74. Jean-Luc Ponty, Imaginary Voyage (Ponty, T. Fowler) [1976]
    75. Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Flashin’ Time (Sugarcane) [1976]
    76. Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band, Bat Chain Puller (Beefheart, Denny Walley) [1976]
    77. Seals & Croft, Sudan Village (Ralph Humphrey) [1976]
    78. Chunk, Ernie, & Novi, Chunk, Ernie, & Novi (Ian) [1977]
    79. George Duke, From Me to You (Duke, Glenn Ferris) [1977]
    80. Demon Seeds Soundtrack (Ian) [1977]
    81. Journey, Next (Dunbar) [1977]
    82. Jean-Luc Ponty, Enigmatic Ocean (Ponty, Zavod) [1977]
    83. Little Feat, Time Loves A Hero (Lowell) [1977]
    84. Genesis, Seconds Out (Thompson) [1977]
    85. Quincy, Jones, Roots (Ian) [1977]
    86. Mandré, Mandré (Lewis) [1977]
    87. Alphonso Johnson, Spellbound (Thompson) [1977]
    88. Journey, Infinity (Dunbar) [1978]
    89. U.K., self titled (Eddie Jobson) [1978]
    90. Lynda Carter*, Portrait (Humphrey) (*yes, the same one who played Wonder Woman) [1978]
    91. George Duke, Reach For It (Duke) [1978]
    92. George Duke, Don't Let Go (Duke) [1978]
    93. The Brecker Brothers, Heavy Metal Be-Bop (Bozzio) [1978]
    94. Jean-Luc Ponty, Cosmic Messenger (Ponty, Zavod) [1978]
    95. Billy Cobham, Inner Conflicts (Duke, Ruth Underwood) [1978]
    96. Steve Hackett, Please Don’t Touch (T.Fowler, Chester Thompson) [1978]
    97. David Bowie, Stage (Adrian Belew) [1978]
    98. Alice Cooper, From the Inside (Mark And Howard) [1978]
    99. Ambrosia, Somewhere I’ve Never Travelled (Ian, Ruth) [1978]
    100. Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela, Herb Alpert/Hugh Masekela (Ian) [1978]
    101. Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) (Beefheart, B.Fowler, Tripp) [1978]
    102. Lao Schifrin, Gypsy (Ian) [1978]
    103. Barbara Streisand, Songbird (Ian) [1978]
    104. Little Feat, Waiting For Columbus (Lowell) [1978]
    105. Mandré, Mandré Two (Lewis) [1978]
    106. Karen Alexander, Voyager (Humphrey) [1978]
    107. U.K., Danger Money (Jobson, Terry Bozzio) [1979]
    108. Jean-Luc Ponty, Live (Ponty, Zavod) [1979]
    109. David Bowie, Lodger (Belew) [1979]
    110. Big Sonny and the Lo Boys, In Heat (Black) [1979]
    111. Apocalypse Now Soundtrack (Preston) [1979]
    112. The Residents, Eskimo (Preston) [1979]
    113. Jefferson Starship, Freedom at Point Zero (Dunbar) [1979]
    114. Lowell George, Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here (Lowell) [1979]
    115. Peggy Lee, Close Enough For Love (Ian) [1979]
    116. Little Feat, Down On The Farm (Lowell) [1979]
    117. George Duke, Follow the Rainbow (Duke, Nappy) [1979]
    118. George Duke, Master Of The Game (Duke, Nappy) [1979]
    119. Tony Banks, A Curious Feeling (Thompson) [1979]
    120. Jean-Luc Ponty, A Taste for Passion (Ponty, Zavod) [1979]
    121. Freddie Hubbard, The Love Connection (Thompson) [1979]
    122. Lalo Schifrin, No One Home (Ian) [1979]
    123. The Warriors Soundtrack (Ian) [1979]
    124. Mandré, M3000 (Lewis) [1979]
    125. Ray Pizzi, The Love Letter (Humphrey) [1979]
    126. Leroy Hutson, Unforgettable (Thompson) [1979]
    127. David Pritchard, City Dreams (Thompson) [1979]
     
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  15. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    I initially debated rather or not to cover Canned Heat as Henry Vestine was never on a proper album. However, he was a full time member, could technically count as an original member of the Mothers (Of Invention), and is on Joe’s Corsage, I will indeed cover the Canned Heat records with Vestine. Starting with....
    Canned Heat, Canned Heat:
    [​IMG]

    We come to the self titled debut album of American blues band Canned Heat, released July 1, 1967 on Liberty. Produced by Cal Carter, the album came shortly after the band’s performance at Monterey and is largely made up of blues covers. This is also the only album to feature the lineup of Bob “The Bear” Hite on lead vocals, Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson on rhythm and slide guitars/harmonica/vocals (taking the lead on “Help Me”), our very own Henry “Sunflower” Vestine on lead guitar, Larry “The Mole” Taylor on bass, and Frank Cook on drums before Cook left to join Bluesberry Jam. In addition, we have pianist Ray Johnson, brother of Pras Johnson (the tenor sax soloist on “The Pink Panther Theme”).
    Man, if you’re talking pure blues, few of the rock bands did it as well or better than Canned Heat. Love the Stones, they’re my favorite band, but I think Canned Heat might do blues as well or even better. While the Stones naturally love the blues and the band was born out of Brian Jones’ love for the blues, they also tended to mix it in with rhythm & blues, pop, rock, and eventually country among other styles into the mix. Not complaining, it resulted in timeless music, and of course Tom Wilson signed the Mothers hoping for the next Rolling Stones-needless to say, his first impression of them wasn’t entirely accurate. But man, Canned Heat is so pure in its blues, with little regard for massive chart success. Bear could growl the blues like nobody’s business, I put him right there with Beefheart and Gregg Allman as far as white blues singers go. Henry and Blind Owl, their guitars so perfectly raunchy and biting as you want your blues to be. And Mole and Frank Cook; while I love Fito, Frank Cook cooks on this record, and he and Mole are so locked in beautifully. Can definitely see why Hooker would want to make a record with these guys. This isn’t a band playing blues because the Stones got big, this is purely from the heart. Shame they get overlooked because they were a fantastic band. Also a shame that from this record alone, only Frank Cook is still with us, along with Fito and Snake. May Bear, Blind Owl, Sunflower, and Mole all Rest In Peace.
    I love this record and I’m excited to talk about Canned Heat, because they were an awesome band who should be spoken of more.
     
  16. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Boogie With Canned Heat:
    [​IMG]

    Here is Canned Heat’s sophomore effort, released January 22, 1968 on Liberty. Produced by Skip Taylor and Dallas Smith, this marks the first album with Aldofo “Fito” de la Parra on drums, thus cementing Canned Heat’s classic lineup. Compared to the first album, this sees a greater focus on original material. It’s also known for containing the group’s hit “On The Road Again”, sung by slide guitarist/harp player Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson and written by Wilson and blues player Floyd Jones.
    There’s definitely a bit more of a psychedelic character to this material, while still retaining the raw blues of the first album. The Bear remains a fantastic blues singer, and the band as a whole takes a step forward artistically, with a knack for not only performing the blues, but writing blues as well. And they write blues pretty darn good.
    I can give this album a solid recommendation overall, it’s a very solid record.
     
  17. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Living The Blues:
    [​IMG]

    Another post, another Canned Heat album, this is their third studio album Living The Blues, released November 1, 1968 on Liberty. Produced by Skip Taylor, this is a double album best known for containing the group’s signature song “Going Up The Country”, once again sung by Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson. Aiding the band is Dr John once again, John Mayall on piano, guitarist John Fahey, Joe Sample playing piano on “Walking By Myself” (also where Miles Grayson handles horn arrangements), and Jim Horn performing flute on “Going Up The Country”.
    First off, the studio half is great. Fantastic blues cuts in not only the covers but also in Bear and Owl’s writing efforts. And the suite that concludes the studio album is really cool, showing the band stretching out some ad well as demonstrating their musical chops. And “Going Up The Country”, I do love it, it’s a really cool kind of surf/folk track, and a natural choice for a single.
    As far as “Refried Boogie”, it’s an acquired taste. How tolerant you are of jams will determine your enjoyment of it, and even I have to be in the right mood for it. That said, it’s a great little groove with wonderful instrumental work by all involved.
    I can definitely recommend this album, it’s a great slice of electric blues rock and possibly their best album, certainly up there and certainly the best up to this point.
     
  18. Fastnbulbous

    Fastnbulbous Doubleplus Ungood

    Location:
    Washington DC USA
    I will confess my knowledge of Canned Heat begins and ends with "Going Up the Country," which struck me as the most incompetent and downright lame attempt at blues ever recorded. But maybe this was a case of the record company demanding that the most radio-friendly and "accessible" track be released as a single, even though it's not representative of the band's output. Wouldn't be the first or last time that's happened. With that in mind, and given Zoot's tireless efforts with this thread, I feel I owe it to him to give Canned Heat another chance. I'll report back with my findings...
     
  19. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Hallelujah:
    [​IMG]

    We now get to Hallelujah, released July 8, 1969 on Liberty. This marks the last album with the classic album before Vestine’s (first) departure and being replaced by Harvey “The Snake” Mandel. And besides Vestine, we have his Mothers replacement Elliot Ingber contributing backing vocals to “Same All Over” and “Down In The Gutter, But Free” (Ingber was also in a surf group called The Gamblers with Mole and Bruce Johnston from The Beach Boys). We also have blues pianist Ernest Lane on “Same All Over”, pianist/organist Mark Naftalin on “I’m Her Man” and “Down In The Gutter”, Skip Diamond performing backing vocals on the same tracks as Elliot, Javier Batiz on “Same All Over”, and Mike Pacheco performing congas and bongos on “Huautla”.
    This was their first studio album that I actually owned a physical copy of (got the vinyl while visiting my sister). In hindsight, it’s not up to par with the first three albums. This was their first album after “Going Up The Country”, so I can’t help but wonder if they were second guessing themselves as a result. First two or three albums, they’re just doing their thing and playing the music they grew up loving. They might not have reinvented the wheel, but they played the blues and played it well. All of a sudden, they had a hit that wasn’t like their usual stuff, and it kind of feels like they were softening their sound somewhat to try and repeat the success of “Going Up The Country”.
    In fairness, this album is not really bad, and there are some highlights to be found such as “Sic Em Pigs”, “Big Fat”, and the closing track is a killer jam.
    I can recommend it to people already into Canned Heat, but the first three albums (or a couple that came after) would be better starting places.
     
  20. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Vintage:
    [​IMG]

    This is Canned Heat’s sixth studio album, released in 1970 on Janus. Produced by Johnny Otis, this album consists of demo recordings by Canned Heat recorded in 1966 and features the lineup of Bob “The Bear” Hite, Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, Henry “Sunflower” Vestine, Frank Cook, and Larry “The Mole” Taylor’s predecesor Stuart Brotman on bass.
    Going into the record, the band shows themselves to be very talented blues players with some level of promise. Certainly Owl shows himself to be a killer harmonica and slide player, and Bear, Vestine, and Frank Cook are very strong as well. For me, the weak link is Brotman. He’s not a bad bassist, but he’s no Mole.
    It’s a cool record and worth checking out if you’re a Canned Heat fan. That said, casual fans probably won’t have as much use for it.
     
  21. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat and John Lee Hooker, Hooker n Heat:
    [​IMG]

    Let’s team up with John Lee Hooker, shall we? Released January 15, 1971 on Liberty/Elektra, the album is produced by Canned Heat vocalist Bob “The Bear” Hite and Skip Taylor. Hooker plays all of Side One as well as “Alimonia Blues” unaccompanied, while Canned Heat slide guitarist/harmonicist Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson backs Hooker on the remainder of Side Two as well as “The World Today" and "I Got My Eyes on You". The rest of the album features the entirety of Canned Heat, which at that time consisted of Wilson, Henry Vestine, Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, and bassist Antonio de la Barreda. The album would become Hooker’s first to chart, reaching #85 on Billboard. Of course, on a sadder note, this was the last with Wilson, who died of a drug overdose in September of 1970. As a tribute, his portrait appears on the album cover (which also has Skip Taylor filling in for Vestine).
    Hearing this album is bittersweet, knowing how much it would have meant to Owl to get Hooker on the charts while still being Hooker. To spend so long hoping to honor your hero and finally getting a chance to help them get the recognition they are so deserving of and yet so rarely receive. And he wasn’t old either, he was 27, so he had so much ahead of him. Owl means a lot to me, and I know he would want me to focus on the music and on Hooker, so for him, I will proceed to do just that.
    Hooker is so amazing, isn’t he? Or was, as he’s not here anymore. The blues doesn’t get much better, and I love how the band slowly works their way in, just letting Hooker take the spotlight. Even when they do appear, they always bow in honor of a true titan. It’s pretty awesome that Bear was willing to pull himself out, really shows how humbled he was by Hooker’s presence. And I love that Owl got to be the first one to play with Hooker and the most with Hooker, as it was his and Bear’s love for the blues that made this possible. I love Mandel, Vestine, Fito, Mole, and Frank, but to me, Bear and Owl were the heart and soul of this band, and they as well as Vestine and Mole are greatly missed.
    I absolutely love this album, probably my favorite Canned Heat or at least within my Top 3, and I highly recommend this record.
     
    Jazzmonkie likes this.
  22. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Live At Topanga Correl:
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    Now to crank some live Heat, this is Live At Topanga Correl, released in 1971 on Wand. Produced by manager Skip Taylor, the album is derived from a 1969 performance at The Kaleidoscope in Hollywood (not Topanga Correl as the title suggests). Liberty did not want a live album at the time, so Taylor told them the album was recorded in 1966/67 at Topanga Corral, eventually ending up on Wand. The lineup on here is the classic lineup, that being vocalist Bob “The Bear” Hite, slide guitarist/harmonicist/vocalist Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, lead guitarist Henry “Sunflower” Vestine*, bassist Larry “The Mole” Taylor, and drummer Aldofo “Fito” de la Parra. Over the years, this has been bootlegged and reissued many times, sometimes under the name Live At the Kaleidoscope.
    For Canned Heat fans, this is a real treasure showing how raw and powerful Canned Heat could be as a live band. Fito and Mole are super tight, yet looser than a groupie (WE ARE NOT GROUPIES!) Okay, female friends of musicians. Owl sizzles on the harp and slide, Vestine holds his own on lead, and Bear really growls those blues. Very fun live album and essential for any fan of Canned Heat, the blues, or 60s rock.
     
    Jazzmonkie likes this.
  23. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, Historical Figures And Ancient Heads:

    Back in the studio with Canned Heat. This is Historical Figures And Ancient Heads, released December 14, 1971 on United Artists. Produced by Skip Taylor and Jim Taylor, this marked the first album without any contributions from Blind Owl. In his place is guitarist/vocalist Joel Scott Hill. He and bassist Antonio de la Barreda would both depart following the album and tour. In addition to Canned Heat (Bear, Vestine*, Fito, Hill, de la Barreda), the album also features Little Richard performing piano/vocals on “Rockin’ With the King”, saxophonist Clifford Solomon on the aforementioned track, pianist Ernest Lane on “Sneakin Around”, organist Kevin Burton and jazz flutist Charles Lloyd on “I Don’t Carr What You Tell Me”, and pianist Ray Bushbaum and ex member Harvey Mandel on “That’s All Right”.
    Of course Owl and Mole are much missed, but in fairness, Hill and de la Barreda are more than adequate replacements. While the blues remains present, there’s also a strong rock and roll feel throughout the album, and it honestly does give a nice change of pace to the Canned Heat formula. Plus, Little Richard. Can’t complain about Little Richard, cause he Little Richard. The material isn’t as strong as previous albums, but the record has its moments such as the aforementioned Little Richard collaboration, “Sneakin Around”, “I Don’t Carr What You Tell Me”.
    It’s a fun if inessential record, worth at least a spin or two.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2020
  24. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, The New Age:
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    Another review, another Canned Heat album. This was released March 9, 1973 on United Artists and was produced by Skip Taylor. This marks the introduction of guitarist/vocalist/dobro player James Shane, Bear’s brother Richard on bass, and keyboardist Ed Beyer. This wound up being the last album that the band made for Liberty/United Artist, as they would eventually make the jump to Atlantic, as well as the lady with manager Skip Taylor, who also convinced the band to sign away royalties to their previous material (oops).
    The album, like the previous, has its moments with cuts like Shane’s “Harley Davidson Blues” and “Lookin For My Rainbow”, Bear’s “Keep It Clean”, and Beyer’s “You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide”. There’s also a fair amount of filler, and this album really feels like treading water.
    Despite its bright spots, this is overall for completists only.
     
  25. Zoot Marimba

    Zoot Marimba And I’m The Critic Of The Group Thread Starter

    Canned Heat, One More River to Cross:
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    And now the last Canned Heat album for us to cover (at least for the seventies), we have One More River To Cross, released in 1973 on Atlantic. Produced by Barry Beckett and Roger Hawkins, the album marked the band’s first on the label. In addition to the main band (once again consisting of Bear, Vestine, Fito, Shane, Richard Hite, and Beyer), we have Beckett playing keyboards, Hawkins playing drums, and the Muscle Schoal Horns.
    The band show themselves capable players as usual, but the band is running on fumes creatively. Writing/arrangement wise, much of the material is completely forgettable, and the band, while well oiled, lack any of the spark that the classic band had. Even with three classic era members, this still feels like one or two with a bunch of hired guns, competent, serviceable, but the heart just isn’t there. In fairness, there are some bright spots such as “I Need Someone” and “Highway 401”.
    Overall, this is a largely disposable effort for completists only.
     

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