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Category Archives: 1960s


Was it really just little more than a week? Felt longer.

Ok, so the treatment of The Mamas & the Papas masters and their catalogue over the past decades seems pretty abysmal. Until Sundazed I don’t think anybody was doing anything decent with this material in the CD era and beyond aside from lame comps.

Steve Hoffman tried his hand at remastering some of the singles for a compilation, and while he got it extraordinarily clean sounding, he turned once mono radio singles into hard-panned severe stereo mixes. That move perplexed me and renders the songs pretty unlistenable to boot. I dunno, it’s out there if you want to compare. All the other CDs I’ve heard have similarly abysmal stereo mixes. Yes, I love their voices and harmonies, but I don’t really appreciate the great stomping beat of “Creeque Alley” relegated to somewhere far off in my right ear.

Anyway, by the time Sundazed got their hands on the masters, they were deteriorated to the point where… well, you can hear it for yourself on their reissues. I don’t knock them for it, they did the best they could. There’s some Byrds stuff they put out that suffered a similar fate.

SO, the conclusion I have come to is that there is really no satisfying reissue of The Mamas & the Papas’ albums. You’re stuck with original Dunhill vinyls from the 1960s to hear how this stuff was meant to sound. So that’s what the three M&P albums here are ripped from. I’m totally up for suggestions of what OOP releases sound better… the MCA discs from the 1980s?

Oh, for the record my favorite single LP by them is DELIVER, if you wanted a starting point.

I’m throwing in the excellent Cass Elliot comp for good measure, because I’m obsessed with her lately. “California Earthquake” is one of the best songs ever written. Her cover of The Beach Boys’ “Disney Girls” is pretty stellar also.

Hey, you know that band Tool? How they’re so “edgy” for writing that post-apocalyptic misanthropic nightmare song about how Los Angeles will be swallowed by the ocean? Yeah, Mama Cass wrote that shit in 1968 and shoved it down Middle America’s throat on The Fucking Smothers Brothers. Take your ball and go home, Tool.

DOWNLOAD:
The Mamas & the Papas-IF YOU CAN BELIEVE YOUR EYES AND EARS (1966)
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The Mamas & the Papas-THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS (1966)
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The Mamas & the Papas-DELIVER (1967)
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Cass Elliot-DREAM A LITTLE DREAM (1997 compilation)
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Re-up, better bitrate of this indispensable box set. If you don’t have this, what’s your problem? I actually like the closet mix more than the regular mix of the third album. I know, what’s my problem? -Ian!

Does this five-CD box set feature an abundance of essential material? Certainly. It has all four of the studio albums released by the Lou Reed-led lineup, and a wealth of previously unreleased goodies. Is it an essential purchase? That depends on your level of fanaticism. Most serious Velvet fans have all four of the core studio albums already (although the third, self-titled LP is presented in its muffled, so-called “closet” mix), and will be most interested in the previously unavailable recordings, which do hold considerable fascination. The entire first disc is devoted to a drummer-less 1965 rehearsal tape in John Cale’s loft, with radically different, almost folky run-throughs of most of the important songs from their classic debut, as well as a song that only made it onto Nico’s first LP (“Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams”), and one which makes its first appearance anywhere (the Dylanesque “Prominent Men”). Other big bonuses include no less than seven outtakes from Loaded and other songs re-done by Reed on his early solo albums. And there are sundry other unreleased live and studio items, highlighted by a scorching live 1967 “Guess I’m Falling in Love” and the 1969 demo “Countess From Hong Kong.” There are also highlights from VU and Another View, longer versions of Loaded’s “Sweet Jane” and “New Age,” and an 80-page booklet. The thing is, though, that virtually everyone who’s interested in this material has already bought the four studio albums, sometimes several times over. A separate release of the two discs or so of truly new material would have been welcomed by the many fans who aren’t interested in paying for a five-CD box of stuff when they already have well over half of it.

by Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com

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The Velvet Underground-PEEL SLOWLY & SEE (1995 compilation)
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The S/T is a rip of the first pressing MONO vinyl, WOW is from a reissue with bonus tracks on CD. I didn’t skip GRAPE JAM out of laziness, it’s just particularly not very good. Meandering jams, they couldn’t even give it away at the time. They even tried discounting it heavily if you bought a copy of WOW and nobody really cared. -Ian!

Moby Grape’s career was a long, sad series of minor disasters, in which nearly anything that could have gone wrong did (poor handling by their record company, a variety of legal problems, a truly regrettable deal with their manager, creative and personal differences among the bandmembers, and the tragic breakdown of guitarist and songwriter Skip Spence), but their self-titled debut album was their one moment of unqualified triumph. Moby Grape is one of the finest (perhaps the finest) album to come out of the San Francisco psychedelic scene, brimming with great songs and fresh ideas while blessedly avoiding the pitfalls that pockmarked the work of their contemporaries — no long, unfocused jams, no self-indulgent philosophy, and no attempts to sonically re-create the sound of an acid trip. Instead, Moby Grape built their sound around the brilliantly interwoven guitar work of Jerry Miller, Peter Lewis, and Skip Spence, and the clear, bright harmonies of all five members (drummer Don Stevenson and bassist Bob Mosely sang just as well as they held down the backbeat). As songwriters, Moby Grape blended straight-ahead rock & roll, smart pop, blues, country, and folk accents into a flavorful brew that was all their own, with a clever melodic sense that reflected the lysergic energy surrounding them without drowning in it. And producer David Rubinson got it all on tape in a manner that captured the band’s infectious energy and soaring melodies with uncluttered clarity, while subtly exploring the possibilities of the stereo mixing process. “Omaha,” “Fall on You,” “Hey Grandma,” and “8:05” sound like obvious hits (and might have been if Columbia hadn’t released them as singles all at once), but the truth is there isn’t a dud track to be found here, and time has been extremely kind to this record. Moby Grape is as refreshing today as it was upon first release, and if fate prevented the group from making a follow-up that was as consistently strong, for one brief shining moment Moby Grape proved to the world they were one of America’s great bands. While history remembers the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane as being more important, the truth is neither group ever made an album quite this good.

Between the time that Moby Grape released their brilliant self-titled debut and when their second album Wow appeared in 1968, a little thing called Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band happened, and for the next few years it was no longer enough for a band with some claim to importance to just play rock & roll, even if they approached it with the freshness and imagination Moby Grape displayed on their first LP. Bowing to the pervading influences of the day, Wow is a far more ambitious album than Moby Grape, trading in the latter’s energetic simplicity for an expansive production complete with strings, horns, and lots of willful eccentricity, best typified by the helium-treated vocals on the hillbilly pastiche “Funky Tunk” and “Just Like Gene Autry: A Foxtrot,” a woozy ’60s dance band number complete with introduction from Arthur Godfrey (the band went so far as to master the tune at 78 rpm on the original vinyl edition). While at first glance Wow pales in comparison to the instant classic Moby Grape, repeated listening reveals this album has plenty of strengths despite the excess gingerbread; the horn-driven boogie of “Can’t Be So Bad” swings hard, “Murder in My Heart for the Judge” is a tough and funky blues number, “He,” “Rose Colored Eyes,” and “Bitter Wind” are lovely folk-rock tunes with shimmering harmonies (even if the latter is marred by a pretentious noise collage at the close), and “Motorcycle Irene” is a witty tribute to a hard-livin’ biker mama. Wow lacks the rev-it-up spirit of Moby Grape’s masterpiece, but Peter Lewis, Jerry Miller, and Skip Spence’s guitar work is just as impressive and richly layered, and the group’s harmonies and songwriting chops are still in solid shape. While the unobtrusive production on Moby Grape showcased the group’s many virtues, those attributes are visible on Wow despite the layers of studio excess, which sapped the momentum and charm of this band without snuffing them out altogether.

-Mark Deming, allmusic.com

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MOBY GRAPE (1967)
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WOW (1968)
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Rip of an first pressing MONO vinyl from Buddha Records. -Ian!

Beefheart’s first proper studio album is a much more accessible, pop-inflected brand of blues-rock than the efforts that followed in the late ’60s — which isn’t to say that it’s exactly normal and straightforward. Featuring Ry Cooder on guitar, this is blues-rock gone slightly askew, with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals from Van Vliet, and more doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk-rock influences than he would employ on his more avant-garde outings. “Zig Zag Wanderer,” “Call on Me,” and “Yellow Brick Road” are some of his most enduring and riff-driven songs, although there’s plenty of weirdness on tracks like “Electricity” and “Abba Zaba.”

-Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com

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Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band-SAFE AS MILK (1967)
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This is one of those “big deal” discoveries for me. Big thank you to Bananafish and the blog LIKE A TIME MACHINE POWERED BY BICYCLES for this stunning find! I didn’t know that one of my favorite films of all time even had a score! -Ian!

This LP was presumably rushed out to capitalize on the surprising critical success of Faces, though I’ve never come across a single mention of it in any Cassavetes bio. As the title says, the album (produced by Miles Davis’ producer/collaborator Teo Macero) is comprised of “music from the soundtrack, plus music inspired by the film;” what this means is that only a few tracks were actually featured in the film (Love Is All You Really Want, Love Has Conquered Man, and Charlie Smalls’ stark and soulful Never Felt Like This Before), while the rest are either extrapolations of musical themes from the minimal score (i.e. two additional renditions of Love Is All You Really Want), or are pieces with loose thematic or practical ties to scenes in the film (I Dream of Jeannie, Deck The Halls[?]).

It’s impossible to say who’s “inspiration” was responsible for this collection, as three of the four people who would presumably know — Macero, Smalls (a composer and songwriter later known for writing the music for the 1975 Broadway musical The Wiz), and Cassavetes himself — are no longer with us (anyone have a phone number for Jack Ackerman?). Personally, I’m just glad that an officially-produced soundtrack to any Cassavetes film exists; the only other one I know of is Bill Conti’s Gloria score, issued in a limited edition by Varese Sarabane’s limited-edition and now out of print. Now, if only someone would put together a nice collection of Bo Harwood’s music for John’s other films (hint hint)…

http://likeatimemachinepoweredbybicycles.blogspot.com

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Various Artists-MUSIC FROM AND INSPIRED BY JOHN CASSAVETES’ “FACES” (1966)
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Has some overlap with YOU GOT MY MIND MESSED UP, but to me the only guy that ties with Carr as the greatest soul vocalist of all time is O.V. Wright. -Ian!

All 28 songs from Carr’s 1964-1970 Goldwax singles are here, which is enough to make it a fair bid for a good best-of compilation, although it doesn’t have everything he recorded. About half of the songs on this British import are not on the most well-known American CD compilation of Carr’s work, The Essential James Carr, and those tracks are consistent with the level of his other Goldwax recordings, although they don’t include anything on the level of “The Dark End of the Street” or “Pouring Water on a Drowning Man.” This disc is particularly valuable for filling in some of his earliest 1964-1966 sides, which have a very slightly poppier and more up-tempo bent than his most esteemed songs. “That’s What I Want to Know”‘s groove is pretty Motown-ish, for instance, while “I Can’t Make It” and “Only Fools Run Away” have Marvelettes-like chirping in the background. The 1970 funk update of “Row, Row Your Boat” isn’t much to cheer about, though. There are plenty who will argue the point, but this doesn’t quite live up to Carr’s billing as the greatest ’60s deep soul singer; Otis Redding (who Carr resembles in some respects) was better, and others had better and more imaginative material. It’s good, certainly, and recommended to fans of artists like Redding who are looking for similar stuff that doesn’t get played on the radio anymore.

-Richie Unterberger, allmusic.com

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James Carr-THE COMPLETE GOLDWAX SINGLES (2001 compilation)
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Given the late Fred Neil’s near mythic reputation as a songwriter, singer, environmentalist, and recluse, the reissue of his 1965 album Bleecker & MacDougal is of historic importance. But rather than being an artifact of the man who wrote “Everybody’s Talkin’,” “Other Side to This Life” (which appears here), and “Dolphins,” this album is made of the material that gave Neil his enigmatic presence. This is a highly evocative and emotionally charged set of material, nearly all of which Neil composed. The lineup on the album was similar to his previous outing with Vince Martin, and featured John Sebastian on harmonica, Felix Pappalardi on bass, and guitarist Pete Childs (who also played dobro and electric on the date — the latter was heresy for a folk record), with Neil playing 12-string. The pace of the set is devastating, from the greasy blues of the title track to the strolling darkness of “Blues on the Ceiling,” the jug band stomp of “Sweet Mama,” and the balladic heraldry of “Little Bit of Rain,” a dynamic Tim Buckley would bring his own magic to as he emulated it a few years later. In addition, there’s the tough Chicago blues meets California swagger of “Country Boy,” which Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield would perfect two scant years later. “Other Side to This Life” is its own elegiac painting in sound, with glistening dirge-like textures caressed by Neil’s baritone. The tough, battered “Travelin’ Shoes” is an early example of folk-rock with a big accent on the word “rock.” Yet, on the album’s lone cover, a gorgeously wrought and multi-textured rendition of “The Water Is Wide,” Neil added spare, haunting jazz overtones to the arrangements, transcending the folk coffeehouse prison the song had been encased in for a decade. In fact, if one listens to Bryter Layter by Nick Drake, it would be easy to hear the connection. The album closes with the winding dobro that sparks “Gone Again,” underlining the album’s feeling of rambling transience and willful acceptance of both the graces and hardships life offers. In 13 songs, Neil transformed the folk genre into something wholly other yet not unfamiliar to itself, and helped pave the way for an entire generation of singer/songwriters who cared as much for the blues as they did for folk revival traditions. This is — more so than his fine compilation The Many Sides of Fred Neil (also on Collector’s Choice) or his debut Capitol album, Tear Down the Walls — the Fred Neil record to have.

For many, the name Fred Neil will be familiar only as that belonging to the songwriter of the modern classic “Everybody’s Talkin’,” or perhaps “Candyman,” “The Dolphins,” or “Other Side of This Life,” songs that Roy Orbison, Tim Buckley, and the Jefferson Airplane, respectively, recorded. However, Neil’s influence extends much farther. John Sebastian, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Bob Dylan all claimed him as an influence, since he blended traditional and contemporary folk, blues, rock, gospel, Indian, and pop influences into a distinctive, idiosyncratic style. His music was not only influential, it was quite rich on its own terms and some of the best music of its era. Unfortunately, since Neil chose a life of seclusion in 1971, disappearing from both recording and performing, his work was neglected. Remedying the situation, The Many Sides bypasses his Elektra material, instead offering a complete summary of his Capitol recordings, including his three albums for the label (Fred Neil, Sessions, Other Side of This Life), both sides of a non-LP single with the Nashville Street Singers, and six unreleased cuts. It’s a long overdue compilation and one that certainly stands as a definitive portrait of an influential and criminally underappreciated folk-rock figure. After listening to The Many Sides of Fred Neil, it makes sense that Neil turned into a recluse — this is moody, haunting music, unlike much of the work of his contemporaries. In particular, his eponymous album boasts challenging, innovative arrangments that remain fresh and startling to this day. The rest of his work may be a little uneven in comparison, but it’s frequently compelling and often matches its heights. Most importantly, The Many Sides of Fred Neil grants Neil his proper place in folk-rock history, confirming his unique vision and talent.

-Thom Jurek, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, allmusic.com

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Fred Neil-BLEECKER & MACDOUGAL (1965)
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Fred Neil-THE MANY SIDES OF FRED NEIL (1998 compilation)
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Multiupload is acting funky today, so I’m using other stuff. It’ll be fun when none of them work. Is there a single reliable upload service left? Jeez. -Ian!

The Merry-Go-Round’s Listen, Listen: The Definitive Collection is a near-perfect example of doing a reissue the right way. Lovingly put together by the folks at Rev-Ola, the package is a perfect blend of enlightenment and entertainment, with insightful liner notes that feature new interviews with many members of the group and their guiding light, Emitt Rhodes, excellent photos, clean and crisp sound, and best of all, the wonderful music of the Merry-Go-Round and Emitt Rhodes. First, some bookkeeping. The opening half of the disc contains the group’s lone album released on A&M in 1967, The Merry-Go-Round, the second half is the Emitt Rhodes album released by A&M in 1970 (and also in ’71 with a different cover and an altered track listing) called The American Dream. The album is made up of songs Rhodes cut with studio pros in 1969 after the demise of the group, as well as demos recorded in the latter days of the Merry-Go-Round. The package is rounded out by four songs taken from singles released after The Merry-Go-Round, the mono version with drums of “Time Will Show the Wiser,” and as a bonus, the band’s recording of “Good Vibrations” with A&M honcho Herb Alpert on lead trumpet. Now for the music. The Merry-Go-Round is a breathtaking blend of chiming folk-rock guitars, British Invasion harmony vocals, baroque pop arrangements, and pure pop songcraft that sounds daisy fresh in 2005. The Beatles are a huge influence, there is plenty of Paul McCartney in Rhodes’ sweet vocals and their vocal harmonies. You can hear the Byrds a bit, some Left Banke (especially on the sweeping orchestral pop gem “You’re a Very Lovely Woman”), some L.A. garage on rockers like “Where Have You Been All My Life” and “Lowdown”; the group definitely didn’t exist in a vacuum. There are some songs, though, that are quite unique and original like “Time Will Show the Wiser” with its otherworldly sped-up and backwards guitars and enchanting melody; the warm and bouncy hit single “Live,” and “Had to Run Around” an exquisite ballad whose tender beauty foreshadows Rhodes’ classic 1970 Emitt Rhodes album.

These songs, and the overall quality of the songs and the group’s loose and earthy playing, help lift the album above the pack and should lead to it being mentioned in the same breath as Love’s first album or Buffalo Springfield’s first when talking about classic American debut albums of the ’60s. The singles included on the reissue show the band adding piano and a fuller sound, not too surprising since many of the tracks on the album were demos. They are fine songs, too; 1968’s “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band”-inspired “Listen, Listen” rocks harder than anything else they recorded and has one of Rhodes’ most intense vocals; “She Laughed Loud” is a self-mocking tune with some great background vocals, and “Missing You” incorporates some lovely harpsichord and was unjustly buried as a B-side. The American Dream album features some of Rhodes’ best songs, like the rollicking Harry Nilsson-esque “Holly Park,” the catchy as the flu, should-have-been a hit “Let’s All Sing,” and a couple of tracks that sound like the blueprint for the sound of Rhodes’ first real solo album: the simple and beautiful “Saturday Night” and “Pardon Me.” It also features a couple of near-clunkers in the hokey Appalachian narrative “Textile Factory,” the overly dramatic “Someone Died,” and the calypso-inflected “Mary Will You Take My Hand.” The use of studio musicians also tends to drain most of the homespun charm of the MGR’s work and the grafted-on string and horn arrangements on some of the songs can veer to the point of schmaltz (“Come Ride, Come Ride,” “The Man He Was”). When you strip away the excess sweetening, though, the record is at its heart a solid pop record, not up to the standard of what preceded it or what followed, but most certainly worth hearing. The set is a must for fans of Rhodes, too, but more than that, the fact that it marks the first time the entire Merry-Go-Round discography is available on CD makes it an absolute must for fans of sophisticated ’60s pop. In a world of botched reissues and pointless collections, Rev-Ola gets it right here.

-Tim Sendra, allmusic.com

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The Merry-Go-Round-LISTEN, LISTEN: THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION (1966-69, 2005 compilation)
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Perhaps the single album that best sums up Bobby Hutcherson’s early musical personality, Components is appropriately split into two very distinct halves. The first features four Hutcherson originals in a melodic but still advanced hard bop style, while the latter half has four free-leaning avant-garde pieces by drummer Joe Chambers. Hutcherson allots himself more solo space than on Dialogue, but that’s no knock on the excellent supporting cast, which includes Herbie Hancock on piano, James Spaulding on alto sax and flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Ron Carter on bass. It’s just more Hutcherson’s date, and he helps unite the disparate halves with a cool-toned control that’s apparent regardless of whether the material is way outside or more conventionally swinging. In the latter case, Hutcherson’s originals are fairly diverse, encompassing rhythmically complex hard bop (the title track), pensive balladry (“Tranquillity,” which features a lovely solo by Hancock), down-and-dirty swing (“West 22nd Street Theme”), and the gaily innocent “Little B’s Poem,” which went on to become one of Hutcherson’s signature tunes and contains some lyrical flute work from Spaulding. The Chambers pieces tend to be deliberate explorations that emphasize texture and group interaction in the manner of Dialogue, except that there’s even more freedom in terms of both structure and tonal center. (The exception is the brief but beautiful closing number, “Pastoral,” an accurate title if ever there was one.) Components illustrated that Hutcherson was not only the most adventurous vibes player on the scene, but that he was also capable of playing more straightforward music with intelligence and feeling.

Bobby Hutcherson’s first quartet outing, Happenings, casts the brightest spotlight on the vibraphonist’s soloing abilities, matching him once again with pianist Herbie Hancock (who is also heavily featured) and drummer Joe Chambers, plus bassist Bob Cranshaw. For that matter, the album also leans heavily on Hutcherson’s compositional skills; save for Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage,” six of the seven numbers are Hutcherson originals. Given his reputation as a modernist, most of the pieces here are structured pretty simply — there’s a lot of straightforward modal hard bop, giving Hutcherson and Hancock plenty of room to solo. They handle much of the material with a light, mellow touch, trading off meditative licks even on the more up-tempo pieces and poignant, lyrical lines on the ballads “Bouquet” and “When You Are Near.” The two exceptions are the opening and closing numbers: “Aquarian Moon” is challenging post-bop, while the sinister “The Omen” finds Hutcherson opening up the bag of tricks he learned from the freely structured group dialogues Chambers wrote for albums past. Sharp stabs from the piano signal transition to a new, sometimes unaccompanied lead instrument, and Hutcherson’s darting marimba lines build up a claustrophobic tension. That doesn’t change the overall feel of the album, though, which ends up a charmingly relaxed, low-key outing and a nice addition to Hutcherson’s Blue Note catalog.

Theme from “Blow Up” found on OBLIQUE

One of Bobby Hutcherson’s best albums, Stick-Up! was also his first official release not to feature drummer Joe Chambers, who was a major part of Hutcherson’s outside leanings. Instead, Stick-Up! stakes out the middle ground between hard bop and the avant-garde, offering a set of structured yet advanced modal pieces indebted particularly to Coltrane. Hutcherson’s originals (five out of six selections) show him at the top of his game as a composer, and the ensemble’s playing is tight and focused throughout, but what really lifts Stick-Up! to the top tier of Hutcherson’s discography is its crackling energy. It’s quite possibly the hardest-swinging album he ever cut, and part of the credit has to go to the stellar rhythm section of McCoy Tyner on piano, Herbie Lewis on bass, and Billy Higgins on drums, who lay down a driving, pulsating foundation that really pushes Hutcherson and tenorist Joe Henderson. Tyner in particular is a standout, charging relentlessly forward on the intricate “8/4 Beat” and “Black Circle” and lending a Coltrane-ish flavor to the spiritually searching “Verse.” The lone non-Hutcherson piece, Ornette Coleman’s sometimes overlooked “Una Muy Bonita,” is given a fantastic, rollicking treatment as catchy as it is progressive, proving that the piece is a classic regardless of whether it’s interpreted freely or with a steady groove and tonal center. Hutcherson’s originals are uniformly strong and memorable enough to sit very well next to it, and that — coupled with the energetic performances — ranks Stick-Up! with Dialogue and Components as the finest work of Hutcherson’s tenure at Blue Note.

Bobby Hutcherson’s second quartet session, Oblique, shares both pianist Herbie Hancock and drummer Joe Chambers with his first, Happenings (bassist Albert Stinson is a newcomer). However, the approach is somewhat different this time around. For starters, there’s less emphasis on Hutcherson originals; he contributes only three of the six pieces, with one from Hancock and two from the typically free-thinking Chambers. And compared to the relatively simple compositions and reflective soloing on Happenings, Oblique is often more complex in its post-bop style and more emotionally direct (despite what the title may suggest). The latter is especially true on the two opening Hutcherson pieces, the sweetly lilting “‘Til Then” and the innocent, childlike theme of “My Joy,” which is reminiscent of “Little B’s Poem” (save for its multi-sectioned structure). Meanwhile, Chambers’ experiments with counterpoint in the context of group improvisation keep getting more evocative. The title cut is quick and driving, with lots of short, fleeting exchanges between Hutcherson and a surprisingly swinging Hancock; “Bi-Sectional” makes playful use of chromaticism in its first part, after which Hutcherson and Chambers switch between several different percussion instruments for what amounts to an artillery attack. As for the other pieces, Hutcherson’s “Subtle Neptune” fuses post-bop with Brazilian rhythms, and Hancock’s “Theme From ‘Blow Up'” is a spare modal melody over a repeated chordal vamp, somewhat reminiscent of his classic “Maiden Voyage.” All the performances are spirited enough to make the sophisticated music sound winning and accessible as well, which means that Oblique is one of the better entries in Hutcherson’s Blue Note discography and one worth tracking down.

-Steve Huey, allmusic.com

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COMPONENTS (1965)
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HAPPENINGS (1966)
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STICK-UP! (1966)
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OBLIQUE (1967)
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This is a deeply touching tribute to Otis Redding by DJ Johnnie Walker, floating out on Radio Caroline South on December 22nd, 1967. Audio has been dramatically cleaned up from its source tape by Pandora, whose excellent UK offshore radio blog is a must visit.

It didn’t even occur to me until I typed that just now that today is also December 22nd. 42 years ago today. It’s pretty amazing these tapes exist at all.

Anyway, it really puts things into perspective how utterly tragic and devastating this was, and to have it happen just before the holidays… Man. I just love Otis Redding and feel this with Walker the whole way through, even though this was all before my time.

Redding’s biggest hit, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” was recorded three days before his death, and wasn’t released until two weeks after this broadcast. It would go on to be Redding’s biggest hit and the first posthumous #1 single in US chart history.

I can’t say I’m intimately familiar with Johnnie Walker, and his later career. But I certainly hold him in high esteem for this. British people always appreciated American R&B and soul, possibly even more than white America ever did. The purity of emotion involved must have been particularly appealing to such a seemingly reserved society. But hey, what do I know? Is that off the mark?

This was actually cleaned up a little bit in Audacity. Just some normalizing and light noise reduction. It’s also edited down from two hours, the full audio can be found at the bottom, unedited and un-processed on my end. I have better sounding tapes that will be posted eventually, this one just felt right for today.

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FULL TAPE, 120 MINUTES
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