Nick Mason – Nick Mason´s Fictitious Sports (1981)

Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports is the debut album by Pink Floyd‘s drummer Nick Mason. Released in May 1981 in the UK and US, this was Mason’s first major work outside of Pink Floyd. However, the album is considered by many a Carla Bley album in all but name, since she wrote all the songs and co-produced it.

It’s possibly her most overtly pop-oriented album, with all eight songs featuring vocals by Soft Machine alumnus Robert Wyatt. The music, by Bley‘s standards, is fairly pedestrian if occasionally catchy, though the lyrics are often wryly amusing. So we have songs about failed car motors and a skeptic’s encounter with a flying saucer, and one dedicated to unappreciative audiences titled “Boo to You Too.” Though the band is staffed with several fine jazz musicians, the music has more of a rock or jazz-rock feel, largely due to the spotlight on guitarist Chris Spedding, who evidences slick, if relatively uninteresting, chops. To the extent the songs succeed, Wyatt can take much of the credit. His engagingly hoarse voice is capable of both wrenching sincerity and mordant humor; pieces like “Do Ya?,” where he is asked to tortuously squawk the line “God knows I try!,” would collapse entirely with a less convincing vocalist. The closing cut, “I’m a Mineralist,” is the one that leaves a lasting impression. Conflating geology and minimalism, it includes lines like “Erik Satie gets my rocks off/Cage is a dream/Philip Glass is mineralist to the extreme,” before launching into a note-perfect rendition of some pointedly bland Glassian measures. For Pink Floyd completists, this album might provide a glimpse into an alternate universe of which they were otherwise unaware, but fans of Bley‘s earlier masterpieces like Escalator Over the Hill are likely to emerge somewhat disappointed.

Tracklist

1. “Can’t Get My Motor to Start” – 3:39
2 .”I Was Wrong” – 4:12
3 .”Siam” – 4:48
4 .”Hot River” – 5:16
5. “Boo To You Too” – 3:26
6. “Do Ya?” – 4:36
7. “Wervin'” – 3:58
8. “I’m a Mineralist” – 6:16

All songs written by Carla Bley.

Personnel

Notes
Released: 3 May 1981
Recorded: in October 1979, at Grog Kill Studios, Willow, New York by Michael Mantler, assisted by Nick Mason; mixed in December 1979 & May 1980 at Village Recorders & the Producer’s Workshop, L.A. by James Guthrie
Genre: Jazz-rock, progressive rock
Length: 36:15

Label – Harvest/Columbia Records

Mazzy Star – So Tonight That I Might See (1993)

So Tonight That I Might See is the second studio album by the American dream pop band Mazzy Star, released on October 5, 1993.
Thanks to the fluke hit “Fade Into You” — one of the better beneficiaries of alt-rock’s radio prominence in the early ’90s, a gentle descent of a lead melody accompanied by piano, a steady beat, and above all else, Hope Sandoval‘s lovely lead vocal — Mazzy Star‘s second album became something of a commercial success. All without changing much at all from where the band was before — David Roback oversaw all the production, the core emphasis remained a nexus point between country, folk, psych, and classic rock all shrouded in mystery, and Sandoval‘s trademark drowsy drawl remained swathed in echo. But grand as She Hangs Brightly was, So Tonight That I Might See remains the group’s undisputed high point, mixing in plenty of variety among its tracks without losing sight of what made the group so special to begin with. Though many songs work with full arrangements like “Fade Into You,” a thick but never once overpowering combination, two heavily stripped-down songs demonstrate in different ways how Mazzy Star makes a virtue out of simplicity. “Mary of Silence” is an organ-led slow shuffle that easily ranks with the best of the Doors, strung-out and captivating all at once, Sandoval‘s singing and Roback‘s careful acid soloing perfect foils. “Wasted,” meanwhile, revisits a classic blues riff slowed down to near-soporific levels, but the snarling crunch of Roback‘s guitar works wonders against Sandoval‘s vocals, a careful balance that holds. If there’s a left-field standout, then unquestionably it’s “Five String Serenade.” A cover of an Arthur Lee song — for once not a Love-era number, but a then-recent effort — Roback‘s delicate acoustic guitar effortlessly brings out its simple beauty. Tambourine and violin add just enough to the arrangement here and there, and Sandoval‘s calm singing makes for the icing on the cake.

Tracklist

1. “Fade into You” – 4:55
2. “Bells Ring” – 4:32
3. “Mary of Silence” – 6:02
4. “Five String Serenade” (Arthur Lee) – 4:24
5. “Blue Light” – 5:10
6. “She’s My Baby” – 4:25
7. “Unreflected” – 3:42
8. “Wasted” – 5:31
9. “Into Dust” – 5:36
10. “So Tonight That I Might See” – 7:19

All songs written by Hope Sandoval and David Roback except “Five String Serenade”.

Personnel

Personnel adapted from So Tonight That I Might See liner notes.

Mazzy Star

Additional

  • Jason Yates – bass
  • Keith Mitchell – drums
  • William Cooper – strings
  • Dale Everingham – technical assistance

Notes
Released: October 5, 1993
Genre: Alternative rock, dream pop, neo-psychedelia
Length: 51:36

Label – Capitol Records

Maxwell – Embrya (1998)

Embrya is the second studio album by American recording artist Maxwell, released on June 30, 1998, by Columbia Records. As on his 1996 debut album Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, he collaborated with record producer and Sade collaborator Stuart Matthewman. A neo soul album, Embrya features heavy basslines, string arrangements, and an emphasis on groove over melodies. It has themes of love and spirituality.

Maxwell‘s ambition was one of the appealing qualities of his debut, Urban Hang Suite, especially since very few of his contemporaries were attempting to expand the boundaries of contemporary R&B. However, blessings can be curses, and that very ambition gets the better of Maxwell on his second album, Embrya. Loaded with pretentious song titles (“Gestation: Mythos,” “Arroz con Pollo,” “Luxury: Cococure”), the album bogs down in its own sophistication and his desire to make deep, serious music. Like Terence Trent d’Arby — whose Neither Fish Nor Flesh offers a frightening parallel to EmbryaMaxwell wants to be so much more than just another soul crooner, but his gifts become obscured the more he pushes them forward. To be sure, Embrya is far from a washout. Maxwell does have a remarkable voice and he can write really good modern soul songs — it’s just that he has a tendency to think that’s not enough and then he overstuffs his songs with ideas that lead nowhere. With a little more focus, Embrya could have been an impressive second step. As it stands, it’s a bit of a sophomore stumble, albeit one with promising moments.

Tracklist

1.  “Gestation: Mythos”  – 3:11
2.  “Everwanting: To Want You to Want”  – 7:30
3.  “I’m You: You Are Me and We Are You (Pt. Me & You)”  – 6:31
4.  “Luxury: Cococure”  – 5:30
5.  “Drowndeep: Hula”  (Stuart Matthewman, Musze) – 5:39
6.  “Matrimony: Maybe You”  – 4:37
7.  “Arroz con pollo”  – 2:55
8.  “Know These Things: Shouldn’t You”  (Matthewman, Musze) – 5:14
9.  “Submerge: Til We Become the Sun”  – 6:24
10.  “Gravity: Pushing to Pull”  (Matthewman, Musze) – 6:11
11.  “Eachhoureachsecondeachminuteeachday: Of My Life”  – 5:51
12.  “Embrya”  – 3:04

All tracks written by Maxwell (credited as Musze), excepted where noted.

Personnel

  • Gloria Agostini – harp
  • Chris Apostle – production coordination
  • Carl Carter – bass
  • Tom Coyne – mastering
  • Clark Gayton – trombone
  • Kerry Griffin – drums
  • Lisa Guastella – production coordination assistant
  • Russell Gunn – trumpet
  • Reggie Hamilton – bass, nylon string guitar
  • Bashiri Johnson – percussion
  • Gene Lake – drums
  • Glen Marchese – engineer, mixing
  • Stuart Matthewman – beats, guitar, mixing, producer, programming, baritone saxophone
  • Maxwell – beats, engineer, horn arrangements, mixing, producer, vocals
  • Greg Moore – guitar
  • Mike Pela – associate producer, mixing
  • Julian Peploe – art direction
  • Susan Poliacik – cello
  • Matthew Raimondi – violin
  • Andrew Richardson – stylist
  • Daniel Sadownick – percussion
  • Veronica Salas – viola
  • Darrell Smith – beats, engineer, producer
  • Mario Sorrenti – phjo
  • Gerald Tarack – violin

Notes
Released: June 10, 1998
Genre: Neo soul
Length: 62:57

Label – Columbia Records

John Mayer – Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles (2008)

Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles, commonly referred to as Where the Light Is, is a live album and concert film by American blues-rock musician John Mayer. Released on July 1, 2008, the album documents Mayer’s performance at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2007, during the promotional tour for his 2006 third studio album Continuum.

Where the Light Is: John Mayer Live in Los Angeles finds singer/songwriter and guitarist John Mayer performing in three different band settings: acoustic trio, electric trio, and large ensemble. As such, the evening works as a nice representation of Mayer‘s work beginning with the 2003 album Heavier Things and continuing through his creative reinvention as a modern electric blues artist with 2005’s Try! John Mayer Trio Live in Concert and finally his smash Grammy-winning 2006 effort, Continuum. Essentially, the concert is designed to showcase Mayer‘s ability to move from melodic soft rock and pop to folky solo numbers and rockin’ blues. Generally, the conceit works and the concert does shine a light, so to speak, on Mayer‘s virtuosic musical chops. However, segmenting this concert into such specific aesthetic sounds loses some of the diverse flow a Mayer concert usually has. It should be noted that the concert is also available on DVD and Blu-ray, where you get see each band and appreciate the diversity among the ensembles. That said, for fans of Mayer the songwriter, you really can’t lose, as the guy is hard-pressed to come up with a bad song, and tracks like the fan favorite “Daughters” and the bittersweet “Stop This Train” really benefit from the acoustic reading Mayer gives them here. Similarly, by putting “‘Who Do You Think I Was,” “Vultures,” and his inspired take on Jimi Hendrix‘s “Bold as Love” in the middle electric trio section, Mayer builds the energy of the concert, perfectly setting up the pop/blues cornucopia of the final large ensemble set. Beginning with the hit “‘Waiting on the World to Change,” Mayer‘s last set (on disc two) is really the set most fans will gravitate toward, as it finds Mayer and his backing group of stellar sideman diving headlong into such soulful numbers as “Why Georgia” and “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You),” while also making room for such bluesy nuggets as his Stevie Ray Vaughan-inspired reworking of the Ray Charles hit “I Don’t Need No Doctor” (a number heard on John Scofield‘s That’s What I Say with Mayer as guest). Admittedly sprawling and ambitious, Where the Light Is is nonetheless a dynamic showcase for Mayer, who never fails to shine.

Disc 1
Acoustic set
1. “Neon” (John Mayer, Clay Cook) – 5:55
2. “Stop This Train” (Mayer)  – 5:00
3. “In Your Atmosphere (LA Song)” (Mayer) (Previously unreleased) – 5:45
4. “Daughters” (Mayer)  – 5:04
5. “Free Fallin'” (Tom Petty cover) (Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne)  (Previously unreleased) – 4:23

Trio set
6. “Everyday I Have the Blues” (Blues standard) (Previously unreleased) – 4:14
7. “Wait Until Tomorrow”  (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover) (Jimi Hendrix) – 4:19
8. “Who Did You Think I Was” (Mayer) – 4:23
9. “Come When I Call” (Mayer) – 3:23
10. “Good Love Is on the Way” (Mayer, Steve Jordan, Pino Palladino) – 4:18
11. “Out of My Mind” (Mayer) – 10:10
12. “Vultures” (Mayer, Jordan, Palladino) – 5:19
13. “Bold as Love  (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)” (Hendrix) – 8:38

Disc 2
Band set
1. “Waiting on the World to Change” (Mayer) – 3:50
2. “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” (Mayer) – 5:19
3. “Why Georgia” (Mayer) – 4:27
4. “The Heart of Life / In Repair” (Mayer) – 3:40
5. “I Don’t Need No Doctor” (Ray Charles cover) (Joseph Armstead, Nick Ashford, Valerie Simpson) – 6:02
6. “I’ve Got Dreams to Remember (Otis Redding cover) / Gravity” (Otis Redding, Zelma Redding, Joe Rock/Mayer) – 9:41
7. “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” (Mayer) – 8:44
8. “Belief” (Mayer) – 6:03
9. “I’m Gonna Find Another You” (Mayer) – 5:40

Musicians

All sets:

John Mayer Trio set:

John Mayer band set:

Audio production personnel

Additional personnel

Notes
Released: July 1, 2008
Recorded: December 8, 2007 Venue L.A. Live Nokia Theatre, Los Angeles, California
Genre: Blues rock
Length: 124:16

Label – Columbia Records

Brewers Droop – The Boozy Brothers (1989)

The Booze Brothers, featuring Mark Knopfler & Dave Edmunds, is the second album released by Brewers Droop, an English blues band. Although most of the tracks were recorded back in 1973 the album was only released in 1989 when it was discovered that the album had involved the renowned producer/rocker Dave Edmunds and the line-up had included Pick Withers and Mark Knopfler, later of Dire Straits. Ron Watts, the founder of the band, became much better known later in the ’70s as a punk rock promoter at venues such as 100 Club. Steve Darrington continued as a professional musician, appearing on over 50 albums, and is the organizer of the Swanage Blues Festival.

Brewers Droop was a late sixties “Cajun” band that played English pubs. In 1973, a young Mark Knopfler joined the band. Apparently some of the group’s tunes were recorded and then squirreled away until now.
Knopfler, of course, went on to form Dire Straits while Brewers Droop went—nowhere. This short (36.59 min.) disc contains those early tunes, which according to the cover, provide the listener the opportunity to “hear the fledgling Mark Knopfler cultivate the sound that was to make Dire Straits a World-wide success story.” In fact, Knopfler does not do any of the vocals and only plays backup guitar on three of the nine cuts, none of which sound at all like Dire Straits.

This album is a little underrestimated. This album is not a big blockbuster, and not so good as the Dire Straits records, and the rest of the M.Knopfler albums, but it’s a very good album, anyway. M.Knopfler is the best musician on this record, and Dave Edmunds is also good, but not so skillful as MK. Dave Edmunds and the other guys does show up more then M.Knopfler in the songs. But MK is not whith on only one track here, he appears on more tracks here. Mostly on guitar. And don’t forget about Pick Whiters, a great drummer, he’s playing drums on some tracks.

Tracklist

1. “Where Are You Tonight”  (John MacKay, Steve Darrington) – 4:06
2. “Roller Coaster”  (John MacKay, John Watts, Steve Darrington) – 3:29
3. “You Make Me Feel So Good”  (John MacKay, John Watts, Steve Darrington) – 3:39
4 .”My Old Lady”  (Nick Gravenites) – 4:51
5 .”Sugar Baby”  (Francis Romuald Lewis, Jerry McCain, Tanner) – 2:34
6. “Rock Steady Woman”  (John MacKay, John Watts, Steve Darrington) – 4:08
7. “Louise”  (John MacKay, John Watts, Steve Darrington) – 3:22
8. “What’s The Time”  (John MacKay, Steve Darrington) – 2:25
9. “Midnight Special”  (Al Smith) – 4:28
10. “Dreaming”  (John MacKay) – 3:41

Musicians
Alimony Slim – lead and/or background vocals (except on tracks 4 and 8), guitar (except on track 1)
“Big Ron” Watts – co-lead vocals (on tracks 2, 7), lead vocals (on tracks 4, 8), background vocals (on tracks 5, 6, 9)
Steve Darrington – accordion, organ, saxophone, clarinet, piano, background vocals
Mark Knopfler – guitar (on tracks 1, 4, 6)
Derrick Timms – bass, backup vocals (on tracks 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10)
Steve Norchi – bass (on tracks 1, 4, 6, 8)
Bobby O’Walker – drums (on all tracks except 3 and 8)
Pick Withers – drums, percussion (on tracks 3, 8)

Guests:
Track 3: Gerry Hogan – pedal steel
Track 10: Dave Edmunds – harp, banjo, double bass, Fender pedal steel, ‘secret sound’, all background vocals

Recording
Recorded in and around Wales, circa 1973
1, 3, 6, Produced by Kingsley Ward and Alimony Slim
2, 9, 10, Produced by Dave Edmunds
4, 5, 8, Produced by Kingsley Ward
7, Produced by Dave Edmunds and Kingsley Ward

Notes
Released: 1989
Recorded: 1973
Genre: Blues rock, pub rock
Length: 36:47

Label – Red Lightnin’ Records

Teena Marie – Emerald City (1986)

Emerald City is the seventh album by Teena Marie, released in 1986. It is a stylistic departure for her, with strong blues and jazz influences favored over her established soul/funk style, and is a concept album. This proved puzzling for fans and critics, and the album sold poorly, peaking at #20 on the US Black Albums chart and #81 on the Billboard Albums chart. Two singles, “Lips to Find You” and “Love Me Down Easy”, were released.

After the success of Starchild, Teena at last, had the freedom as a lyricist and producer. With this freedom, came something else an almost unlimited budget. For what would become Emerald City, Teena wrote five tracks and cowrote three others. Two of the tracks Teena cowrote were with Penny Johnson, one of her regular songwriting partners. Being able to express herself freely as a lyricist appealed to Teena, and the resulting eight songs would become Teena’s only concept album. This concept album saw a real fusion of styles and influences. It was a departure from Teena’s usual combination of soul and funk, with jazz and rock flavoring the music. For this departure of styles, Teena needed a versatile band capable of playing a variety of musical styles.

Recording of the eight tracks that became Emerald City took place at two studios in Los Angeles. These were Ocean Way Studios and Conway Recording Studios. Joining Teena were musicians of the calibre of bassists Bootsy Collins and Stanley Clarke, guitarists Michael Landua and Stevie Ray Vaughan who played on one part. They joined percussionist Paulinho Da Costa, saxophonist Branford Marsalis and trumpeter Gary Grant. Adding backing vocals were sisters Maxime and Julia Waters. Many of the musicians who joined Teena, including Stanley Clarke, Paulinho Da Costa, Branford Marsalis and Gary Grant were primarily jazz players, pointing at the direction of Emerald City. Would the new sound and style of music on Emerald City appeal to Teena’s large and loyal fan-base?

Tracklist

1. “Emerald City” – 4:10
2. “Once Is Not Enough” – 5:47
3. “Lips to Find You”  (Bendrix, Marie) – 5:11
4. “You So Heavy”  (Marie, Penny “P.J.” Johnson) – 5:07
5. “Shangri-La”  (Marie, Johnson) – 5:04
6 .”Batucada Suite” – 5:06
7. “Love Me Down Easy” – 5:24
8. “Sunny Skies” – 7:14

All songs written by Teena Marie, except where noted.

Personnel

Vocals – Julia Waters, Maxine Waters, Tony Brockert
Drum Programming – Bootsy Collins
Guitar – Nikki Slikk
Percussion – Brian Kilgore
Piano – Randy Kerber, John Bokowski
Soloist, Guitar – Michael Landau, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stanley Clarke
Bass – Nathan East, Allen McGrier, Bendrix, Abraham Laboriel
Arranged By [Horns] – Fred Mirza
Arranged By [Rhythm], Percussion – Paulinho Da Costa
Horns – Robert Findley, Charles Loper, Chuck Findley, Gary Grant, Jack Nimitez, Plaz Johnson
Drums – John Robinson
Soloist, Saxophone – Branford Marsalis

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: July 22, 1986
Recorded: 1985-86
Genre: R&B, Jazz
Length: 43:03

Label – Epic Records

Ziggy Marley And The Melody Makers – Free Like We Want 2 B (1995)

Ziggy Marley rightfully carries the torch that was ignited by his father decades earlier. Ziggy and brother Stephen write and produce all of the tracks on the album and, as expected, reggae beats litter every song. However, R&B and extensive use of keyboards enhance and strengthen the record, demonstrating that the band has the ability to grow and experiment while staying true to their Jamaican roots. Sharon and Cedella Marley step out from behind their usual background singing roles on the track “Today,” bringing a strong R&B feel which transmutes the Marley sound. Lyrically, poverty, racism, and mother earth continue to be issues which resonate deeply in the hearts and minds of the group. “Hand to Mouth” specifically addresses the plight and exploitation of the Jamaican worker and the hunger of the children on the island. While there are few surprises on Free Like We Want 2 B, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers prove once again that nobody does reggae like a Marley. Perhaps more than any of the Melody Maker’s previous releases, this album showcases the individual talents of each bandmember. The result is one of their most consistently inventive and musically varied sets. The stripped down, propulsive “Power to Move Ya” leads off, followed by the title track, a classic Ziggy composition about the real meaning of freedom.

Sharon and Cedella then share lead vocals for the first time on the excellent “Today”. Track four, “Water and Oil”– a biting metaphor for the relationship between rastas and politicians—features a dread DJ turn by brother Stephen. “Live It Up” follows, a Ziggy composition with a sweet I-Threes style chorus. Stephen introduces Miss “Tipsy Dazy”, and follows this with a beautiful ballad-like number called “Bygones”. Next up is the Jamaican top-ten single “Hand to Mouth”. Track 9, titled “In the Flow” is a funky slow jam with a wicked bass line. “Don’t Go Nowhere” is followed by “G7”, a calypso-like commentary on the politics of greed. Stephen’s “Keep On” and Ziggy’s heartfelt “Beautiful Mother Nature” round out the set.

“Free Like We Want 2 B” marks another milestone in the Melody Maker’s recording history: it was the first release for their new label, and it was recorded at the new Marley Music studio in Kingston, Jamaica.

Tracklist

  1. “Power To Move Ya” – 3:36
  2. “Free Like We Want 2 B” – 4:47
  3. “Today” – 3:18
  4. “Water and Oil” – 3:27
  5. “Live It Up” – 3:18
  6. “Tipsy Dazy” – 4:14
  7. “Bygones” – 4:44
  8. “Hand to Mouth” – 5:22
  9. “In The Flow” – 4:30
  10. “Don’t Go Nowhere” – 5:51
  11. “G7” – 3:03
  12. “Keep On” – 3:24
  13. “Beautiful Mother Nature” – 4:56

Companies, etc.

Credits

Personnel

Ziggy Marley – vocals, guitar, organ, synthesizer, percussion, background vocals
Ian Coleman, Glen Brownie – guitar
Junior Chin, Dean Fraser – horns
Sharon Pendergast, Cedella Marley – background vocals
Erica Newell – vocals
Ray Hitchins – acoustic guitar
Earl Smith – acoustic & electric guitars
Glen Brownie – guitar, piano, keyboards, bass, talking drums, percussion
Robert Brownie – guitar, drums
Dean Fraser, Junior Chin, Ronald Robinson – horns
Carol McLaughlin – piano, organ, Hammond B-3 organ, keyboards, synthesizer
Mallory Williams – piano, keyboards, synthesizer
Wilburn Cole – piano, drums
Christopher Meredith, Julian Marley – bass
Sly Dunbar – drums
Ras Michael – Nyabingi drums
Uzziah Thompson – percussion

Notes
Released: July 11, 1995
Recorded at: Marley Music Studio, Kingston, Jamaica.
Genre: Reggae
Length: 54:36

Label – Elektra Records

The Red Devils – King King (1992)

The Red Devils were a Los Angeles-based blues rock band who were active from 1988 to 1994. With their no-frills approach and singer Lester Butler‘s convincing Chicago-style blues harp, they were a popular fixture on the Los Angeles club scene and toured the U.S. and Europe.
King King is their debut album. It was recorded live at King King Club in Los Angeles during three or four of their regular Monday-night performances in 1991. The album captures the immediacy and informality of a small club performance. It features the band’s interpretation of blues songs originally recorded by Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon as well as some band originals.
Fans of tough white boy blues should check out this album by the Red Devils. It’s from way back in the 90’s, produced by Rick Rubin for his own label. The live recording is excitingly down and dirty.
Why this visceral sounding album hasn’t been reissued is one of life’s little mysteries. It’s only available from Amazon as “used” or very expensive “new”, but is worth the effort to track down. I still own the original album from the 90’s, before it disappeared from sight. Recently I came across a magazine article about albums that were never released. One of those albums was by Mick Jagger, who went into the studio and laid down some blistering vocals on some old blues tunes, using the Red Devils as his backing band. But Jagger felt the scorching performances were too rough and edgy. So he decided not to release the 13 or so tracks, recorded in one 14 hour session–deciding instead to hire high priced studio musicians–and released a much smoother, commercial sounding album. Hmmm. That album sold bucket loads, but Jagger’s credibility slipped some because of it. Apparently the entire session can be found on You Tube. But that magazine article prompted me to (hopefully even at this very late date) bring more attention to the original band’s album of raw, mean blues.
The harp player (who also handles vocals) is as close to authentic Chicago-style harp playing as anyone. The rhythm section is tough and dirty. The rhythm guitar player fills in any holes left in the music. And the lead guitar player is steeped in that real deal electrified sound and feel that others wish they had–where the spaces between his live-wire, electrified lead notes are just as important.

Tracklist

1.  “Automatic”  (Willie Love) – 3:26
2.  “Goin’ To The Church”  (Lester Butler) – 4:07
3.  “She’s Dangerous”  (Willie Dixon) –  5:02
4.  “I Wish You Would”  (Billy Boy Arnold) – 3:01
5.  “Cross Your Heart”  (Rice Miller aka Sonny Boy Williamson II) – 4:28
6.  “Tail Dragger”  (Dixon) – 5:24
7.  “Devil Woman”  (The Red Devils) – 6:57
8.  “No Fightin'”  (Butler) – 5:56
9.  “Mr. Highway Man”  (Chester Burnett aka Howlin’ Wolf) – 3:35
10.  “I’m Ready”  (Dixon) – 3:46
11.  “Quarter to Twelve”  (Marion Jacobs aka Little Walter) – 7:03
12.  “Cut That Out”  (Junior Wells) – 4:59
13.  “Blackwater Roll  (Bonus Track) – 4:21

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes
Released: 28 July 1992
Recorded at: King King Club, Los Angeles
Genre: Blues rock
Length: 63:25

Label – Def American Records

The Peter Malick Group Featuring Norah Jones- New York City (2003)

New York City is an album by The Peter Malick Group featuring Norah Jones. The album was recorded during August and September 2000, a few weeks before Jones made her own demos for Blue Note Records, and released three years later. Jones sings on all seven tracks, and this album is more bluesy than Jones’ debut album, Come Away with Me. One of the tracks of the album, “Strange Transmissions”, was bundled with the Nokia 6230 mobile phone.

The story goes that, in 2000, while pianist/vocalist Norah Jones was playing regularly at the Living Room in New York’s Lower East Side and well before she earned eight Grammys, she received an invitation to sing some blues with guitarist Peter Malick and his band. Reluctantly, Jones admitted to a paucity of blues-singing experience. Thankfully, Malick was persistent. Listening to the rootsy, organic beauty evidenced on New York City, you’d never know Jones hadn’t ever sung the blues. Inspired by the classic work of artists such as Ray Charles and Billie Holiday, New York City is a kind of singer/songwriter blues album featuring Jones‘ particularly haunting vocal style. It’s more mainstream than Come Away With Me, but fans of that album should cotton easily to Jones‘ work here. Conceptualized around the post-9/11 title track, most of Malick‘s songs are contemporary blues reminiscent of the work of Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. Notably, “Strange Transmissions,” a melancholy and atmospheric profession of a love that just can’t be denied, showcases Jones as mellow blues diva, while “Heart of Mine” finds the pianist’s breathy style perfectly suited to the Bob Dylan nugget. As for leader Malick, he takes the vocal duties on “Things You Don’t Have to Do” and graces most of the tracks with his thoughtful and tempered guitar sound.

Tracklist

1. “New York City”  (Peter Malick) – 5:06
2. “Strange Transmissions”  (Malick) – 4:06
3. “Deceptively Yours”  (Malick) – 4:17
4. “All Your Love”  (Magic Sam) – 4:33
5. “Heart of Mine”  (Bob Dylan) – 5:06
6. “Things You Don’t Have to Do”  (Malick) – 3:09
7. “New York City” (Radio Edit)  (Malick) – 3:47

Personnel

  • Peter Malick – guitars (1-7), vocals (6), producer
  • Norah Jones – vocals (1-7), piano (5)
  • Ducky Carlisle – engineer, mixing
  • Jeff Chenaul – art direction, design
  • Nate Dubé – engineer
  • Hugh Fordin – executive producer
  • Eric Gardner – drums (1, 4, 5, 7)
  • Danny McGouch – keyboards: Melotron (1, 7), Hammond B-3 (3), Wurlitzer piano (4)
  • Marty Richards – drums (2, 3, 6)
  • Mike Thompson – accordion (1, 7), piano (2, 4)
  • Jeff Turmes – bass (1-7)
  • Tom West – piano (6)
  • Bruce Witkin – engineer

Notes
Released: July 8, 2003
Recorded: August–September 2000; Room 9 From Outer Space (South Boston, Massachusetts)
Genre: Blues, jazz
Length: 30:04

Label – Koch Records

Harvey Mandel – The Snake (1972)

Self-taught guitarist Harvey Mandel began his career in the black blues clubs of Chicago, learning as much as he could from the masters of classic urban blues. Mandel was born in Detroit on March 11, 1945 and raised in Chicago. He began playing guitar while in his early teens and found his inspiration in the sound of the Ventures. Whole new vistas in guitar appreciation opened up for him once he had the chance to hear musicians like Buddy Guy in the small blues clubs of Chicago’s West and South sides. Mandel learned from and performed with such greats as Guy, Albert King, Muddy Waters, and Otis Rush. Mandel got his nickname, “The Snake,” from master blues harp player Charlie Musselwhite, who admired the way Mandel’s left hand would effortlessly snake up and down the guitar neck. He later took on the moniker “The King of Sustain,” for the long, ringing tones he’s able to coax from his instrument.

Mandel´s career began in the late 1960s, after his San Francisco-based manager got him signed to a deal with Phillips, a label distributed by Mercury Records. Mandel‘s first album, Cristo Redentor (1968), was well-received on the then-growing underground radio scene in California, and he followed it with two more albums for Phillips, Righteous in 1969 and Games Guitars Play in 1970.

Mandel‘s fifth album, like Jeff Beck‘s best ’70s efforts, add bluesy, jazzy shadings to a rock base. But The Snake is more firmly entrenched in blues-rock than, say, Blow by Blow. Harvey‘s playing (occasionally augmented by violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris) is always impressive, but the compositions (all but one instrumental) aren’t gripping, and meander too much. It’s not as good as Mandel‘s late-’60s recordings for Philips, but it’s still one of the better early rock-based fusion recordings.

Tracklist

1. “The Divining” Rod  (Written-By – H. Mandel)  – 3:04
2.  “Pegasus”  (Written-By – J. Taylor)  – 3:30
3.  “Lynda Love”  (Written-By – H. Mandel)  – 2:45
4.  “Peruvian Flake”  (Written-By – H. Mandel)  – 3:31
5.  “The Snake”  (Written-By – H. Mandel, L. Taylor)  – 3:15
6.  “Uno Ino”  (Written-By – H. Mandel, J. Carroll, S. Taylor)  – 2:34
7.  “Ode To The Owl”  (Written-By – H. Mandel)  – 2:42
8.  “Levitation”  (Written-By – C. Lloyd, H. Mandel)  – 5:14
9.  “Bite The Electric Eel”  (Written-By – D. Harris, H. Mandel, P. Lagos, R. Resnick, V. Conte)  – 4:15

Companies, etc.

Credits

Personnel

Lead Guitar – Harvey Mandel
Bass – Victor Conte, Chuck Domanico, Larry Taylor, Antonio de la Barreda
Drums – Paul Lagos, Earl Palmer, Adolfo de la Parra
Steel Guitar – Freddie Roulette
Rhythm Guitar – Randy Resnick
Piano – Jim Taylor
Strings – Don “Sugarcane” Harris
Flute – Charles Lloyd
Organ – Kevin Burton

Notes
Release: 1972
Recorded at: The Village Recorder, Winter of 1971 & 1972
Genre: Rock, Funk / Soul
Style: Blues Rock, Funk, Jazz-Rock
Length: 30:15

Label – Janus Records