Archive for the ‘Notice’ Category

‘Archived Or Suspended’

July 8, 2022

Originally posted at several boards January 23, 2010

Hi everyone. No Saturday Single today. Or maybe ever again. Echoes In The Wind has been closed by WordPress – “archived or suspended,” in its terms. And it doesn’t appear that WordPress will allow me to register another blog at the moment.

So it might be that, as the Sundays sang not that many years ago, this is where the story ends. I don’t know. I’ve had a good three years, and maybe it’s best to call it quits. Whatever happens, it’s been a joy. Thanks.

Another Listen To The Bliss Band

August 3, 2011

Originally posted August 20, 2008

A little more than a year ago, in the post that marked Vinyl Record Day 2007, I shared a track by a group called the Bliss Band, from its 1978 album, Dinner with Raoul. I knew very little about the band – there wasn’t a lot of information on the record jacket. Here’s some of what I wrote at the time:

“I’ve ripped the track ‘Rio’ from this 1978 album, which was produced by Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter. Like the Faragher Brothers . . . the Bliss Band sounds to me a bit like Pablo Cruise or the Little River Band, both of which were hitting the charts about the time Dinner With Raoul was recorded. There’s a touch of Steely Dan in there, too.”

The touch of Steely Dan wasn’t surprising, of course, considering Baxter’s presence as guitarist as well as producer.

At the same time, a reader left a comment about the Bliss Band. I assume it was regular reader Yah Shure, or else I’ve got two regular readers who worked at WJON here in St. Cloud in the late 1970s (which is possible, I imagine). That reader said:

“I was a jock at WJON/St. Cloud when your #2000 album, The Bliss Band’s Dinner With Raoul, went into the station’s album cuts bin in 1978. ‘Slipaway’ quickly became the consensus cut. When the song was released as a single (Columbia 10857) it went as high as the ‘B’ rotation on WJON’s adult contemporary playlist. The single sold OK locally – I bought a copy of the 45 at Musicland in the Crossroads Center – but no other stations picked up on the song and it went away.

“‘Slipaway’ had a nice, Steely Dan-like vibe to it, with some tasty guitar licks in the break.”

A week or two later, I ripped the entire record, but I wasn’t pleased with the rip because of some noise on Side Two. So I shelved the idea of sharing the entire album. But not long ago, I found a rip of the record online that’s in better shape; it was posted in December 2006 at Gooder’n Bad Vinyl, a blog I visit fairly frequently. A track from the record popped up in a recent Baker’s Dozen, and then one came up last night as I was listening, reminding me that it’s actually a pretty good album.

I’m not sure if the record jacket listed the Bliss Band members, but it doesn’t matter anyway: the jacket is somewhere in a box right now and won’t emerge until sometime during the first week of next month. But the list of credits for Dinner With Raoul at All-Music Guide provides some clues as well as some interesting reading:

First of all, the members of the Tower of Power horn section – Stephen Kupka, Emilio Castillo, Greg Adams, Michael Gillette and Lenny Pickett – are listed there, as are Michael and Maureen McDonald and the late Doobie Brothers drummer, Keith Knudsen (all on vocals). Victor Feldman is listed as percussionist. Others listed on vocals are Venetta Fields and Sherlie Matthews. Alan Park plays keyboards.

And when you account for all those folks, the remaining people must be the members of the Bliss Band. They are: Paul Bliss on keyboards and vocals, Andrew Brown on bass and vocals, Nigel Elliot on drums and Phil Palmer on guitar and vocals.

(I’m sorry to be so imprecise, but with the records and much of my reference library packed, I fear that quite a few posts will be lacking in hard information for a week or so. If I’ve got anything wrong here, please let me know.)

The best track here might be the opener, “Rio,” although I do like “Slipaway” and “Right Place, Right Time” a fair amount. I still think the sound is very much akin to Pablo Cruise with some Steely Dan dissonance and chord changes. It’s a good album.

Over the Hill
Don’t Do Me Any Favors
On The Highway
Right Place, Right Time
Stay A Little Longer
Here Goes
Whatever Happened
Take It If You Need It

The Bliss Band – Dinner With Raoul [1978]

Coming Attraction
I don’t usually post on Sundays, but this coming Sunday will be an exception. My friend caithiseach, proprietor of The Great Vinyl Meltdown, has agreed to provide a Baker’s Dozen of his favorite singles. It’s an interesting – and very good – list that will provide some points to ponder as well as some very good music.

By Popular Demand: Levitt & McClure

July 27, 2011

Originally posted August 8, 2008

In April, when I posted the Blue Rose album, I reviewed the path that brought me to the music: samplers. I related how I’d found one track by Blue Rose on a Columbia sampler called The Music People and I took a look at a few of the other samplers I have in my collection.

I mentioned as well that I’d found an ad for two Warner/Reprise samplers still tucked into the jacket of a 1969 album that I bought used for $1.99. That album? Living in the Country by a duo called Levitt & McClure.

I know next to nothing about Levitt & McClure. I bought the album on September 14, 2006. Three months earlier, in one of my first wanderings into the world of music blogging, I’d found a rip of the album offered at a blog that specialized in the folk rock and singer/songwriter genres of the late 1960s and early 1970s. I don’t think Living in the Country was the first album I downloaded from a blog, but it was certainly among the first fifty. (Readers may wonder how I can put even a vague date on the beginnings of my explorations of music blogs. It’s easy, actually: When I first found music blogs, many of them were mourning the death that week of Billy Preston, who crossed over on June 6, 2006.)

Anyway, I downloaded Living in the Country and enjoyed it. When I saw the vinyl at my local used record joint, I grabbed it. The rip I found online had some noise, not much, but I hoped – at that time – that if I ever got a USB turntable, I could create a better rip. Unhappily, when I played the record on my standard stereo, the vocals were buried deep in the mix. I played the mp3s and the vocals were fine. Shrugging my shoulders, I listened to the record once – straining to hear the vocals – and put it in the stack of records informally called “Stuff I’ve listened to and should do something about.”

Then came the day that the track “My Impersonal Life” by Blue Rose popped up in a Baker’s Dozen. I liked it and realized I knew little about it. It turns out that I got it when I found a rip of The Music People, the massive sampler Columbia put out in 1970. Folks commented on the single and the group, and that spurred me to go out and find the record online. It arrived in a few weeks, and I ripped it and posted it.

Along the way, as I shifted records around in search of my samplers, I moved some records in the stack of “Stuff I’ve listened to and should do something about.” And the ad for the Warner/Reprise samplers slid out of the jacket of Living in the Country. So as I wrote about samplers, I mentioned the album in passing.

And three of the five comments left on the post were about Living in the Country by Levitt & McClure.

Andy from San Rafael. California, posting as ashaw953, said, “Enjoyed the mention of the obscuro ‘Living in the Country’ album by Leavitt [sic] and McClure. I knew of them because they went to my high school. I bought the album because one of my friends took guitar lessons from Dan Leavitt [sic], and recommended the album. Great stuff! I found a vinyl RIP of it months ago, and would be happy to share it with you for the list if you want.”

A few weeks later, Arpod said, “Andy, Like you, Levitt & McClure’s album was a big fave among my small group of guitar pickin’ friends way back the. If you’d like to share that vinyl rip it would deeply resonate with this old hippy. Thanks in advance.”

And later yet, re:music said, “Andy, I’d also like to add my request for the Levitt & McClure LP rip. Been eager to hear it for ages now… Many thanks in advance.”

When I saw those notes, I thought: I should put that album up on the USB and see if the vocals are buried there. I did, and they were. (In my haste to try my copy of the LP, I utterly missed Andy’s offer. Sorry, Andy.) I shook my head, not wanting to share the LP in that state, forgetting entirely that I had the rip already in my files, downloaded from some superlative blog sometime during the summer of 2006.

Then a song from the album popped up the other evening when I was reading. I glanced at the screen idly, then did a double take that would have been good enough for a Warner Bros. cartoon. Levitt & McClure? Eh? How’d that get there? Did I get up one night and rip it in my sleep? (I use the sleep aid Ambien, and I’ve heard tales of people under its influence getting up and cooking full meals, or going out for walks or drives, all of which are hazardous, of course. Was I getting up in the middle of the night and ripping under the influence?)

No, there was no midnight rambling going on. I soon realized that I’d forgotten I had the rip of the album in my files. But with more than 28,000 mp3s, I think that’s understandable.

So, here is Living in the Country, recorded in 1969 by Levitt & McClure.

It’s a good album, very much of its time in its country rock, folk-rock and singer/songwriter sensibilities. Those happen to be attitudes I like very much, and it’s a good listen.

Favorite tracks? I like the darker, slightly more full sound of “Wilderness of You,” and “Spiteful Love” is a keeper, though not as dark. “Reflections” is a good instrumental, and I like “Empty Boxes” and “Farewell to Sally Brown.” To my ears, the only misstep on the recored is the duo’s perfunctory take on Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow Is A Long Time.”

The duo wrote about two-thirds of the material on the record, one in collaboration with a writer identified only as “Karp.” Besides the Dylan cover, the duo covered a song by Pete Seeger. Producer Ron Elliott, who’d been a member of the Beau Brummels, wrote some songs for the album. One of those was evidently a collaboration with Gary Downey, who would co-produce Elliott’s album The Candlestickmaker in – I think – 1970. Elliott also co-wrote “Paradise” with a writer credited only as “Engle.” I know nothing more about either Karp or Engle.

Here are the notes from the back of the record jacket, written by Pete Johnson:

If you had four hands and twenty fingers and were hooked on people like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and Mississippi John Hurt and the Beach Boys and Buffalo Springfield, especially Flatt and Scruggs and the Springfield, and if you were born and raised in Encino, a sector of the wasteland which sprawls west of Los Angeles, and had nothing much better to do with your life than to spend it learning how to play guitar and banjo perfectly with your four hands and twenty fingers and if you could sing, too, from both of your mouths and write excellent songs, then you might record an album something like this one. But it probably wouldn’t be as good.

Tracks and writers:
With You (Levitt-McClure-Karp)
Wilderness of You (Levitt)
Spiteful Love (McClure)
Paradise (Engle-Elliott)
Reflections (Levitt)
Tomorrow Is A Long Time (Dylan)
Living in the Country (Seeger)
Ginny Black (Levitt-McClure)
Cripple Creek (Levitt-McClure)
Empty Boxes (Elliott)
Farewell to Sally Brown (Elliott-Downey)

Levitt & McClure – Living in the Country [1969]

Celebrating Vinyl Once More
Everybody put your records on! Vinyl Record Day 2008 is almost here!

Next Tuesday, August 12, is the 131st anniversary of the invention of the phonograph, and just like last year, a group of music bloggers will be marking the event with a blogswarm organized by JB the DJ at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’.

As were last year’s posts, this year’s offerings are shaping up to be quite a wide-spread selection with the only commonality being music on vinyl (or in at least once case, according to the previews listed so far at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’, vinyl’s predecessor).

Along with The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ and Echoes In The Wind, blogs taking part in the event are:

The “A” Side
AM, then FM
Any Major Dude With Half A Heart
Barely Awake in Frog Pajamas
Blues for the RedBoy
Derek’s Daily 45
The Devil’s Music
Fufu Stew
Funky 16 Corners
Got the Fever
The Great Vinyl Meltdown
It’s Great Shakes
My Hmphs
Retro Remixes
The Stepfather of Soul
The Vinyl District
You Must Be From Away

I’m sure that all my fellow bloggers will share fascinating tales of vinyl escapades on Tuesday next. As for me, well, I’ve been digging into two carrying cases of 45s that I’ve not looked at much over the years, seeing what’s really in there.

Delaney & Bonnie & Friends Rip It Up

June 18, 2011

Originally posted March 29, 2008

Riches abound at YouTube this morning. I never got further than the first item on my list of things to look for.

I’m not exactly sure when this video was shot, but it seems to have been on the same tour in England that brought about the album Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton. At least, it’s around the same time. Among the Friends mentioned yesterday, I didn’t see Tex Johnson or Rita Coolidge here, but they may be hidden behind speakers or amps. All of the other Friends I mentioned yesterday are here: Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Price, Bobby Keys and Eric Clapton. And there are two guests, one very visible and the other, it seems, not seen on the video but mentioned by Delaney at the end. Those guests are George Harrison and Billy Preston.

For me, this is about as good as it gets.

Video deleted.

A Few Notes
In the older essay about the summer of 1972 that I posted the other day, I said that the drafting of young men into the U.S. military ended by 1971. A reader named David, a year younger than I, sent me a pleasant note telling me that the draft was active at least a couple years more and his lottery number was 254. I was confused, as I was certain that the law authorizing the draft had lapsed in 1971. So I took a look at Wikipedia, which reports that the law did lapse but that Congress, after some wrangling, passed a two-year extension. I would imagine that, having gotten No. 354 in the lottery for men born in 1953, I was relieved enough that I paid no attention to what Congress did about the draft. No matter what the reason might have been for my being unaware of the dates, I should have checked them before I posted the essay. Thanks for the heads-up, David!

David, along with reader Yah Shure, also noted that a book about rock history, referred to in my post regarding Alex Taylor, was written by Lillian Roxon, not Ronson. I should note, then, that the quote I posted about James Taylor’s music likely did not come from that book. Taylor’s album, Sweet Baby James, came out in 1970, and Roxon’s book was first published in 1969. So I’m not sure where I read the quote about Taylor’s music, but I read it somewhere. It’s too good a quote for me to have made up!

And then, about yesterday’s post, which touched vaguely on science fiction’s place in leading me to be a writer: Had I known as I wrote on Wednesday morning that Arthur C. Clarke had died the day before, I certainly would have mentioned it. In fact, it might have been an entirely different post. Of the few writers I mentioned in yesterday’s post, Clarke is likely the one I would have tagged as the best, based on his ability to generate a story that grabs one’s attention, is based in the facts of science and is well-written throughout. As a farewell, I thought it would be appropriate to share a couple of lines from one of Clarke’s most famous characters (created with Stanley Kubrick, certainly), the HAL 9000 computer.

“I’m sorry, Dave, but I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

“Just what do you think you’re doing, Dave?”

Coming Attraction: Vinyl Record Day!

May 4, 2011

Originally posted August 6, 2007

A while back, the DJ at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ found the website for Vinyl Record Day, a celebration commemorating the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison on August 12, 1877.

Being the sort that shares his goodies, he got in touch with a number of music bloggers and organized a blogswarm. Over the coming weekend, Aug. 10 through 12, those of us involved will all have a post that in some way connects with vinyl records. I’m not sure what others are going to do, but I’m going to dig through the collection and find out which records were my 100th, my 200th and so on, and see what there is to say about those specific records.

And, as always, I’ll be presenting my customary Baker’s Dozen of mp3s.

So, along with the DJ and me, who’s taking part? Here’s the list, every one a fine blog:

AM Then FM
Flea Market Funk
Fufu Stew
Good Rockin’ Tonight
Got the Fever
Lost in the 80s
Py Korry
Retro Remixes
The Stepfather of Soul

It should be a fun weekend. Be sure to stop in.

A Slinky Trip Along Back Roads

April 29, 2011

Originally posted July 30, 2007

One of the maddening joys of collecting music, I imagine, is being a completist: aiming to acquire every piece of music produced by a certain musician or band. It’s an interesting idea, but unless the musician in question was a hermit and is long dead, it seems as if it would be impossible.

A note caught my eye at a forum where I drop in now and then. I’d posted Boo Hewerdine’s Baptist Hospital there, and one of my fellow forumites left a note “to all the Richard Thompson completists out there,” noting that Thompson played on a few tracks on the album. Certainly, in these Internet days, it’s far easier to be a completist if one wishes to be: There is more information more readily available than there used to be, and the music itself is more easily found, as well. So if one wishes to find the entire musical output of, say, Richard Thompson, one has a chance – however slender – of doing so.

I suppose it depends on one’s definition of completist. I have a lot of Beatles’ vinyl. In fact, I think I have almost everything that was released on Capitol/Apple, rare B-sides and all. I haven’t looked since I thought about it a few weeks ago, but it may be that of all the albums released from 1964 on – original releases and later compilations – the only thing I am missing is Reel Music, the compilation of music used in their films. If that’s the case, I probably should wander over to Ebay one of these days and find it. But I am certain that I have all of the songs on that compilation, so it’s not like it’s a matter of anything new escaping me. (I’m more interested these days in gathering the CD issues of the Beatles’ work in its British configuration, and I have five CDs to go on that little project. Now, if I were in the mood for a real collecting challenge, I’d aspire to collecting the British configuration albums on vinyl!)

As much as I like the Beatles, I’m not interested in acquiring every little thing they put on tape during their years together and during the odd times they were in each others’ company in the years after their break-up. (And I do like the Beatles very much; it was their music, for the most part, that brought me to loving pop music, and they remain one of my four or five favorite groups/artists of all time.) Given the sheer amount of stuff recorded during those years, acquiring all of it would be nigh impossible and, to my mind, not very rewarding.

Another artist whose fans would have a difficult time acquiring a complete collection would be Duane Allman. I said earlier that if the musician in question were long dead, it would make the acquisition of a complete collection easier. Well, in Duane’s case, that’s not necessarily so. Yes, he’s been dead for almost thirty-six years. But during his brief career as a member of the Allman Brothers Band and, especially, as a sideman, he was so prolific and so, well, casual about adding his talents to projects that from this distance, it would seem nigh impossible to get a complete collection of Duane Allman.

The website Duane Allman Resources is a good place to go to grasp the problem. Notes for many of the albums listed in the chronology at the site give differing accounts as to what tracks Allman played on. And given Allman’s well-known propensity for showing up at sessions and adding his talent to the mix without worrying about credit or even compensation, it would be utterly impossible, one would think, to track down every piece of tape to which he added his extraordinary talent.

After all, there would always be one more session to find, one more recording to seek, kind of like the legendary thirtieth song written by blues legend Robert Johnson or – more in my vein – the rumored tapes of sessions by The Band with Sonny Boy Williamson II. Now, I’m not here to rain on anyone’s parade; I wish completists well. I’m just happy to listen to the music that’s readily available, some of which itself can be difficult to find.

An album that falls into that category is one that features Duane Allman on four of its nine original tracks as well as on two bonus tracks included on the CD issue, now evidently out-of-print. Johnny Jenkins’ Ton Ton Macoute!, originally released in 1970, was issued on CD in 1997, according to All-Music Guide, but seems to no longer be available new anywhere (three copies were available used at Amazon this morning, starting at $60).

And that’s too bad. Ton Ton Macoute! is a tasty serving of southern stew, a slinky trip along the back roads. Several of the tracks, as I indicated above, have Duane Allman playing on them; they were originally intended to be part of an Allman solo album, but when the Allman Brothers Band took off, the backing tracks were handed to Jenkins, who made the songs his own. A few of the other members of the Allman Brothers Band – Jaimoe, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks – added their talents to Jenkins’ sessions, as did Capricorn stalwarts Pete Carr, Eddie Hinton and Johnny Sandlin.

Highlights of the album include Jenkins’ sly takes on Bob Dylan’s “Down Along The Cove” and Muddy Waters’ “Rolling Stone,” both of which were included on the Duane Allman anthologies. But the best track has to be Jenkins’ slithery performance on Dr. John’s “I Walk On Gilded Splinters,” which Jenkins and crew turn into a voodoo-nasty excursion deeper into the swamp than many people dare to wander.

According to the above cited chronology, Duane Allman plays on those three tracks as well as on “Voodoo In You” from the original album, and on the bonus tracks “I Don’t Want No Woman” and “My Love Will Never Die.”

My thanks to the blog Discos Ocultos, where I found the CD rip.

Johnny Jenkins – Ton Ton Macoute! [1970]

I Walk On Gilded Splinters
Leaving Trunk
Blind Bats And Swamp Rats
Rollin’ Stone
Sick And Tired
Down Along The Cove
Bad News
Voodoo In You
I Don’t Want No Woman (bonus)
My Love Will Never Die (bonus)

Some information
A visitor asked Friday: “Are you willing to share info on what program you use to clean up the pops and clicks from the LPs? [Your] transfers are exceptionally clean, and don’t have any of the ‘whooshing’ sound that comes from a lot of noise reduction processes.”

Actually, I don’t use any noise reduction program at all. Early on, in January and maybe February, I used the noise reduction utility in Audacity, the program I use to rip LPs, but I didn’t like what the noise reduction did to the overall quality of the rip: It seemed to make it a little tinny and echoey. So I quit using it.

I would guess that over the course of the blog, a little more than half of the album posts have been rips from vinyl taken from my collection. Other album posts have been rips from CDs in my collection that have now – from what I can tell – gone out of print. And there have been several shares of albums that I’ve found at other blogs, albums that are out of print, as far as I can tell. Some of those have been ripped from vinyl, according to the individuals who posted them at blogs or forums; others were ripped from CD. When I know the provenance of a rip, I try to say so in my post.

The fact that some of my shares are ripped from (out of print) CD’s is one reason the album shares here are clean. Another is that when I rip an LP, I am very picky. I mentioned the other week that I had been ripping a Jim Horn LP and abandoned it after too many scratches became too audible. I don’t mind a share with a few pops and scratches; many of the LPs I share are, after all, between thirty-five and forty-five years old. But I am picky, and the bulk of my record collection is in pretty good shape. So the rips I do post will generally be pretty clean, and the word “from vinyl” will be in the post line. [Those post lines – detailing the size of the download, the bitrate and the origin – have not been included in the archive.]

I should note here my policy on material found elsewhere. I will share music found on other blogs. I will not use other blogs’ uploads. The links to uploaded music you find here are my links. To share music found elsewhere is, to my mind, a good thing, expanding the awareness of music that can be fairly obscure. To copy and paste another blogger’s link is, to my mind, lazy at best and certainly dishonest. So any link to an upload here is one that I have created. Similarly, any written content posted here is my own – with the exception of quotations from another source, which will always be cited.