sábado, 25 de abril de 2015
A guitarist named John Thomas seems to have as much chance of being recognized as an individual as a fire hydrant in an urban setting. An attached nickname can sometimes be helpful when faced with such a challenge, and this Australian-born performer came up with a good one when he dubbed himself Creepy John Thomas after moving to London. Still, not everyone who hired him wanted to call him a creep in liner notes so, for example, he is sometimes mistaken for the British guitarist John "J.T." Thomas, who joined Budgie in 1978. Neither of these Commonwealth blokes have anything to do with the John Thomas who plays electric guitar on hip sides by Joe Henderson and Jimmy McGriff.
Creepy John ThomasCreepy John Thomas also made use of the stage name Johnny Driver. His first professional success took place as a songwriting member of the Flies, a combo based out of Melbourne that had Australian chart hits. the Flies were known to land on support gigs for some of the biggest '60s attractions touring down under, including the Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison. British RCA put out his self-titled Creepy John Thomas in 1969, a follow-up enchantingly entitled Brother Bat Bone ensuing on Teldec. A firm entitled Fingerprint has apparently reissued both of these masterworks, yet Thomas himself warns fans that these are bootleg productions.
BandagesThomas spent about a year in San Francisco following the original release of these solo albums, but by the early '70s had returned to London and a position as guitarist in the Edgar Broughton Band. Two albums with this outfit feature Thomas, the particularly practically entitled Bandages -- seeing as the album has cuts on it, that is -- combining him with studio mastermind Mike Oldfield. The guitarist also collaborated with Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox prior to the beginning of their Eurythmics success.
During the late '70s this artist undertook another location shift, heading to Berlin and starting up his own Johnny & the Drivers band. Thomas enjoyed Berlin, where creeps are popular, for a decade. Again the project netted a pair of albums on as many labels, in this case Polydor and Phonogram pressing the platters. Thomas was "planning his next attack" upon returning to London but soon made his expertise available to other performers as a producer. He eventually released a new solo album, suggesting listeners Remember Me This Way.
domingo, 19 de abril de 2015
This is a commune band, also known as ‘Center Family’. The album is mostly mystical folk, and includes a ‘chant instructional’. A lot of it isn’t far from standard ‘70s singer-songwriter music, other than the spiritual lyrics. Tempos are generally sluggish and the songwriting simple, though a few songs have catchy choruses. The songs are just acoustic guitar and vocals (mostly male, though some female too), with flute or harmonica on a few, and electric guitar on one. They definitely suffer from lack of variety. Not really the kind of thing that can hold a listener’s interest for a full half hour.
miércoles, 15 de abril de 2015
Tommy James & the Shondells -- the very mention of their name, even to someone who doesn't really know their music, evokes images of dances and the kind of fun that rock & roll represented before it redefined itself on more serious terms. And between 1966 and 1969, the group enjoyed 14 Top 40 hits, most of which remain among the most eminently listenable (if not always respected) examples of pop/rock. The group was almost as much of a Top 40 radio institution of the time as Creedence Clearwater Revival, but because they weren't completely self-contained (they wrote some, but not all, or their own hits) and were more rooted in pop/rock than basic rock & roll, it took decades for writers and pop historians to look with favor on Tommy James & the Shondells.
We present the amazing story of We The People, a 60s teen band from L.A (not to be confused with the other band with the same name from Florida) who created an amazing blend of garage, folk-rock & psychedelic sounds.
Between 1967 and 1968, the band, comprised of four young kids, recorded a few 45s for the Reena label, two of them released under the American Zoo name. Despite their young age, the band members were accomplished musicians / songwriters. They debuted in 1967 with “Feelings of my emptiness” / “For no one to see”, two amazing pieces of moody garage with superb vocal harmonies and arrangements. Their second 45, “Back Street Thoughts” / “Who Am I?” offered two pieces of introspective psychedelia with some over the top tape/echo effects courtesy of Dal Kacher, a session guitar player and sound engineer who had been part of early Mothers Of Invention. “Who Am I?” was included decades later in “Diminishing Returns”, a famous psych mix by DJ Shadow.
In 1968, the group released their third 45, this time under the American Zoo name: “Mr. Brotherhood” / “Magdalena” were another two examples of outstanding garage-psychedelia. A second pressing of the 45 was released featuring a new mix of “Mr. Brotherhood” losing one minute but incorporating some wild electronic effects. In the 1980’s, the song was included on such legendary compilations as “High All The Time” and “Psychedelic Unknowns”.
That same year, American Zoo released their last 45: “What Am I?” was a reworking of “Who Am I?” with a more psychedelic production by Del Kacher. It was backed with the earlier recording of “Back Street Thoughts.
So, the story of four young kids playing and recording top-notch garage-psychedelia is in itself amazing…but even more amazing is what happened later to some of the We The People / American Zoo members: Guitar player Bill Bottrell became a Grammy award producer, working with Michael Jackson, Madonna and George Harrison among others. Drummer Jason “Jasun” Martz toured with Frank Zappa and recorded with Michael Jackson. Today, he’s a well-known avant-garde artist and sculptor. Steve Zaillian, the first We The People drummer, became an Academy Award winning director, producer and screenwriter (“Schindler’s List” and “Hannibal” among others).
This collection includes all the We The People / American Zoo 45 sides plus two previously unreleased tracks from 1967, taken from the only surviving copy of the band’s 10” demo acetate.