NB: Mono pressings of the Vanguard albums also exist. (1) and (2) also released in the U.K. by Fontana. Most of the Vanguard albums have been reissued in the '70s.
Of Norwegian origin, Eric Andersen was one of the best Greenwich Village folksingers and poet/songwriters during 1963/64, but his career has always been undermined by bad luck, poor judgment and mismanagement. After two good folk albums, his response to Dylan going electric was to re-record his best album with a rhythm section, hence the Take Two in the title.
His next effort, More Hits From Tin Can Alley, was ruined by the florid production of Al Gorgoni and features the usual New York musicians : Al Kooper, Hugh McCracken, Herb Lovelle, Bob Rafkin, Bobby Gregg, Paul Harris, Paul Griffin, plus some tasteful guitar parts of Amos Garrett. It contains one outstanding fast track, 'Mary Sunshine with McCracken (or Kooper?) doing a fantastic Bloomfield impersonation on electric guitar.
Following the collapse of the original folk scene, he pursued one fad after another, turning C&W for Country Dream and using Sgt Pepper-like orchestration for his Warner albums, which sold poorly. In 1972 he moved to Columbia and released one of his best albums, Blue River. Unfortunately the master tapes for the follow-up albums were lost and Andersen reappeared only in 1975, as a singer/songwriter a la James Taylor. He kept on recording for Arista and eventually returned to Norway.
In 1991 and 1994 he recorded two sympathetic albums with Rick Danko (The Band) and Jonas Fjeld. His songs have also been sung by other groups including: Violets Of Dawn by the Robbs and the Blues Project and Think About It by Len Novy. He is sometimes credited as Eric Anderson.
NB: (1) there was also a quadraphonic issue (VSQ 40018). Reissued on CD in 1998.
The former leader of The Wildweeds, Al Anderson joined NRBQ in 1971 and shortly after released a solo album with Jeff Potter from Clean Living, (Anderson had guested on their second album) plus Tom Staley, Donn and Terry Adams from his new group. Produced by Maynard Solomon and engineered by Jeff Zaraya, it offers a good humoured mix of country blues, folk and R&B numbers, all penned by Anderson except for a cover of Hank Williams' Honky Tonkin'.
The two 45s are from the album. Al Anderson later released further albums during the '70s and '80s.
This combo was launched by their label Casablanca Records as the "white" answer to Kiss, with whom they toured. They did a melodic hard-rock with strong keyboards. They also appeared in the Jodie Foster film "Foxes".
(Christophe Simplex / Don Smith / Jim McMaster)
A solid pop-thumper that comes with ringing guitars and a nod to The Beach Boys. The flip is full of 'hip' lyrics and a take on Bob Dylan circa 1965 lyric and sound-wise. Tongue-in-cheek folk-rock.
The 'A' side was a pop hit for the First Edition (as Ruby (Don't Take Your Love To Town)) but this unknown group recorded the original - a good sneering punky version with Dylan-like vocals and Animals style organ arrangement. The flip was a decent Jimmy Reed rip-off.
Their sole 45, it was picked up for national release by Tower, early in 1968.
(Stephane Rebeschini/George Gimarc)
Soft and restrained 'garage-ballads' from Rochester, New York, sounding anything but angry and coming on more like a lounge-bar band.
N.B. (1) was also issued in mono on Somerset (SF-32700), and also released on Europa (E 316) in Germany and Marble Arch (MAL 890) in 1969 in the UK. The album was also issued under two different titles: 101 Strings Astro-Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000 (Alshire) 196? R1/2 and The Black Diamonds A Tribute To Jimi Hendrix (Alshire S 5220) 19?? R1/2.
The Burbank, California-based Alshire label was best known for it's cheapo international music (eg. The Sounds Of Spain, The Tijuana Sound, Hawaiian Paradise) and 101 String MOR collections. In pursuit of profit rather than content, 1967 saw the label shell out some cash to have anonymous studio musicians write and record a series of psych-oriented instrumentals. Slapping a pseudo-trippy cover on the results (ignore the dazed long haired teens pictured on the cover since they certainly had nothing to do with the set), the cleverly titled The Animated Egg proved surprising accomplished. With little at stake, the anonymous band (no performing or writing credits are provided), roared through an all-instrumental set; material such as A Love Built On Sand, I Said, She Said, Ah Cid and Sock It My Way are heavy on fuzz, feedback and swirling organ. Elsewhere, Sippin' An Trippin' offered up a nifty slice of Byrds-styled jangle rock, while Tomorrow was a blatant rip off of The Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin'.
To make it even more complicated, Alshire recycled some of the material (and other stuff apparently recorded at the same sessions) credited to 101 Strings - Astro Sounds From Beyond The Year 2000, with a wonderful cheesy cover, and as Bebe Bardon and 101 Strings - The Sounds Of Love.
Some of the album's better cuts have recently resurfaced on compilations. You'll find I Said, She Said, AhCid on Relics, Vol. 2 (LP) and Relics Vol's 1 & 2 (CD); whilst Sock It My Way has turned up on Turds On A Bum Ride, Vol. 1 (Dble LP) and Turds On A Bum Ride Vol. 1 & 2 (Dble CD). Both tracks also appear on Lycergic Soap (LP).
The Everything You Always... CD also includes three cuts, credited under the Astro Sounds... monicker: Flameout, Barner X-69 and the delightfully titled A Disappointing Love Affair With A Desensitized Robot.
(Vernon Joynson/Clark Faville/Scott Blackerby)
NB: (1) came in a blue and white cover, black and white label, with insert. 500 copies were pressed. Anonymous (A Major Label AMLS 1002) 1981 R1/2, was a repressing of the Inside The Shadow album - this time untitled, with a slightly modified cover (black and white cover, red and white label, no insert). (1) reissued by OR (OR 015) 1996, in a ltd edition of 375.
Hailed from Indianapolis, Indiana, but recorded on a label based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Jim Spencer. This is a superb album of melodic guitar driven rock which blends exquisitely with Marsha's vocals on tracks like J Rider, Up To You, Pick Up And Run and Baby Come Risin, which is probably the album's finest moment. If you like ringing guitar work and harmonic vocals, this album is for you. They've been likened to Jefferson Airplane! They also had a 45 on Flat, which I don't have details of, and a cut on the 1981 compilation Let Them Eat Jellybeans on Faulty Records.
Ron Matelic and John Medvescek had earlier played for Sir Winston and The Commons. The Anonymous album has been reissued by OR records, early in 1997, along with another album No Longer Anonymous recorded by Ron, John and Marsha circa 1979, under the name J.Rider. This was later reissued by OR records as a ltd edition of 375 in 1996 (OR 016)
I am told the band who appear on the Let Them Eat Jellybeans compilation is a different one with the same name. The style of music of the band on the compilation is apparently something like The Residents.
A little known garage band from Berkeley, California. Mark Batterman joined the band in late '66 from Haymarket Riot (formerly The Livin' End), whilst Anderson and Friedman formed The Drongos after The Answer split in 1966.
Signed by Buddah the trio's self-titled 1970 album teamed them with producer Stan Vincent. Musically Anthem offered up a fairly entertaining mix of commercial pop (the title track) and slightly more experimental numbers (the extended Misty Morns). While it wasn't one of the year's most original offerings, all three members (guitarist Bartholomew, bassist Gregg Hollister and drummer Bobby Howe), were gifted with decent voices and on tracks such as Florida and Queen they displayed a knack for crafting some pretty harmonies. One of the three had a voice that sounded uncannily like The Monkees' Michael Nesmith.
Gregg Hollister later played with Rockspur (DJM, 1978).
(Stephane Rebeschini/Scott Blackerby)
See the Formerly Anthrax entry.
NB. (1) reissued on Resurrection. The vinyl reissue is exact and indistinguishable from the original except for the fact that it's on dark blue vinyl and must be held to a bright light to check. If you can't see colour through it, it's probably an original. (1) reissued on CD by Anthology (Ant 2311) 1995, with a newly designed cover. (1) reissued legitimately on CD by Collectables (Col-CD-0717) 1999 but with a different running order.
Steve Detray, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio, took a break in 1966 and early 1967 to spend time in Logan, Utah with his brother. While out there, he formed a band which he named Ant Trip Ceremony after a suggestion from a local English professor who had seen the term in a novel. The phrase was a description of modern human society and Detray thought it an appropriate name for his band. Before he returned to Oberlin for the 1967/8 academic year, Steve disbanded the band but retained the name when he formed a new electric rock band at Oberlin. Gary Rosen, George Galt, and Mark Stein had been playing together in a blues band. Stein was a flute major at Oberlin, Roger Goodman was also a student, and the only non-college member was the drummer, Steve Williams, a 16-year-old local kid who had some jazz-drumming experience.
The band mainly played gigs at Oberlin and were noted for long improvisatory jams. Their album was recorded in two sessions, the first in February 1968 and the second some months later. Steve Detray was only present for the first session as he left the College in the spring of 1968. Technical faults affected the recording: the KLH deck used for playback had a faulty right speaker and the mixdown was affected as a result with vocals sounding further back in the mix than originally intended. The producer, David Crosby, was a fellow-student at Oberlin and contrary to legend is not the David Crosby of The Byrds/CSN&Y fame. Only 300 copies of the album were pressed and sold around campus.
A blend of folk, blues, jazz and eastern psychedelia, the album is at its best on the more meditative pieces like Pale Shades Of Gray with it's eerily beautiful snakecharmer melody and What's The Matter Now which is based on on a reflective "Goodbye Pork Pie-Hat" riff. Four In The Morning and Riverdawn are also in this lullingly insistent vein whilst Elaborations is a lengthy raga-ish instrumental with some very effective flute. Some of the covers like Get Out Of My Life Woman and Eric Andersen's Violets Of Dawn are no more than adequate, but their version of Hey Joe is much more exciting.
The band disbanded as the members left college. Steve, George, Gary, and Jeff still perform while Roger is retired from teaching college. Steve Williams later played with such greats as Clark Terry, Al Hall and Herb Lovette, whilst Rosen was a Bluesbander prior to his conversion to folk music. Goodman came from England originally.
(Lloyd Peasley / Vernon Joynson / Clark Faville)
NB: (1) also released in France: (CBS S7-63690) 1969. (1) reissued on CD by Buy Or Die.
These two albums of acid psychedelia are highly rated by some. Their first album is consistently good throughout and is certainly recommended. A wide range of material is held together by tight playing and some fine guitar/organ interplay. Unfortunately, the second album pales by comparison and is largely uninspired with no real highlights.
The band came from Chicago and during the mid sixties were a popular Top 40's lounge group, going by the name of The Exceptions. After a couple of years of regurgitating the latest hits, they were getting bored and were looking for room to explore their musical talents, when producer Bill Traut (of Dunwich Records) approached them with an offer to record an album of original material. All of the group with the exception of Pete Cetera lept at the chance, and with the bass slot now filled by Bobby Jones, they renamed themselves as Aorta.
Curiously their first album was released the same month as three other Chicago acts signed to Columbia Illinois Speed Press, The Flock, and Chicago (who incidentally included Pete Cetera). This was a marketing ploy to push a "Chicago" scene and all four albums entered the Billboard Top 200, with Aorta's peaking at around 168 and remaining in the chart for a respectable six weeks. Incidentally, the basic tracks and vocal tracks for the first album were recorded at Great Lakes Recording studio in Sparta, Michigan, with one track Sprinkle Road To Cork Street referring to two roads in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Been and the Donlinger brothers had all formerly played in The Rotary Connection, another Chicago act, and Been and Jim Dolinger were later in Lovecraft. Nyeholt also played with The Rotary Connection during a brief period between the two albums, and Billy Herman went on to play for New Colony Six. Michael Been later played with Moby Grape members Jerry Miller / Bob Mosley in Fine Wine, and is still active on the music scene.
The compilation Psychedelic Dream features three tracks from their first album:- What's In My Mind's Eye, a beautiful piece of orchestrated pop-psych; Sleep Tight, a rather disjointed song which wasn't one of their finest moments but ended with some pleasant keyboards and Catalyptic, a cover of a Colours song, which is another keyboard dominated number with some occasionally scintillating guitar. The latter track has often puzzled collectors, as it fits neatly into the 'concept' of Aorta, but is pre-dated by the Colours version. In fact, Bill Traut had received a demo of the track, and suggested it to Aorta for their album, but other than that there's no direct link between the groups.
Anyone interested in digging into Aorta's roots may be interested in the Collectables CD The Quill Records Story: The Best of Chicago Garage Bands, which includes two Exceptions singles: As Far As I Can See and Business As Usual.
Also recommended is the 45 version of Strange, which includes different guitar and can be found on U-Spaces: Psychedelic Archaeology Vol. 1 (CDR);
(Vernon Joynson / Byron Stewart / Stephane Rebeschini / Michael Packer)