Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Oregon - Our First Record (1970)

Although it wasn't released until 1980, "Our First Record" presents, as the title suggests, the first ever recordings by the original Oregon line-up. Recorded in 1970, this album offers a fascinating view how the unique Oregon sound came to be. Sensationally the group, at that stage nameless and hardly a band at all in the proper sense of the word, has its trademark natural global chamber jazz style firmly in place. This is just as great as any other vintage Oregon album (or any Oregon album, for that matter, for they are all winners). "Music of another present era", as the musicians themselves described their musical style. This is an electrifying album, even though it's fully acoustic. (Amazon.com)

Listen to 'Full Circle':

Our First Record

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barbara & Ernie - Prelude To... (1971)

This lost gem from 1972 is quite an oddity. The unlikely pairing of guitarist Ernie Calabria and soul singer Barbara Massey came together to record this album of outlandish, genre-defying hybrids. Both artists were seasoned session players, Calabria performing alongside the likes of Harry Belafonte (on the same recording that saw Bob Dylan's studio debut, 1961's Midnight Special), Nina Simone and Anita Carter (of The Carter Family) while Massey's credits as a backing vocalist include Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock and Cat Stevens among others. The fruits of their collaboration are best described as a cross-pollination of folk, R&B and psychedelic acid soul. Consequently, this music met with baffled ears upon its initial release and quickly disappeared into obscurity. Listening from our current position in history it all seems relatively coherent, and you just assume this is the sort of thing that went on in the '70s. adding extra gravitas to the recording are jazz heroes Keith Jarrett and Joe Beck - Jarrett in particular leaves his indelible mark on the album, with his breathtaking technique rampaging across album close 'Satisfied'. A very welcome re-discovery this, certainly one for fans of the Finders Keepers reissues. (boomkat.com)

Listen to 'Play With Fire':

Prelude To...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

V.A. - Wizzz: Psychorama Francaise (1968 - 1971)

Love the French or hate 'em, it's virtually impossible to deny the appeal of vintage French pop -- ya-ya this and go-go that, the best stuff's a mind-bending fusion of sunshine pop, psychedelic soul, and sleazy cabaret, a Eurotrash celebration of sex and drugs presumably fueled by same. Wizzz: Psychorama Francais 1966-1971 is a fantastic retrospective that captures the sheer excess of its era, musical and otherwise -- the songs stagger across the tightrope separating Now Sound grooves and blaxploitation funk, complete with fuzz-soaked guitars, deep bass, squawking horns, and thick, swirling organs. Charlotte Leslie's opening "Les Filles C'Est Fait" (roughly translated, "Girls Are Made to Make Love") perfectly sets the musical and lyrical tenor for what follows, with a soulful swagger strangely reminiscent of Dobie Gray's Northern Soul classic "The In Crowd"; other highlights include Philippe Nicaud's "Cuisses Nues, Bottes De Cuir," Christie Laume's "Rouge Rouge," Stephane Varegues' "Le Pape du Pop," and Danyel Gerard's "Sexologie."

1. Les filles c'est fait... -- Charlotte Leslie
2. Rouge rouge -- Christie Laume
3. À dégager -- Les Fleurs De Pavot
4. Sexologie -- Danyel Gerard
5. Je m'ennuie -- Richard De Bordeaux
6. Champs Élysées -- Christiene Pilzer
7. Exitissimo -- William Sheller
8. Le papyvore -- Les Papyvores
9. Le pape du pop -- Stéphane Varègues
10. Psychose -- Messieurs Richard De Bordeaux & Daniel Beretta
11. Avec les oreilles -- Monique Thubert
12. Bernadette -- L'oeil
13. La drogue -- Messieurs Richard De Bordeaux & Daniel Beretta
14. Cuisses nues, bottes de cuir -- Philippe Nicaud

Listen to 'Les Papyvores - Le Papyvore':