Guitar Legend TOMMY BOLIN Celebrated With New Collection Of Lost Tracks!
Los Angeles, CA – This year will mark the 45th anniversary of the passing of Tommy Bolin, the supremely talented guitarist and songwriter, best known for his work with Deep Purple and The James Gang, who captivated the world with his sophisticated and ferocious playing. Bolin’s tragic death, he was a mere 25 years old, has been one of rock music’s great “what ifs” forcing critics and fans to grapple with what Bolin might have been able to accomplish in subsequent years were he still alive, given that he managed to produce such amazing works of mature artistry at such a young age. Many point to Bolin’s most fully realized, and sadly final, album, the magnificent Private Eyes, as proof that for all of Bolin’s success, the man was just getting warmed up!
Private Eyes was Bolin’s second solo album, following up the classic Teaser album in 1975, and after his departure from Deep Purple. There have been numerous posthumous ‘archive’ releases over the years, and as a fan I’m also curious and keen. 12 tracks are included on this release, as a couple of songs get more than one version. Really looking forward to hearing this, as Bolin was not just an amazing guitar player, but a fine singer and great songwriter.
Now a new collection of never before released outtakes and demos from those recording sessions will be released showing the many sides of Bolin’s talent. The collection is called Shake The Devil – The Lost Sessions and will be released on February 12 courtesy of Cleopatra Records. Licensed directly from Bolin’s estate and with informative liner notes from rock journalist Dave Thompson, these recordings offer both acoustic, instrumental and alternate versions of some of Bolin’s best known tunes including his most popular song, “Bustin’ Out For Rosey.” That track is today offered as a special sneak preview of the album, which will be available on both CD as well as a gorgeous gatefold vinyl with your choice of white, purple or red vinyl!
2-CD And 2-LP Versions Of First Black Sabbath Albums With Ronnie James Dio On Vocals Feature Newly Remastered Audio Along With Rare And Unreleased Music
*Looking forward to these! Perhaps my 2 favorite albums in the Black Sabbath catalogue.
Live Versions Of “Heaven And Hell” And “The Mob Rules” Available Today As Digital Singles
LOS ANGELES – Singer Ronnie James Dio joined Black Sabbath in 1979 which resulted in two back-to-back classic albums: Heaven And Hell and Mob Rules. On those memorable albums, Dio’s soaring tenor and gothic songwriting were the perfect foil for the band’s bone-crushing mix of razor-sharp riffs, intense grooves, and dark imagery.
Rhino salutes the long shadow cast by this short-lived lineup with newly remastered versions of both albums expanded with rare and unreleased music. HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION and MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION will be released separately on March 5. Each album will be available on 2-CDs ($19.98), or a 2-LPs ($31.98). Due to space constraints, both vinyl editions include a selection of bonus material from the CDs. The music will also be available via digital download and streaming services the same day. A rare live version of “Heaven And Hell” and a previously unreleased live version of “The Mob Rules” are both available today as digital singles. Click HERE to listen now.
Dio joined Black Sabbath for the first time in 1979 and quickly found kindred spirits in guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler, and drummer Bill Ward. When Heaven And Hell was released in April 1980, the album was met with effusive reviews for the band’s return to form on metal masterpieces like “Neon Knights” and the title track. The album reached #9 in the U.K. and #28 in the U.S., where it was also certified platinum.
HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION adds several bonus tracks that have never been released in North America, including versions of “Children Of The Sea” and “Die Young” recorded live in 1980 in Hartford, CT. The set concludes with live rarities like “E5150” and “Neon Knights” that originally appeared in 2007 on the Rhino Handmade’s limited edition collection, Black Sabbath: Live At Hammersmith Odeon.
To follow-up Heaven And Hell, the group returned to the studio in 1981 to begin recording Mob Rules, with drummer Vinny Appice joining the band for the first time. Released in October 1981 and certified gold, the album was another Sabbath classic, including standouts like “The Sign Of The Southern Cross,” “Turn Up The Night” and the title track.
MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION boasts an expansive selection of rare and unreleased recordings. Along with additional tracks from Live At Hammersmith Odeon, the collection also includes a newly mixed version of “The Mob Rules.” The cherry on top is an entire concert recorded in 1982 in Portland, OR. Highlights include stellar performances of “Neon Knights” “Heaven And Hell” and “Voodoo.”
The Dio-fronted lineup disbanded in 1982 but reunited a decade later to record Dehumanizer and tour before going on hiatus again. The group came together again in 2006 to record three new songs for Rhino’s era-spanning collection, Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. The collaboration led to a highly anticipated world tour in 2007 where the group was billed as Heaven And Hell. Their final album of new material, 2009’s The Devil You Know, again demonstrated the musical bond between the band members was unparalleled.
HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION 2-CD Track Listing Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster) 1. “Neon Knights” 2. “Children Of The Sea” 3. “Lady Evil” 4. “Heaven And Hell” 5. “Wishing Well” 6. “Die Young” 7. “Walk Away” 8. “Lonely Is The Word”
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks 1. “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” * 2. “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” * 3. “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD) Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980) 4. “Neon Knights” * 5. “Children Of The Sea” * 6. “Heaven And Hell” * 7. “Die Young” * Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982) 8. “E5150” 9. “Neon Knights” 10. “Children Of The Sea” 11. “Heaven And Hell”
2-LP Track Listing Side One 1. “Neon Knights” 2. “Children Of The Sea” 3. “Lady Evil” 4. “Heaven And Hell”
Side Two 1. “Wishing Well” 2. “Die Young” 3. “Walk Away” 4. “Lonely Is The Word”
Side Thee 1. “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” * 2. “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” * 3. “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD) 4. “Neon Knights” – Live 1980 *
Side Four 1. “Children Of The Sea” – Live 1980 * 2. “Heaven And Hell” – Live 1980 * 3. “Die Young” – Live 1980 *
MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION 2-CD Track Listing Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster) 1. “Turn Up The Night” 2. “Voodoo” 3. “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” 4. “E5150” 5. “The Mob Rules” 6. “Country Girl” 7. “Slipping Away” 8. “Falling Off The Edge Of The World” 9. “Over And Over”
Bonus Tracks 10. “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version 11. “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” * 12. “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix ** Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82) 13. “Country Girl” 14. “Slipping Away” 15. “The Mob Rules” 16. “Voodoo” Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982 17. Intro ** 18. “Neon Knights” **
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982 1. “N.I.B.” ** 2. “Children Of The Sea” ** 3. “Voodoo” ** 4. “Black Sabbath” ** 5. “War Pigs” ** 6. Drum Solo ** 7. “Iron Man” ** 8. “The Mob Rules” ** 9. “Heaven And Hell” ** 10. Guitar Solo ** 11. “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise ** 12. “Paranoid” ** 13. “Children Of The Grave” **
2-LP Track Listing Side One 1. “Turn Up The Night” 2. “Voodoo” 3. “The Sign Of The Southern Cross” 4. “E5150” 5. “The Mob Rules”
Side Two 1. “Country Girl” 2. “Slipping Away” 3. “Falling Off The Edge Of The World” 4. “Over And Over”
Side Three 1. “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version 2. “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” * 3. “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix ** 4. “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
Side Four Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82) 1. “Country Girl” 2. “Slipping Away” 3. “The Mob Rules” 4. “Voodoo”
* previously unreleased in North America ** previously unreleased
The title “Hobo” [and lyrical subject] is another widely used amongst bands in the ’70s and ’80s. Aside from just the 6 tracks I chose here, there’s plenty of songs with ‘hobo’ in the title or lyrics. There was a few others with the same title in the ’60s [UK band The Outlaws, and US band Good Rats]. Heck, Whitesnake’s huge hit “Here I Go Again” was about a hobo, originally done with the lyric “like a hobo I was born to walk alone” – Coverdale altered the word hobo to ‘drifter’ when the song was redone [and became a hit] in 1987 concerned people might think he was singing something else. Weird. Actually, I don’t hear the term hobo used often much anymore; a hobo being a homeless person, drifter, vagrant…
From the band’s second album. [The] Gun was a trio, consisting of Adrian and Paul Gurvitz, as well as drummer Louie Farrell. The Gurvitz’ had been a part of late 60s band The Knack, who recorded a number of singles, while Farrell had recorded with Bulldog Breed. I prefer the band’s 2nd album GunSight, though the debut may be better known, as it was the first to feature Roger Dean artwork. “Hobo” is a fine, lighter number, based on acoustic guitar, with soft vocals and harmonies, and slide guitar, giving this a bit of a southern feel. Nice blend of guitars – [acoustic, slide, electric], as the track picks up a bit, then fades out. This song fits perfectly in this album that is a brilliant mix of hard rock, psychedelia, and acoustics. Great vocals and songs. A shame there wasn’t a third album, as the band split with the Gurvitz brothers going on to Three Man Army [w/ drummer Mike Kellie of Spooky Tooth], and later The Baker-Gurvitz Army [w/ Ginger Baker]. No idea what became of Farrell. Footnote- early on the band hired Jon Anderson as lead singer, and had an organ player; both were soon let him go.
Bullet / Hard Stuff
This track was initially recorded by Bullet and released as a single in 1971. It was the band featuring former Atomic Rooster members John Du Cann [aka Cann], and Paul Hammond, as well as John Gustafson [ex Quatermass, and singer Harry Shaw. The band took on the name Daemon, then Bullet, after realizing they couldn’t use the Atomic Rooster name [Vincent Crane owned it]. They then changed name to Hard Stuff [due to another band of the same name Bullet in the US], and let Shaw go. So the track was re-done with new vocals by Du Cann for the first Hard Stuff album Bulletproof, released in 1972. A little guitar build up, and this one kicks in to a heavy riff. It’s straight ahead guitar, bass , drums rocker here; great guitar playing and vocals , cool slide guitar. Standout track on a classic album! This stuff has all been re-issued on Purple Records .
This rocker leads off the 2nd album by this German band titled WhereThe Groupies Killed The Blues from 1972. Cool jazzy intro, with John Lawton coming in with those vocals [screams] early on, similar to “Ride The Sky”; maybe this rocker was trying to recapture the same feel of their debut single[?], but there’s much more going on here than a straight ahead proto-metal classic based on a heavy riff. This track, co-written by Lawton and [guitarist] Peter Hesslein was also issued as a single in Spain & Germany. Lyrically written from the perspective of a hobo, who is really just kinda complaining how his life is no fun, on the run. Great track, and I love the guitar soloing here, as well as the Hesslein’s playing out til the end, great bass, piano, drum sound … a good bit of funk, jazz, hard-rock… Co-produced by Herbert Hildebrandt and Conny Plank [RIP]. RIP – Dieter Horns [19.12.20]
This UK blues/funk/soul rock band featured Mick Green on guitar, who had a long history going back to Johnny Kidd & The Pirates in the ’60s, and was a big influence on the likes of Pete Thownsend, Wilko Johnson, and Mick Box . The band also included Chuck Bedford [vocals, harmonica], who had previously recorded for Motown act Celebration. Mike Demain [bass, keyboards], and Pete Kircher [drums, vocals], and featured backing singer Barbara Bedford. Shanghai started as Fresh Meat, releasing 2 singles – one of which was “Hobo”; they then released a single prior to this album under the band name ‘Hobo’. This track is a great funk/soul number, that kicks off side 2. Kinda slower tempo’d, that reminds me in parts of David Essex’s “Rock On”, but then picks up during the chorus, with sweet backing vocals and guitar. Bedford and Demain both left following this debut album and legendary British soul singer Cliff Bennett was brought in for the band’s 2nd [and final album]. Bedford would record a couple of solo singles, but I’ve found no info on him [or Demain] after that. Peter Kirchner would turn up in Status Quo for a bit in the ’80s, and Mick Green would go on to reform [and record with] The Pirates. *Anyone have this LP? I need a copy!
The first single[A-side] by Canadian band Triumph in 1975 was penned by Larry Leischman of Rhinoceros. The single was recorded before guitarist Rik Emmett joined the band, and featured founding members Gil Moore [drums, vocals], Mike Levine [bass], Fred Keeler [guitar], and Peter Young [organ]. Neat guitar intro from Keeler, who had a great history, having played with the likes of David Clayton Thomas in The Shays, and recorded albums with The Majestics  and Jericho [1971, produced by Todd Rundgren!]. Not a bad hard rock track, decent enough as a single; the playing is great, and Gil Moore’s vocal isn’t bad. Definitely has an early Canadian sound to it, and a very different sounding band to what Triumph became big with a few years later. Both Keeler and Young left around the time of the single’s release, with Rik Emmett joining shortly after, and presumably this track was quickly forgotten. Haven’t found much info on what became of Peter Young, tho’ he did write a book – Let’s Dance : A Celebration of Ontario’s Dance Halls and Summer Dance Pavilions. Freddie Keeler has been hailed as an integral member of the Toronto sound of the ’60s, and sadly passed away in July of 2019 [RIP]. I’ve yet to find any pics of this line-up of the band [or in it’s original name – Abernathy Shagnaster].
This is from the band and lone LP released immediately after David Byron’s departure from Uriah Heep. I really like this album. The band and album were over-hyped in some of the press, and the album wasn’t much of a success, and band soon folded. This one is a band composition with a neat intro / hook from from Clem Clempson, and a great vocal from David Byron, who seems to tell the story of a guy going from woman to woman and getting rejected, before admitting he was wrong and returns to the one he initially left. A decent rocker, with a mix of guitar and organ, and a cool quiet instrumental section that kicks back into the main riff, before dropping down again into a sorta jazzy keyboard and saxophone section, throw in some more guitar, more piano, synths… clocking in at nearly 6 minutes, over half of this track is instrumental, and eventually fades in to the next cut, a short keyboard instrumental by Damon Butcher titled “The Link”. Co-engineered by the legendary Richard Digby Smith, who would later produce Byron’s last recordings.
GLENN HUGHES’ 17 SONGS ON LEAD VOCALS FOR THE PHENOMENA PROJECT COLLECTED TOGETHER ON THE NEW “STILL THE NIGHT” COMPILATION – OUT NOW!
A fantastic compilation of Glenn Hughes tracks from the 3 Phenomena albums he was involved in. The first 2 albums being classic ’80s aor/hard rock, with Hughes taking lead vocals on most of the tracks from the debut and a few lead vocals on the 2nd and 4th albums. Lots of big name players on those first 2 albums from 1985 and ’87, and this compilation features a number of great tracks performed by Hughes, most notably “Still The Night”, “Surrender”, and “Kiss Of Fire” – how were these songs not hits in the mid ’80s? See press release below….
GLENN HUGHES’ 17 SONGS ON LEAD VOCALS FOR THE PHENOMENA PROJECT COLLECTED TOGETHER ON THE NEW “STILL THE NIGHT” COMPILATION – OUT NOW!
Glenn Hughes sang lead vocals on17 tracks for the Phenomena Project and all these tracks have been collected together on one Phenomena compilation named after the Hughes co-penned track “Still The Night”.
Phenomena is an all-star series of albums created by Tom Galley and this compilation also features: Cozy Powell, Mel Galley, Neil Murray, Ric Sanders, Ted McKenna, Michael Sturgis and Richard Bailey.
The tracks are collected together from the million selling debut Phenomena” album, “Dream Runner” and “Psycho Fantasy”.
As Tom Galley recalls of Glenn Hughes’s work with Phenomena “It did him a lot of good. He got a lot of attention for the performance he did for us”.
This compilation also features final mixes of the RARE tracks “Assassins in the Night”, “Running with the Pack” and the 12” remix of “Still the Night”. The CD housed in an attractive 6 panel digipack with artwork by Iain Lowe.
Martin’s latest book is this 325 page in-depth read on American ’70s rockers Angel. Damn excited to get this, as I remember Martin talking about possibly doing this earlier this year -And here it is! Happy to have played a part in it as well.
An interesting read the early years on the band, and the different [and sometimes clashing] recalls on how the band got signed to management and then to Casablanca [depending on the bandmember] , and then the name…. plus the various pre-Angel bands that connected the original bandmembers together. This is the usual great in-depth analysis on the band’s albums, and the personnel issues, from Martin. And with Angel, and what Angel fans will want to read is the various reasons of why these guys didn’t make it big, and sorta got cast as that underrated [and unsuccessful] 2nd fiddle to labelmate’s Kiss, as well as the management issues, the struggle to get a hit and become bigger and carrying on in to the ’80s. The ’80s [IMO] is the decade these guys would’ve been huge, given their image / outfits, and more mainstream pop-hard rock direction of their last few albums. So – many questions are answered here, regarding the band’s eventual collapse at the end of the decade with an awesome album – Sinful, an ill-timed and under promoted double live album, a ditched movie, and a movie role that would end up being a cameo and 2 new [and last] tracks [Foxes]. From there, there is a look at the bandmember’s post-Angel days, the few attempts to resurrect the band with a few members, and then on to the return of Punky Meadows & Frank Dimino, and the excellent new album Risen in 2019.
Most of this book is put together from Martin’s own interviews, particularly with Felix Robinson, Frank Dimino, and Punky Meadows [and a number of other former associates, management…]; others like Gregg Giuffria are represented in the story through plenty of press articles from the ’70s & ’80s. A full discography on the band, as well as short set of pertinent related releases. There’s a few sections of cool color shots of the band [promo and live shots], all making for an awesome package for Angel fans.
For more info / ordering, check out http://www.martinpopoff.com . Don’t hesitate if you’re interested, as these books are usually limited and go fast. *Martin also has upcoming books on Uriah Heep [A Visual History] another in his series on Rush [Driven] , and is finishing off a bio on Sweet [looking forward to that one!].
For anyone not familiar with this album, it is a ‘must have’ for Uriah Heep fans. The album once mysterious and extremely rare & sought after by fans who knew it’s Heep connections [w/ original pressings being very costly], is a heavy album of psych rock featuring Ken & Lee, with Ken singing, and his guitar and Hammond sound. Very heavy in places on gems like “You Must Come With Me” and the title track, as well as a few softer moments such as “The Girl Who Loved, The Girl Who Loved”. Fave cut for me is “The First Time”, with it’s lengthy organ riff intro and harmonies – this would’ve made a fine Heep track. If you’re not familiar with this, but love the early Uriah Heep stuff – you will surely love this album, forgotten for decades, and finally given a proper re-issue, thanks to producer David Paramor.
For Immediate Release:
Long Forgotten Pre-Uriah Heep Album Head Machine’s Orgasm featuring Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake Re-Released Officially for the First Time Since the 1970s!
Head Machine’s Orgasm Receives Definitive 50th Anniversary Edition Re-Master – OUT NOW!
Head Machine’s Orgasm album was recorded in 1969 and this is the FIRST OFFICIAL RE-RELEASE of the album since 1971. Every other re-release since then has been a counterfeit.
The album features four members of The Gods: Ken Hensley (also of Uriah Heep, credited here as Ken Leslie), Lee Kerslake (also of Uriah Heep, credited here as Lee Poole), John Glascock (also of Jethro Tull, credited here as John Leadhen) and Brian Glascock (credited here as Brian Poole).
This 50th Anniversary Edition has been given a 2020 re-mastering and its better sound quality than any previous edition. The packaging is a 6-panel digipack and the booklet features new liner notes by David Paramor plus exclusive comments from Ken Hensley, Lee Kerslake and Brian Glascock.
Work on this re-release was completed in early 2020, for a May release which was the 50th Anniversary month of it’s first release. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed that plan and then the publicity was held, when Lee Kerslake and then Ken Hensley passed away, to ensure the painstaking work undertaken on this re-release wouldn’t be mistaken for a cash in.
The original producer David Paramor endorsed the re-release saying “This album is a chapter in the history of everyone involved, and in these days of less prudish attitudes, I hope this 50th Anniversary release will bring some of the tracks to a wider audience.“
Another heavy rockin’ trio from Texas has released their third album earlier this year is Jason Kane & The Jive! I recently reviewed the San Antonio band’s album Soggy Noggin, and now present an interview with Jason Kane [via email]. A cool look in to a newer band you got to check out! On their latest album these guys mix up hard-rock, blues, and funk, and come up with a CD full of great tunes. Check ’em out – Jason Kane Official – YouTube
[Jason] Prior to the band you were doing an acoustic show!? Anything become of that? [I saw a cool rendition of “Stealin” on Youtube – never seen it done quite that way.]
JK: Thanks for watching! I’m a big Uriah Heep fan, “Stealin” was one of the first songs I learned for my acoustic act. Before I met Nick Jive I was a solo acoustic act and would play where ever I could – I did not care how funky the show was, didn’t care if I was opening for death metal, country or rap, I was hungry to get out and play! I ended up going on 2 tours opening for a local psycobilly act from Texas to California.
Can you tell me a bit about how the band came together and what sort of lead to or inspired the heavy blues and funk classic rock sound and feel of the band?
JK: I got a call one day for a band looking for a singer, ‘specially a Rock n roll singer! I thought it’s perfect and met up as soon as I could, at that point I had done all I could with acoustic gigs. I ended up crossing paths with Nick Jive, we hit it off and shared a lot of inspirations and a lot of them bled into our music unintentionally. We never sit down and try to emulate anybody, we just try to write what feels natural. Nick brought the funk and I brought the blues.
If not too much – can you guys [each] drop a list of favorite bands or players and albums from your youth?
Jason Kane – Boston’s first album, Grand Funk, Sly and The Family Stone ‘best of’.
Nick Jive – Thin Lizzy, Mountain, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Thomas Chapoy, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden.
Soggy Noggin is your third album. For those of us not familiar can you give us a brief run down on the first 2 albums — approach, highlights, reception…?
JK: It was definitely a different approach. We were a little heavier and recorded everything differently, with Soggy Noggin most of it is live – whole band jammin’ at once, more of an organic feel. My favorite highlights off the first 2 albums are “Courthouse”, “How I Do”, “Crystal Ball”, “Pussyfootin”, & “Titty Boi Rabbit”.
You’ve opened a number of shows for acts such as Ace Frehley, Moxy [great Canadian band!], Y&T, Uli Jon Roth, The Winery Dogs … What are some of your favorite shows you guys have opened up, and any stories from any of those shows?
JK: My favorite show had to be Pat Travers, Starz & Axe. We ended up playing Richie Ranno of Starz’ Birthday the day after the show as a private party. They were the coolest, nicest guyz, everyone. I had a chance to talk to the singer of Starz and mustered up the courage to say in conversation ” No offense but you sound like the guy from Cactus”, come to find out it was Jimmy Kunes of Cactus singing for Starz that tour! Unbelievable night! Later on we ended up meeting up with Pat Travers in Chicago and played a handful more shows together in Texas, another group of incredible players and the nicest guys.
Can you tell me a bit about the ideas behind the title Soggy Noggin and CD cover art, to begin with?
JK: We were originally going to call the album “Wet Brain”, but we thought “Soggy Noggin “was funnier to say [haha]. As far as cover art, I wanted to show homage to my first tour when all we had to eat was this raw spam while we were stuck somewhere in El Paso. Not much has changed! [haha]
How do songs come together for you guys? and where lyrical ideas comes from?
JK: We always tackle the music first and then I’ll add lyrics. Someone starts off with a few riffs and some arrangement ideas and the songs grows from there. As far as the lyrics go, those are all personal experiences or the goofy situations of everyday life. I don’t try to get to deep with the lyrics just something that flows and that sometimes makes sense.
You guys take on a few covers – “Burning Ships” [Lucifer’s Friend], and I checked out “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” [Rod Stewart] — is that one on an actual release? You guys definitely pick a few unexpected songs to cover.
JK: Yes, those are our only covers as of now! We might be doing a few more soon. “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” was not on an actual release, just a song we have online and a fun little closer we do live. We wanted something nobody would expect! And Lucifer’s Friend was one I just couldn’t pass; such a great song all over, and I’m a huge John Lawton fan!
Can you give a few antedotes or insiration / ideas of some of the tracks on the latest album — like “Machine of Dreams”, “Long Time Comin'”, “Chains”…. ? Any favorites you guys have ?
JK: The biggest thing we wanted on those songs was the live feel. I feel like we really captured that on those tunes. “Machine Of Dreams” was inspired from our trip to Vegas, “Long Time Coming” was just about seeing us live and what it feels like for us. “Chains” was the first song we recorded for Soggy Noggin and it was our first attempt to write with keys and explore another realm and not worry what genre.
“Smooth Operator” kinda reminds me of old Rare Earth – pretty funky, plus the keys, the saxaphone…. Where do some of the production ideas come from on tracks like this – where there’s more than just guitar/bass /drums going on?
JK: When we first started writing for Soggy we really wanted some brass and to capture the funky side of rock. with Spenser Ramzel behind the recording side and Steve Perez on sax we were able to pull it off. Me, Nick & Tom just got to hammer out bongos, hand claps & tambourine after we laid the music down.
Being from Texas, any legendary acts like ZZ Top or Roky Erickson have an influence on you guys?
Billy Gibbon’s slick playing has definitely been an inspiration. But actually, I grew up in Chicago, and that is where I fell in love with blues and that really inspired my playing big time. But some Texas inspiration I’ve found as of late is some of these country finger pickin’ guys out here, pretty insane stuff! Ya don’t get that in Chicago [haha]
How are you guys dealing with the pandemic, surviving?
JK: We’ve been keeping busy as much as we can. Lots of writing, lots of practicing, lots of video shooting, really crossing the T’s and the dotting the I’s and taking care of the legal side of things. but we haven’t stopped for a minute.
Working on any new material or have releases planned?
JK: Yes! We have a brand new album coming out and is currently in the works, 8 or 10 songs new songs! Nothing set for a release just yet! We’ll be waiting for the right time and continue promoting our newest release Soggy Noggin. We still have a few music videos coming out and live studio footage that has yet to be released!
He was often hailed as the best unknown guitarist in the world; a title used in a PBS documentary about him earlier in his career, before signing to Polydor . Buchanan played blues and blues-rock, and could add elements of jazz, country, and rockabilly, and would record a number of albums in the ’70s. He was known also for turning down the Rolling Stones offer to join them after Brian Jones passed. He also allegedly declined an offer to tour with John Lennon. Sadly, Buchanan passed away in 1988, after taking his own life in a jail cell. His albums though are well worth checking out.
His 1978 album You’re Not Alone is where I started, having just picked this up about 2 years ago. Not sure why, perhaps a friend’s recommendation coupled with lengthy versions of a few songs I knew[?] Regardless, I loved this album upon first hearing it. Buchanan played heavy; this is no laid back blues record. The album only features 7 tracks, and the guitarist is accompanied by a great set of players – Willie Weeks on bass [who’s early credits include Gypsy, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, George Harrison…], drummer Andy Newmark [Carly Simon, Sly & The Family Stone], keyboard player [uncredited] Jean Roussel [played on many Cat Stevens albums], and guitarist Ray Gomez [Stanley Clarke, Patrick Moraz…] . There are 2 notable cover here – Joe Walsh’s “Turn To Stone” and Neil Young’s “Down By The River”.
You’re Not Alone opens with a quiet 2 minute piano & synth piece, credited to Jean Roussel. It seems a bit futuristic, with a slow pace, and slight build up til the end. “Turn To Stone” is the next track, and as much as I love Joe Walsh’s original, this really floored me upon getting this. Kinda odd hearing it without the vocals, but Buchanan’s sound during the verses is superb, and he kills the the riff; there’s also some organ soloing in there, funky bass lines, and piano. “Fly…Night Bird” opens with some sea sounds, quiet synths, and Buchanan coming in softly, a great atmospheric piece, that is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. The song picks up just after 3 minutes with rhythm section kicking in; it’s still a slow paced bluesy number, but Buchanan playing and piling on notes that, I wonder, if he was trying to make it sound a bit like birds[?] Side one ends with the rocking “1841 Shuffle”; a straight forward heavy blues rock tune. Buchanan had played “Down By The River” as far back as 1971 [it’s in his PBS TV special], so here he lays down an epic 8 and a half minute take of the Neil Young classic. It’s the only track here to feature vocals, and the singer is Gary St Clair [look him up!], a nice quiet vocal here that suits this perfectly, and accompanied by a small choir on the chorus line as the song plays out .
“Spurnova” [the shortest guitar track here], is a heavy and fast paced number that has a bit of ’50s influence, but it really is a hard rocker; love the rhythm section on this tune, as well as the piano. Last up is the 8 minute title track. It’s another futuristic synth intro [pretty cool for 1978], with the band coming in slow-paced after a minute. This one rides on the synths and bass for a while, with organ in the mix; [again] a bit of a Pink Floyd feel here, until Buchanan comes in after 2 minutes, and belts it out. I gotta wonder if David Gilmour ever heard this guy much!? There’s another keyboard segue 2-thirds through, then the guitar comes in heavier and faster. The bass and drums suit this so well; nothing too over the top, just a steady groove.
This was Roy Buchanan’s last album of the ’70s, released in April of ’78, and like most of his albums in that decade, didn’t break the Billboard Top 100. After 1980’s My Babe [released on smaller labels in North America], Buchanan would take 5 years before his signing with Alligator Records for another 3 albums, before his passing. If you’re not familiar with Roy Buchanan, I’d recommend You’re Not Alone, great blues-rock.
Jason Kane & The Jive is a power trio from San Antonio, Texas, consisting of Jason Kane [guitar/keyboards/vocals], Nick Jive [bass], and Jules Flores [drums]. Soggy Noggin is the band’s third independantly released album, from earlier this year. I’ll admit – I don’t check out a lot of newer bands, and mainly newer acts I check out have some connection to the ’70s [be it personnel or covers], so I stumbled upon these guys while checking out the internet for Lucifer’s Friend covers. And lo and behold Soggy Noggin came up, as the band does an awesome version of it here.
But that is just one highlight here, as this album is full of heavy blues, funk, soul, classic rock. A very live and big heavy sound on this disc, with a wide range songs. very ’70s influenced, this album’s not stuck in the past or forced, with these guys coming off as the real deal of a band carrying on the feel from the likes of Grand Funk, Rare Earth, James Gang, Trapeze …. Kane even sporting that mid ’70s Neil Peart mustache! Lots of funk and groove, and great songs such as “Smooth Operator” – with added organ, backing vocals, and saxaphone [courtesy of Steven Perez], and Kane’s vocal [reminiscent a bit between Glenn Hughes & Peter Hoorelbeke] make me think this track would’ve fit nicely on an early Rare Earth album!
Twelve tracks here, including a re-record of “Bossman”, from their previous album, as well as opening heavy funk rock of “Machine Of Dreams”, “Long Time Comin” [a bit slower paced throughout, but heavy, with a bit of 70s Rush sound, IMO], and the bluesy “Rising Smoke” [the intro here reminding me of Zeppelin’s “No Quarter”]. Jason & The Jive has a pile of great clips on youtube, including a few non-album cuts, like their killer version of Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”.
Soggy Noggin is a great production for a 3 piece [credit to producer/mixer Spencer Ramzel], and I’d be curious how they pull off some of the stuff that has added keys or saxaphone. “Burning Ships” [again] is a cool version, with Kane doing a good take on John Lawton’s original vocal; added acoustic guitar from Jim Martinelli [Burnt Offering].
Best known as the guitarist in German band Lucifer’s Friend, Peter Hesslein has also had a long career dating back to the ’60s with such bands as The Giants, and The German Bonds, as well as spending years as part of The James Last Orchestra, and plenty of short lived projects [see Electric Food, The Fantastic Pikes, Pink Mice]. His career has touched on numerous styles and sounds, which is why perhaps one shouldn’t be expecting an album of big rock riffs [ala “Ride The Sky”] or even heavy progressive rock. Night Drive is a bit more laid back, with plenty of styles, but not much in the way of ‘hard rock’; heck – not really a rock album [see Peter’s description below]. There is lots of varied guitar performances and musical approaches and sounds via keyboards, creating a lot of atmosphere here. It’s a nice mix of 15 instrumental tracks, with a good flow to many sweet melodies on pieces like “Slow Down A Bit”, “Blinded By The Lights” and “A Beautiful Night”. There’s also a few funkier tunes in “Time For Coffee”, while the upbeat “Close To Midnight” and closing ballad “Falling Asleep” are 2 favorites here . Night Drive is a disc to put on to just chill out to, not to rock out to, and that’s fine by me. [And no, this is not elevator music, plenty of changes in pace from track to track, and great guitar playing throughout].
The guitarist / songwriter, who had shoulder surgery last year, is taking this time during the global pandemic, at home, working on future projects – “My family and me doing well, we live outside of Hamburg in the countryside. At the moment I have no contact with other musicians. Covid 19 doesn´t make it possible. So I sit alone in the studio and do everything I can do myself.”
Regarding a follow up to Night Drive and the next Lucifer’s Friend album- “I am nearly ready with the recordings of another “Night Drive” album…… The new LF album is complete ready, except John Lawton’s vocal tracks. He told me, he doesn´t want to go in to the studio in these times .He will wait till it’s nearly over with Covid 19. So I used the time and made my solo album. I hope all LF fans will like it. It´s different to LF. It is a bag of R´n B, HipHop, Jazz and Rock (Music to relax, ‘specially when you are driving at night).” [ed – In addition the studio John Lawton normally records closed during this past year]. On his son Simon’s involvement – “Simon did the artwork and producing . The lines on the backlines are a mix of light lines and guitar strings. … Simon is also the producer of “Black Moon, and the upcoming LF album…. After this all I’d like to do a solo album with John. But first he has to do the LF album, which is in this year the 50th anniversary album. But I think in this case, it will come out next year.”
Hesslein also adds that he has a Lucifer’s Friend live recording from Japan that he may work on. That will be further exciting news for LF fans!