Richard John-Riley – I Can’t Tell You (How This Feels)

Monday, 14 November 2016, 20:29 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

The online reviews for this 12″ 45rpm yellow vinyl release by Richard John-Riley have been phenomenal but does it live up to the hype?

rr12

Yes, Side A’s extended mix of ‘I Can’t Tell You (How This Feels)’ is a thing of beauty. It’s 10 minutes of prog-synthness hypnotic perfection with echoes of meddle era Floyd, Stockhausen and George Harrison.

Side B’s ‘Your Honesty’ acts as a great counterpoint to the a-side – poignant lyrics, sparser production but no less appealing.

Clearly a great talent, there’s a few copies of Richard’s 2006 album, ‘Not If But When’ also still available. Grab this superb limited edition 12″ plus the LP while you can.

torrecords.com

richardriley.co.uk

Us and Them: Fading Within The Dwindling Sun – When I Was Walking

Thursday, 10 November 2016, 20:38 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

Us and Them have two forthcoming records that highlight the captivating nature of this Swedish duo.

us-and-them-sandy-cover

Taking on five signature Sandy Denny tracks is quite a challenge. So it was with some trepidation I gave their forthcoming Fruits de Mer 10 inch EP ‘Fading Within The Dwindling Sun’ a spin. How would Britt and Anders tackle songs made famous by the great British female folk singer? Exceedingly well in fact. My favourites are the Sandy’s penned tracks,  ‘Winter Winds’ – a softer take of the Fotheringay song, the stripped back glacial feel of ‘Next Time Around’, and finally the folky interpretation of Sandy’s ballad ‘Take Away The Load’.

The Swedes follow up their EP of covers with a 7 inch of two original songs that deservedly nestle alongside the Denny classics. ‘When I Was Walking’ is gorgeous Wicker-esque acid folk, with the introspective b-side ‘Green Couch’ more straight ahead pop-folk but no less enchanting.

The ‘Dwindling Within The Fading Sun’ 10″ vinyl EP is available from Fruits de Mer, released 12 December 2016: www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/dwindling

The ‘When I Was Walking’ single is available as part of the Mega Dodo Single Club. 150 copies green vinyl, 150 copies black vinyl, released 20 January 2017: www.mega-dodo.co.uk

The Honey Pot – Ascending Scales

Sunday, 30 October 2016, 21:04 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

To celebrate Fruits de Mer Records 100th vinyl release, FDM favourites The Honey Pot embark on an audacious double album. Icarus Peel, Crystal Jacqueline and the band have fittingly assembled a crack FDM friends to guest on a set of psych/rock covers and Honey Pot originals.

honey-pot-ascending

Starting with a pair of 60s legends, ‘Ascending Scales’ features Electric Prune James Lowe on the excellent ‘1969’, whilst Pretty Thing Dick Taylor gives searing blues rock guitar to ‘Soloman Deep’, The Honey Pot’s baroque psych of ‘Love Is Green’ blooms into full psychedelia with Jack Ellister. Anton Barbeau then successfully tackles Orange Bicycle’s original psych monster, ‘Dr. Crippen’s Waiting Room’.

We then hear a searing duet from Crystal Jacqueline and Cary Grace on ‘Can’t You See The Witch’, with intense moog and guitar. Peter Cook and Tom Newman guest on ‘Half A Memory’, keeping up the high standard with a vibrant collaboration between The Honey Pot and the July duo. Ex Fairport lead Judy Dyble and Swedish folk duo Us and Them then partner beautifully on LP 1 closer ‘Sitting All Alone’.

Time Machine with Bevis Frond guests Nick Salmon and Ade Shaw launches platter 2, a track that builds throughout. The Luck of Eden Hall’s Curvey continues the space rock theme taking over the vocals for ‘Lucky Spaceman’. Steve Palmer from Mooch then guest on the Honey Pot’s take of The Strawberry Alarm Clock’s ‘Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow’, a challenging track to cover that succeeds on every level. Next on the guest list is Bruce Woolley – Buggles and Yes keyboardist – who adds a classic prog touch to ‘Into The Deep’.

Finishing with my favourite, Tony Durant from Fuschia provides a pastoral feel to ‘River Runs By’ – a track that matches the high standard of Tony’s reflective muse.

All credit to Icarus Peel for crafting ‘Ascending Scales’, an apt tribute to the great vinyl label of our times:

www.fruitsdemerrecords.com/ascending

Ben Reed – Station Masters

Saturday, 29 October 2016, 20:33 | Category : Reviews
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Ben Reed’s third album ‘Station Masters’, is a beautifully produced album infused with the Canterbury sound. It’s out now on Gare de Nord records.

ben-reed-station-masters

Taking its lead from Soft Machine, the album’s highlights include the jazz-pop of ‘Drifting’ and ‘Be Mine’.

Other gems include the folky ‘Errata’ – a lovely version of Portuguese poet Manuel de Freitas’ song, and plaintive ‘Woman Overboard’. There are also High Llamas/Beach Boys/Wyatt inflections on ‘Only The Sun’, ‘Allgones’ and ‘Maniac Man’.

Station Masters is available on vinyl (with a CD of the album inside) or as a digital download:

benreed3.bandcamp.com

Terry Dolan – Classic Lost Debut Unearthed

Wednesday, 26 October 2016, 21:40 | Category : Reviews, Unreleased
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By Jason Barnard

Terry Dolan recorded an incredible debut album in 1972, with an an all star cast – Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones, The Kinks), John Cipollina (Quicksilver Messenger Service), Lonnie Turner (The Steve Miller Band) and Neal Schon (Santana, Journey).

terry_dolan

Each side of the LP was helmed by a legendary UK musician – Nick Hopkins (side A) and Pete Sears (B) ensuring world class production to Terry’s outstanding songs. It was a heaven made marriage of classic songwriting and the best players of the San Fran rock scene. With support from a major label, Warner Brothers, a new star was born. Or so it should have been.

Just two months before release, Warners pulled the plug, left the recordings in the vault and dropped Dolan.

Until now. High Moon Records are releasing this superb album, plus 6 bonus tracks of outtakes on deluxe CD package and vinyl.

Side A stars highlights Nicky Hopkins’ lush production. Opener ‘See What What Your Love Can Do’ is the North American twin to George Harrison’s work, a gorgeous blend of gospel, Americana and blue eyed soul. Hopkin’s influence is apparent on ‘Angie’ with Hopkins’ piano chords from his own ‘Tin Man Was A Dreamer’ complementing.  ‘Rainbow’ also takes the infusion but gives a rockier edge to proceedings. ‘Inlaws And Outlaws’, is a powerful ballad that wouldn’t be out of place on Neil Young’s best work of the era.

With the sessions in full swing, Nicky Hopkins was then asked to accompany The Rolling Stones on tour leading to Pete Sears being drafted in after his work on Rod Stewart’s solo albums. It was a tall order to follow-up the high water mark of the earlier sessions, but Sears and Dolan deliver albeit with a slightly cleaner sound.

The second side opens with another powerful ballad ‘Purple An Blonde…?’, ‘Bergundy Blues’ then takes off – a superb band performance to what arguably is the weaker song of the set. Terry then covers J.J. Cale’s ‘Magnolia’, an emotional song that perfectly fits into the set of powerful soul enthused rock. Finishing with Sear’s organ and Terry’s vocals, ‘To Be For You’ acts as a subtle close to this album.

Terry went on to form Terry and The Pirates and became a notable artist in the San Francisco area before passing in 2012. However we’ll never know what would have happened if Warners had released his debut record.

Buy this classic album and discover a lost classic:

www.highmoonrecords.com

July – Resurrection

Friday, 21 October 2016, 19:32 | Category : Interview, July
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As they are about to release their new album on vinyl, Jason Barnard talks extensively to Tom Newman and Peter Cook of July about the band, past and present.

July - Tom Newman and Peter Cook

British psych band July burned briefly back in the late 60s. After this initial phase for the group, they thought they were forgotten with the band consigned to history. However July’s profile has steadily risen over the years, their album and single My Clown / Dandelion Seeds (in particular) have met escalating record prices, cover versions and name checked by influential musicians:

http://thestrangebrew.co.uk/articles/july-resurrection/