Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If Your Hungry Take A Bite of This Sandwich

Black Cat Bones
Barbed Wire Sandwich

Barbed Wire Sandwich is a heavy blues rock album released by Black Cat Bones in November 1969. The original vinyl version of the album is now highly sought after by collectors of rock and heavy blues music of the late 1960s and 1970s. The right place at the wrong time. That could be the epitaph on the gravestone of Black Cat Bones. Having acted as unofficial house band for a number of visiting US artists during the British Blues Boom of the mid to late Sixties and survived a potentially fatal line-up change into the bargain, they finally made it to vinyl rather late in the day. This, their first and only album, reached the racks in the last months of the Sixties, just as progressive rock was in the ascendancy.
Such imperfect timing may have adversely affected their chances of commercial success and consequently their number of column inches in the history of popular music, but in no way diminishes the excellence of their music.
That Black Cat Bones remains a known name is due to two musicians whose names remain stubbornly absent from the credits. Celebrated guitarist Paul Kossoff would go on to superstar status as a founder member of FREE, but started his musical career in earnest in these ranks. And though neither he nor drummer Simon Kirke appear on the album, Koss's featured replacement Rod Price, a player of no mean ability who would later take his axe-wielding skills to Stateside fame and fortune with Foghat.
Buy lets backtrack now to the events that led up to November 1969, when Barbed Wire Sandwich was released on Decca's progressive Nova lael. Though retaining semi-professional status for some time, Black Cat Bones had enough going for them to catch the eye of legendary Blues producer Mike Vernon. His patronage brought them their first recording session, backing Champion Jack Dupree for a Bue Horizon album, "When You Feel The Feeling You Was Feeling" meanwhile, they made a reputation in their own right touring Germany and Scandinavia. Kossoff and Kirke jumped ship, in 1968 after seeing singer Paul Rodgers fronting the similarly unrecorded Brown Sugar; hence by the time Black Cat Bones entered Tangerine and Decca Studios the following year with recording stardom in mind the existing nucleus of brothers Derek and Stu Brooks on rhythm guitar and bass respectively and vocalist Brian Short had been augmented by Phil Lenoir (drums) and Rod Price (lead guitar).
The album kicks off with Chauffer - a dead ringer in both pace and chord sequence for FREEs Walk in my Shadow from their debut, released moths before. And the well-worn blues metaphor of riding (Free rode ponies, Black Cat Bones a car such is progress)indicates the overtly sexual inclinations both shared. Elsewhere, there's a welcome touch of acousticity (on Four Women) to leaven the mixture - owners of well worn originals will thank heavens for non clicky CD here! but overall, the album very much reflects the electric blues of the stage set, as you'd expect for a band that played live so often.
It was producer David Hitchcock, who later guided the careers of Caravan, Camel, Genesis (circa Foxtrot) and more, to supply the studio expertise they needed to give Barbed Wire Sandwich respect, the band fading in and out around the barrelhouse piano of Robin Sylvester. This would have been impossible live, since the BKB's line up didn't feature keyboards (Sylvester was the sound engineer a Tangerine), so was clearly an attempt to diversify and use the studio to greatest advantage. Steve Milliner lends further ivory-tickling skills to Feelin Good and dont forget, FREE eventually added the keyboard talents of Rabbit Bundrick to give them a route to progress.
Talking of progression, the middle section of Save My Love For You, along with the other dramatic mood and/or tempo changes throughout the album suggest that the growth of progressive rock had not passed them by. Rod Price was quite different in approach to Kossoff, his fast, fluid style contrasting with the howling sustain of his predecessor - but he was clearly no slouch either, as he proved on the final track. The self-penned Good Lookin Woman is the one song on which Price tackled lead vocal. More importantly, its a guitar tour de force, fading out prematurely and leaving the listener wondering exactly what would have happened next.
Leaving the audience wanting more was just one of the lessons learned on the boards, so its hardly surprising that those who saw BKB live retain approving memories. One such spectator was Stuart Booth, now a publisher, who caught a show at Londons Marquee Club as the album was readied for release. 'They were a good live band who missed the boat' he recalls. 'The album came out long after other British blues bands' and sunk without trace, so no-one was interested. I was pleasantly pleased to see people still playing that sort of thing. I though it would all come around again - and, of course, it did.
Many years after witnessing Black Cat Bones at the Marquee, Booth had the pleasure of publishing Blues - Thbe British Connection, a definitive rundown of the scene by one Bob Brunning (to be reissued by Blandford as Blues In Britain: The History 1960s-1990s in February 1995). Brunning, as blues scholars may recall, was the original bass player with Fleetwood Mac, the man who deputised for John McVie until he could secure his release from John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.
He enters the Black Cat Bones story, albeit tangentially, at this point - because when the album flopped and the band threatened to fall apart, it was a couple renegades from the Brunning Sunflower Blues Band, Pete French and Mick Halls, who were drafted in to make up the numbers after Price, Short and Lenoir left the ranks. (Short, incidentally, cut a hard to find solo album, Anything For a Laugh, for Transatlantic in 1971). With a new drummer, Black Cat Bones metamorphosed in Leaf Hound, Zeppelin-esque heavy rockers who, like their predecessors, produced one excellent album before disbanding. This was Growers Of Mushroom - and in 1994 it joined Barbed Wire Sandwich in the See For Miles catalogue.
So there endeth the story of Black Cat Bones, a band whose mere footnote in the annals of British rock seems a mite ungenerous, given their musical legacy. Even Bob Brunning only rated them a couple of sentences - but as Barbed Wire Sandwich will hopefully prove, music often speaks louder than words.. Mick St. Michael

Track listing

  1. "Chauffeur" – 5:15 (Andy Stroud)
  2. "Death Valley Blues" – 3:52 (Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup)
  3. "Feelin' Good" – 4:58 (Anthony Newley, Leslie Bricusse)
  4. "Please Tell Me Baby" – 3:10 (Harrison D. Nelson Jr)
  5. "Coming Back" – 2:32 (Rod Price)
  6. "Save My Love" – 4:50 (Black Cat Bones)
  7. "Four Women" – 5:09 (Nina Simone)
  8. "Sylvester's Blues" – 3:45 (Price)
  9. "Good Lookin' Woman" – 7:16 (Price)

Take a bite HERE

Surf From The Land Of Teisco & Ryp

Re-Up from 2008

Brought to you by Teisco del Mar, from the Fatherland.

Also a very nice booklet that has excellent info on each of the groups involved in this stellar parade of surf tunage.

***Make sure to grab the "Mystery Tracks" link for the elusive tracks # 16 & 17.

On this CD compilation NPR records presents the cream of the German Surf scene. Feat.: The Orgaphonics, Surfpatrouille, Leopold Kraus Wellenkapelle, Way Out West, Los Twang Marvels, Achtung Rakete, Stronzo Gelantino & The Boo-Men, The Razorblades, The Sidemen, The Kilaueas, Cave 4, Robert & The Roboters, Pozor Vlak, Commando, Birke Maier Trio, The Cruncher. "Herbert Hooke, aka The Cruncher, assembled this monster compilation for NPR Records with two tracks apiece from 15 current German guitar bands. Unfortunately that left room for only one track from The Cruncher himself, but with his new album due in the summer we won´t have to wait long for more inspired reverb surfers like In My Chair. Yes, in the hands of a master the Status Quo hit does work as a surf guitar instrumental. The other contributors to Krautsurf share Herbert´s love of genuine reverb surf sounds in varying degrees. Although not as it is in America, it seems the term surf music has a broadening definition in Germany. Still, with 31 tracks and a CD-busting 78 minutes there´s plenty here to make this a desirable collection and the following tracks that surf fans can approach with some confidence. - Leopold Kraus Wellenkapelle´s Draussen Am Grossen Riff has a repetitive guitar motif underpinned by cheesy organ but explodes into life with ist driving surf chorus. - The Razorblade´s Longboard Queen is a melodic twang rocker but Headshaker nods in the direction of surf with ist slides and staccato picking. - Surfpatrouille´s Eskalator has an expressive lead with distortion effects. Slot Car Racer buzzes with fuzzed up reverb in a modern take on traditional surf. - The Orgaphonic´s Hot Rod is a fine pre-surf style rocker driven by damped echo picking. Sunset Rider an atmospheric ballad with slide and tremelo used to good effect – sounds a little like Blue Hotel. - The Kilaueas – Two fine selections from their excellent Professor Volcanova CD (see Pipeline 6). Tunguska Blast! surfs up a traditional East European theme while Stranded is a great surf ballad in traditional ´60s style with damped picking, tremolo and reverb to the fore. - The Cruncher´s In My Chair succeeds due to ist fine guitar sounds. - Pozor Vlak´s Crazy Krüger is a catchy, pre-surf style rocker - Cave 4 – Boulevard Patrol bubbles along but comes to life with ist crashing chords. Hot Ride is a more relentless and more rewarding rocker. - Way Out West´s Motorhula slips and slides around over a ska rhythm. Evolution simply drips fabulous reverb guitar over everything – a wonderfully moody slowie. - The Sidemen – I´m a sucker for The Persuaders theme and a splash of surf from The Sidemen adds a fascitanting new twist for this little gem of a track. Havanna is an exotic slow roller. - Birke Maier Trio´s Banzai Oranke is a rather piecemeal reconstruction of old surf references but the band show they can cut it by twisting up Baja. I´ve focussed on the surf tracks as, let´s face it, people who don´t like surf are simply not going to by an album titled Krautsurf. But that´s not to dismiss the others as there are some fine none-surf instrumentals on board too. Achtung Rakete have an excellent original in the Euro styled Ojo Misiles, as do Robert & The Roboters with Der Sonne Entgegen, and Los Twang! Marvels knock out a stirring Carioca plus their own Rancho Cucamonga. There´s plenty of surf here captain, but not all as we know it." (Pipeline 71)

1. Hot Rod - The Orgaphonics 2:15

2. Escalator - Surfpatrouille 2:22

3. Draußen am großen Riff - Leopold Kraus Wellenkapelle 1:57

4. Motorhula - Way Out West 3:29
5. Carioca - Los Twang Marvels 1:57

6. Ojo, Misiles! Achtung Rakete 2:35

7. Lonesome Stronzo - Stronzo Gelantino 2:29

8. Longboard Queen - The Razorblades 2:03

9. Persuaders - The Sidemen 1:51

10. Tungasta Blast - The Kilaueas 1:57

11. Boulevard Patrol - Cave 4 2:07

12. Der Sonne entgegen - Robert & The Roboters 3:36

13. Crazy Krüger - Pozor Vlak 2:09

14. The Emperor - Commando 2:33

15. Slot Car Racer - Surfpatrouille 2:03

16. Banzai Orange - Birke Maier Trio 2:15

17. Evolution - Way Out West 2:55

18. In My Chair - The Cruncher 2:55

19. Oh, My Deer - Leopold Kraus Wellenkapelle 2:50

20. Rondo Venezuela - Achtung Rakete 3:30

21. La Mosca - Stronzo Gelantino 2:56

22. Feuerland - Robert & The Roboters 2:34

23. Havanna - The Sidemen 2:04

24. Headshaker - The Razorblades 1:57

25. Fresh - Pozor Vlak 2:13

26. Hot Ride - Cave 4 2:11

27. Sunset Rider - The Orgaphonics 3:06

28. Stranded - The Kilaueas 2:29

29. Lost Boy - Commando 3:36

30. Baja - Birke Maier Trio 3:02

31. Rancho Cucamonga - Los Twang Marvels 1:52


Look What Washed Up From The North Shore

Mark Brodie & The Beaver Patrol
The Shores of Hell

Here is one from the first year of Trustar Vibrations. Always a great one.

Opening with the sectionalist anthem "Frogs Can't Surf," Canada's Mark Brodie & the Beaver Patrol go on to double-pick their way through a varied, authentic, and fun instrumental surf album.
Captured with a bare minimum of studio effects, Mark Brodie et al come across with the spontaneous energy of a live show, but with a clarity of sound not often heard live or on old surf records. The packaging is very 60s, and borrows from the "Living Stereo" logos used on classical and experimental electronic recordings at that time, offering an interesting speculation about what those Chantays records could have sounded like if they, too, had been utilizing the breakthrough stereophonic technology of the early 60s. The Beaver Patrol make no attempt to update the surf sound, and attack the genre with reverence rather than modernist irony used by other contemporary surfers like Man or Astroman. Still, even with the trademark reverb, double-picking, and guitaar runs used as break beats, the the album is remarkably good: a wide variety of tempos differentiates the 16 songs, the occasional toy organ brings other 60s garage styles to mind (the Pacific Northwest's Kingsmen and Wailers, in particular), and all the musicians display great talent for surf music. The percussion on tracks like "Theme From the Old West" is especially deft and original. For fans of Dick Dale et al, The Shores of Hell sits very comfortably next to the original masters of the genre. It is a rare piece of nostalgia that manages to transcend its derivative origins and add flesh to old bones. Tim Mohr


1. Frogs Can't Surf
2. Jezebel
3. Scratch
4. Bitch Stole My Board
5. Death At Mile Zero
6. Wedgie
7. Day The Surf Stood Still
8. Spin Cycle
9. Banzai Rider
10. Scarlett O'hara
11. Theme From The Old West
12. Bad Hair Day
13. Suicide Ride
14. Meltdown
15. Phantom Wave
16. The Shores Of Hell

Get it HERE

The Only Place To Get It This Raw

The Bamboos

Sophomore album from the Australian band who have received critical acclaim across the board from Jazz, Funk and Hip Hop enthusiasts. The Aussie Funk six piece are big Funk collectors and inspired by artists such as The Meters, Mickey & the Soul Generation, Jimmy Smith and Reuben Wilson but have a contemporary Deep Funk sound too. Rawville still embraces the deep raw organ based Funk aesthetic of their debut album Step It Up, but it also embraces different flavors. The album is half vocal based tunes and half instrumental. Vocals include those from label mate Alice Russell as well as vocalists Kylie Auldist, Tyra Hammond, Fallon Williams and Ohmega Watts.


1. The Bamboos Theme
2. Bring It Home
3. Get In The Scene
4. The Witch
5. My Baby’s Cheating (I Sure Got The Feeling)
6. I Don’t Wanna Stop
7. Head In The Clouds
8. Happy
9. Rockin’ It
10. Pussy Footin’
11. Rawville
12. Tongan Steel

Get it HERE

Monday, February 18, 2013

These Guys Are Bosch!

Hieronymus Bosch
Lookin' Good, Soundin' Good

Heralded as musical historians by Steve O'Rourke, The Bosch claims The Pixies and Frank Black, Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, the Ventures, Link Wray, Man... or Astroman?, and The Gun Club as significant influences. In other words, it's a furious and melodic mixture of surf, garage, and punk rock.

THE BOSCH, smarmy surf rockers extraordinaire, claim the two most prominent Williamsburgs as their home. Originally hailing from Williamsburg, Virginia, erudite and visionary guitarist MATT HARRISON and super-charged sociopath HOLT RICHARDSON met in their tedious years at a tiny white-bread private high school. After they developed a disturbingly telepathic musical rapport, they began a professional affair with the Sound of Music in Richmond, Virginia, and more specifically, with engineer Jonathan Demaio, who, when not touring with Southern Culture on the Skids and other top-notch Southern bands, has cut "The Bosch Sound" onto analog tape on many occasions.
In the past few months, The Bosch has been fortunate enough to admit two new players into the fold. ANDREW RAFF, a legal eagle, tickler of ivory keys and blower of hot and cool on the tenor sax, means the music up real good. BRETT BEYER, darling of the Williamsburg loft-party scene, frequenter of his own custom-built darkroom, and all around hipster extraordinaire, recently joined The Bosch as four-stringer. Holt and Matt are wringin' their hands, eagerly anticipating Brett's successful sneakin' of The Bosch tunes into the most magnificently coiffed circles of hipsterdom.
The Bosch boys, having sexed-up audiences with their surf rock and twang, have begun seeing the fruits of their labours: substantial airplay for their latest release, "Havin Fun Soundin Good," as well as a residency at the Lower East Side's Luna Lounge, keeping alive the dream of a future filled with champagne, cocaine, and the chance to hunt whales in a hovercraft. The Bosch has won the annual battle of the bands competition at the College of William and Mary, booty-rocked the bulk of downtown New York clubs, and helped many unwed mothers get their start.
The Bosch only desire a few things: to electrify the stage with gluteousmaximusshakinus tunes, and perhaps cause you to crack a smile, or at least break a sweat. The most poetic thing they'd ask of their fans is to ponder their place in a world of violence and lust.
The Bosch perspire and strain, jump and howl, bump and grind, armed frequently with go-go dancers and always with total recall of Steve Martin's routines and the film UHF. You can't lose.
Give the Bosch a chance to rock the joint and no one will leave unhappy.

1Borg Warner, Four-On-the-Floor

3Worst Thing


5Movie Director

7Love Is Just a Cloud

Get it HERE

Sunday, February 17, 2013

You've Been Warned

The Vara-Tones
Jetty Subject To High Surf

Bill Epps and Rich Campbell formed The Vara-Tones in 1961. They are one of the original surf groups that were around when the first wave started. They were most active between '63-'65, during the height of the surf-instro craze. Over thirty years later they have returned as revitalized granddads of a genre that has been experiencing tremendous growth and renewed interest from all outlets of the media, including an entirely new and very hip fan base. Yes, another group has risen out of the ashes to reclaim their territory. This is a wonderful time to be making music. The world has never been more open to new and different sounds. Although this sound is not new and familiar to some, it never really got the recognition and opportunity that its now experiencing. There is no one that deserves the accolades and fame more than the guys that were there in the beginning. Listen up all you youngsters out there, want to play surf-instro the way it was meant to be played? The Vara-Tones hold a clinic for eager ears that are willing to learn. They have successfully re-ignited their original sound with the help of today's technologies and equipment. The base sound is still there, it just has a little more oomph now (as Phil Dirt says). The original hit "Repeto" (1964), has been given a shot of new life with an upbeat rockin' flavor and a new title, "Repeto 2000." You get the best of both worlds, as the group plays the original as well the updated version. Speaking of the best of both worlds...When many original surf groups reform and make their music combined with today's sound, it comes out sounding so much stronger, with a new fullness and freshness to it. What was once a mere ripple from a recording standpoint, is now a Tsunami headed your way to give you the ride of your life. It all sounds that much better now because of the enhanced and improved sound quality and sonics. The latin, island flavored tunes are immensely effective. "El Sereno" and "Midnight In Mazatlan", are as picturesque and inviting as the beaches that are envisioned inside your head while listening. Welcome back Vara-Tones. The surf-instro community needs more groups like you to reform and to remind people from whence they came. Fair warning- if you have a surfboard in hand, and if this music is played loud, the jetty is subject to high surf. Keith Hannaleck


1. Surf Blaster
2. Over the Edge
3. El Sereno
4. Invasion of the V-People
5. Midnight in Mazatlan
6. The Jetty
7. Rendezvous Run
8. Vara-Tone Stomp
9. Varafied
10. Repeto 2000
11. Sunset At the Wedge
12. Groo-V-Chicken
13. Drumbox
14. Repeto ('64)

Get it HERE

Saturday, February 16, 2013

When In Rome

Sublime With Rome
Yours Truly

Review by Jason Lymangrover
After losing Bradley Nowell -- the face of Sublime -- the rest of the group retired the Sublime name for a good 13 years before recruiting Rome Ramirez. For Yours Truly, their first release together under the name Sublime with Rome, it’s wise that they play up the fact that this is a different band than the one that put out 40 oz. to Freedom. Ramirez doesn’t have nearly as much personality as Nowell, and for many, the former frontman was the essential ingredient. However, for the fans that are willing and able to move on, Ramirez’s silky voice nicely complements bassist Eric Wilson and drummer Bud Gaugh. With the exceptions of the electronic dub of “Safe and Sound“ and a cameo by rapper Wiz Khalifa in the bridge of “Can You Feel It,” they stay true to the sound that made Sublime a household name. Ramirez does a good job of mimicking Nowell's style of guitar playing, and on vocals he wisely holds to a less-is-more approach rather than trying to be showy. He offers up a laid-back, beach bum style of singing reggae-pop and So-Cal punk, appealing equally to fans of Jack Johnson and Third Eye Blind. Meanwhile the production, courtesy of Butthole Surfers' Paul Leary, seems straight from the days when the Third Wave of Ska Revival was peaking (with the occasional DJ scratch thrown in for good measure). Yours Truly doesn’t quite match the caliber of the albums in the Sublime discography, but it’s a fairly enjoyable spin-off just the same.

Get it HERE

Friday, February 15, 2013

Drawing A Line In The Sand

Planet Reverb


Jetpack is the surf instrumental brainchild of guitarist Daniel J. This disc is steeped in the twangy sound of fender guitars and vibrato effects but not limited to it. Mandolin, fretless bass, theremin, and an unmistakable Police influence all coexist here. Produced for Pascal Records by David Pascal who also produced the similar-sounding Blue Hawaiians. Twelve originals are included with interesting cover versions of the Hollies "Bus Stop" and Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence."

1 Motel Nowhere
2 The Fury
3 Bus Stop
4 Pacifica
5 Get Even!
6 Agent J
7 Lunik 2
8 The Texas Longboard
9 Pedro
10 Intro
11 Mystery Prom
12 Fail Safe
13 The Sound of Silence
14 The Return of Pedro

Get it HERE

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lookin' Sharp

Joe Jackson Look Sharp 1979 - One of my favorite late 70's sounds. Joe was quite the shaker. So get up, get ready, and most importantly, LOOK SHARP! - A brilliant, accomplished debut, Look Sharp! established Joe Jackson as part of that camp of angry, intelligent young new wavers (i.e., Elvis Costello, Graham Parker) who approached pop music with the sardonic attitude and tense, aggressive energy of punk. Not as indebted to pub rock as Parker and Costello, and much more lyrically straightforward than the latter, Jackson delivers a set of bristling, insanely catchy pop songs that seethe with energy and frustration. Several deal with the lack of thoughtful reflection in everyday life ("Sunday Papers," "Got the Time"), but many more concern the injuries and follies of romance. In the caustic yet charming witticisms of songs like the hit "Is She Really Going Out With Him?," "Happy Loving Couples," "Fools in Love," and "Pretty Girls," Jackson presents himself on the one hand as a man of integrity seeking genuine depth in love (and elsewhere), but leavens his stance with a wry, self-effacing humor, revealing his own vulnerability to loneliness and to purely physical attraction. Look Sharp! is the sound of a young man searching for substance in a superficial world -- and it also happens to rock like hell. Get it HERE

A Perfect Time

The Funnel Heads
Love is King

This is a local Orange County group that reached out to me a couple of months ago. Much to my dismay it's been sitting on my dying laptop for the last two months now. What a perfect day to get up off my ass and share this video for the song titles "Love is King".

Wishing much love and happiness to all.
Stay tuned as I'm dusting off the 'ol keyboard for some sweet tunes.