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Close matches: 108
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jan AkkermanAranjuez ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1978. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
One of the most sensitive 70s albums from guitarist Jan Akkerman – a set recorded with larger backings from Claus Ogerman, who really helps Jan find a newly mellow side of his sound! Gone are some of the too-jamming, rock-inspired modes of Akkerman's other records – and in their place are open, flowing lines on guitar – played with a sensitivity that reminds us a bit of some of Jim Hall's more ambitious albums of the same period – although even a bit more classically-oriented overall. Ogerman's arrangements are wonderful – full and lush, but never too sleepy – and titles include "Nightwings", "Modinha", "Espanoleta", "Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte", "Love Remembered", and "The Seed Of God". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Chuck BerryOne Dozen Berrys/Juke Box Hits ... CD
BGO (UK), 1958/1960. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Two classic Chess albums from Chuck Berry – issued here on a single CD! First up is One Dozen Berrys – the fresh fruits of the labors of a young Chuck Berry – heard here at his raw, early best! The sound here is stunning – a version of Chuck that gets way past any oldies cliches – and which reminds us that at the start, his music was coming from the same Chess Records fount as Bo Diddley's riffing guitar and Muddy Waters' Chicago blues! The tunes all work together perfectly – and the familiar numbers fit in perfectly with overlooked gems that really make the album great – especially when Chuck's guitar is really given a chance to step out and solo. Titles include "La Juanda", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "It Don't Take But A Few Minutes", "Rock & Roll Music", and "Low Feeling". Juke Box Hits is way more than a "hits" album – as it's filled with some great obscure material that always gets eclipsed by Chuck's big hits. Despite the idea that these would be "new jukebox hits", the material has an approach that was probably a bit too hard for radio, but that's ok with us! Titles include "13 Question Method", "Don't You Lie To Me", "The Way It Was Before", "Away From You", "I'm Talking About You", and "Stop & Listen". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Bobby BlandCome Fly With Me/I Feel Good I Feel Fine/Sweet Vibrations/Try Me I'm Real ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 22.99
Four fantastic albums from Bobby Bland – all brought together in a single package for the first time! First up is Come Fly With Me – great work from Bobby Blue Bland – one of the few artists to rise up at the end of the 50s, and still find a way to chart their own path forward in soul with fresh material like this! Bobby's voice is still incredible here, and he works with production from Al Bell and Monk Higgins, the latter of whom arranged – in this cool style that's a bit like some of the territory that Tyrone Davis was taking on at Columbia Records during the second half of the 70s – fuller arrangements that bring some sophisticated soul touches to the music, but in ways that never lose the core of Bobby's genius! Titles include "Lady Lonely", "Night Games", "You Can Count On Me", "Love To See You Smile", "Come Fly With Me", and "To Be Friends". The next album is I Feel Good I Feel Fine – and Bobby Bland sounds pretty good too – thanks to arrangements from the great Monk Higgins, who does a perfect job of mixing Bland's trademark vocals with some sweet late 70s arrangements! The sound is upbeat, but never in a cliched disco mode – more in the territory that you'd hear Johnnie Taylor using over at Columbia Records – maybe a good comparison, given the Memphis roots that both artists shared – as both also evolved a lot to shift their sound with the changing modes of the time. And as with Johnnie, Bobby never loses the core that makes him great – as you'll hear on titles that include "Tit For Tat", "Soon As The Weather Breaks", "In His Eyes", "Someone To Belong To", "I Feel Good I Feel Fine", and "Little Mama". Sweet Vibrations is a real gem from the start of the 80s – arranged by Monk Higgins, who co-produced the set with Al Bell – a duo who'd already given Bobby some great records before, but who really knock it out of the park with this one. There's an extra-special quality going on here – maybe a slight reintroduction of blues roots, but still with a very contemporary spirit – set up to superb backings throughout. Titles include "Soul With A Flavor", "Hollywood Woman", "You'd Be A Millionaire", "Sweet Vibrator", "Special Kind Of Fool", and "A Real Woman Is What It Takes". Try Me I'm Real is record with a title that certainly fits the bill – as the amazing voice of Bobby Bland is as real here as it ever was, and blended with superbly soulful backings that take the singer's sound forward for a whole new generation! Some of Bobby's contemporaries were content to just stick in a straight blues mode – but Bland really grew and developed a lot as an artist, thanks in part to Monk Higgins and Al Bell – who are both at the production helm of the record, and balance the bluesy roots of Bobby with some richer soul backings that really knock the whole thing out of the park! We love Bobby Blue Bland during his early Duke Records years – but we love him equally as much for music like this, on titles that include "But I Do", "What A Difference A Day Makes", "Givin Up The Streets For Love", "A Song For You My Son", "Just You Just Me", and "Love Is Where It's At". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Box TopsLetter/Cry Like A Baby/Non Stop/Dimensions (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Bell/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 19.99
Four full albums from the Box Tops, plus bonus tracks too! First up is The Letter/Neon Rainbow – a powerhouse set from The Box Tops – a 60s group who showed the world that the Memphis scene had as much to offer the world of rock as it did the worlds of blues and soul – thanks to the all-great pedigree of this album! Not only does the group feature a very young Alex Chilton on lead vocals, the set was also recorded at the new American Recording Studios headed up by Chips Moman – with tracks on the record from the classic soul songwriting team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, not to mention a few by the young Bobby Womack too! The bit hit "The Letter" leads off the set, but the album's way more than just that it – filled with great tunes that include "I Pray For Rain", "I'm Your Puppet", "Happy Times", "Neon Rainbow", "Break My Mind", "She Knows How", and "Everything I Am". Cry Like A Baby is a fantastic album from The Box Tops – the kind of all-great, no-filler record that really set them apart from some of their 60s contemporaries! At this point, Alex Chilton's still not a songwriter, but he sounds tremendous in the lead on vocals – working with superb Memphis production, amidst a host of great tunes from the team of Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, plus a few other key songwriters too! Penn produced the record, and really gives it a fantastic sound – the kind of special touches and genre-bending elements of his own later records – on titles that include "Deep In Kentucky", "Cry Like A Baby", "Trouble With Sam", "The Door You Closed To Me", "Lost", "Fields Of Clover", and "Every Time". Non Stop is beautiful work from The Box Tops – a set that has the group moving way past their early hits, and finding this really sort of special place in the world of up-and-coming artists in the 60s! The Box Tops were maybe one of the first Memphis rock groups to really put together all the great elements that were bubbling in that city's scene during the 60s – the unique hybrid of soul, country, R&B, and other influences that were filtering into groups via the cross-cultural vibe of the city. That quality really comes through here – partly in the group's performance and the lead vocals of Alex Chilton, partly in the great production by Dann Penn, who also wrote a number of tracks with Spooner Oldham, and partly in the way that fuller arrangements are used to underscore some more soulful touches in the music. Titles include "Sandman", "Choo Choo Train", "I'm Movin On", "People Gonna Talk", "She Shot A Hole In My Soul", "I Met Her In Church", "I Can Dig It", and "If I Had Let You In". Dimensions is maybe one of the most soulful albums by The Box Tops – and that's saying a heck of a lot, as there's plenty of other soul elements moving through the other records! Alex Chilton's really finding his own here, and contributes a number of his own songs to the record, as a harbinger of his great legacy to come – and the production is slightly shifted, with Tommy Cogbill and Chips Moman taking over from Dan Penn, and maybe bringing in even more elements from the wide crossover between rock and soul on the Memphis scene. Titles include "I See Only Sunshine", "Together", "The Happy Song", "Rock Me Baby", "Sweet Cream Ladies", "I Must Be The Devil", "Midnight Angel", and "Soul Deep". Bonus cuts include "Since I Been Gone", "Lay Your Smile On Me", "King's Highway", "Take Me To Your Heart", "Georgia Farm Boy", "Come On Honey", and "You Keep Tightening Up On Me". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Eric Burdon & The AnimalsEvery One Of Us ... CD
MGM/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
Another gem from The Animals' overlooked late 60s years on MGM – a time when the group were easily making some of the most inventive music on the label! The styles here are even wider than before – definitely an attempt to showcase "every one of us" that made up the group – in a blend of spacey sounds, gentle folksy moments, and some of the rougher tones of previous MGM records. Many titles were written only by Burdon – a bit of a change from before – and showcase an increased use of acoustic guitar alongside his bleak vocals. Titles include "The Immigrant Lad", "Year Of The Guru", "Serenade To A Sweet Lady", "White Houses", "New York 1963/America 1968", and "Uppers & Downers". CD
Also available Every One Of Us ... LP 13.99

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Gary BurtonSomething's Coming/Groovy Sound Of Music/Time Machine ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), 1964/1965/1966. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 20.99
A trio of excellent Gary Burton albums from the 60s – collected together in a single set! Something's Coming is the launch of vibist Gary Burton as a leader – a force in jazz that would continue strongly for decades to come! At the time of the record, Burton had already been making waves as a session player on the Nashville scene – where RCA had some especially strong ears – but he's launched here in a mode that's quite far from those roots, and already filled with those modern, chromatic modes that would have Burton pushing the sound of the vibes forward strongly throughout his career – even on an early record like this! The group is very like-minded, and well-chosen – players who are spacious and modern, but never too much so – a quartet with Jim Hall on guitar, Chuck Israels on bass, and Larry Bunker on drums. Titles include "Melanie", "Careful", "Six Improvisatory Sketches", "Something's Coming", and "Little Girl Blue". Next up is a very cool take on the music of Sound Of Music – handled with some help from arranger Gary McFarland, in a way that really unlocks the modal potentials of the tunes! As you might expect from the revolutionary vibist Gary Burton, the approach here is quite different than the usual jazz album of Broadway material – and instead, both Burton and McFarland do a heck of a lot to open up the coolest potential of the songs – as they bring in other hip players who include Bob Brookmeyer on trombone, Phil Woods on alto, Joe Puma on guitar, and Steve Swallow on bass. Titles include "An Ordinary Couple", "Sixteen Going On Seventeen", "Do Re Mi", "Edelweiss", and a great take on "My Favorite Things". Time Machine is filled with beautiful sounds from Gary Burton – a seminal 60s session that really has the vibist coming into his own, and finding that new path towards musical expression that would flower even more strongly in the 70s! The album has Burton really strengthening up his sense of chrome – matching the boldness of other important 60s vibes players on the rise – like Karel Velebny or Bobby Hutcherson – but also working this really special magic in the way he lets each note resonate in the air – often with a much longer decay on the sound than the actual moment of its creation! Burton also plays a bit of piano on the record, overdubbed with his vibes – but in a way that's quite different than the vibes/piano combo of earlier acts – like the MJQ, or George Shearing Quintet – thanks to work from Steve Swallow on bass and Larry Bunker on percussion. Tracks include "Six Nix Quix Flix", "The Sunset Bell", "Deluge", "Chega De Saudade", and "Falling Grace". CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Canned HeatCanned Heat/Boogie With Canned Heat ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1967/1968. New Copy ... $12.99 18.99
The first two full albums from Canned Heat – back to back in a single set! First up is the self-titled Canned Heat – a seminal blending of blues roots with some of the new energy taking place on the Bay Area scene in the 60s – that great "old is new" approach that worked wonderfully for a few key groups – especially those like Canned Heat, who were committed to bringing plenty of their own styles into play! Sure, the music is blues – but there's a lot more flavors and styles going on here – acoustic guitar used alongside fuzzier electric, in a blend of country and city blues – but also taken to some trippier touches that reflect the psychedelic era that spawned them! Tracks are spare and simpler than on later albums, but already showing the group's distinction – on titles that include "Big Road Blues", "Help Me", "Dust My Broom", "Catfish Blues", "Rollin & Tumblin", "Goin' Down Slow", and "Evil Is Going On". Boogie With Canned Heat is the record that really broke Canned Heat out of the pack – still plenty bluesy, but with the trippier touches you might guess from the cover's psychedelic image – a perfect summation of that unique placement the group had on the late 60s Cali scene! The record's the one that gave the world the landmark "On The Road Again" – a tune used in countless films and commercials over the years, and graced with the completely unique vocals of Bob Hite – a singer who doesn't care if he sounds authentic, and who's more than happy enough to bring his own spirit to the music! That statement also defines the rest of the group too – as they let loose on titles that include "World In A Jug", "My Crime", "An Owl Song", "Fried Hockey Boogie", "Amphetamine Annie", "Whiskey Headed Woman No 2", and "Turpentine Moan". CD

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Canned HeatHallelujah/Cookbook (with bonus track) ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1969/1970. New Copy ... $12.99 18.99
Two albums from Canned Heat – back to back in a single set! First up is Hallelujah – a late 60s classic from Canned Heat – a record that captures the group during that moment when their unique blend of styles was really on fire! There's a grittier, almost noisier vibe going on here at times – fuzz turned up a bit more than before, and maybe a bit more attitude – as if the group were getting spurred on by some of the societal changes at the end of the 60s, and shaken out of any reveries of the past! The set's filled with very heady tunes – titles that include "I'm Her Man", "Sic Em Pigs", "Do Not Enter", "Big Fat", "Huautla", "Get Off My Back", and "Down In The Gutter But Free". Cookbook is a set that's billed as "best of" Canned Heat, but which also features some material that wasn't on their full length albums for Liberty too! The package is a great summation of all the stuff that makes the group so great – and yes, it doesn't feature some of the longer jams of their double albums from the period, but does hone in on the way they blend together blues inspiration and psychedelic influences so well – on titles that include "Goin Up The Country", "Amphetamine Annie", "Rollin & Tumblin", "Time Was", "On The Road Again", "Fried Hockey Boogie", "Same All Over", "Bullfrog Blues", and "Sic Em Pigs". CD features new mastering – and the bonus track "Let's Work Together". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Canned HeatLiving The Blues ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
A record that's early in the career of Canned Heat, but one that already has the group exploding past their roots – stretching out in a double-length set that takes the combo way past any sort of standard blues rock modes! Some folks love the record for the classic "Going Up The Country" – one of the signature Canned Heat tunes – but there's also some insane jams on here, including the 20 minute "Parthenogenesis", and the amazing "Refried Boogie" – which takes up all of sides three and four, and which is one of the clearest examples of the way that artists of their generation were inspired by blues, but soon opened up into psych and prog modes! Other titles are shorter, and include a version of the classic "One Kind Favor" – plus "Sandy's Blues", "Walking By Myself", "My Mistake", and "Pony Blues". CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Canned Heat & John Lee HookerHooker 'N Heat ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1970. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
If you ever doubted the blues chops of Canned Heat, take a listen to this album – as the group are joined by the great John Lee Hooker, who they let stand strongly in the spotlight and almost make the album his own! Previous sets by Canned Heat were already pretty darn great – a huge cut above blues-inspired rock groups of the late 60s years – but with Hooker in the lineup here, the sound gets even more raw and sensitive – so much so that a number of these cuts almost feel like some of the early Detroit 78rpm recordings the older blues musician recorded at the start of his career – hardly the watered-down blues rock you might expect. Titles include "Burning Hell", "Send Me Your Pillow", "Messin With The Hook", "Boogie Chillen No 2", "Peavine", "Just You & Me", "Whiskey & Wimmen", and "I Got My Eyes On You". CD

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ian Carr with NucleusSolar Plexus/Belladonna ... CD
Vertigo/BGO (UK), 1971/1972. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 21.98
Two jazz rock classics – back to back as a 2CD set! Solar Plexus was a pivotal album in the career of British jazzman Ian Carr – one that had him really opening up into some trippy, spacey grooves – adding in a lot of keyboards, kicking up the grooves, yet still never losing the strong jazzy finish that was the best part of his earlier work. Players on the set include trumpeters Harry Beckett and Kenny Wheeler, guitarist Chris Spedding, and keyboardist Karl Jekins, who really throws in some groovy lines on the set! Titles include "Elements 1 & 2", "Snakehips Dream", "Torso", "Spirit Level", and "Bedrock Deadlock". Belladonna is one of the heaviest electric sets from UK trumpeter Ian Carr – and that's really saying a lot, given how much heavy work he cut with his group Nucleus! The sound here is a groundbreaking mix of acoustic horns and keyboards – trumpet from Carr, and a mix of tenor, soprano, alto, and flute from Brian Smith – coming into contact with the Fender Rhodes of Dave MacRae and the Hohner electric of Gordon Beck! The pairing of keys is wonderful – and the whole thing is sewn together by the guitar of a young Allan Holdsworth, who's very much in the sway of Carr's sound here, instead of the later directions he'd take as a leader. The set might be worth it alone for the massive "Summer Rain" – a slow funk track that trips along beautifully – but the whole thing's great, and other titles include "Belladonna", "Mayday", "Suspension", and "Hector's House". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Stanley ClarkeTime Exposure/Find Out/Hideaway ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1984/1985/1986. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 22.98
A trio of funky electric albums from Stanley Clarke's mid 80s R&B years – 1984's Time Exposure, ''85's Find Out and '86's Hideaway – in a 2CD set! Time Exposure has a lot of 80s electro funk in the mix, particularly Clarke's impeccable bass lines, which are heavy throughout. Titles include "Play The Bass '10", "Heaven Sent You", "Speedball", "Future Shock" and the great title track. Find Out follows somewhat similar territory, an 80s synth funky set with a few surprising twists – including an electro/funk/old school rap cover of "Born In The USA"! Other tracks include "Find Out", "The Sky's The Limit", "Stereotypica" and "Psychedelic". Hideaway makes a move towards more delicate synth soul for Clarke – who assembles an impressive guest list that includes Stanley Jordan, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Copeland. Titles include a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Overjoyed", plus "My Love, Her Inspiration", "Where Do We Go", "Old Friends" and "When It's Cold Outside". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Patsy ClineTribute To Patsy Cline/Portrait Of Patsy Cline ... CD
Decca/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
The great Patsy Cline left this planet all too soon – so soon that she never got a chance to record in the full length album mode that would soon be such a big part of country music expression in the 60s – which left it up to the labels to put together albums of her work after she died at a tragically young age! In other words, although these are greatest hits sets, they're also two of Patsy's greatest albums – filled with the kind of heartbreaking material that made her a country music legend right from the start – and an undeniable influence on American music for decades to come! The package features 24 tracks in all – filled with classics that include "Crazy", "Sweet Dreams", "Lovin In Vain", "Who Can I Count On", "Why Can't He Be With You", "Leavin On Your Mind", "I'll Sail My Ship Alone", "Your Kinda Love", "Does Your Heart Beat For Me", "When You Need A Laugh", "Faded Love", "Crazy Arms", "Blue Moon Of Kentucky", and "You Took Him Off My Hands". CD

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ornette ColemanMusic Of Ornette Coleman – Forms & Sounds/Skies Of America ... CD
Sony/BGO (UK), 1967/1972. New Copy 2CDs ... $8.99 19.99
A great couple of harder-to-find Ornette Coleman records – nicely paired up in a 2CD set! First up is The Music Of Ornette Coleman, from 1967 – which is beautiful record that serves as both a showcase for Ornette's "serious" writing efforts – and his ability to play with a larger ensemble! It kicks off with Ornette playing trumpet solos with The Philadelphia Woodwind Quintet as they perform his "Forms & Sounds" live. That's followed by recordings of Ornette's "Space Flight" and "Saints & Soldiers" performed by The Chamber Symphony of Philadelphia Quartet, a string ensemble that brings a new light to Ornette's compositions! Skies Of America is an ambitious record with full orchestra, in a haunting sound that's light years from any of his smaller group recordings of the 60s and 70s! There's an incredible feel to the strings used here – played by the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Measham – all tied up and dark, with swirling sounds that run up beautifully from the bottom, then take off to the skies promised in the title – opening the door for Ornette to come in and solo freely over the top – in a magical mix that easily makes the record a standout in his long and mighty career! Harmolodic theory is definitely a part of Coleman's conception here – but in very different ways than his quartet or quintet recordings. Lots of tracks on this one, including "Skies Of America", "The Men Who Live In The White House", "Sunday In America", "Dreams", "Native Americans", "Silver Screen", "The Artist In America" and more. CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Graham CollierDown Another Road/Songs For My Father/Mosaics ... CD
Fontana/Philips/BGO (UK), 1969/1970/1971. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 19.99
3 incredible albums from the British jazz scene at the end of the 60s – all together in one 2CD package! Down Another Road is incredible work from one of England's greatest jazz talents – bassist Graham Collier, a player with an amazing ability to absorb a lot of the modern and progressive influences of his jazz generation – but all without succumbing to the same indulgences as them – a fact which resulted in a razor-sharp style that forged some of the freshest jazz ever to come out of the UK. This 1969 album is a masterpiece – filled with a modal groove and a strident searching theme, yet also as tight and grooving as most of the best Blue Note sessions from the same time. Harry Beckett's on trumpet, Nick Evans is on trombone, John Marshall plays drums, and Stan Sulzmann handles the reeds. Tracks include "Down Another Road", "Danish Blue", "The Barley Mow", and "Aberdeen Angus". Songs For My Father is a masterpiece of modernist soul jazz, with a sound that recalls the best late Blue Note work by Lee Morgan or Hank Mobley. Alan Wakeman's tenor is perfectly pitched, and searingly searching; Harry Beckett's trumpet is round, lyrical, and filled with soul; and the piano of John Taylor comps along in chunky modal grooves that make the whole album fall together brilliantly. Tracks include "Song One", "Song Two", "Song Three", etc – and they're all fantastic! Mosaics is a wonderfully searching session – filled with warm McCoy Tyner-esque modal moments, and searing post-Coltrane solos! The album comprises one long piece – Collier's "Mosaics" – performed live by a group that includes Alan Wakeman on tenor and soprano, Harry Beckett on trumpet, and Geoff Castle on piano. "Mosaics" has that amazing mid 60s Coltrane quality of going out in a spiritual kind of way – yet always returning to the groove, never getting too free, and always remaining firmly focused on the direction ahead. All players are great, and the record crackles with the intensity of a classic session on Impulse! CD

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Perry ComoI Think Of You/In Nashville/Just Out Of Reach/Today ... CD
BGO/RCA (UK), Early 70s/1987. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A nice run of late material from Perry Como – from a time in the singer's career that's often overlooked, but which also has Perry's style really making a lot of sense! Even when young, Perry Como had a quality that made him seem more old and mature – that father figure mode that made him such a strong chart seller in the 50s, and on TV in the 60s – tuned here to material that really fits those later years that Como had finally reached! Some of the work here is in a lush easy style that you'd expect, while others have a bit more of the Chet Atkins countrypolitan touch – a nice move, given that country music at the time was beginning to explore more themes of aging and maturity too. The first three albums in the set – I Think Of You, In Nashville, and Just Out Of Reach – feature material recorded in the early 70s – and the final set, Today, was Perry's last for RCA – recorded in the late 80s with Nick Perito in the studio. 45 tracks in all – with titles that include "Here Comes My Baby", "Where Does A Little Tear Come From", "Let's Do It Again", "Make Love To Me", "Sing Along With Me", "That's What Friends Are For", "Do You Remember Me", and "Someone Who Cares". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jackie De ShannonDon't Turn Your Back On Me/This Is Jackie De Shannon ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... $12.99 18.98
A pair of albums from the great Jackie DeShannon – back to back on a single CD! First up is the UK-only release Don't Turn Your Back On Me – a great batch of material with a sweet west coast pop groove – and one that includes a fair number of original tunes written by Jackie herself! Jackie's ability to write her own material really made her stand out amongst sweeter female 60s singers – and it ensured that on an album like this, she'd be working with a depth that went beyond simple pop, and which avoided the over-trodden filler that clogged up too many other albums of the genre. Titles include "Needles & Pins", "Don't Turn Your Back On Me", "She Don't Understand Him Like I Do", "When You Walk In The Room", "Oh Boy", "Hold Your Head High", "It's Love Baby", "The Prince", and "You Won't Forget Me". This Is features the young Jackie DeShannon in a really wonderful setting – partly in the mode of her earlier singles for Imperial Records, partly hitting some hipper, more adult modes – thanks in part to production help from Burt Bacharach! Burt gives Jackie a great early hit with a classic reading of "What The World Needs Now" – and in the spirit of including that tune, the record opens up a bit more to other songwriters than some of DeShannon's other albums – as Jackie's wonderful vocals really do a great job with a nice variety of work, alongside a few of her own tunes too. Titles include "What The World Needs Now", "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying", "Take Me Tonight", "Summertime", "Go On Your Way", "After Last Night", "Am I Making It Hard On You", "Hellos & Goodbyes", and "I'm Gonna Be Strong". CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Al Di MeolaElegant Gypsy/Casino ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... $8.99 20.98
Two full fusion classics from Al Di Meola – back to back on a single CD! Elegant Gypsy really features DiMeola moving into some very dynamic territory – jamming out heavy on a mix of electric and acoustic guitars, with additional help from Paco DeLucia on acoustic at points. The instrumentation also features heavy electric piano from Jan Hammer, other keyboards from Barry Miles, bass from Anthony Jackson, and drums from Steve Gadd and Lenny White – all fusion powerhouse players who really take over the groove at times, but still leave enough room on the record for some gentler sounds from Paco and Al. Titles include "Elegant Gypsy Suite", "Flight Over Rio", "Midnight Tango", and "Race With Devil On Spanish Highway". Casino has a smaller, tighter lineup than some of Al DiMeola's other records of the time, but the overall sound is still pretty far-reaching – thanks to a mix of keyboards from Barry Miles, and a blistering array of acoustic and electric guitars from Al himself! Steve Gadd propels the group withs ome very heavy drums, and Anthony Jackson plays bass – on titles that include "Egyptian Danza", "Chasin The Voodoo", "Senor Mouse", "Casino", and "Fantasia Suite For Two Guitars". CD

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Dillard & ClarkFantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark/Through The Morning Through The Night (with bonus tracks) ... CD
A&M/BGO (UK), 1968/1969. New Copy ... $12.99 18.99
Two seminal albums from Doug Dillard and Gene Clark – back to back in a single set, and with bonus tracks too! Fantastic Expedition is a mellow masterpiece of sunshine country rock from Dillard & Clark – a duo that featured Gene Clark of the Byrds and Doug Dillard of the Dillards – in a wonderful blend of Cali longhair harmonies, back porch psych, and expert Byrds-y tunefulness! Dillard provides lots of great banjo and some chirping fiddle – along with mandolin and chiming acoustic guitars that bring a bit of bluegrass into the sound – but the record has California written all over it thanks to the vocal harmonies and wistful tune craft. Really close to perfection – and deserves as much praise as the better known country rock benchmarks of the era – including the early two classics by Flying Burrito Brothers. Tracks include "Out On The Side", "She Darked The Sun", "Train Leaves Here This Mornin", "With Care From Somewhere", "Git It On Brother", "In The Plan", and "Don't Come Rolling". Through The Morning Through The Night is the amazing second album from the great duo of Gene Clark and Doug Dillard – and a record that's maybe even better than the first! Even though the set's a key part of the late 60s Byrds and Flying Burrito Brothers legacy – the vibe is probably more like the latter than the former – that is, more country than rock – in a way that really has the Clark/Dillard team getting even more confident with that side of their sound – drawing both on Doug's roots, and pointing the way toward his years to come. Clark provides some excellent songwriting, and his vocals are what really set the album apart – and the album also features some backing vocals from Donna Washington, amidst a mostly acoustic lineup that includes bluegrass instrumentation – and guest work from Sneaky Pete Kleinow on steel guitar, Chris Hillman on mandolin, and Bernie Leadon on guitar. Titles include "So Sad", "Corner Street Bar", "I Bowed My Head & Cried Holy", "Kansas City Southern", "No Longer A Sweetheart Of Mine", "Polly", "Four Walls", and "Through The Morning Through The Night". Bonus tracks include "Why Not Your Baby", "Lyin Down The Middle", and "Don't Be Cruel". CD

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John Dummer BandFamous Music Band/Blue ... CD
Fontana/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
Two really unusual albums from British drummer/singer John Dummer – an artist who was part of the British blues scene in the 60s – but who's something very different altogether! First up is John Dummer's Famous Music Band – a set that features key contributions from Nick Pickett on vocals, guitar, harmonica, vibes, and a host of instrumentation – all used in ways that really move past traditional blues-based modes – certainly there at the core, as in the work of the rest of the group – but already moving past any sort of slavish attempt to both be American, and even blues at all. We'd be tempted to call the approach roots rock, but it's also a bit weirder and more offbeat than that – part of that special spirit that's always made Dummer so unique. Titles include "Lady Luck", "Love Ain't Nothing But Sorrow", "Run Around", "Searching For You", "Nine By Nine", "Coming Home", "Green Leaves", and "Fine Looking Woman". Blue is a set that has the band of British drummer John Dummer moving over to Vertigo records – a shift that helps them sound even tighter and cooler than before! Singer Nick Pickett gets equal billing on the cover – and it's Pickett's contributions that really shape the sound – really offbeat vocals, plus guitar, organ, and even a bit of violin – used in that blues inspiration that got Dummer started, but with a weirder, more unusual style overall – at that moment when London was past being slavish to Chicago or Memphis! Titles include "Medicine Weasel", "The End Game", "Me & The Lady", "Time Will Tell", and "If I Can't Keep From Laughing". CD

Close matches21
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Dave EdmundsRiff Raff/Hear You Rockin ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1984/1987. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
A pair of Dave Edmunds Records – back to back on a single CD! Riff Raff is Dave Edmunds in the 80s – still very much in charge of that special voice that made him a standout rocker from the UK scene the decade before – but also doing plenty to change with the times! Dave's vocals and famous guitar twang are wrapped around the kind of catchy tunes he always did so well – and the production, handled with help from Jeff Lynne, has some electro touches and compression around the vocals – elements that work surprisingly well, as in Lynne's own musical shift during the decade! There's plenty of classic Edmunds moments throughout – and titles include "Busted Loose", "Breaking Out", "Far Away", "How Could I Be So Wrong", "Can't Get Enough", and "Something About You". I Hear You Rockin is a late 80s set from Dave Edmunds – but one that has him working live, at a level that's maybe more tied to some of his late 70s material than you'd expect! The group perform a fair bit of older hits, and Dave's vocals and twang-heavy guitar are very much in fine formation – giving the whole thing a Stiff Records sort of vibe, on titles that include "Girls Talk", "Here Comes The Weekend", "Queen Of Hearts", "I Knew The Bride", "I Hear You Knockin", and "Crawling From The Wreckage". CD

Close matches22
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Georgie FameGeorgie Does His Thing With Strings/Knock On Wood/CBS Singles ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $8.99 20.99
Some of our favorite work ever from the mighty Georgie Fame – key tracks from his years on CBS – when he was really moving past straight jazz, into a whole great style of his own! First up is the full album Georgie Does His Thing With Strings – a set that has Georgie Fame singing with a host of string-heavy backings from the great Keith Mansfield! Given Mansfield's roots in the sound library scene, the style here is never as sleepy or hokey as you might expect from the "strings" in the title – but there is a moodier, mellower approach than you'd hear on other Fame albums – a style that's partially aimed at older jazz vocal modes, but which also echoes with sounds of the Scott Walker generation – a newly mature mode that's a really great fit for Georgie's unique style of singing, and which exposes yet another amazing side of his seemingly limitless talents! There's always a nice sense of warmth and wit going on – one that keeps these tunes from just being the usual sort of standard vocal fare of the period – and Mansfield's backings have a lean quality that often pulses with a very gentle groove at the bottom. Titles include "Who's Kissing You Blues", "Girl Talk", "This Guy's In Love With You", "A House Is Not A Home", "Woe Is Me", "Need Your Love So Bad", and "Guess Who I Saw Today". Next is the rare Knock On Wood EP – with four songs that include the title track, plus "Close The Door", "All I'm Asking", and "Didn't Want To Have To Do It". THEN – the CD adds in 21 more bonus tracks – almost all non-album single cuts by Fame from the late 60s and start of the 70s – most of which have never been reissued, and are a flurry of mad soul, clever vocals, and lots of hip instrumental twists – all delivered with that undeniable Georgie Fame charm. Titles include "Down Along The Cover", "Seventh Son", "No Thanks", "Try My World", "Bidin My Time", "For Your Pleasure", "Kentucky Child", "Peaceful", "Entertaining Mr Sloan", "Someday Man", and "The Movie Star Song". CD

Close matches23
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✨✧ Joe FarrellPenny Arcade/Upon This Rock/Canned Funk ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
3 killer CTI classics from Joe Farrell in a 2CD set! Penny Arcade has grooves so sharp you could cut your trousers on them! Farrell's angular reed style is in perfect form here – grooving with a small group that includes Herbie Hancock on piano, Joe Beck on guitar, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – a combo that's got a harder, tighter feel than most CTI groups – a key reason why Joe's records of this time are so legendary! Includes a version of Stevie Wonder's "Too High" – one that breaks all over the beginning with these riffs by Farrell, then grooves into a CTI electric funk mode for about 13 minutes. All tracks are long – and other tracks include "Hurricane Jane", "Geo Blue", "Penny Arcade", and "Cloud Cream". Upon This Rock is another massive set from the funky reedman – with a lean, edgy groove to the set that's totally great. One cut features a guest group – with Herbie Hancock on piano, Steve Gadd on drums, and Don Alias on percussion – and the album includes the massively break-heavy title cut "Upon This Rock", plus "Seven Seas", "I Won't Be Back", and "Weathervane". There's nothing canned on Canned Funk – as the sound, style, and groove of the record is as fresh and freaky as the classic image on the cover! The sax lines are as angular as the rhythms – tight, choppy, and completely funky – no wonder the record's a CTI classic that folks have dug for years! Tracks are all nice and long – and titles include "Canned Funk", "Animal", and "Spoken Silence". CD

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Maynard FergusonBallad Style Of Maynard Ferguson/Alive & Well In London ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
A pair of Columbia classics from trumpeter Maynard Ferguson – back to back on a single CD! First up is an album titled Ballad Style, but there's no sleepy ballads here – thanks to hip backings from British arranger Keith Mansfield – who also worked with Maynard Ferguson on some of his MF Horn sessions! As with other work of the time, Mansfield manages to keep things moving along nicely, even when mellow – and he mixes his own arrangements with orchestrations conducted by Alan Moorehouse that have some of the groovier touches of late 60s Brit Easy – even a very slight hint of a groove at the bottom of some tunes. The music is definitely in a ballad mode, but never as sleepy as you might think – and titles include "Girl Talk", "Born Free", "You Only Live Twice", "Sound Of Silence", "As Long As He Needs Me", and "The Impossible Dream". Alive & Well is equally groovy – funky big band material at its best – with hard-grooving arrangements from Brit talents who include John Cameron, Kenny Wheeler, and Keith Mansfield – all of whom mix together key elements of sound library funk with enough pure jazz to make Maynard sound great throughout. Tunes include some great groovy covers – "Move Over", "Aquarius", "My Sweet Lord", "Your Song", and "Living In The Past" – plus Mansfield's own "The Serpent". CD

Close matches25
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✨✧ FoundationsFoundations – The Pye Records As, Bs, & Eps ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
Most folks know The Foundations for one big crossover hit that still gets a lot of oldies radio play – but the group have a heck of a lot more to offer than that, as you'll hear in this wonderful collection that not only features all their 7" single releases from the UK, but also includes later solo material from the group's lead singer, Clem Curtis! The group were initially a bunch of British lads inspired by the sound of Motown, and they hooked up with Curtis, a singer from Trinidad – who really gave them the sound they wanted in the lead, and helped further the important identity of the group as a mixed-race act. Their sound is wonderfully tight – kind of a small group take on the larger studio majesty of Detroit soul – but with some nice British touches too, and a great sense of songwriting that gave the group plenty of original material along the way – a good deal of which you'll hear on this set. The 2CD package features 39 single tracks by The Foundations – including "Back On My Feet Again", "Come On Back To Me", "I Can Take Or Leave Your Loving", "Am I Grooving You", "New Direction", "Jerking The Dog", "Baby Now That I've Found You", "In The Bad Bad Old Days", "Born To Live Born To Die", "Solomon Grundy", "Till Night Brought Day", "Waiting On The Shores Of Nowhere", and "Build Me Up Buttercup". Also includes mid 70s solo work by Clem Curtis – five more tracks that include "Point Of No Return", "Time Alone Will Tell", "Mountain Over The Hill", and "I've Never Found A Girl". CD

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Gap BandGap Band (1979)/Gap Band II/Gap Band III ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1979/1980. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 19.99
Massive music in a wonderful package – three funky classics from The Gap Band! First up is the group's self-titled album from 1979 – the start of the legendary second chapter for the Gap Band – the point when the group had reemerged as the tight funky trio of the Wilson Brothers, with a groove that would really set them up nicely for the 80s! This first album in the new format has a wonderfully tight feel – still plenty of sharp edges that echo their earlier groove, but a leaner quality too – one that's got the bass and drums snapping together wonderfully, really setting the tone for the heaviest grooves. There's also a few mellower cuts too – which really sound great, and give the record the same sort of balance you might hear on work by Heaven & Earth at the time. War's Lonnie Simmons produced – and held the cash bag all the way to the bank! Titles include "I'm In Love", "Got To Get Away", "Messin With My Mind", "Shake", "Baby Baba Boogie", "Open Your Mind Wide", and "I Can Sing". Gap Band II features mean, lean grooves from The Gap Band – a legendary batch of mainstream funk from the end of the 70s – and a record that really has the trio working at the top of their game! There's a wonderful balance here between funky numbers and mellow ones – the latter of which really help pace the record nicely, giving it a depth that takes the group way beyond the cliches of some of their contemporaries, and firmly establishing the Gap Band as one to watch for the 80s! Titles include the massive "I Don't Believe You Want To Get Up & Dance" – with its classic "Oops Upside Your Head" refrain – plus "Who Do You Call", "No Hiding Place", "Steppin Out", "You Are My High", and "Party Lights". Gap Band III is sagreat one from the Gap Band – funky gems and sinister groovers – the best of both worlds for the group! Tunes like "Burn Rubber On Me (When You Want To Hurt Me)" and "Humpin" packed 80s dance floors for good reason, and put the band in steady rotation, while numbers like "Yearning For Your Love" showed the band could drop the tempo, stretch out a bit, and deliver the mighty mellow. This one's certainly at the top of the heap of 80s groovers, as far as we're concerned – a record that really took the Gap Band over the top! Other tracks include "Nothin' Comes To The Sleepers", "Are You Living", "The Way", "Gash Gash Gash" and more. CD

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Gap BandGap Band 8/Straight From The Heart (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Total Experience/BGO (UK), Late 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A pair of late 80s gems from the Gap Band – back to back, with bonus tracks too! First up is Gap Band 8 – very sharp work from The Gap Band – working confidently in a mid 80s boogie soul mode with a couple of solid slow jams and that funky synthesizer groove which they had pretty much perfected by this point! The Gap Band's way of inflecting easygoing 80s soul and more ballad-y numbers with funky synth and bass, as well as diverse styles of percussion is a big piece of the pie at this point in their career – as is the supremely catchy songwriting. Definitely an overlooked Gap Band effort worth revisiting! Includes "Big Fun", "I Can't Live Without Your Love", "Get Loose, Get Funky", "Don't Take It Away", "I'll Always Love You", "Bop B Da Da (How Music Came About)", "I Owe It To Myself" and more. Straight From The Heart is great work from the later, leaner sound of the Gap Band – a time when the group were working with a bit more programming than before, but still very much in the funky soul territory of their roots! Like contemporaries Cameo, Gap Band were able to make a great shift into the electro soul generation – one that maybe even got them greater fame than in the early years – almost as if their initial impulses were waiting for the 80s funk generation to really find the right sort of sound for their groove! The whole album's rock-solid – filled with tunes that should have been hits – and titles include "Come & Dance", "All The Way Yours", "I'm So Satisfied", "You Told Me That", and "Straight From The Heart". 2CD set features six bonus tracks from Gap Band 8 – "Big Fun (mega mix)", "Zibble Zibble (dub-zibble money mix)", "I Owe It To Myself (rmx)", "Big Fun (Bandolero mix)", "Big Fun (serious dub mix)", and "Bop B Da B Da Da (ext version)". CD

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Gap BandGap Band VI/Gap Band VII (with bonus tracks) ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
Electro-steeped funky soul from The Gap Band – a pair of mid 80s classic LPs in a 2CD set with bonus tracks! They're already past the "V" in their classic run of 80s albums at this point, and still very much at the top of their game. The core trio work with sweet production from Lonnie Simmons on VI – a pairing that continues to set the group up above most of their competition, and give them a groove that goes way past the obvious. Mellow cuts stand out as strongly as upbeat ones – and if anything, the mellow groovers are the best! Titles include "The Sun Don't Shine Everyday", "Weak Spot", "Video Junkie", "Beep A Freak", "Don't You Leave Me", "Disrespect", "I Believe", and "I Found My Baby". VII is an equally great gem – augmented by some more electro touches that definitely keep things fresh – and we mean that in the best mid-80s use of the word! A bit of an old school influence comes into the vocals at points – showing their strength with the kind of catchy chorus that works great with a bassy groove. Titles include a great ballad reworking of "Going In Circles" – plus the groovers "Lil Red Funkin Hood", "Automatic Brain", "Desire", "Bumpin Gum People", and "I Know We'll Make It". The 2CDs include 11 bonus tracks too – heavy on 12" club mixes and remixes! CD

Close matches29
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Grass RootsWhere Were You When I Needed You/Let's Live For Today/Feelings/Lovin Things ... CD
Dunhill/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
A four-pack of albums from this seminal group – all brought together in a single set! Where Were You is a seminal set from the Sunset Strip scene of the 60s – and just the kind of record that shows why the changes taking place in Cali were so important to the growth of so much other music at the time! A few years before, and The Grass Roots would have been a pop folk combo re-tuning traditional tracks for the coffeehouse scene – but here they're taking off with some post-folk modes that are partly sunshine pop, partly the headier currents that were the darker side of the west coast – all put together with superb production by PF Sloan and Steve Barri – who also penned some of the best tunes on the record. Titles include the great "Where Were You When I Needed You" – plus "Only When You're Lonely", "Look Out Girl", "Ain't That Loving You Baby", "I've Got No More To Say", "I Am A Rock", "Tell Me", and "Mr Jones". Let's Live For Today is maybe the most famous record ever given to the world by California quartet The Grass Roots – famous for its title tune, and for the way that it effortlessly blends together folk inclinations and psych inspirations! The record's definitely one of those that showed the world that there was something new in the air at the time – put together with perfect production in the studio from Steve Barri and PF Sloan – who are in territory that's somewhere between the best from Brian Wilson and Abbey Road Studios – but a bit more understated than both! Titles include the classic "Let's Live For Today" – plus "Things I Should Have Said", "Wake Up Wake Up", "No Exit", "This Precious Time", "House Of Stone", "Is It Any Wonder", and "Tip Of My Tongue". Feelings is a great departure for The Grass Roots – a set that has the group taking a stronger role overall in the instrumentation and songwriting on the record – at a level that makes the whole thing a fabulous extension of all the genius they'd given the world on previous sets! There's still that cool blend of post-folk and psychedelic elements taking place here – gently swirled together with acoustic and electric guitars setting the tunes up just right – all with a late 60s Cali vibe that's as great today as when it was recorded. Titles include "The Sins Of A Family Fall On The Daughter", "Melody For You", "You Might As Well Go My Way", "Dinner For Eight", "Good Things Come To An End", "You & Love Are The Same", and "Hey Friend". CD

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Merle HaggardBranded Man/Sing Me Back Home/Okie From Muskogee ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 22.99
A trio of early classics from the great Merle Haggard – served up here in a single set! Branded Man is a key early album in the career of the legendary Merle Haggard – a set that's open about his time behind bars, and which resonates beautifully with all the themes of loss and loneliness that haunted his music for years! Even at this early stage, Haggard is head and shoulders above the rest – contributing his own fantastic work to the record, and also taking on a few tunes by others – almost making the whole thing feel like a concept album – not a unified suite of tracks, but more one that's unified with a sense of emotion and persona that few other country singers were bringing to the format at the time. While Johnny Cash may have learned to boost his career by recording in prisons, Merle used his time in one to create the sort of deep emotional well that you'll hear on classics that include "Branded Man", "I Threw Away The Rose", and "I Made The Prison Band" – next to other gems that include "Loneliness Is Eating Me Alive", "Long Black Limousine", "Go Home", "My Hands Are Tied", "Gone Crazy", and "Don't Get Married". Sing Me Back Home is a fantastic album from Merle Haggard – one that signals its sense of longing and wandering with its title and cover – then really delivers the goods in a package that's overflowing with strong original material by the man himself! While so many other country singers were singing about drinking and loving with a nod and wink, Haggard was able to set a whole new tone with a record like this – really digging deep both in spirit and lyrical presentation – and making the kind of music that raised the bar for generations to come! Every song on the record is a gem - and titles include "Where Does The Good Times Go", "Sing Me Back Home", "Look Over Me", "Wine Take Me Away", "If You See My Baby", "I'll Leave The Bottle At The Bar", "Home Is Where A Kid Grows Up", "My Past Is Present", "Good Times", and "Seeing Eye Dog". Okie From Muskogee is one of the most legendary albums in the long career of the mighty Merle Haggard – a live set that's capped with the famous title tune – recorded down in Oklahoma, as a nod to the roots of Merle's heritage – and one that was really able to carefully play both sides of the fence at the end of the 60s! So while Hag is singing the anthemic title tune – a proud statement against hippies and the radical underground while most of America is standing strong – he's still also reaching out with a palette of emotional expression that shows that the man himself is deeply complex, and able to rise up a bit of Okie pride, while also letting the world know that the same spirit was also fanning the flames of the musical revolutions out on the west coast too. The set's overflowing with classics – not just the new "Okie From Muskogee" – but also killer versions of "Mama Tried", "No Hard Times", "In the Arms Of Love", "If I Had Left It Up To You", "White Line Fever", "Blue Rock", and a medley of "Swinging Doors", "I'm A Lonesome Fugitive", "Sing Me Back Home", and "Branded Man". CD

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Merle HaggardKern River/Amber Waves Of Grain ... CD
Epic/BGO (UK), 1985. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
Two mid-80s sets from Merle Haggard – back to back on a single CD! First up is Kern River – a real classic from the Epic Records years of Merle Haggard – a set that has both the singer and the label realizing that one of the strongest suits of Hag's style at the time was his maturity – which is brought to light here in a great set of blue-tinged tunes filled with themes of loss and looking back! Grady Martin co-produced the set with Merle, and there's an easygoing vibe here that never pushes Haggard's vocals too much – and instead really revels in the gentler tones and more personal aspects of his voice. Titles include the classic "Kern River" – plus "Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You", "There Won't Be Another Now", "I Wonder Where I'll Find You At Tonight", "You Don't Love Me Any More", and "There's Somebody Else On Your Mind". Amber Waves is a later live set from Merle Haggard – one that echoes some of the attitudes of his famous concert recordings for Capitol, but which also has some nicely different qualities too! As with those albums, Merle's definitely pitching some of the ideas and politics towards a more populist audience – but he's also reveling in some of the more mature modes of his Epic Records years – sliding into some of the mellower tunes with the confidence that he often brought to his more uptempo early hits. Titles include "I Wish Things Were Simple Again", "Amber Waves", "American Waltz", "The Farmer's Daughter", and "Gone With The Wind" – plus cool medley cuts "Tulare Dust/Mama Tried", "The Okie From Muskogee's Comin Home/The Okie From Muskogee", and "Working Man's Blues/Always Late With Your Kisses". CD

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Merle HaggardSame Train A Different Time – Merle Haggard Sings The Great Songs Of Jimmie Rodgers ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $12.99 18.99
A really special album in the career of the great Merle Haggard – a moment when he really started looking back to give credit to those who inspired him – and when he was also really able to express himself in a longer format too! Part of the credit might go to Capitol Records, who trusted Merle so much they not only let him record a concept album, but a 2LP set as well – plenty of space for Haggard to deliver some great spoken passages about the great Jimmie Rodgers, his life, and music – then move into some of Jimmie's classics, but updated nicely with a vibe that's very much Merle's own! Given the way that Hag was stretching out his vocal skills tremendously at the end of the 60s, there's a sense of inflection that's perfect for the bluesy currents of the songs – on titles that include "Blue Yodel No 4", "Waitin For A Train", "Mother The Queen Of My Heart", "My Old Pal", "No Hard Times", "Travelin Blues", "Down The Old Road To Home", "Jimmie's Texas Blues", "Train Whistle Blues", and "Mule Skinner Blues" – plus the classic train song "Hobo Bill's Last Ride". CD

Close matches33
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Steve Harley & Cockney RebelBest Years Of Our Lives ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), 1975. Used ... $6.99
... CD

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Mike HarrisonMike Harrison/Smokestack Lightning/Rainbow Rider ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 16.99
Three overlooked albums by British singer Mike Harrison – all brought together in a single set! First up is the self-titled Mike Harrison – a wonderful solo debut from the singer who made Spooky Tooth sound so great on their albums, maybe even sounding better here on his own! The album is clearly conceived and put together by Mike – with backup help from The Junkyard Band, who underscore the yearning, earnest qualities in his vocals – spun out with a snakey, raspy charm, with a sound that's maybe a more intimate take on territory explored by Procol Harum. The songs are great, and the whole record has a quality level that really attests to the all-great quality of Island Records at this point – with tracks that include "Pain", "Lonely People", "Mother Nature", "Call It A Day", "Damian", and "Wait Until The Morning". Smokestack Lightning is great solo work from Mike Harrison, ex-Spooky Tooth – a fantastic singer who should have been huge as a solo act – maybe a bit like Colin Blunstone, whose sound with The Zombies was so important, but could never have a huge career on his own – even while he created some wonderful albums in the process! This set's a well-crafted gem through and through – recorded at Muscle Shoals, but with a sound that's free of any of the hoke of those oft-used studios – as instead of bending to southern modes, Harrison uses the ace musicians to underscore some of the depth of his own approach in a really great way. Titles include "Turning Over", "Wanna Be Free", "Tears", "What A Price", and "Paid My Dues". Rainbow Rider has Mike Harrison maybe hitting some harder rock territory than before, with some roots rock moments – more a part of the overall sound of the group, and with some pretty heavy guitars up there in the lead – which seems to bring out a very different quality in Mike's vocals. Titles include "Okay Lay Lady Lay", "Like A Road Leading Home", "Maverick Woman Blues", "You & Me", "I'll Keep It With Mine", and "Friend". CD

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✨✧ John Lee HookerUrban Blues ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1967. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A fantastic late 60s set from John Lee Hooker – one that has the legend working in a mode that echoes some of the funkier soul styles of the time, but with a vibe that's still very much in the best spirit of his classic work! The groove is slightly amped up by the electric bass of Eddie Taylor and tight drums of Al Duncan, but the session just features a quartet – with the mighty Phil Upchurch on second guitar next to John's lead – and Hooker delivering some fantastic vocals throughout! Titles include "Hot Spring Water (parts 1 & 2)", "Backbiters & Syndicaters", "Mr Lucky", "Cry Before I Go", "I'm Standing In Line", "The Motor City Is Burning", "Want Ad Blues", and "I Can't Stand To Leave You". CD

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✨✧ Ashley HutchingsRattlebone & Ploughjack ... CD
Island/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
One of the strangest records ever from Ashley Hutchings – a set that's even more ancient-sounding and enigmatic than his music with Fairport Convention and Albion Band! In a sense, the album follows the spirit of both groups, and their effort to plumb the past and fuse it with the present – yet here, Hutchings is almost trying to create a documentary of old recordings – even though the material is all newly-recorded, but handled with a more ancient aesthetic that hearkens back to the 78rpm generation! Players aren't listed, and there's no credits at all – but it's pretty clear that Hutchings has some of his key Fairport Convention partners on board to help with the sound – which is served up in a mix of acoustic instrumental and vocal modes, sometimes with spoken introductions through each side-long collage of tunes. CD

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Ivy LeagueThis Is The Ivy League/Sounds Of The Ivy League/Tomorrow Is Another Day (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Picadilly/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
A huge amount of music from The Ivy League – a hip UK group from the 60s, but one who never crossed over big on our side of the Atlantic! The trio were first formed to sing backup vocals on sessions for other folks, but they clearly rose up on their own, thanks to well-crafted harmonies that are clearly inspired by some of the bigger American pop acts of the times, but which also often have a surprising current of jazz – quite a nice blend as these guys can shift between styles you might hear from the Four Seasons and Four Freshmen, with maybe dose of The HiLos thrown in for good measure! The setting is definitely rock, though – superbly produced in the best Brit style of the 60s – which helps give a very unique spin to the way these guys come together. This huge set features everything known to have been recorded by the group – the full albums This Is The Ivy League, Sounds Of The Ivy League, and Tomorrow Is Another Day – plus 19 more songs from singles and EP releases! CD

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Milt JacksonSunflower/Goodbye ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two CTI label gems from vibist Milt Jackson – back to back on a single CD! Sunflower is proof that Milt Jackson was easily the hippest member of the Modern Jazz Quartet – and one of the few who could really open up into different sounds away from that combo! This sweet 70s set for CTI is totally great – a whole new chapter for Jackson's vibes, and a real re-setting of the soulful modes he'd explored as a leader in the 60s. There's a wonderfully warm and chromatic feel to the set from the start – as Milt's vibes are set in fuller arrangements from Don Sebesky – with added instrumentation from Herbie Hancock on electric piano, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Phil Bodner on reeds. The highlight of the album is a nice long take on "People Make The World Go Round", but it's all pretty sweet, and other titles include nice versions of "Sunflower" and "What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life" – and Jackson's own "SKJ" and "For Someone I Love". Goodbye is classic work from vibist Milt Jackson – opening up his bag a lot for the 70s, in a way that makes for some wonderfully casual grooves! The album's not as moodily funky as some of Jackson's other CTI records, but it is a nice batch of laidback tunes played with a distinctly soulful edge – handled by a group that features Cedar Walton on piano, Hubert Laws on flute, Ron Carter bass, Steve Gadd drums – and some guest trumpet from Freddie Hubbard on the track "SKJ". Other titles include "Opus De Funk", "Detour Ahead","Goodbye", and "Old Devil Moon". CD

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Jimmy James & The VagabondsNew Religion/London Swings/This Is Jimmy James & The Vagabonds/Open Up Your Soul (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $8.99 20.99
Four classic albums from this hip British soul group – issued here in a single set, with bonus tracks too! First up is New Religion – a record that was also released in America by Atlantic Records. Although they were a UK soul act, Jimmy James and The Vagabonds were a perfect match for the Atlantic soul stable of the 60s. The group had a smooth group style that was partly uptown, partly northern soul – as clearly illustrated in this album, which is divided up into a "mood red: you feel like leaping" side, and a "mood blue: you feel like digging deeper" side. The band chose some good material that really helps them maintain a solid socking soul sound – including "The Entertainer" and "Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud" by Tony Clarke, "Ain't No Big Thing" and "I'm Just A Fool For You Girl" by Gerald Sims, and "Little Boy Blue" and "People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield. Also features "Come To Me Softly", a sweet dreamy ballad by Jimmy, and kind of a bit crossover hit for the boys. London Swings is two-sided monster – as the album was originally split with work from the Alan Bown Set too! Here, the CD features just the live material from the soul group – a smoking performance from Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – one that goes way past the sweetness of their hits, and which has a crowd-pleasing, party-hearty approach to soul that's really great! Jimmy and the group serve up versions of "Sock It To Em JB", "That Driving Beat", "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", "You Don't Know Like I Know", and "Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do". This Is Jimmy James & The Vagabonds is a record that featured some crossover tracks with New Religion – but the set here just features the exclusive cuts – including "I Feel Alright", "I Can't Get Back Home To My Baby", "Never Like This Before", "I Don't Wanna Cry", and "You Showed Me The Way". Open Up Your Soul is a record with a really wonderful sound – the deeply soulful vocals of Jimmy James & The Vagabonds, mixed with rich arrangements handled by Nicky Welsh, and produced to perfection by Brit maestro John Schroeder! The record's got the sophistication of some of the Richard Evans productions over at Chess/Cadet at the same time – and, no surprise, the group lead off with a great cover of The Dells "Wear It On Our Face" – then roll into cuts that include "Cry Like A Baby", "Good Day Sunshine", "Four Walls", "Everybody Loves A Winner", "If You're Gonna Love Me", and "Open Up Your Soul". CD also features 7 more bonus tracks from singles – including "Why", "Bumper To Bumper", "Close The Door", "Give Us A Light", "I Wanna Be your Everything", "Hungry For Love", and "Don't Know What I'm Gonna Do". CD

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Waylon JenningsWhat Goes Around Comes Around/Music Man/Back On Black/Waylon & Company ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 22.99
Four full albums from Waylon Jennings – served up here in one double CD set! First up is What Goes Around Comes Around – Waylon Jennings' last album of the 70s, and a set that continues the superstar run he forged during the decade – delivered with that increasing power and focus that Jennings brought to his records as the years went on – still strongly country through and through, but with a quality that helped Waylon to really reach out and find audiences that some of his contemporaries couldn't touch! The material is really well-chosen, and fits that swagger that Jennings could bring to his vocals, but without ever pushing things too far – none of the hoke that could occasionally get in the way – on titles that include "I Ain't Livin Long Like This", "What Goes Around", "It's The World's Gone Crazy", "Old Love New Eyes", "Come With Me", and "Ivory Tower". Music Man is a set recorded at a time when Waylon Jennings had really reached superstardom – and was also finding a whole new ear for his music on the TV screen, thanks to his work on Dukes Of Hazzard! Think what you might about that show, Waylon's theme is a great one – and it's presented here along with a number of other well-chosen numbers that are delivered with a nicely understated sound overall – no attempt to try to force any sort of country rock agenda on Jennings, even when he's taking on the music of Steely Dan! And surprisingly, he does a pretty great job of that – reworking "Do It Again" into a completely different sort of song – heard here next to "It's Alright", "Storms Never Last", "Nashville Wimmin", "He Went To Paris", and "Good Ol Boys". On Black On Black, Waylon Jennings gets some great help from producer Chips Moman – who creates this laidback, rootsy groove that's perfect for the singer's sound – a move that's a wonderful choice, given that at this point in his career, Jennings could have gone for an arena-filling country rock sort of approach – but instead stays true to the kind of confident, up-close material that filled his classic albums for RCA in the 70s! Titles include "Honky Tonky Blues", "Women Do Know How To Carry On", "We Made It As Lovers", "Gonna Write A Letter", "Shine", and a remake of "Just To Satisfy You". On Waylon & Company, the "company" is as key as Waylon Jennings himself – as the set features the country music legend serving up a set of duets with a surprisingly great range of other singers – an all-star lineup that includes Jerry Reed, Tony Joe White, Hank Williams Jr, Willie Nelson, and Emmylou Harris! The set's a great reminder of the collaborative spirit that Jennings really started bringing to his music in the 70s – similar to Willie Nelson, a frequent recording partner – as a way of never letting superstardom make Waylon too prideful to not share the spotlight with someone else. Titles include "Hold On I'm Comin", "Spanish Johnny", "I'll Find It Where I Can", "Sight For Sore Eyes", "The Conversation", "So You Want To Be A Cowboy Singer", and "Leave Them Boys Alone". CD

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JohnstonsBitter Green/Colours Of The Dawn/If I Sang My Song (bonus tracks) ... CD
Transatlantic/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A trio of tremendous albums by The Johnstons – all recorded right around the start of the 70s, at a time when the group was moving into some even more heady territory than before! The Johnstons got their start as a more traditional Irish folk group, but like most of their British Isles contemporaries at the end of the 60s, they were able to find a way to bridge the ancient and the current – by this point mixing traditional material with some very well-chosen contemporary cuts, all of which really flower even more wonderfully in the beautiful male/female vocal style of the group – who can hit a warm blend that's almost like the west coast post-folk modes of the Sunshine Pop generation, but much more cerebral. Production is nicely stripped-down at most points – with a focus on acoustic instrumentation, but also some slight elements on the second two albums that almost remind us of the hipness of Warner/Reprise productions for this sort of material. 2CD set features all three albums, plus 11 more bonus tracks – with titles that include "Jesus Was A Carpenter", "The Story Of Isaac", "Bitter Green", "The Wind In My Hands", "Border Child", "Going Home", "The Life Of The Rover", "Won't You Come With Me", "Colours Of The Dawn", "Brightness She Came", and "Won't You Come With Me". 42 tracks in all! CD

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JohnstonsJohnstons/Give A Damn/Barley Corn ... CD
Transatlantic/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
Great work from The Johnstons – an Irish group centered around the wonderful vocals of Adrienne and Lucy Johnston – a male/female pair who have a really fantastic sound when they sing together! Given their harmonies, The Johnstons' approach is a bit of a later take on some of the folk harmony recordings of the early 60s – but given their Irish bent, and ear for traditional material, they've also got echoes of some of the acid folk generation that was rising up at the time – and in a way, the material here is a crucial bridge between the two generations – definitely too dark to be pop, but with less of the jamming quality of Pentangle or Fairport Convention. A few tracks here and there have larger arrangements, but most of the material is spare and moody – and this great package brings together three full Transatlantic albums by the group – a total of 38 tracks in all! CD

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Juicy LucyJuicy Lucy/Lie Back & Enjoy It/Get A Whiff Of This (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Vertigo/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 19.99
Three full albums from Juicy Lucy – plus bonus tracks too! First up is the self-titled debut from Juicy Lucy – an American act who made a trip to the London scene in the late 60s, where they found a way to forge a whole bunch of influences into a very unique groove! Had they stayed back home in Cali, Juicy Lucy might have gravitated towards the Bay Area scene, and ended up sounding a bit freakier and hippieish – but in London, they sharpened their sound, unleashed some deeper bluesy currents, and put the whole thing together with a mix of wit and flair that really set them apart! The group boasts great lead vocals from Ray Owen, a cool mix of electric and acoustic sax parts from Chris Mercer, strong lead guitar from Neil Hubbard, and a range of great sounds from Glenn Ross Campbell – who uses steel guitar and mandolin in ways that are very different than American groups of the time. Forgive the album its quickly-dated, exploitative cover – because it's got a lot more to offer than that – and titles include "Chicago Northwestern", "Train", "Nadine", "Mississippi Woman", "She's Mine She's Yours", and "Just One Time". Lie Back & Enjoy It is hard and heavy work from Juicy Lucy – a group who are even stronger here on this second set than on their debut – effortlessly spinning out lines that are very much in the best hard rock modes of the period, but which also retain some nice bluesy influences as well! The group's a sextet – and in addition to some very unique vocals from singer Paul Williams, who also plays piano and congas, the set also has some surprisingly nice use of steel guitar and mandolin, but never in ways that sound like the instruments might in the handling of some of the Cali crowd at the time. Lead guitar is from Mick Moody, sax and keyboard lines are from Chris Mercer, and titles include "Pretty Woman", "Built For Comfort", "Whisky In My Jar", "Hello LA Bye Bye Birmingham", "Thinking Of My Life", and "Willie The Pimp". For Get A Whiff Of This, the title's a bit of a joke, especially in relation to the cover – but Juicy Lucy come on strong here, with a searing sound that shows that they're way past the novelty of the image on the front! Over the course of the previous records, the group really honed their unique blend of American blues and Brit hard rock inspiration – very well-focused here, with a sound that paves the way for some of the bigger crossover acts that would soon dominate American radio in the mid 70s – something the group unfortunately never got the chance to do. Titles include "Mr Skin", "Midnight Rider", "Mr A Jones", "Sunday Morning", and "Jessica". 2CD set features the bonus b-side tracks "Walking Down The Highway" and "I Am A Thief". CD

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BB KingHis Best – The Electric BB King ... CD
MCA/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
BB King at his late 60s best – working here in the company of producers Johnny Pate and Quincy Jones, and serving up a great blend of blues and soul in the process! The set's less a "best of", than a collection of ABC work that doesn't seem to be on the other full albums of the time – mostly produced by Johnny Pate, with those great Chicago soul touches that helped his work with King really cross new boundaries – and finally give BB the kind of full, forceful approach that Bobby Blue Bland had been getting for years. The Quincy Jones cuts are two from the soundtrack to For Love Of Ivy – both pretty groovy, with a socking soul punch – and titles on the full album include "Tired Of Your Jive", "Don't Answer The Door", "The BB Jones", "Paying The Cost To Be The Boss", "All Over Again", "I Don't Want You Cutting Off Your Hair", "Sweet Sixteen", "Meet My Happiness", and "You Put It On Me". CD

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BB KingLive At The Regal ... CD
MCA/BGO (UK), 1965. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
An excellent set by BB King – one of his best from the 60s, and a smoking live set recorded at Chicago's legendary Regal Theatre! The enthusiasm at the venue shows that BB's Memphis-honed style is a perfect fit for the electrified Chicago sound of the 60s – and the recording really brings out some wonderful responses from the audience – making the record a blues equivalent of James Brown's famous Live At The Apollo set! The record features introductions by Chicago DJs Pervis Spann and E Rodney Jones – and tracks include "Every Day", "Please Love Me", "Worry Worry", "Woke Up This Morning", "Help The Poor", and "You Upset Me Baby". CD

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✨✧ BB KingLucille ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
One of the first records to feature BB King's famous guitar, Lucille, in the spotlight – an instrument he'd played for years, but which took on legendary status over the decades! The guitar's handled perfectly here by King – with a tone that still holds on to all the gritty edges of his early years, but which is also captured beautifully in the studio with top-shelf production – loud and clear, but never as commercial as on later records. The whole thing's wonderfully free of hoke – the material that made King a much-deserved star in the 60s – and the record features backing from Maxwell Davis on Hammond and Lloyd Glenn on piano. Titles include "Watch Yourself", "Lucille", "I Need Your Love", "Country Girl", and "You Move Me So". CD

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Earl KlughDream Come True/Crazy For You/Low Ride ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1980/1981/1983. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
An Earl Klugh triple-header – three great albums in a single package! First up is Dream Come True – warm guitar magic from Earl – exactly the kind of record that helped cement his fame at the start of the 80s – making Klugh one of the leading guitarists of his time! The style's often a bit mellow, but never in a sleepy way – just a great extension of the mode that Earl first displayed on his debut – a way of doing more with less – leaving more than enough space between the notes to keep things soulful, and offering a nice contrast to some of the too-jamming fusion artists of his generation. There's often some sweet keyboards nestled in with the guitar – and Dave Matthews handled all the arrangements, so you can bet there's a tight, soulful feel to the whole record! Titles include "Spellbound", "Doc", "Amazon", "I Don't Want To Leave You Alone Anymore", and "Message To Michael". Crazy For You steps along with a smooth and soulful groove here – one that mixes Earl Klugh's own acoustic guitar with warm electric instrumentation, and some nice use of strings as well! Arrangements are by a few different folks who all help shape the sound of the set – Greg Phillinganes, Patrick Williams, Dave Matthews, and Johnny Mandel – all talents who know how to hit the right balance of soul and sophistication to work well with Klugh's guitar! Titles include "I'm Ready For Your Love", "Soft Stuff", "Broadway Ramble", "Calypso Getaway", "Crazy For You", and "Twinkle". Low Ride is one of Earl Klugh's tightest groovers of the 80s – a record that features plenty of great keyboards from Greg Phillinganes, who slides in perfectly alongside Earl's guitar! The set also features a bit of electric guitar from Paul Jackson – and there's an acoustic/electric balance here that's not unlike the albums of Rodney Franklin over at Columbia – although Klugh's got an arguably tighter, more R&B-influenced sound overall. There's a few light vocals at points – and titles include "Low Ride", "Back In Central Park", "Night Drive", "I Never Thought I'd Leave You", and "If You're Still In Love With Me". CD

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✨✧ Hubert LawsMorning Star/Carnegie Hall/Chicago Theme ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), 1973/1975. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A trio of CTI classics from reedman Hubert Laws! First up is Morning Star – one of the most sublime Hubert Laws albums for CTI – a set that features his incredibly soulful flute work floating over these beautiful large arrangements by Don Sebesky – all ticked by some sweet electric piano from Bob James! The sound is perfect – that balance of soul and sophistication that really made CTI a groundbreaking label at this point – and which made it a perfect place for a hip artist like Hubert to really hit his stride! And in fact, Laws may not have ever hit this height again – as even though later albums are all still pretty great, and plenty soulful, this set's got an extra something special that we never tire of hearing! Titles include "No More", "Morning Star", "Let Her Go", and "What Do You Think Of This World Now?". The next album features maybe some of the coolest music ever recorded at Carnegie Hall – a wonderful venue that's perfect for the blend of soul and space of the CTI Records years of Hubert Laws! Laws' lead lines on flute really stretch out beautifully in the setting – given ample room to roam amidst a lineup that features Dave Friedman on vibes, Ron Carter on bass, and Bob James on piano and electric piano – all on tracks that have the same open, breathy quality as Hubert's sublime Afro Classic album. Like that set, there's a subtle dose of funk in the mix, but more focus on an airier mode up top – stretched out beautifully over a medley of Chick Corea's "Windows" and "Fire & Rain" – and on a 20 minute take of "Passacaglia In C Minor". Chicago Theme is one of Hubert Laws' funkiest records for CTI – recorded with a full group funky style that's plenty darn great, and a lot harder-hitting than some of Hubert's more laidback sessions for the label! Arrangements are by Bob James and Laws – working here with a large batch of players who come together beautifully, almost in the style of a funky 70s cop show soundtrack! James plays keyboards, and other players include George Benson, Phil Upchurch, Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, Don Grolnick, and Ron Carter – on titles that include James' own "Chicago Theme", a great cover of "Midnight At The Oasis" with wonderful drums from Steve Gadd, who also kicks it nice and large on Laws' own "I Had A Dream". Other tracks include "Going Home", "I Had A Dream", and "Inflation Chaser". CD

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✨✧ Hubert Laws/George BensonIn The Beginning/In Concert Carnegie Hall ... CD
CTI/BGO (UK), 1974/1976. New Copy 2CD ... $6.99 14.99
A split CTI package – with a record apiece by Hubert Laws and George Benson! Hubert Laws is first with In The Beginning – moody work from one of the most groundbreaking flute players of the 70s – and a real standout in the legendary catalog of CTI Records! Hubert Laws was not only richly talented, but he was also capable of a large number of styles – and this double-length set for CTI has him moving past the electric funky jazz that was the usual manner of the label. The set features backing by a range of different keyboardists – from Bob James, to Clare Fisher, to Richard Tee – plus tenor by Ronnie Laws, percussion by Airto, drums by Steve Gadd, and guitar by Gene Bertonicini. All tracks are long, and the material spans funk, jazz, and even a bit of classically influenced playing. Titles include "Mean Lene", "Restoration", "Moment's Notice", and "Reconciliation", and "In The Beginning". Next up is George Benson In Concert Carnegie Hall – one of his hardest-hitting albums of the time! In a way, the record returns George to his early years at CTI – particularly the album Beyond The Blue Horizon – as the set's got a stripped down smaller group, working in a tight blend of electric jazzy bits that's very nice! Ronnie Foster lays down some great keyboards on the set, Hubert Laws is on flute, and George himself plays a hollow body with a nice soulful tone – stretching out on some straight jazz on most cuts, but also hitting a few of his smoother notes from the mid 70s. Titles include "Sky Dive", "Take Five", "Octane", "Summertime", and "Gone". CD

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✨✧ Gary Lewis & The PlayboysYou Don't Have To Paint Me A Picture/New Directions/Now ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
Three classic albums from Gary Lewis & The Playboys – all brought together in a single set! First up is You Don't Have To Paint Me A Picture – wonderfully groovy work from Gary Lewis and his Playboys – just the sort of west coast pop masterpiece that Liberty Records could come up with when they were doing things this right! Production is by Snuff Garrett, with lots of Leon Russell arrangements in the studio – and although Gary's vocals are great and super-catchy, the guitars, basslines, and all the other great bits recorded for the backings hold our attention just as much! Titles include "String Along", "Tina", "My Heart's Symphony", "Looking For The Stars", "When Summer Is Gone", "Where Will The Words Come From", and "You Don't Have To Paint Me A Picture". New Directions is a set that doesn't really have Gary Lewis taking that many new directions – he doesn't grow his hair and become a hippie – but a set that does have a few nice changes from his other Liberty work at the time! Arrangements here are by Jack Nitzsche and Nick DeCaro – both of whom bring in some superb LA touches to the tunes – and Gary himself seems to take a bit more time with some of the lyrics, almost as if he's been listening to the maturing side of the British scene, and wants to get past the simple catchiness of his hits. The whole thing makes for a nice change – and titles include "Girls In Love", "Double Good Feeling", "Here I Am", "Hello Sunshine", "New In Town", "Slow Movin Man", and "Me About You". Now is one of the last albums in Gary Lewis' famous 60s run for Liberty Records – and a set that makes for a nice sendoff overall! A lot of the material here was handled by other artists first – and it's bit like Lewis is letting the others of the groovy 60s set the tone for him here – but with great Snuff Garrett production and Al Capps arrangements, things are rock-solid throughout – and Gary's got no trouble bringing out the catchiest corners of tunes that include "Windy", "I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight", "Sealed With A Kiss", "Young Girl", "Judy In Disguise", Sunny", and "What Am I Gonna Do". CD

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✨✧ Little RichardRill Thing/King Of Rock & Roll/Second Coming ... CD
Reprise/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A trio of revival albums from the legendary Little Richard – all of them pretty darn great! First up is the funky Rill Thing – a stunning comeback session from the start of the 70s – recorded at Muscle Shoals with a heavy funk component in the mix! Richard arranged and produced the record himself – and it's a beautiful illustration of his genius – hardly dimmed at this point in his career, and if anything, really redefined for a new generation – with some razor-sharp grooves that are perfect for his hard-wailing vocals! The title cut – "The Rill Thing" – is a monster 10 minute instrumental jam, with a heavy funk sound that you can't even begin to imagine – and the rest of the set is pretty amazing too, with tracks that include "Spreadin' Natta What's The Matter", "Freedom Blues", "Two Time Loser", "Somebody Saw You", "Lovesick Blues", and "Greenwood Mississippi". Next is King Of Rock & Roll – a much rootsier set than some of Little Richard's other work for Reprise Records – a record that almost goes back to the old days, but via the hipper styles of the early 70s! HB Barnum arranged and produced the set, but the groove is less funkier than some of Barnum's other work of the time – a bit more rockish in some of the rhythms and instrumentation, which is no surprise considering the title – with a nod back towards late 50s modes, but in that new-roots way that Warner was hitting with other artists of the period. Richard's vocals hold up very well in the setting – and apart from the original tunes "Green Power" and "King Of Rock & Roll", the album features versions of "Midnight Special", "Dancing In The Street", "Brown Sugar", and "Born On The Bayou". Last up is Second Coming – funky 70s Little Richard – very much in the spirit of his Rill Thing album, although a bit more polished! The album features production and arrangements from New Orleans soul legend Bumps Blackwell – who first handled Richard way back when – and the record's sort of divided half and half between tracks that have a 70s funky feel, and others that are going back for more of an older styled retro rocking groove – yet not nearly as much so as on Richard's previous Reprise album. Titles include "Nuki Suki", "The Prophet Of Peace", "Thomasine", "Second Line", and "It Ain't What You Do It's The Way How You Do It". CD

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✨✧ Loggins & MessinaFull Sail/Mother Lode ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... $8.99 21.98
A sweet little two-fer – featuring 2 of the best albums from Loggins & Messina! Full Sail is a great mix of sophisticated pop and lighter, more tropical numbers – and a record that's got a special place in our heart, thanks to the classic tune "Pathway To Glory" – an extended, slow-building number that's bee a huge stepper's favorite here in Chicago over the years – and a great illustration of the genre-crossing nature of the stepping scene at its best. Other tunes have a style that's right up there with the best LA mainstream approach of the early 70s – never too slick or too smooth, and still with enough sensitivity to make you buy into the whole thing. Other tracks include "Pathway To Glory", "Lahaina", "My Music", "A Love Song", "Coming To You", "Watching The River Run", and "Didn't I Know You When". Mother Lode has a somewhat more fuller sound overall – one that's got bits of the western touches you might expect from the prospecting reference in the title – tunes that almost have a Deadwood way of echoing the past, but which come across with a much more 70s LA vibe overall. The setting's a good one to help Kenny Loggins avoid the pitfalls of cliche – and tracks include "Growin", "Be Free", "Changes", "Fever Dream", "Move On", and "Get A Hold". CD

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Johnny MathisLove Story/You've Got A Friend/First Time Ever/Song Sung Blue ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99 22.99
Pure mellow magic – four early 70s Johnny Mathis albums in a single set! Love Story has Johnny Mathis finding a perfect 70s space for his sublime vocal style – not the late nite love moods of the early years, but instead the warmer territory of the rising adult contemporary market – one that almost seemed tailor made for the Mathis magic! Producer Jack Gold does a great job of mixing up moods here – but as you might expect, the ballads are where Johnny really knocks it out of the park – on titles that include "Love Story", "We've Only Just Begun", "My Sweet Lord", "Goin Out Of My Head/Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "Loss Of Love", "We've Only Just Begun", and "What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life". You've Got A Friend is a great setting for the legendary voice of Johnny Mathis – as the maturing singer takes on then-contemporary tracks by artists like Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, and The Bee Gees! These tunes really get a different treatment here in Johnny's hands – not just because the arrangements are quite far from the original pop songs – but also because that magic Mathis style really has a lot of different inflections on the lyrics! Titles include "You've Got A Friend", "Help Me Make It Through The Night", "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", "If You Could Read My Mind", "For All We Know", "If We Only Have Love", and "It's Too Late". First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is one of those records that perfectly illustrates the shift that Johnny Mathis had made by the 70s – his move from the late nite spot on the cushions of the couch, to a more sophisticated interpreter of richer emotions that provide more than a day's worth of expression on an album like this! Mathis has completely perfected his voice by this point – and almost uses it in painterly fashion, over full arrangements from All Caps and D'Arneill Pershing – with lightly flowing strings, tinkling piano, and all these subtle elements that never get in the way of Johnny's majestic lead. Titles include "The Summer Knows", "Since I Fell For You", "Without You", "Betcha By Golly Wow", "Last Night I Didn't Get To Sleep At All", "Speak Softly Love", and "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face". Song Sung Blue is a nice little album that has the legendary voice of Johnny Mathis taking on mature songwriting material from Gilbert O'Sullivan, Ralph MacDonald, Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, and even Bill Withers! All the tunes get completely transformed in the Mathis approach – very different than their familiar versions, not just thanks to Johnny's unique vocals – but also the rich arrangements by D'Arneill Pershing, who was turning out to be one of the best Mathis arrangers in the 70s – able to balance individual elements in the backings in just the right way to echo the spirit of the songs. Titles include "Play Me", "Alone Again Naturally", "Lean On Me", "Too Young", "Where Is The Love", "Run To Me", and "Song Sung Blue". CD

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Johnny MathisRaindrops Keep Fallin On My Head/Close To You/Johnny Mathis In Person (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
Three full albums from Johnny Mathis in one single set – the last of which was actually issued originally as a 2LP set! First up is Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head – great magic from Johnny Mathis at the start of the 70s – a set that has Johnny working through some groovier tunes from the second end of the 60s – all set to some mighty nice backings from Ernie Freeman! Ernie brings in a fair bit of strings, but also gives things that soulful punch at the bottom that you'll know from his 60s material – and the Mathis vocal maybe is a bit more crisp in the setting, although still with that wonderfully full range that always made the man so unique! Titles include great versions of "Watch What Happens", "Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head", "Midnight Cowboy", "Everybody's Talkin", "Jean", "Odds & Ends", and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Close To You has Johnny Mathis kicking off with his take on the Burt Bacharach title hit, then moving through a number of other late 60s hits – some of which are perfect for the Mathis style, others of which make for a mighty nice stretch – and we mean that in the best way possible! There's some backing elements here that are groovier than usual for Johnny – pushing him in a nice way with modes that seem a bit borrowed from sunshine pop and soul – on titles that include "Come Saturday Morning", "Evil Ways", "Yellow Days", "The Long & Winding Road", "Wave", and "Pieces Of Dreams". In Person is double-length live set from Johnny Mathis – recorded live in person in Las Vegas – with titles that include a fair number of medley tracks that are a nice change from his studio records – the kind of material that really allows Johnny to show his talents as an entertainer in a live setting! There's also some non-medley tracks 6too – including "And Her Mother Came Too", "Maria", "If We Only Have Love", "I Got Love", "Day In Day Out", "Come Runnin", "In The Morning", and "Love Story". CD

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MelanieBorn To Be/Affectionately Melanie/Candles In The Rain/Leftover Wine ... CD
Buddah/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
Four full albums from Melanie – all brought together here in a single set! On Born To Be, Melanie's a folkie at heart, but one who's very open to new ideas too – as you'll hear in this surprisingly offbeat set from the late 60s! The record mixes Melanie's raspy, almost eerie vocal approach with some compelling charts from Roger Kellaway – who respects the folk impulses at the core, but also brings in some unusual inflections in the other instrumentation – that post-folk approach that was showing up in records by Leonard Cohen and others of the singer/songwriter generation. The difference is subtle, but very striking – and very different than the way the set would have been recorded a few years previously. Titles include "Christopher Robin", co-written with AA Milne – plus "In The Hour", "I'm Back In Town", "Bobo's Party", "Close To It All", "Merry Christmas", and "I Really Loved Harold". Next is Affectionately Melanie (aka Melanie) – a seminal self-titled set from Melanie – an album that's still proudly folk in some parts, while also embracing some of the more hard-edge styles of some of her contemporaries too – echoes of soul in some of the rhythms, a bit of grit in the instrumentation – which really seems to fit well with her raspy vocal style! The mix is almost a folksy approach to Janis Joplin territory – kind of a surprise if you only know the sweeter side of the singer – and titles include "Soul Sister Annie", "Uptown Down", "Again", "Beautiful People", "For My Father", "Deep Down Low", "Take Me Home", "I'm Back In Town", and "Any Guy". Some cuts feature arrangements by the great John Cameron – who we suspect of bringing the groovier elements to the record! Candles In The Rain is a record that shows the increasing strengths of Melanie as a singer/songwriter, and the confidence that her label had in letting her try out new material – as the mostly-pop Buddah Records allowed Melanie and producer/arranger Peter Schekeryk to really stretch out in the studio! Some moments are intimate, some have a full righteous quality – and the unique vocals of the lady herself have a subtle power that's almost out of time at the start of the 70s – yet that's also its great appeal. Titles include the hit "Candles In The Rain" – plus "Carolina In My Mind", "Citiest People", "The Good Guys", "Lovin Baby Girl", "Leftover Wine", and a version of "Ruby Tuesday". Leftover Wine is a set that mostly features Melanie singing solo at Carnegie Hall – just her vocals and guitar standing out in stark contrast to some of the larger arrangements used on a few of her previous records! The approach is great – and brings all the fragile beauty of her unique style right into the limelight, all with a timeless vibe on titles that include "Close To It All", "Uptown & Down", "Psychotherapy", "I Don't Eat Animals", and "Leftover Wine". Yet the album also features one studio track – the heady "Peace Will Come", which features some nice keyboards from Ron Frangipare! CD

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Memphis SlimBroken Soul Blues ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), 1961. Used ... $6.99
... CD

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Geoff MuldaurIs Having A Wonderful Time/Motion ... CD
Reprise/BGO (UK), 1975/1976. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
Two solo albums from Geoff Muldaur – recorded long after his jug band years, and his earlier sets with wife Maria! First up is Geoff Muldaur Is Having A Wonderful Time – a striking solo album from Geoff Muldaur – a record that draws on all the many different sounds and styles he brought to records through the 60s and early 70s, but which also adds in a stronger jazz impulse overall! Each track on the record has a slightly different spirit, which makes the whole thing feel more like a continuation of the experimental, open style of putting albums together that Warner/Reprise was so great at a few years before – as Muldaur sings with backings from a jazz group on one track, a string orchestra on another, a funk group on a third, and a roots rock combo on another – with players as diverse as Merle Saunders on electric piano, Doc Cheatham on trumpet, Bernard Purdie on drums, and Harold Vick on tenor. Joe Boyd produced – one of the few folks who might be able to successfully handle such a range – and titles include "Higher & Higher", "99 1/2", "Livin In The Sunlight", "I Want To Be A Sailor", "Tennessee Blues", "High Blood Pressure", and "Wondering Why". Motion is a set that's a bit tighter than some of the earlier work of Geoff Muldaur – a set that maybe has the well-trained singer moving into territory that's almost verging on AOR, yet which still hangs on to some of the wit of his earlier records as well! There's still some key traces of 70s Warner going on here – including a few songs by Allen Toussaint, and one with Martin Mull – which help balance out some of the more direct, tuneful numbers, and continue to provide some of the more offbeat qualities that made Geoff such an interesting sideways talent in the mainstream music world. Tracks include "Motion", "Let It Out", "I Don't Want To Talk About It", "When You Touch Me This Way", "Why Don't We Live Together", and a version of "Southern Nights". CD

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✨✧ Harry NilssonHarry Nilsson As & Bs (3CD set) ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 3CD ... $16.99 22.99
A really great way to listen to the music of Harry Nilsson – as the all-singles set is not only a career-spanning collection of his work for RCA, it also includes a lot of very cool tracks that were b-sides, which stand nicely here next to the classics! The genius of Nilsson knows no bounds – and the package shows a great evolution over the decade of recordings that feature in the 63 track collection – from Nilsson's earlier role as a quirky pop singer, to that point when his persona rose strongly in the public eye, and also really helped transform the way he put over a tune! The package features loads of gems that were not on the full length albums of the time – and titles include "Yellow Man", "Waiting", "Freckles", "Buy My Album", "Are You Sleeping", "Without You", "Jump Into The Fire", "Turn On Your Radio", "Makin Whoopee", "Remember Christmas", "The Lottery Song", "Ain't It Kinda Wonderful", "Don't Forget Me", "Mucho Mungo/Mt Elga", "Something True", "Kojak Columbo", and "As Time Goes By". CD

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Nitty Gritty Dirt BandDirt, Silver, & Gold ... CD
United Artists/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
A really great collection of work from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – a set that's a collection of mostly older tracks, but which also includes a dozen unissued numbers – all put together with that special flair that always made the group's mid-70s records so different than work of their contemporaries! In other words, this is hardly a lean "greatest hits" collection – and instead, the 3LP collection has bits from the first decade of the group's career coming together in all sorts of different ways – almost with the longform exploratory sense of Will The Circle Be Unbroken, and the playful interplay of their Stars & Stripes set – both expanded packages like this. There's many gems here in an array of styles – and titles include "Bayou Jubilee/Sally Was A Goodun", "Some Of Shelly's Blues", "Ripplin Waters", "You Are My Flower", "Creepin Round Your Back Door", "Sixteen Tracks", "Honky Tonkin", "Soldier's Joy", "Buy For Me The Rain", "Melissa", "Woody Woodpecker", "Cosmic Cowboy (part 1)", "Mother Earth Provides For Me", "Jamaica Lady", "Gavotte No 2", "All I Have To Do Is Dream", "Visiting An Old Friend", and "Win Or Lose". CD

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NucleusElastic Rock/We'll Talk About It Later ... CD
BGO (UK), 1970/1971. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 18.99
Heavy hitting jazz rock from the UK underground of the early 70s! Elastic Rock is seminal early album from Ian Carr's legendary Nucleus group – playing here in a version that includes Karl Jenkins and Brian Smith on reeds, and Chris Spedding on guitar. The band had a landmark sound that mixed progressive jazz and tight full-on rock fusion into a style that was sometimes funky, sometimes avant, and often pretty darn exciting! This album has lots of nice electric piano lines, and plenty of choppy sax parts that hit a nice groove in the manner that would later be taken up by a lot of European reed players. Tracks include "Torrid Zone", "Stonescape", "Striation", "1916 – The Battle Of Boogaloo", "Persephones Jive", and "Earth Mother". We'll Talk About It Later follows in a similar vein, with slightly longer songs that offer a bit more room for improvisation – and grooves that are still nice and jazzy. Titles include "Song for The Bearded Lady", "Oasis", "Ballad of Joe Pimp", "Easter 1916", and "Lullaby For A Lonely Child". CD

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Junior ParkerLike It Is/Honey Drippin Blues ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), 1967/1969. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
A pair of late 60s gems from the bluesy singer Junior Parker – back to back on a single CD! Like It Is features standout soul from the great Junior Parker – a singer who started out in blues, and already had a big legacy of music for Sun and Duke Records by the time of this Mercury set – but maybe sounding even more amazing here with some soul touches in the backings! The set was produced by Bobby Robinson, and arranged by Gene Bowlegs Miller – and has a Memphis recording pedigree that's a bit like the best way that Stax/Volt was mixing blues and soul in the late 60s! There's still some of the slower-burning Duke moments, but there's also some great sock-soul tracks too – on titles that include "Come Back Baby", "Just Like A Fish", "Country Girl", "Sometimes I Wonder", and "Cracked Up Over You". Honey Drippin Blues is killer work from Junior Parker – an artist who was already great in his early Duke Records years – but one who really seemed to take off even more as the 60s moved on! On records like this, Parker picks up a strong undercurrent of funky soul – a groove that's a perfect fit for Mercury's Blue Rock label – which often did a great job of merging the worlds of blues and soul – especially in the music of Junior Wells. Production has lots of nice Chicago soul touches, and at times Junior's vocals move into a territory that's almost a bit like the groove of Tyrone Davis at the time. Great stuff throughout – and titles include "I Got Money", "Lovin Man On Your Hands", "Easy Lovin", and "I'm So Satisfied". CD

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Shawn PhillipsCollaboration/Faces ... CD
A&M/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 22.99
Two early albums from the great Shawn Phillips – back to back in a single set! First up is Collaboration – beautiful early work from Shawn Phillips – a British singer from that moment when the folk scene was really taking off into all sorts of new currents – but which are handled here by Shawn in ways that are very different than most of his contemporaries! The "collaboration" in the title refers to the work of Paul Buckmaster – who plays cello throughout the record, and also handles these great large arrangements on a few tracks – and Peter Robinson, who plays piano and bass – working with the other two musicians in this spare trio approach on most numbers, which really opens up the moody quality of Phillips' lyrics. The record is very different than, say, some of the other acoustic work coming out on Island Records at the time – and titles include "Us We Are", "Burning Fingers", "For Her", "Armed", "Spaceman", "Times Of A Madman Trials Of A Thief", "Springwind", and "8500 Years". Faces is a set that's billed as "an anthology of music from 1969" – and which captures the songwriting skills of Shawn Phillips at their early best! Right from the start, Shawn was very much his own sort of artist – able to work with modes that go way past any standard folksy sounds you might expect from a guy with an acoustic guitar – thanks in part to his use of an LA setting for some of the recordings on the record, which include help from Joe Sample on piano, and Sneaky Pete Kleinow on steel guitar! Shawn's got a bit of a rootsy vibe on those cuts, and there's a few other titles recorded a bit earlier, in the UK, which feel a bit more like the material on his Collaborations album – a nice blend, on titles that include "Chorale", "I Took A Walk", "Anello", "We", "Parisian Plight II", and "Hey Miss Lonely". CD

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Pamela PollandPamela Polland/Have You Heard The One About The Gas Station Attendant (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1971/1973. New Copy 2CD ... $9.99 19.99
Two albums by Pamela Polland – one of which was never issued in the 70s! First up is the self-titled Pamela Polland – an obscure bit of 70s underground rock – the first solo album by Polland, who might be better known for her work in the psych-folk group Gentle Soul at the end of the 60s. This album's got a style that's a bit different than work by Gentle Soul – a lot more personal, and at times, a bit more rootsy – but not in a folksy way, instead more of that kind of early 70s California "back to nature" kind of rock – if that makes any sense at all. There's some great little songs on the record that show Pamela as a potentially huge figure in 70s rock – had she not gotten stuck off on the sidelines so much – but that fact makes the album all that much more compelling. Titles include "The Rescuer", "Texas", "Lighthouse", "The Dream", and "Sing A Song Man". The set also features Pamela's never-issued second album – Have You Heard The One About The Gas Station Attendant – a record that was finished, but squashed by Columbia Records as part of a political move after the label fired president Clive Davis! Polland was Davis' pet project at the time – and got top-shelf treatment for this second album – Elton John producer Gus Dudgeon put together most of the set in London, and Pamela is even more expressive, more thoughtful in both her singing and songwriting – with help from a host of key London studio talents, but all working in an understated mode that really sets the songs perfectly. CD

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✨✧ Terry ReidRiver ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
One of the greatest albums ever from the oft-overlooked Terry Reid – a man who turned down an initial offer to be the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, but went on to record some great albums on his own! The album was Terry's first away from producer Mickie Most – and it's got a much more American vibe than previous efforts – with some nice rootsy touches on guitars (including steel and slide) from the great David Lindley, which really work perfectly with Reid's compellingly raspy vocals – and some slightly funky elements on the bass and drums! Willie Bobo makes a surprising appearance on the title cut "River" – which almost has a Chicano rock groove at times – and other titles include "Dean", "Avenue", "Things To Try", "Live Life", "Dream" and "Milestone". CD

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✨✧ Don Rendell/Ian Carr QuintetShades Of Blue/Dusk Fire ... CD
BGO (UK), 1964/1966. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 19.99
Some of the greatest British jazz of the 60s – two early albums by the groundbreaking Ian Carr/Don Rendell quintet! Shades Of Blue is the debut of a legendary British jazz group – one who not only gave that nation's scene a fresh voice in music, but who also really set the tone for many other acts to come! After a stretch when the London scene was doing a great job of matching American efforts in bop and swing, players like Don Rendell and Ian Carr found a way to really carve out some bold space of their own – here, by matching their own strong sense of writing and arranging, always filled with beautiful tone and color, with some of the more modern phrasing and styles that were just creeping up around town. The set's not nearly as experimental as the work of Joe Harriott, but has all the hallmarks of that generation's openness to new ways of expression – often given a surprisingly soulful swing, and captured perfectly as one of the early entries in the famous Lansdowne Series recordings. The rest of the group is equally great – and in addition to Rendell on tenor and soprano sax, and Carr on trumpet and flugelhorn – the combo includes Colin Purbrook on piano, Dave Green on bass, and Trevor Tompkin on drums. Titles include "Garrison 64", "Blue Mosque", "Just Blue", "Latin Blue", "Sailin", and "Big City Strut". Dusk Fire has a great group getting even better – as the legendary pairing of tenorist Don Rendell and trumpeter Ian Carr is joined by pianist Michael Garrick – who was really helping to shape the sound of British jazz at the time! The album's only the second from the Rendell/Carr Quintet, but it's already moving strongly forward – with this sense of composition and focus that's really amazing – served up in original tunes by all three creative forces in the lead – often with this great balance between soulful swing and modern ideas that makes the whole thing a dream all the way through! Don plays tenor, soprano sax, flute, and clarinet; Carr plays trumpet and flugelhorn; Garrick is on piano, Dave Green is on bass, and Trevor Tomkin is on drums – on titles that include "Prayer", "Dusk Fire", "Hot Rod", "Spooks", "Jubal", and "Tan Samfu". CD

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Johnny RiversRocks The Folks/Meanwhile Back At The Whisky A Go Go ... CD
BGO (UK), Early 60s. Used 2 CDs ... $14.99 18.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

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Tommy RoeSheila/Everybody Likes Tommy Roe ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
A pair of early albums from Tommy Roe – back to back on a single CD! First up is Sheila – the full length debut of Tommy Roe – and a set that already shows his strong ability to put over a catchy tune! The title hit is an unabashed ripoff of the Buddy Holly sound, but the overall record has a lot more going on – with some cool Nashville production handled by Felton Jarvis, and backing vocals at many points by The Jordanaires! The set is the sort that was more likely coming from Cali labels like Liberty or Imperial at the time – and the mix of west coast pop, Nashville twang, and the range of material makes for a really cool package that's full of surprises. Titles include "Piddle De Pat", "Sheila", "Little Hollywood Girl", "Look At Me", "Blue Ghost", "Think About The Good Things", and "There Will Be Better Years". Everybody Likes Tommy Roe is a re-titled version of the album Something For Everybody – issued here under it's UK cover and title. The set's got Tommy Roe furthering that Cali pop style that was showing up in his music from the start – a bit of a surprise for a singer from Atlanta, and still handled here by Nashville producer Felton Jarvis – but with lots of the jaunty guitars and groovy styles that were breaking big out of the LA studios at the time! Titles include "Switchie Witchie Titchie", "Everybody", "Katy Did", "Sensations", "Standing Watch", and "Why Do You Make Me Cry". CD

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SearchersSearchers – A & B Sides 1963 to 1967 ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Mid 60s. New Copy ... $14.99 16.99
The first-ever full collection of all the groovy singles The Searchers recorded for the Pye Records label in the 60s – a 32 track set that includes both the a and b-side of every 7" release for the label! The Searchers were one of the leading lights of the early British invasion – a group who could harmonize as well as The Beatles, and who had a similar knack for turning out catchy tunes that packed plenty of punch, and which were a nicely stripped-down contrast to some of the more overblown production of American pop of the time! In addition to penning their own tunes, the group often covered work by American artists – taking US tunes and giving them a Brit Invasion flavor in a really great way – thanks to a lean sound, and lots of well-tuned guitar lines! Titles include "Western Union", "Second Hand Dealer", "Crazy Dreams", "This Feeling Inside", "I Pretend I'm With You", "Saturday Night Out", "When You Walk In The Room", "Sugar & Spice", "It's All Been A Dream", "Saints & Searchers", "I'm Never Coming Back", "Too Many Miles", and "Lovers". CD

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✨✧ SeatrainSeatrain (1970)/Marbelhead Messenger ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1970/1971. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99 20.99
Two albums from this hip 70s group – back to back in a single set! The self-titled Seatrain is rootsy rock classic from a group who maybe aren't as well-remembered these days as they should be – but who set off a lot of fires with this set! The group work in territory that's close to The Band or Little Feat – and in fact they cover a song by the latter at once point – yet they also recorded this album in the UK, with production by George Martin – whose studio warmth brings a different quality to the record than you might hear if they were recording in the US. Lead vocals are by Peter Rowan and Lloyd Baskin – and titles include "Oh My Love", "Waiting For Elijah", "13 Questions", "Out Where The Hills", "Home To You", and "I'm Willin" – plus an unusual take on the acoustic music classic "Orange Blossom Special". Marblehead Messenger is the third album from Seatrain – a record with a title that refers to their move to Marblehead, Massachusetts from their original home in Marin County, California! That geographic shift maybe signals a bit of a musical shift too – some slightly stronger bluesy currents mixed in with their roots rock elements – fleshed out with songwriting that feels a bit more complicated and personal too! As with the previous album, George Martin produced – and has a sense of compression that really helps the sound of the set – and titles include "Gramercy", "The State Of Georgia's Mind", "Marblehead Messenger", "London Song", "Losing All The Years", "Despair Tire", and "Lonely's Not The Only Way To Go". CD

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Ben SidranFree In America/Doctor Is In/Little Kiss In The Night/Live At Montreux ... CD
BGO (UK), Late 70s. New Copy 2 CDs ... $8.99 20.99
Four albums from the great Ben Sidran – a mighty hip jazz singer, and a great pianist too! First up is Free In America – a great little set all the way through – and about as classic as you can get for Sidran in the 70s! The album's got a bit more soul in the mix, but still has some jazzy elements in the backings – and where things were sometimes messed up in the past, they're much more straightforward here – in ways that make the record really sparkle nicely! Ben's voice is still really compelling, and as on his best albums, there's some nice funky grooves in the mix that keep things fresh. Players include Phil Upchurch on bass and guitar, Woody Shaw on trumpet, David Newman and Sonny Seals on saxes, and Richard Tee on organ. Titles include the great instrumental "Let's Make A Deal" – a fast groover with guitar and keyboards riffing away, sounding like some lost jazz funk gem from the Fantasy Records catalog – plus "Beg For It", "Cuban Connection", "Free In America", "New York State Of Mind", and "Feel Your Groove". Doctor Is In is one of Ben Sidran's biggest records from the 70s – a smooth combination of jazz, fusion, soul, and a bit of New Orleans groove! There's still a very unique feel to Sidran's music here – a sense of personality that really makes the whole thing sparkle – and which keeps the record from sounding too much like anyone else. Grooves are a great mix of jazz and soul elements – in territory that certainly has a 70s LA sort of quality, but which never gets too poppy or commercial – thanks to Ben's vocals, and mostly small combo backings from players who include Phil Upchurch on bass, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, Larry Carlton on guitar, and Tony Williams on drums. Nick DeCaro adds in a bit of extra strings from time to time – and titles include "Silver's Serenade", "Charlie's Blues", "Be Nice", "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", "One Way Grave", and "See You On The Other Side". Little Kiss In The Night is one of our all-time favorites from the great Ben Sidran – thanks to a strong dose of fusion in the mix! The grooves here are somehow a bit sharper than the few Sidran records before – with a quality that almost reminds us of Fantasy Records soul from the mid 70s, or some of the best jazz-tinged R&B sets of the time – all linked back nicely to Ben's rootsier elements from the start. As always, Sidran's got some really top-shelf musicians on board to help him find his groove – including Phil Woods on alto sax, Blue Mitchell on trumpet, and Arthur Adams on guitar – and arrangements on many numbers are by Mike Melvoin, who sounds even funkier here than we'd expect. There's a great instrumental on the set called "The Cadillac Kid", which has a nice hard fusion groove – and other cuts include "Face Your Fears", "Doing You", and "Moose The Mooch". Live At Montreux is tightly funky work from Ben Sidran – thanks to a strong lineup of players, and the open-ended relaxed setting of Montreux! The tracks here are a bit longer than some of Ben's studio sides for the label at the time – and almost hearken back to the more open flow of his Blue Thumb years – with plenty of room not only for Sidran's great vocals, but also from instrumental contributions from Steve Khan on guitar, Mike Mainieri on vibes, and the Brecker Brothers on horns. Titles include "I Remember Clifford", "Eat It", "Song For A Sucker Like You", "Midnight Tango/Walking With The Blues", and "Come Together". CD

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✨✧ SorrowsTake A Heart – The Pye Records A & B Sides ... CD
Pye/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A huge package of material from The Sorrows – one full album, a wealth of rare singles, and even some solo material by group member Don Fardon too! The set begins with the album Take A Heart – a searing set from the mid 60s wave of the British scene – delivered with this mix of tunefulness and raw guitars that's totally great, echoed most strongly in the vocals, which really have an edge, even when delivering familiar themes on the lyrics – moodier than most, and in a really great way! The set then moves into a massive 28 more tracks that make up the a-sides and b-sides of the group's singles for Pye Records at the time – titles that include "Baby", "Gonna Find A Cave", "We Should Get Along Fine", "Pink Purple Yellow & Red", "My Gal", "Don't Sing No Sad Songs For Me", "Hooky", "Vivi", "Armchair King", and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". The set then concludes with 10 more solo tracks from Don Fardon – some of the hardest to find material in the collection, and some of the most interesting too. Titles include "Lament Of The Cherokee Reservation Indian", "Daytripper", "Coming On Strong", "Ruby's Picture On My Wall", "We Can Make It Together", "Dreamin Room", and "I Need Somebody". 50 tracks in all! CD

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Otis SpannBottom Of The Blues ... CD
Bluesway/BGO (UK), 1968. New Copy ... $8.99 14.99
A raw soul classic from Otis Spann – one of those great late 60s dates from the time when Bob Thiele was producing the Bluesway label for ABC, and really found a way to bring out the best in artists like Otis! Spann had always been great, but there's a bolder, edgier quality here – both in his vocals, which really push things to the max with their inflections – and his piano playing, which is loose and fluid – in the company of Muddy Waters and Luther Johnson on guitar, George Buford on harmonica, and Lucille Spann on some additional guest vocals! Buford is great, too – a wonderful second "voice" on the record – and titles include "Diving Duck", "Shimmy Baby", "Looks Like Twins", "Doctor Blues", "Nobody Knows", "Down To Earth", "My Man", and "Heart Loaded With Trouble". CD

Close matches73
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Billy SquierTale Of The Tape/Don't Say No ... CD
BGO (UK), 1980/1981. New Copy ... $12.99 18.99
Here's the way you oughta hear Billy Squire – with 2 album's worth of material in one listening, so that you've got enough tracks to pare down to the good bits! Apart from Billy's big chart fame at the start of the 80s as part of the guitar hero generation, he's also pretty well remembered for the heavy drums used on some of his best tunes – really fierce rhythms that made his work last longer with DJs and beatheads than it did with the chart fans and radio listeners of the time! These 2 albums are his best – filled with monster guitar/drum jams that include "The Big Beat", "My Kinda Lover", "The Stroke", "In The Dark", "Don't Say No", "Who Knows What A Love Can Do", "Rich Kid", "Calley Oh", and "Like I'm Lovin You". CD

Close matches74
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John Stevens AwayJohn Stevens Away/Somewhere In Between/Mazin Ennit (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Vertigo/BGO (UK), 1976/1977. New Copy 2CD ... Just Sold Out!
A trio of albums from John Stevens' Away – all packaged together in a single CD set! First up is the initial outing from the group – a surprising little set from drummer John Stevens – quite different work than his more outside, freewheeling material in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble! This group hits that second chapter of British jazz rock that the Vertigo label did so well – a style that's much more mature than most American variants of the mode – neither stock rock fusion, nor smooth soul – and instead this approach that's still quite complicated and challenging at times, even though the music can have a nicely tight focus! The group features some excellent alto from Trevor Watts – who brings in lots of sharp edges – and the set also features Peter Cowling on bass and Steve Hayton on guitar. Titles include "Tumble", "It Will Never Be The Same", and "Anni". On Somewhere In Between, drummer John Stevens hits a lot of bases on a great second album with his Away group – almost funky at points, almost outside at others, and always working with the group in a searing, searching mode that's a cut above the usual fusion of the time! There's a bit more electricity on the set this time – electric bass from Nick Stephens and guitar from David Cole – but the energy of the set is still very spontaneous, and driven by Stevens' creative work on drums – and given plenty of bite from the soprano and tenor sax of Robert Calvert. The set's got a plenty fresh vibe – very much like labelmates Nucleus at this point, with lots of sharp edges and complicated patterns – but a sound that's still very down to earth. Titles include "Spirit Of Peace", "Chick Boom", "Can't Explain", and "Now". Mazin Ennit is definitely as amazing as the title proclaims – a bit leaner than before, with this wonderful use of two basses alongside the drums of John Stevens – all in a groove that refines older Brit jazz rock modes, but without losing any sort of edge! There's a complexity here that still lives up to Stevens' rich legacy in music – and the group features lots of sweet reedwork from Robert Calvert, who blows both soprano and tenor. Titles include "Away", "Sunshine Sunshine", "Whoops A Daisy", "Light Relief", and "Temple Music". CD features bonus tracks – "Anni (parts 1 & 2)" featuring John Martyn, and "Can't Explain (parts 1 & 2)" featuringt Terri Quaye. CD

Close matches75
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✨✧ SunWanna Make Love/Sun Power/Sunburn ... CD
Capitol/BGO (UK), 1976/1977/1978. New Copy 2 CDs ... Just Sold Out!
A trio of records from Sun – an excellent funk ensemble from the end of the 70s! First up is Wanna Make Love – one of the greatest records ever cut by Sun – a group whose records never made the charts as strongly as their contemporaries, but not for lack of quality! This set's a great batch of heavy ensemble funk with an edge that's not always heard on other Sun records – lots of razor-sharp guitars riffing away in saw-cut modes, striking hard at the grooves of the record, and chilling out nicely for the mellower cuts. The blend is wonderful – totally tight, and totally top-shelf all the way through – yet never in a commercial way at all. Titles include "Wanna Make Love", "My Woman", "Live On Dream On", "The Show Is Over", "Love Is Never Sure", and "They're Calling For Me". Sun Power is a solid smoker from Sun – the kind of tight funk set that made the group one of the greatest soul acts on Capitol Records during the late 70s! There's a wicked Ohio vibe going on throughout – everything focused together, and right on the money – even despite the large size of the ensemble – and touched with a slightly jazzy undercurrent that carries strong echoes of Earth Wind & Fire! Rhythms are nice and tight, with keyboards, guitar, and brassy horns over the top – and on the mellower cuts the vocals have a nicely compressed quality. Titles include "Conscience", "We're So Hot", "Organ Grinder", "She Lives Alone", "Time Is Passing", and "Light Me Up". Last up is Sunburn – a tightly crafted batch of dancefloor funk that reminds us of some of our favorite work from Fantasy Records at the time – especially some of the more righteous groups that blended equal parts jazz and soul! Sun's got a tightness here that's amazing – right up there with Earth Wind & Fire at their best, but not as commercial overall – and instead, always delivered with a nice sense of righteous energy! The set kicks off with the wicked "Sun Is Here", a guitar-driven groover with a very famous sample riff – and a sound that's somehow more stripped-down and jazz funk-driven than a lot of the group's other tunes. Other cuts are pretty great too, with lots of warm bubbly soulful moments – and titles include "Dance", "Long Drawn Out Thang", "I Had A Choice", "Sun Of A Gun", and "You're The One". CD

Close matches76
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✨✧ SurfarisSurfers Rule/Gone With The Wave ... CD
Dot/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A collection that's way more than just the 2-fer package that you'd expect from the cover – as it brings together 40 tracks from the classic years of The Surfaris – not just big hits, but rare album tracks, and some unusual singles too! Most folks know these guys as an instrumental group – searing guitars on the level of The Ventures, and much more surf-tuned too – but the collection also features some surprising vocal numbers as well – many with a distinct Beach Boys sort of style, two of which feature harmonies from The Honeys! The notes are great, and include a detailed discography – to accompany titles that include "My Little Bike", "Surf Scene", "Point Panic", "Hot Rod High", "Misirlou", "Murphy The Surfie", "Boss Barracuda", "I'm Into Something Good", "Catch A Little Ride With Me", "Moon Dawg", "So Get Out", "Dune Buggy", "Karen", "Mystic Island Drums", "My Buddy Seat", "Don't Hurt My Little Sister", and "Hey Joe Watch Where You're Going". CD

Close matches77
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Third Ear BandAlchemy/Elements ... CD
EMI/BGO (UK), 1969/1970. Used 2CD ... $11.99 16.99
... CD
(Out of print.)

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✨✧ Porter Wagoner & Dolly PartonOnce More/Two Of A Kind/The Right Combination Burning The Midnight Oil/Together Always ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... $14.99
Four classic RCA albums from the team of Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton – all brought together in a single set! Once More is a pivotal moment in the duo career of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – both solo singers who'd worked together on earlier records, but really seemed to hit their stride around the time of this set! Both Porter and Dolly gel together perfectly – often singing together, not trading back and forth as much – in ways that only make the lyrics of the songs resonate more strongly. Titles include "I Know You're Married But I Love You Still", "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man", "A Good Understanding", "Let's Live For Tonight", "Once More", "Fight & Scratch", and the tear-jerker "Ragged Angel". Two Of A Kind is a great pairing of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton – one an aging country singer, yet still in his prime – the other a soon-to-be superstar, getting her youth balanced out a bit more by the presence of Porter! The tunes here are the perfect sort of music for the pair to work together – some songs that have separate parts that give each singer a distinct character – others harmonized together in a mighty nice way. Dolly wrote a fair bit of material for the set, and Porter had a hand in a few too – and titles include "Oh The Pain Of Loving You", "Possum Holler", "The Flame", "The Fighting Kind", "Two Of A Kind", "There'll Be Love", "Is It Real", and "Curse Of The Wild Weed Flower". On the next album, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton are definitely the Right Combination – singing here with a chemistry that not only reflects Dolly's years on stage with Porter, but which also echoes some of the tension of their relationship backstage! The tunes are a mix of originals – some by Wagoner, some by Parton – plus a few other well-chosen numbers – all of which expand their duo style nicely, marking it as way more than just some record company attempt to cash in by bringing two stars together! Titles include "More Than Words Can Tell", "The Right Combination", "Her & The Car & The Mobile Home", "Burning The Midnight Oil", "On & On", and "The Fog Has Lifted". The title of Together Always is maybe a bit un-prophetic – given that a few years later, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton would hardly be together – but the record's a great one from that wonderful stretch when the pair could really make magic singing together on record! The tunes are all original numbers – some by Dolly, some by Porter – new material that makes the album every bit as strong as solo efforts by either singer, and which show that these RCA duo sessions weren't just filler material in the catalog! Titles include "Love's All Over", "Take Away", "Lost Forever In Your Kiss", "Looking Down", "Poor Folks Town", "Ten Four Over & Out", and "You & Me Her & Him". CD

Close matches79
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✨✧ Narada Michael WaldenLooking At Me Looking At You/Nature Of Things/Divine Emotion ... CD
Atlantic/BGO (UK), Mid 80s. New Copy 2CD ... $8.99 19.99
A trio of mid 80s albums from Narada Michael Walden – all together in one 2CD set! First up is Looking At You Looking At Me – an album with plenty of beats– so much so you might forget that Narada Michael Walden first rose to fame as a drummer – but all the electricity is fine with us, given the 80s groove sound of the set! There's a nice sense of energy that informs most of the tracks – a somewhat funky undercurrent that almost shows traces of the Minneapolis influence on soul at the time, but without a too-Prince sort of sound overall. There's also a few key ballads too – some gentler cuts that round out the set nicely, and which showcase the increasing confidence Walden's had with his vocals over the years. Titles include "Reach Out", "Looking At You Looking At Me", "Burning Up", "Shake It Off", "Dream Maker", and "Tina". Nature Of Things is a highly electric set from Narada Michael Walden – a mid 80s effort that's filled with catchy little tunes! The style's certainly more mainstream than we might have guessed, given Walden's early career – but it's still much better than most of the pop of its generation – thanks to Michael's strong jazz pedigree, which does seem to inform some of his arrangements and instrumental choices on the album. Most of the percussion is in the form of beats, but Walden's also credited with playing drums (roto-toms, perhaps?) – and in addition to his own lead vocals, the set also features work by Patti Austin and Marth Wash. Titles include "Live It Up", "Nature Of Things", "High Above The Clouds", "Gimme Gimme Gimme", "Suspicion", and "Dancin On Main Street". Divine Emotion is sweet 80s soul from Narada Michael Walden – a set that has the singer/drummer very confidently in the tight R&B territory that served him so well during the decade! As with previous records, there's a fair bit of 80s electronic elements in the mix – bursting, bubbling, and exploding with a joyful groove that really fits Walden's spirit – and serves to emphasize his ever-growing talent for penning at catchy tune! Titles include "Wild Thing", "Explosion", "Jam The Night", "Divine Emotions", "Can't Get You Outta My Head", "That's The Way I Feel About Cha", and "Certain Kind Of Lover". CD

Close matches80
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Scott WalkerStretch/We Had It All ... CD
BGO (UK), 1973/1974. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
A pair of great early 70s efforts from the always unpredictable Scott Walker – 1973's Stretch and We Had It All from '74! Both records are Scott's tribute to modern country, with songs written by Jerry Reed, Tom T Hall, Billy Joe Shaver and others like that, along with tunes by writers Scott had covered before, such as Randy Newman and Jimmy Webb. Stretch may have seemed like a pretty remarkable creative stretch from the kind of haunting emotionalism and soaring, darkness-tinged pop of his earlier solo efforts, but there's a pretty direct line in some ways. His inimitably expressive voice carries the mood, with folksier touches to the songcraft and production paired with the occasionally lusher strings and other grand touches. We Had It All has a similar vibe, with Scott pulling off touching country balladry and rollicking stripped down jams just as well. 21 tracks in all: Sunshine", "Just One Smile", "Use Me", "Where Love Has Died", "Low Down Freedom", "We Had It All", "What Ever Happened To Saturday Night", "Old Five And Dimers Like Me", "Delta Dawn" and more. CD

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Leslie WestMountain ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1969. New Copy ... $8.99 19.99
Leslie West is a mountain of a man – and although his greatest fame may have been in the group Mountain, this initial solo set has all the power of that famous group – and maybe a leaner, meaner sound overall! West is clearly working in the power trio style that was emerging from the British rock scene of the time – using his raw vocals and heavy guitar next to the drums of ND Smart, and the bass and keyboards of the great Felix Pappalardi – who produced and put the whole thing together in the studio! Titles include the funky rock classic "Long Red", which has great organ and drums – plus "Southbound Train", "Blood Of The Sun", "Blind Man", "Baby I'm Down", "This Whee's On Fire", "Storyteller Man", and "Because You Are My Friend". CD

Close matches82
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Mike WestbrookMetropolis ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $8.99 16.99
A seminal bit of work from Mike Westbrook – recorded back in the early years of his career, when he still had a pretty sharp edge! Like Westbrook's first few albums on Decca, this set features the British avant jazz maestro playing piano with a large ensemble of some of England's finest jazzmen – including Ray Warleigh, Alan Skidmore, Harry Beckett, Kenny Wheeler, Paul Rutehrford, and Harry Miller. Norma Winstone sings on a few tracks, bringing in her lovely voice in the way that she does on Westbrook's best albums – but overall, the set's a bit more out there and more avant than some of his earlier work, but still has the majestic cohesiveness that makes his work of the time so great. The work is one long piece, split into 9 segments. CD

Close matches83
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✨✧ Mike CooperOh Really/Do I Know You/Trout Steel/Places I Know/Machine Gun Co (plus bonus tracks) (3CD set) ... CD
Dawn/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 3CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
An amazing legacy in music from Mike Cooper – a British musician who started out in the world of folk blues, but never ended up moving towards some of the rockish modes of his contemporaries – instead finding his very own sort of special space in the freedom allowed by the Dawn Records label! The set begins with the very spare Oh Really – a set that has Mike Cooper mostly on guitar and vocals, in a style that's part Piedmont, part Delta blues – but also given a more folksy spin, and graced with Cooper's unusual vocals – almost making the whole thing feel like a spare acoustic version of Canned Heat territory – with titles that include "Maggie Campbell", "Saturday Blues", "Electric Chair", "Crow Jane", and "You're Gonna Be Sorry". Do I Know you is a record that follows up with a sound that's maybe a bit fuller than Mike Cooper's debut, but still relatively spare – with Mike on acoustic guitar and slide guitar, Harry Miller on bass (really great bass, by the way!), and Poor Little Anne on a bit of vocals. Miller brings these deep tones to the record that really transform things – and titles include "Do I Know You", "Start Of A Journey", "First Song", "Theme In C", and "The Link". Trout Steel is a beautiful set from the British scene at the start of the 70s – a record that's got a fairly folksy tone, but lots of jazzy currents as well! The set was issued on the seminal Dawn Records label – and really shows that imprint's commitment to the left side of the spectrum – as Mike Cooper's vocals and acoustic guitar come into play with more guitar from Stefan Grossman – plus alto sax from Mike Osborne, tenor and soprano from Alan Skidmore, piano from John Taylor, and bass from the late Harry Miller – all key players on the UK avant jazz scene of the time! The mix of these players with Cooper's core inspiration is not unlike some of the most progressive material coming from Island Records – or, even better, the special jazzy moments on records by Tim Buckley or Tim Hardin – company that Cooper could very easily keep, given the strength of his songwriting. Titles include "Don't Talk Too Fast", "On My Way", "Hope You See", "Weeping Rose", "Trout Steel", "I've Got Mine", "That's How", and "Pharoah's March". Places I Know blends Cooper's acoustic guitar and rootsy vocals with some very compelling arrangements from Mike Gibbs – the British jazz talent who was already known for his larger ensemble creations at the time, but who works here in these really subtle ways – to inflect Cooper's core inspirations with just some slight instrumental colors, tones, and phrases on most numbers – while Cooper brings in the core Machine Gun Co group on a few more. The result is a record that's way more than familiar folk – and arguably a lot hipper than most of the British acid folk of the time, too – on titles that include "Night Journey", "Paper & Smoke", "Country Water", "Time To Time", "Goodbye Blues Goodbye", and "Places I Know". The Machine Gun Co album is a partner record to Places I Know – recorded in the same sessions, but with tracks that are longer, and even more openly expressive – all with backings from the sweet Machine Gun Co quartet, a group with some especially nice electric piano from Alan Cook! Heavy use of that instrument really works against some of the folksier elements in Cooper's music – with these blocks of warm sound and color that really illuminate the tunes, and almost unlock a new level in the vocals. Cooper plays a bit of electric guitar at times – and titles include "So Glad That I Found You", "Lady Anne", "Midnight Words", and "Song For Abigail". CD also features songs from singles – "Your Lovely Ways (parts 1 & 2)", "Time In Hand", and "Schaabisch Hall". CD

Close matches84
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✨✧ Duane EddyTwenty Terrific Twangies/Water Skiing ... CD
RCA/BGO (UK), Early 60s. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two different albums on one CD – both of which are full of the legendary guitar work that made Duane Eddy huge in the early 60s! First up is Twenty Terrific Twangies – a UK collection that brings together some of the best early RCA material by Eddy – a good deal of which was handled by superproucer Lee Hazlewood – whose work with Duane predated his hits with Nancy Sinatra! Some cuts have vocals, most are instrumental – and titles include "The Feud", "Stretchin Out", "Guitar Man", "Country Twist", "Mirriam", "The Last Dance", "Twangsville", "Jerky Jalopy", "Boss Guitar", and "Rebel Rouser". On Water Skiing, Duane's twangy guitar sound is applied to the water skiing scene, in what was probably an attempt to establish a new trend away from surf or hot rod instrumentals. The sound, however, is very much in the surf/hot rod style – with lots of groovy "twang" out front, and zippy backgrounds that have a swinging sound to them. Titles include "Water Skiing", "Rooster Tail", "In Gear", "Jumping The Wake", "Banana Peels", and "Toe Hold Slide Slide". CD

Close matches85
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✨✧ Georgie FameSeventh Son/Going Home ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), 1969/1971. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
2 of our favorite albums from the enigmatic Georgie Fame – both recorded right at a perfect point in his career! Seventh Son is a set that still has Fame working in some of the older American modes of his roots, but which also pushes past jazz and R&B towards some much hipper territory! The styles here show a bit of a singer/songwriter mode – even though Georgie didn't write the tracks – and the album makes great uses of that sweetly compressed sound that Fame brought naturally to his work, but balances that with some nicely dynamic arrangements played by a host of top-shelf British jazz musicians. The sound is quite hard to describe adequately, but let's call it a bursting forth of the charm and inventiveness that we always knew Fame had inside of him, but never got full exposure until now! Titles include "Blossom", "Ho Ho Ho", "Inside Story", "Am I Wasting My Time", "Is It Really The Same", "Bird In A World Of People", and "Somebody Stole My Thunder". Going Home is an album that's far more soulful and laidback than some of Fame's earlier sets, and filled with wonderful tunes that really sparkle with warmth and imagination! Georgie didn't write the tunes himself, but he's done a great job here of pulling them together – picking put work that's more mature and a bit less gimmicky than his early hits – and singing them alongside gentle backings from Keith Mansfield that often include a bit of electric piano, used in a way that further emphasizes the adult soul side of the tracks – in a way that's almost like Kenny Rankin, whose "Peaceful" is sung very nicely here. Titles include "Going Home", "I Believe In Love", "Happiness", "Children Of My Mind", "Lay Me Down", "Sister Jane", "Peaceful", "It Won't Hurt To Try It", and "Foolish Style". CD
(Includes slipcase.)

Close matches86
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✨✧ Gordon GiltrapGordon Giltrap/Portrait ... CD
Transatlantic/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of early albums from the great Gordon Giltrap – both released by Transatlantic Records when Gordon was a very young fellow! The self-titled Gordon Giltrap is a gem from 1968 – a record that has Gordon stepping out as a hell of a guitarist, and a very dark-tinged songwriter – certainly of the generation that was budding with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch – but with a distinct quality that really set Giltrap apart from the rest, maybe making him as much of an individualist as Davy Graham! Although just 18, Giltrap's acoustic guitar work is fantastic– and his vocals are much more biting than some of his contemporaries – almost mean at times. Titles include "Window Pattern", "Blythe Hill", "Won't You Stay Awhile Suzanne", "Don't You Feel Good", "Birth Of Spring", "Don't You Hear Your Mother's Voice", and "Ives Horizon". Portrait is an amazing record – at one level filled with mastery of the 12 string guitar has has Gordon Giltrap matching the best of the Takoma generation in the US – but also graced with vocals that are very distinct, very pointed, and which make the tunes with lyrics such a contrast to the instrumentals! The whole thing is fantastic – a true testament to the legend that has grown up around Giltrap over the years – with titles that include "Thoughts In The Rain", "Never Ending Solitude", "Young Love", "Lucifer's Cage", "Portrait", "Tuxedo", and "Hands Of Fate". CD

Close matches87
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✨✧ GroundhogsHogwash (with bonus tracks) ... CD
BGO (UK), 1972. Used ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
... CD
(Out of print.)

Close matches88
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✨✧ Freddie HubbardGleam ... CD
CBS/BGO (UK), 1975. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Jazz funk genius from Freddie Hubbard in the mid 70s! Gleam was a Japanese-only double album from the jazz giant in its original release – mighty funky at times, too – right up there with some of the best Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock Japanese sets from the 70s! It's a live set captured in March of '75 at Tokyo's Yubin Chokin Hall – long numbers played by a group that includes Freddie on trumpet, Carl Randall on tenor and flute, George Cables on electric piano, Henry Franklin on bass, Carl Burnett on drums, and Buck Clark on percussion! Each player has plenty of space to groove, and it's very well captured – you can hear the most expressive solos and the most subtle nuances. Some great solos by Freddie and the rest of the players – breathless tenor & flute by Randall, keys by Cables that are jazz funk perfection and interplay between Burnett's drums and Clark's congas & percussion that's somehow tense and comfortable at the same time. The shortest number in the set runs more than the 7 minutes and the longest is more than 20 minutes – and none is one second shorter than necessary, actually leaving us pining for more – making it all the more vital in the double album format. Released on 2CDs here! How this great album has been so hard to find over the years is a mystery. Titles include "Kuntu", "Spirits Of Trane", an amazing cover of Stevie Wonder's "Too High", "Midnight At The Oasis", "Ebony Moonbeams", and "Put It In The Pocket". CD

Close matches89
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✨✧ BB KingLA Midnight/To Know You Is To Love You ... CD
ABC/BGO (UK), 1972/1973. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two early 70s burners from BB King – back to back as a 2CD set! LA Midnight has BB King bringing in a sweet dose of jazz to his work – just a touch of the funkier backings that some of his electric contemporaries were getting at the time – maybe not as hard-wailing as some of the Chess funky blues records, but definitely somewhere in that direction! Players on the date include Mel Brown and Jesse Davis on guitars, Bobby Bryant on trumpet, Red Holloway on tenor, Plas Johnson on baritone, Clifford Coulter and Victor Feldman on piano, and the great Earl Palmer on drums. Titles include "Help The Poor", "Can't You Hear Me Talking To You", "Midnight", "I Got Some Help I Don't Need", "I've Been Blue Too Long", "Lucille's Granny, and "Can't You Hear Me Talking To You". To Know You is a set that has BB King teaming up with southern soul maestro Dave Crawford – an arranger/producer who helps BB find a whole new groove! Crawford's approach is wonderfully warm and soulful – almost a Hi Records sort of take on the music, which brings King's traditional blues into much fresher territory – an update of older Memphis modes, with a really great sound for the 70s. In addition to The Memphis Horns, there's also a bit of Philly help on the record too – thanks to Vince Montana's vibes, Norman Harris' guitar, Ron Kersey's keyboards, and Ronnie Baker's bass. Stevie Wonder makes a brief guest appearance on keyboards too – and titles include "Oh To Me", "Love", "Respect Yourself", "I Like To Live The Love", "Who Are You", "I Can't Leave", and "Thank You For Loving The Blues". CD

Close matches90
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✨✧ Ramsey LewisDon't It Feel Good/Salongo/Tequila Mockingbird/Love Notes ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Sweet electric magic from Ramsey Lewis – four 70s albums in a single collection! First up is Don't It Feel Good – massive keyboard work from the great Ramsey Lewis – easily one of his best records ever, thanks to some spaciously funky production by Charles Stepney! Stepney plays keyboards here along with Ramsey, and the twin-keys approach makes for a sound that's extra-special – one that sums up all the earlier soulful creativity of both artists in their late 60s Cadet Records years, and hones it down to an even sweeter groove for the 70s! A number of tracks have some sort of vocal component, but usually in a chorus mode that soon drops out when the keyboards hit home – and the record features a few great short "interlude" tracks that are almost as great as the longer numbers! Titles include the classic "Juaacklyn", a cover of Earth Wind & Fire's "That's The Way Of The World", and the tracks "I Dig You", "Fish Bite", "Don't It Feel Good", "Something About You", and "Can't Function". Salongo is a tremendous little record, and one of the funky 70s sets that Ramsey Lewis recorded with Earth Wind & Fire! Well, not Earth Wind & Fire entirely – but the Kalimba Productions team of Maurice White and Charles Stepney that gave the group its sound – plus a nice sprinkling of other players that were often associated with sessions by the group! Ramsey's own combo here includes Steve Cobb on drums and vocals, and Derf Reklaw on reeds and vocals as well – and the overall sound has bits of African and Brazilian influences, worked into a soulful fusion groove that sounds a lot like the instrumental backings EWF were using at the time. Titles include "Brazilica", "Slick", "Rubato", "Salongo", and "Seventh Fold". Tequila Mockingbird is an overlooked gem from the Columbia Records years, filled with loads of great grooves, and some pretty mighty keyboards! Part of the record has Ramsey working with Larry Dunn of Kalimba Productions – getting plenty of the Earth Wind & Fire groove that made so much of his Columbia sessions sparkle – while the rest of the set has the great Bert DeCoteaux handling things, and giving Lewis just the right mix of sophistication and soul he was using with other Columbia acts at the time. The album's a perfect example of the way that Ramsey stepped way ahead of the pack during this time in his career – using keyboards and grooves together in ways that so many artists today are still trying to match – but never hit it this right! Titles include "Camino El Bueno", "Caring For You", "Intimacy", "That Ole Bach Music", "Skippin", "Tequila Mockingbird", and "Wandering Rose" – that cool cut by Neal Creque! Love Notes is a great little album of mid 70s funk from Ramsey Lewis – very much in the mode of his Earth, Wind, & Fire related work – no surprise, since the album's dedicated to Charles Stepney, whose influence was such a key part of the sound of the group, and of some of Ramsey's other Kalimba-produced albums from a few years before! Ramsey plays Fender Rhodes, mini moog, and Arp – and he gets help on keyboards from Stevie Wonder and Derf Reklaw, who also plays saxes and percussion on the set. Features versions of Wonder's "Love Notes" and "Spring High", plus Reklaw's "Chili Today Hot Tamale", "Shining", and "Stash Dash". CD

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✨✧ Ramsey LewisFunky Serenity/Golden Hits/Solar Wind/Sun Goddess ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A quadruple-header from Ramsey Lewis – four albums from his great 70s electric period on Columbia Records! First up is Funky Serenity – sweet electric funk from Ramsey Lewis! The album's one of his best from the 70s – and it's got Ramsey on Fender Rhodes, electric harpsichord, and other keyboards, grooving away in an open-ended 70s mode that still retains all the heavy soul of his classic work for Chess. Morris Jennings adds in some very nice percussion with his drum work, and Cleveland Eaton's on funky bass, giving the set a strong bottom groove. Features the sublime sample cut "My Love For You", a great version of "Knights In White Satin" that's done with a weird spacey groove, plus the tracks "Kufany Mapenzi (Making Love)", "Serene Funk", "What It Is!", and "Dreams". Golden Hits isn't a "best of", but instead has Ramsey and his funky mid 70s trio with Morris Jennings and Cleveland Eaton revisiting some of his best loved material from the Cadet years, but with the groovy Rhodes and wah wah sound that we dig so much about his CBS recordings. Unlike some of the other records from this period, the group's nice and stripped down, just the electric piano, bass and drums, so the groove's nice and wide open, Ramsey and company popping along with the sanctified soulful vibe of his 60s work, but updating their sound with some nice electric touches. 9 numbers in all: "Hang On Sloopy", "Blues For The Night Owl", "Hi-Heel Sneakers", "Carmen", "Delilah", "Wade In The Water", "Slippin' Into Darkness", "Somethin' You Got", and "The In Crowd". Solar Wind was cut smack dab in the middle of Ramsey's glory days at Columbia Records – with great production help and work on bass from the mighty Cleveland Eaton! The style is nice and lean, with just some occasional fuller touches – and Ramsey plays plenty of Fender Rhodes, in addition to bits of Arp and moog too – in a setting that's mostly trio, with a few guest players stepping into the mix from track to track! There's a nice degree of fuzz at points, thanks to added help from Steve Cropper – and titles include a great funky version of "Summer Breeze", plus "Solar Wind", "Come Down In Time", "Love for A Day", "Hummingbird", "Jamaican Marketplace", and "Sweet & Tender You". Sun Goddess is one of our favorite Ramsey Lewis albums ever – and a perfect summation of the genius that was brewing on the Chicago scene in the late 60s and early 70s! The album has Ramsey working strongly with Earth Wind & Fire – no surprise, given his close ties to Maurice White, who was the drummer in Ramsey's trio before starting his own group – and the shared relationship both artists had with producer Charles Stepney! The three were all key parts of the late 60s sound at Chess Records – but here, they've brought the same soulful energy to Columbia – working in a wider, more mature groove for the 70s – one that has Lewis' wicked Fender Rhodes lines stretching out strongly over tight, compressed, funky lines from EWF! The centerpiece of the set is the massive 7 minute "Sun Goddess", but there's lots of other nice ones like "Living For The City", "Gemini Rising", and "Jungle Strut". Funky, electric, and sublimely wonderful all the way through! CD

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✨✧ Ramsey LewisHang On Ramsey/Wade In The Water ... CD
BGO/Cadet (UK), 1965/1966. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Ramsey Lewis grooving in 2 of his best modes of the 60s – live, and with funky studio backings from Richard Evans! Hang On Sloopy is easily one of Ramsey Lewis' most successful records – done in the hit soul jazz style that he forged with the Young/Holt rhythm combo, honed to perfection before a live crowd at The Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach. The record's a key part of Ramsey's live recorded output – showing the trio in pyrotechnic form before the kind of packed-house audiences they were playing to nightly at the time. Includes swinging versions of "Hard Day's Night", "High Heel Sneakers", and "Hang On Sloopy" – plus the original cut "Movin Easy". On the album Wade In The Water, Ramsey's funky piano is backed by some soulful arrangements handled by Richard Evans – in a really tight style that includes great percussion, electric bass, and an all-out kicking style that makes even the mellowest tunes groove! Evans really adds a lot to the set – expanding the core groove of the Lewis trio with a proud and righteous Chicago approach – really bringing some "soul" to the soul jazz sound of the group, with incredible results! Titles include "Money In the Pocket", "Wade In the Water", "Ain't That Peculiar", "Up Tight", and "Hold It Right There". CD

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✨✧ Ramsey LewisLegacy/Ramsey/Live At The Savoy/Chance Encounter ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Four later Columbia albums from Ramsey Lewis – all pretty darn great! Legacy is an overlooked gem from Ramsey's 70s years at Columbia – a record that has him grooving over larger arrangements, sweeping along in a great blend of soul and class that makes for some really great numbers! Side one of the album features Ramsey playing keyboards on the extended "Legacy" suite – a long piece composed and conducted by James Mack, which has Ramsey running through a lot of different moods and modes – some of them nice and funky! Side two features some nice shorter tracks – all electric groovers with plenty of funky keys! Titles include "Moogin On", "Don't Look Back", "Well Well Well", and "All The Way Live". Ramsey is a sweet late 70s groover from Ramsey – not as all-out electric as some of his earlier work for Columbia, but done with some nice arrangements that have a full and soulful feel! There's a bit of Kalimba/Earth Wind & Fire soul to the mix – and some tracks have production by James Mack and soulful backing vocals by Kitty & The Heywoods – both elements of which serve to provide a nice platform for Ramsey to soar over the top on Steinway. A few cuts feature a bit of electric keys, but overall, the style's in that "acoustic solo instrument over electric backings – in the manner that 70s mainstream fusion was using heavily at the time. Titles include "Dancin", "I'll Always Dream About You", "Every Chance I Get", and "I Just Can't Give You Up". Live At The Savoy is, as you might guess, a live set, but one that's got some wonderfully rich grooves – almost one of the first times that Ramsey's excellent studio approach was attempted on record in a concert setting! The backings are quite full, and produced beautifully here by Tom Tom 84 – who really keeps a classy Chicago vibe in place throughout most of the set – one that stretches from Ramsey's late years at Cadet Records, through all the growth and maturation at Columbia during the 70s. The core trio's augmented by fuller horns on most numbers, given a bit of an Earth Wind & Fire/Kalimba Productions groove – and there's a vocal chorus at a few points too. Includes a great version of "Close Your Eyes & Remember" – plus "Sassy Stew", "Callin Fallin", "Baby What You Want Me To Do", "You Never Know", "Lynn", and a "Hits Medley" of Lewis grooves from the 60s. Chance Encounter has a very full, carefully put-together approach – completely arranged and produced by Ramsey Lewis himself, but definitely using lessons learned from some of the other top-shelf talents who guided him during his years at Columbia Records! There's a pretty careful balance of material here – from spare acoustic piano numbers, to sweeter electric grooves, to one vocal track that's trying a bit more for a soul crossover. Ramsey mostly plays Steinway acoustic and Fender Rhodes – and tracks include "What's Going On", "Chance Encounter", "Intimacy", "A Special Place", "I Can't Wait", "Paradise", and "Just A Little Ditty". CD

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✨✧ Buddy MilesExpressway To Your Skull/Electric Church/Them Changes/We Got To Live Together ... CD
Mercury/BGO (UK), Late 60s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Four heavy classics from Buddy Miles – all together in a single set! First up is Expressway To Your Skull – a super tripped-out blend of rock, funk, and soul – easily one of Buddy Miles' most mindblowing albums – and a classic that never lets up at all! Buddy's leading the whole group on drums – really kicking things large from behind the kit – while the rest of the group jams in a heavy style that's got plenty of fuzzed-out guitar and jazzy horn riffs – virtually a blueprint for countless other rock funk groups that copped Buddy's style in years to come. The drums alone are worth the price of admission – but the whole album's so right, tight, and outta sight that it's been a favorite in our crates for years! Titles include "Train", "Let Your Lovelight Shine", "Don't Mess With Cupid", "Funky Mule", and "Wrap It Up". Electric Church is filled with bluesy soul from Buddy Miles – an album that was half-produced by Jimi Hendrix, and which showcases the really crowd-pleasing side of Miles' sound! Tracks are a mix of soul covers and original numbers – done in a mode that puts plenty of guitar out front in the mix, and which uses Buddy's screaming vocals a bit more than his heavier drums. Horns are used on most numbers to give them a bit of southern soul inflection, and titles include a great live jamming take on "Wrap It Up", the funky "Destructive Love", and the cuts "Cigarettes & Coffee", "Miss Lady", "Texas", and "My Chant". Them Changes is a landmark album of crossover funk – fuzzed out rock, soul, and jazzy licks all coming into play together – held totally tight by drummer Buddy Miles, the undisputed king of his scene! Buddy's drums are super-heavy – holding down his Freedom Express group with a heavy jazz-rock sound that would soon have a huge influence on other groups. Includes Buddy's original version of "Them Changes" – a tune that was instantly covered by everyone at the time – plus the cuts "Memphis Train", "Your Feeling Is Mine", "Dreams", and "Down By The River". Last up is We Got To Live Together – pure crossover genius from Buddy Miles – a great mix of funky soul and rockish touches – and the kind of record that easily put Buddy in the same camp as Sly Stone or The Isley Brothers with mainstream audiences of the time! Tracks here are a bit longer and more jamming than work by either of those two artists – with the kind of heavy guitar and horns that played heavily to the Fillmore crowd – but the overall sound of the record is a fair bit more soulful and even funkier than some other Miles' efforts from the earlier years too, with plenty of his tight drums in the mix! Titles include a great 12 minute reading of the title track "We Got To Live Together" – plus "Take It Off Him & Put It On Me", "Runaway Child", "Walking Down The Highway", and "Easy Greasy". CD

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✨✧ Pointer SistersPointer Sisters/That's A Plenty ... CD
Blue Thumb/BGO (UK), Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two early albums from this legendary group – back to back in a single set! First up is the self-titled Pointer Sisters – the group's debut, and an album that's a lot deeper than most of their crossover pop from years to come! At the time of the album's release, the trio were a badass group of female singers on the Bay Area scene – out to redefine the role of the girl group in soul – working not only with righteous power that was a real change from modes of the 60s – but also this trans-temporal quality that had them reaching back with ease for references from decades past, which also includes a surprising amount of jazz! The highlight here is the group's classic funky break version of Allen Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can" – and other titles include "Naked Food", "Wang Dang Doodle", "Sugar", "Pains & Tears", "Jada", "River Boulevard", and "Cloudburst". That's A Plenty is a wonderfully retro-styled set from the Pointer Sisters – one that has the group singing in a variety of older jazz modes, but which also mixes in a nice dose of heavy funk as well! The format's an odd one, but very typical of the group's genre-blending style – of the sort that first got them noticed strongly in the early 70s, then helped them bridge out to a wide variety of audiences later in the decade. Styles include bop, swing, and even a bit of trad jazz – plus some bluesier funk on the best numbers – and the album features an incredible 8 minute version of "Love In Them There Hills", done in a sweet 70s electric style! Other tracks include "Grinning In Your Face", "Little Pony", "Fairytale", "Black Coffee", "Shaky Flat Blues", and "That's A Plenty/Surfeit USA". CD

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✨✧ Johnny RiversIn Action!/Changes ... CD
Liberty/BGO (UK), 1965/1966. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A pair of mid 60s cookers from the mighty Johnny Rivers – back to back on a single set! In Action is a record from a time when Rivers was still drawing big crowds on the Sunset Strip – and features that tight, catchy approach that was such a huge hit – jaunty guitar lines set up in lean rhythms that are heavy on bass and drums – topped by vocals that never seem to get in the way of the instrumentation! Titles include "Mountain Of Love", "Promised Land", "What Am I Doin Here With You", "Moody River", "It's All Over Now", "Rhythm Of The Rain", and "Keep A Knockin". Changes is a well-titled set from the second chapter in the career of Johnny Rivers – a record that has him stepping into deeper, more sophisticated territory than before – with some slightly larger arrangements put together by the great Marty Paich! There's still plenty of those groovy rhythms that helped put Rivers at the top of the charts, but Johnny's also opening up his range of material, and getting a bit more introspective at times too – on titles that include "Cast Your Fate To The Wind", "Days Of Wine & Roses", "If I Were A Carpenter", "Getting Ready For Tomorrow", "Poor Side Of The Town", and a great cover of "California Dreamin". CD

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✨✧ Earl ScruggsI Saw The Light With Some Help From My Friends/Live From Austin City Limits/Strike Anywhere/Bold & New ... CD
BGO (UK), Mid 70s. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Four albums that show the continuing evolution of Earl Scruggs in the 70s – with a sound that's very different than his earlier music, and maybe even sharper instrumentation overall! First up is I Saw The Light – a record made after the famous banjo pioneer split with Lester Flatt, and was very popular with a young rock crowd – as evidenced by help he gets here from Linda Ronstadt and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – not to mention Gary and Randy Scruggs, Vassar Clements, and Norman Blake! The mix of famous names and the growing Scruggs Review sound is great – and the record is an unlikely but important entry in the rise of country rock during the early 70s, with a very different quality than some of Earl's earlier work. We might well thank the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – as the vibe is similar at times to their shifting music of the period – mixed with some Mike Nesmith inspiration, as a few of his tunes are included. Titles include "Lonesome & A Long Way From Home", "Silver Wings", "Never Ending Song Of Love", "Rock Sant & Nails", "Some Of Shelly's Blues", "It's A Picture From Life's Other Side", and "Propinquity". Features bonus tracks "The Cure", "I Saw The Light", "Fireball Mail", and "Tramp On The Street". On Live From Austin City Limits, the great Earl Scruggs takes on the growing Austin scene – which turns out to be a perfect fit for his Revue's blend of new country modes and older styles of instrumentation! Earl leads off the set with stunning work on banjo – maybe even sharper than earlier years – and the group lead off with some Dylan material at the start, showcasing some of their rock leanings – but soon bringing on other songs of their own, and making for this beautiful mix of key instrumental moments and lyrical passages. Lead vocals are from Gary Scruggs, and Randy and Steve Scruggs are in the group too – on titles that include "Nashville Skyline Rag", "I Shall Be Released", "Tall Texas Woman", "I Just Can't Seem To Change", "Black Mountain Blues", "Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven", and "The Swimming Song". Strike Anywhere is a mighty nice album from the great Earl Scruggs – recorded with his boys' Revue group, and a sound that really helps keep Earl's instrumentation fresh for the 70s! Years back, we never would have thought that mixing the legendary Scruggs banjo sound with keyboards would have worked – but the change here is a great one, as Earl makes the shift that a few of his traditional instrumental contemporaries were doing at the time – such as Vassar Clements or Bashful Brother Oswald – finding a new setting for the instruments that still shine out in the lead at all the best moments. Titles include a great remake of "Mandolin Wind" – plus "Muhammad Ali", "Bring It On Home To Me", "You Really Got A Hold On Me", "I Think Of You", and "Dreaming As One". On Bold & New, the great Chips Moman produced and recorded the record – a set that shows that move that Earl had made into country rock during the decade, delivered in the best possible hands! Vocals are from some of Earl's sons, and the man himself still gets gets in plenty of banjo solos too – as the group mix their own material with a few from Bobby Emmons, who plays organ, electric piano, and clavinet on the set. Titles include "The Cabin", "Our Love Is Home Grown", "That's Alright Mama", "Found Myself A New Love", "Games People Play", "Take The Time To Fall In Love", and "Louisiana Lady". CD

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✨✧ Keith TippettBlueprint ... CD
BGO (UK), 1972. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A groundbreaking set from British pianist Keith Tippett – an album of completely improvised material, all-acoustic – and performed with a group that includes Julie Tippett on voice and guitar, Frank Perry on percussion, and Roy Babbington on bass. The album's got a really organic feel – not nearly as free as you might guess from the improvised nature of the work – and more with a fluid, earthy approach that's heavily concerned with sound and spirit, and which reminds us a lot of some of the more challenging early 70s work on Impulse Records. Instrumentation is all acoustic (although the set was oddly produced by Robert Fripp!) – and titles include "Song", "Dance", "Blues I", and "Woodcut". CD

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✨✧ Mason WilliamsMason Williams Phonograph Record/Ear Show/Music By/Handmade/Sharepickers ... CD
Warner/BGO (UK), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Five really inventive albums from the great Mason Williams – presented here in a single package! First up is the Mason Williams Phonograph Record – amazing stuff, one of those records you see for years, and always pass by – but which yields some real surprises once you dig in! Mason Williams is one of the cooler cats in the Warner Brothers stable of the late 60s – but he's also one of the more subtle, too – a folkie at heart, but an artist with a really great sense of wit, warmth, and variety – very much in the best genre-stepping style of the Burbank scene of the time. The set features, of course, Mason's huge hit "Classical Gas" – an instrumental you'll recognize instantly – but next to that is the sublime "Baroque A Nova", a very cool scatting harmony track that's like some lost late 60s Hugo Montenegro gem – and the camp psych gem "The Prince's Panties" – done with all the wit of late 60s Warner – as is the whole album! Other tracks include "Wanderlove", "Overture", "All The Time", and "She's Gone Away". Next is the Mason Williams Ear Show – a wonderfully weird record from the mighty Mason Williams – a set that's filled with lots of cool little surprises at each new twist and turn – yet which also comes across with a really solid, tuneful feel overall! The album's got a bit of folk, a bit of moog, and a bit of kitsch – but has a way of serving it all up with the kind of warmth and wit we love so much in that unique late 60s Warner Brothers moment – the same sort of vibe you might get from Van Dyke Parks or Harpers Bizarre at their best. Some tunes have Mason Williams singing these beautifully poetic lyrics straight, while others evoke the playful feel of his appearances on the Smothers Brothers Show – but things are really balanced throughout, and give the record that sense of discovery we hardly ever find in albums these days. Titles include a new version of "Baroque A Nova" from Mason's first album, the cool electronic "Generatah Oscillatah" instrumental, the groovy "Last Great Waltz", a "One Minute Commercial", and a wild remake of "Cinderella Rockefella" – plus "Saturday Night At The World", "$13 Stella", and "Whistle Hear". Music By Mason Williams is sublime genius from Mason – one of the most subtle talents in the Warner hip stable at the time – more so than even Jack Nitzsche or Van Dyke Parks! The album is a non-ironic blend of soundtrack styles, country music, and even some pseudo classical numbers – all handled with that youthful sense of nostalgic loss that seems to oddly characterize so much of the best work of the late 60s Warner scene. Titles include "Cowboy Buckaroo", "J Edgar Swoop", "Sunflower", "A Major Thang", "The Brothers Theme", and "Bucko's Memoirs". Handmade is a record that's lovingly handmade by Warner studio genius Mason Williams – an artist who, like so many of Warner's great talents of the late 60s, started out in folk, but soon exploded to great new heights in the recording freedom offered by the label – as you'll hear in this really incredible set! Williams mixes acoustic instrumentation with larger arrangements, offbeat rhythms, and occasional vocals – post-folk, post-sunshine pop, and with these hip undercurrents that were barely understood in the right way at the time – even though Mason himself was enough of a popular figure for some folks. The songwriting is smart, and the instrumentation and arrangements even more so – as you'll hear on a great reworking of his famous "Classical Gas", plus "Jose's Piece", "Find A Reason To Believe", "Saturday Night At The World", "Tomato Vendetta", and "It's Over". Sharepickers is the last album in an amazing run of records that Mason Williams did for Warner Brothers – impossible to define in easy terms, as the whole thing is a mix of acoustic instrumentation, larger arrangements, occasional vocals, and this wonderful interplay between underground artists and top-shelf studio talents on the LA scene of the time! Williams' instrumental chops alone would have made the record great – but he really knocks it out of the park with his overall conception, which fits in that unique late 60s/early 70s Warner space perfectly, next to albums by Van Dyke Parks, Neon Philharmonic, John Hartford, and some of the other genre-breaking talents on the label. Titles include "Train Ride In G", "Poor Little Robin", "Godsend", "Linda Crest Lament", "A Little Bit Of Time", "Largo De Lux", and "Here I Am Again". CD

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✨✧ Zawinul SyndicateBlack Water/Lost Tribes ... CD
BGO (UK), 1989/1992. New Copy 2CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two Joe Zawinul albums – back to back on a single set! Black Water is funky fusion from the late 80s combo of keyboardist Joe Zawinul – a set that takes off nicely from his classic work in Weather Report, then adds in both a dose of soul and more global elements! The group features Joe on a host of different keyboards – with Gerald Veasley on some very heavy bass, Scott Henderson on guitars, and Lynne Fiddmont Linsey on vocals and percussion – joined at times by Carl Anderson and Kevin Dorsey, who both give the set a full, righteous vibe! Instrumentation is heavily in an 80s electric mode, but warmed up nicely by the other touches and percussion – and titles include "Black Water", "Carnavalito", "In The Same Boat", "Familial", "Medicine Man", "They Had A Dream", "And So It Goes", and "Monk's Mood". Lost Tribes is a record that has the legendary keyboardist Joe Zawinul dipping further into the mix of jazz and global elements brought forth by his Syndicate group – served up here with a really unusual mix of elements, and a strong balance between acoustic percussion and electric instrumentation! The voice is as powerful here as the groove – sometimes song soulfully, but other times used almost more as another instrument – opening the door further to some of the global sensibilities that Zawinul was bringing to some of his later work with Weather Report. the group features Mike Baker on drums, Randy Bernsen on percussion, and Gerald Veasley on bass – and titles include "Changes", "San Sebatian", "Rua Paula Freitas", "South Africa", "Patriots", and "Lost Tribes". CD
 
 
 



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