The biggest record that Al Stewart ever cut – as you no doubt know from the oft-played title track – but a set that also stands as a great testament to all the many years he'd been crafting fine music before fully getting the recognition he deserved! Stewart's got a way with words that's like few of his contemporaries – maybe a bit like Donovan, with whom he shares a similar vocal approach – and also a clear early love of Bob Dylan, yet an immediate evolution past that influence – so that the whole thing is very much in a world of Al's own, with some slight 70s mainstream production, but not enough to soften the music into more mainstream AOR – despite the fame of the hit. Titles include, of course, "Year Of The Cat", plus "One Stage Before", "Flying Sorcery", "Broadway Hotel", "Lord Grenville", "If It Doesn't Come Naturally Leave It", and "Midas Shadow". LP, Vinyl record album
Demon Fuzz —
Afreaka! ... LP Janus, 1970. New Copy (reissue)...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
Messed-up funky jazz from an obscure early 70s UK group – and an album that really lives up to its trippy cover! The tracks are all long and stretched out – with lots of organ, sax, and spaced out drums – and the overall style is a mix of dub-heavy funk, Afro jazz, and a bit of jazz rock jamming! There's a bit of vocals on the album, but overall most of the set is instrumental – in a really right on and progressive style that we totally love. This is the kind of record that always got passed by in the 80s when everyone was looking for hard James Brown grooves, but which is very much in fashion now with the blunted funky crowd. Cuts include "Hymn To Mother Earth", "Another Country", "Disillusioned Man", and "Mercy (Variation No. 1)". LP, Vinyl record album
The debut album from the band that brought you that classic hit "In The Summertime". The rest of the record follows in the same vein – bluesy but with lots of kazoo, harmonica, jug playing and western saloon piano playing which makes it all pretty entertaining. Almost all of the songs were written by the band members and Barry Murray produced. "In The Summertime" is included as well as "Baby Let's Play House", "Sad Eyed Joe", "Maggie", "See Me", "Mother *!*!*! Boogie", and "Tramp". LP, Vinyl record album
Harvey Mandel —
Baby Batter ... LP Janus/Tiger Bay (UK), 1971. New Copy (reissue)...
Out Of Stock
A classic bit of funky guitar by Harvey Mandel – similar to some of Dennis Coffey's early work in that it's got full on guitar power, very much inspired by heavy rock, filtered through an approach that's also got plenty of funk in it! The killer track here is the classic "Baby Batter" – a great cut that starts with a hard funky break, and which rips out guitar-wise, jamming all the way through. The whole album's pretty tasty, though – and other tracks include "El Stinger", "Hank The Ripper", and "Morton Grove Mama". Production is by Abe Voco Kesh – and the set features work from Howeard Wales and Mike Melvion on organ and electric piano – plus Big Black on congas! LP, Vinyl record album
Harvey Mandel —
Snake ... LP Janus/Tiger Bay (UK), 1972. New Copy Gatefold (reissue)...
Out Of Stock
Messed-up funky guitar from Harvey Mandel – a little bit blues, a little bit rock, but also pretty darn funky overall – and a set that's got all the freewheeling fuzz of his best work from the time! In a way, his records like this are even better than his first few, as he's getting a lot tighter on the strings – which means that he can pick up the groove a bit more, and really head for some nicely jazzy funk material! That side is nicely emphasized by some work from reedman Charles Lloyd – who was also letting down his hair a bit at the time – and titles include "The Divining Rod", "Uno Ino", "Ode To The Owl", "Levitation", "Bite The Electric Eel", and "Lynda Love". LP, Vinyl record album
Mindblowing funk from The Ohio Players – the group's debut album for Westbound Records, and a landmark batch of tracks that never gets old! The sound here really has the group stretching out a lot – working on tunes that are extended, but never as overindulgent as their labelmates Funkadelic – always keeping to a groove that's focused, yet also free to explore its bad self in the new freedoms of the 70s. There's a strong undercurrent of funky jazz running through the set – mixing great riffing alongside the tight rhythms and tripped-out vocals – all brought together with that deep deep deep production sound that Westbound gave the world as its own legacy in the wake of Norman Whitfield's experiments at motown. Titles include the wonderfully jamming "Players Balling", and the funky numbers "Reds" and "Singing In The Morning" – plus more soulful tracks "I Wanna Hear From You" and "Never Had A Dream". LP, Vinyl record album
(Original 70s Janus pressing with Canadian Ltd etch. Cover has some ring and edge wear, a cut corner, and bumped corner.)
A true pleasure indeed – easily one of the greatest records ever by the Ohio Players, and a perfect summation of all things great in their groove! The album's a landmark effort – even for the heady days of the early 70s – as the Players manage to bring together a fair bit of jazz with their famous guitar-driven funk – all in a blend that's a lot more sophisticated than most other funk combos of the time, from the rhythms at the bottom to the instrumentation on the top! There's a darkness here that's undeniable – but the album's also not just a head trip into the fuzziest reaches of the studio – as the jazzier inflections help illuminate the farthest corners, and really bring the whole album back to focus with a wonderfully redemptive groove! Psychedelic elements are still all over the place, but also used sparingly enough to be most effective – a brilliant balance that few groups of this type were ever able to muster. Titles include the classic "Funky Worm", with the wild moogy bit that's been sampled loads of times over the years by a gazillion hip hoppers – plus loads of other nice ones, like the slow bonking funker "Pride & Vanity", the wild "Walt's First Trip", and the groovy "Laid It" – as well as "Pleasure", "Paint Me", "Our Love Has Died", and "Walked Away From You". LP, Vinyl record album
(Janus pressing in a Unipak cover, with light surface wear, some edge wear, and a lightly bent corner.)
Beautiful west coast vocal group soul by The Whispers! Although the material they had recorded for Solar and Epic around the time this compilation of earlier material was issued had earned them bigger fame, we just love this early stuff – and this album's pulls together many our favorites by them from their days recording for Soul Clock and Janus, darn tough records to find! The tracks have a soaring harmony sound, and titles include "A Mother For My Children", "Your Love Is So Doggone Good", "If You Feel Like Coming Home", "Can't Help But Love You", "Planets Of Life", "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong" and "I Only Meant To Wet My Feet". LP, Vinyl record album
Bob James —
Hands Down ... CD Tappan Zee/Warner, 1983. Used ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
A cheesy cover, but still a nice litle set from Bob James – thanks to a good degree of warmth in the keyboards, which still include Fender Rhodes alongside acoustic piano and some more advanced 80s keys! While other artists of his generation were really schmaltzing things up by this point in time, Bob still keeps things pretty laidback and cool – mostly using smaller instrumentation on the tracks, and going for a lean mode that retains the best focus on his keyboard lead and solos. Some of the tunes are mellow, but still nice – and titles include "Shamboozie", "Spunky", "Macumba", "Roberta", "It's Only Me", and "Janus". CD
Rare funky jazz from 70s Poland – excellent material from a group who have a really wonderful sound of their own – neither slavish to American fusion of the time, nor some of the more rock-based work from other groups of the Eastern Bloc! Instead, the tracks here mix all these great electric piano and moog lines from leader Janusz Koman with some occasional larger orchestrations – just the right touch to evoke the "suite" nature of the title, but never too overwhelming as to get in the way of the jazz at the core – with a vibe that mixes the two very nicely on the best funky numbers on the set! The group also features soprano sax from Zbigniew Karwacki and guitar from Remigiusz Kossacz – and titles include "Wizja Dzienna", "Rafa", "Bezsilnosc", "Uwertura", "Czarny Pejzaz", and "Wizja Slonezna". CD
Fantastic work from a saxophonist we're hearing here for the first time ever – Boguslaw Rudzinski, who recorded this set in 1963 – right at the same time Krzystof Komeda and his generation were opening up doors in modern jazz on the Polish scene! Rudzinski is maybe a bit more inside that Komeda or Tomas Stanko, but has this really great edge in his tenor, and a way of coming up with songs that manage to swing, but open up new ideas too – most penned here by pianist Krzystof Sadowski, an artist we do know and love – and who really shines in the group here alongside the guitar of Janusz Sidorenko, bass of Janusz Rafalski, and drums of Wladyslaw Jagiello. The material was recorded for a sound library, and never issued at the time – and Boguslaw plays a bit of clarinet, too – but with a modern Tony Scott sort of edge. Titles include "Casanova", "Messa", "Rockin Blues", "Epitex", "Silikonia", and "Unitron". LP, Vinyl record album
The cover bills this one as having "stunningly rich Rhodes and brass driven cuts" – and we couldn't agree more, as the group features loads of sweet keyboards from leader Janusz Koman, set up in funky orchestrations with plenty of horns! The approach is a mixture of fusion and more focused jazz-rock – the latter showing up on the album's vocal cuts, which are all in Polish, but have this really universal appeal – no doubt because the rhythms are so great, and the presence of all that Fender Rhodes just makes everything sound that much more sweet! Other players in the group are noted, but the booklet features lots of other details in Polish and English – for titles that include "Okno Ciemnych Spraw", "Continuation", "Korbol", "Dom Zlej Dziewczyny", and "W Kraju Milczenia" – plus bonus radio tracks "Raga" and "Mucha Tse Tse". CD
A jazz message from Poland, and one that's served up loud and proud, too – thanks to tremendous work from trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and a very sharp-edged group! The music here has that open flow that some of the more fusion-based players were exploring in Poland at the time – but the instrumentation is all acoustic, and also has a modal sensibility too – echoes of the territory that Stanko explored in the 60s, but taken to much more freewheeling territory on the long tracks on the set. The group features Zbigniew Seifert on violin – who, like other great European players on the instrument in his generation, manages to work with phrasing that's almost sax-like at times – very different than the heritage of jazz violin from previous decades, and surprisingly great. Other musicians include Janusz Muniak on flute and tenor, Bronislaw Suchanek on bass, and Janusz Stefanski on drums and percussion – on the titles "AEIOE", "Heban", and "Piece For Diana". LP, Vinyl record album
Fantastic work from a saxophonist we're hearing here for the first time ever – Boguslaw Rudzinski, who recorded this set in 1963 – right at the same time Krzystof Komeda and his generation were opening up doors in modern jazz on the Polish scene! Rudzinski is maybe a bit more inside that Komeda or Tomas Stanko, but has this really great edge in his tenor, and a way of coming up with songs that manage to swing, but open up new ideas too – most penned here by pianist Krzystof Sadowski, an artist we do know and love – and who really shines in the group here alongside the guitar of Janusz Sidorenko, bass of Janusz Rafalski, and drums of Wladyslaw Jagiello. The material was recorded for a sound library, and never issued at the time – and Boguslaw plays a bit of clarinet, too – but with a modern Tony Scott sort of edge. Titles include "Casanova", "Messa", "Rockin Blues", "Epitex", "Silikonia", and "Unitron". CD