Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Allman Joys - Early Allman (1966)

Well, this is it. The spark that started the fire, the smouldering ember that would set ablaze Rock & Roll as we knew it and introduce the world to Southern Rock. Arguably? Big words, but there's some truth in them. The Allman Joys were the first recording outfit featuring both Duane and Gregg Allman. Released in 1972, these songs were all recorded way back in 1966. And it's definitely a product of its time. Don't expect a jam oriented, Blues based free-for-all. Instead this album offers a glimpse of what was to be, young boys trying hard to find their identity. All short songs, it has a typical 60's Pop/Rock sound, features quite a few covers and makes for an amusing listen. My favorite songs on this album would have to be 'Changing Of The Guards', written by Gregg, which would finds its way onto The Hour Glass' "Power Of Love" album. Half the album was produced by John Loudermilk, the other half by Buddy Killen. I suppose at the time, they weren't quite ready for the big time, but we all know eventually they sure would. So, dig into some serious Southern Rock history people. This is a new rip, and I'm quite sure how it compares to others (seems there are quite a few around, but I prefer my rip over others I've heard). I just hope you enjoy this little treat. After Allman Joys, Duane and Gregg would have their little adventure in California with The Hour Glass, followed by a recording (as Duane & Gregg Allman, which would also see its release in 1972) with 31st Of February, before forming The Allman Brothers Band. But this is where the story of Southern Rock truly starts. Get yourself a spoonful!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cobra - First Strike (1983)

Cobra featured one of the finest voices in Southern Rock music. Sure, his contribution may be limited to little known 70's act Target, but Jimi Jamison sure showed off his pipes on those two albums. Of course later on he would become world famous for singing with AOR slickers Survivor and no trace of Southern influence was to be heard since. But in the in-between years he at least put a smile on my face with this release. This probably has more similarities to Joe Lynn Turner-era Rainbow, but try hard and you will discover some Southern sensibilities. The band was founded by Mandy Meyer, and besides Jimi Jamison also had Jack Holder of The Hot Dogs and Black Oak Arkansas playing. So the singing is pretty brilliant, but the songs stick and I've really enjoyed repeated listening. Some typical early 80's AOR/Hard Rock maybe, but the sound is tougher and more down to earth. Oh well, I guess you figured it out by now: I'm just looking for some good excuses to post this classic Southern AOR/Rock album. And here you have it. First strike!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Gary & Randy Scruggs - All The Way Home (1970)

'All The Way Home' was the first album by Gary & Randy Scruggs ('The Scruggs Brothers' being their second and just as good). It's from 1070 and sounds like 1970. Early Southern Country Rock at its very best. For those of familiar with The Earl Scruggs Revue, this is very much in that vein. Excellent album, great song, great performances. This is a vinyl rip, though it has been released on CD for a while. If you dig, try and get a hold of the few remaining copies. For those unfamiliar with The Earl Scruggs Revue, expect Bluegrass infused Country Rock with an emphasis on substance. I been playing this constantly since I ripped it and I love it. Let it be...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Who's playing? Need your help...

Somebody sent me a snippet of a song and asked me who it's by. I don't know. I need your help. Anybody? Listen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of TR Crooks with the re-release of the original album (Kickstarter)


In 1976 a band of southern rockers from northwest Tennessee formed a band that has become legendary in Southern Rock lore in the last 40 years.  T. R. Crooks, named after a old time cigar, released their first and only album featuring songs like Farmin' Man,  Song of David, Waitin' for a Better Day, White Lighting and more that are still as popular today as they were in the rocking Seventies.  Only 1000 copies of the original album were released and even today, copies of that album are selling for hundreds of dollars on EBay.  With your help, the surviving members of T.R. Crooks are going to re-release the original album again ON VINYL. They will also be releasing, to some lucky donors, the music on CD as well as unreleased tracks from the aborted second album.  Help make history happen again and join the campaign to see T.R. Crooks on vinyl once again!  

(clic for the link)










Jimmy and Rickey Stewart (Tennessee River Crooks) interview

Tennessee River Crooks were unknown to most of us a few months ago. After having introduce it to you, we were fortunate to be contacted by the band. We jumped at the opportunity and asked the obvious questions to the Stewart brothers.

English version of Bands Of Dixie interview
(clic for a link to the TR Crooks Facebook page)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Garfeel Ruff - Garfeel Ruff (1979)


Formed in 1974, Garfeel Ruff were arguably the next best Southern Rock band to emerge from South Carolina to The Marshall Tucker Band. And they could've been just as big maybe, weren't it for the fact that they were only signed in the late 70's, when things weren't looking too bright for Southern Rock. This, their debut album, was released in 1979 and it's quite an impressive album. It's a shame they never got big (though they were a force to be reckoned with in South Carolina, playing with most of the Southern Rock elite), really.

This is a great, tight band with excellent pickers: Ronnie Godfrey, Franklin Wilkie (later of The Marshall Tucker Band), Rickey Godfrey, Buddy Strong and Alan Pearson sure know how to create some of the finest music posted on this blog.
Songs that stand out: 'Starshine', 'Take A Look' and 'The Choice Is Yours'. The music is not too mellow and not too loud, but very classy all the same. Good vocals too! You can read the Garfeel Ruff story on Swampland.com.
I included a couple of bonus tracks from the soundtrack of the movie 'The Hitter', to which they contributed some songs. That movie was a blaxplotation realease, and the songs turn out somewhat funkier. Still, pretty good. Take a look...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Les Dudek - Live At Trod Nozzle (1978)

Excellent, albeit short, performance by Les Dudek on this SBD recording from 1978. Live at Trod Nossel Studios in the same year as he would release 'Ghost Town Parade', this is something of a must-have alright. The quality of the recording is pretty good, but the best part: of the five songs played here, only one song ever made it onto any LP/CD. These are the kind of treasures I crave. Makes me wonder whether there might be unreleased demos out there? More SBD's? Anyway, what we have here is a wonderful little show, obviously very well played and it features some great songs. It kicks off with 'Me & My Guitar', a funky tune with nice vocals. 'City Magic' from his debut album follows and is done nicely. Next up 'The Night It Snowed In San Fransisco', of which Les says he hopes it will make his next album (it didn't) and it's a track that would do beautifully (small wonder?) in an Allman Brothers live set. Then we get a Les rendition of the Blues classic 'Red House'. Nice. Rounding up this recording is a song called 'Street Sweeper', a short instrumental. All in all, this is the kind of thing that makes me want to write a blog ;) I'm hoping this post will have people start digging out their collections for more of Les, SBD's and demos? That would be great! Street sweeper...

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Fallenrock - Watch For Fallenrock (1974)


Back to '74 for another lost gem on the Capricorn label. This was the only album by Tennesseans Fallenrock, a fine piece of lightweight Southern Rock. It has a breezy summer feel to it, sometimes reminiscent to West Coast Country Rock, this has quite a bit more substance to it. I really love all the songs, make me wanna sing along. Fallenrock featured Rafe VanHoy, who would turn out to be quite a prolific songwriter. Don't expect anything like The Allmans or Blackfoot. It's all rather sweet, but in a good way. Nice harmonies, great playing and memorable songs. Watch for Fallenrock.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Raging Slab - Pronounced Eat Shit (2002)

Some good, heavy stuff for you, this time. You need another dose of Raging Slab. 'Pronounced Eat Shit'(pronounced ēat-shït) was the Slab's latest studio release. I'm just hoping it's not their final. But I wouldn't know, since they haven't updated their homepage in ages, and this album was released twelve years ago(!). If you don't know Raging Slab, you should definitely check them out. They were a different breed, but a welcome one. Initially marketed as a cross between Metallica and Lynyrd Skynyrd, these guys play a splendid variation on Southern Rock that'll put a smirk on your face. Whatever happened to Greg Strzempka? Boogalooser!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stillwater - I Reserve The Right (1979)

Stillwater were one of the classic bands on the Capricorn label. That's classic Southern Rock for ya. And this album has it all: great songs, excellent arrangements, terrific guitar picking, plain good vocals and all. Not much left to say after posting several albums before this one. And this one might just be the best of 'em all. The title track is one of the finest Southern Rock tracks ever and should find its place on some compilation, if justice is served. Yes, in my opinion, it's even better than 'Mind bender' from their debut album. The final track is 'Ain't We A Pair', featuring duet vocals from the incomparable miss Bonnie Bramlett. This has everything Southern Rock needs; it's not too soft, not too Country, not too loud, it's got everything just right. And this is a real nice rip as well. If you just started digging into Southern Rock history, this is definitely one to have. And get it now! Fair warning?

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Commercial break: SweetKiss Momma

So, this is a review and recommendation. I don't do much of those, since I don't do this for a job (nope, not making any money here) and I don't like to commit myself to reviewing all the time. Unless I can share the music, that is. But I gladly make an exception for Sweetkiss Momma. The album they sent me, 'A Reckoning Is Coming', is their second. The first was released in 2010 and very well received. Well, this one should do just fine as well. I really enjoyed taking this for a couple of spins. And it's still growing on me.

Though these cats hail from Washington, the sound is definitely steeped deeply in our favorite musical genre. Maybe sometimes leaning more towards Americana/Roots Rock, this should well please any Southern Rock fan. All songs are good, the music has a pleasant muddy, rootsy sound (all in a good way!) and the playing and singing very nice indeed. But judge for yourself, and listen to their acoustic version of "Breathe Rebel" (also done electric on this CD). Then check out their title track "A Reckoning Is Coming" (some definite Allman influences). How about that?! Like it? Support the band and go buy it! This band should surely find an audience with readers of Skydog's Elysium. Get some love ;-)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Blue Steel - No More Lonely Nights (1979)

This is Blue Steel's first album, released in 1979, and quite a nice rocking little album. Hailed from Texas, this is nothing like ZZ Top. Instead you get a tight, sometimes slightly Poppy but very pleasing slice of vinyl (courtesy of Luc and cleaned up by yours truly). It's not so much the songs that shout out Southern Rock. The playing very much is, though. There's Rock, Pop, Rock & Roll, and a nice hats off to Waylon & Willie. But I love the playing, especially the guitars accompanying these tracks. Everything else is quite ion order as well. I might not take this with me if I had to spend the rest of my life on a deserted island, but this is hardly punishment to the ears. If you like your songs short and sweet, well-written and well-performed, then this might be your cup of tea. If not, there's always one or two songs on this record that would make for a nice addition to your own Southern Rock compilation (best played in you car). Twist one up.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Duane & Gregg Allman - Duane & Gregg Allman (1969)


Some more history for you Southern Rock scholars. This is where Duane and Gregg Allman (spelled Greg for this release) found themselves after their adventures in California with The Hour Glass and right before they started The Allman Brothers Band. A departure from the dictated course set out by their former employees, this is getting fairly close to what would eventually become known as Southern Rock. This is basically Duane and Gregg jamming with the guys from the 31st Of February (notably Butch Trucks, among others), around the same time they met up with a band called The Second Coming, featuring a guitarist by the name of Dickey Betts. They would soon start jamming together, which would give birth to The Allman Brothers Band. Yes, they're the founding fathers alright. Initially not meant for release, this was brought out in 1973 at the height of The Allmans popularity.
Musically this still has one foot firmly planted in their repertoire with The Hour Glass, while at the same time we notice some uneasy steps towards the more familiar sounding structures that The Allmans would lay down. Of greatest interest must be an early version of one of Gregg's sweetest songs, "Melissa", here surfacing for the first time (slightly different from the popular version). If you're interested in how Southern Rock grew to what it is today, I guess this is essential. Well I know too well...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

History of Southern Rock


 

Very nice documentary on Southern Rock. Not the full story, but the story told is told very well. Basic but essential Southern Rock knowledge.