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Archive for the ‘The Everly Brothers’ Category

High Anxiety: Wounded Bird Offers Blood, Sweat and Tears, Phil Everly, and…Mel Brooks?!?

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No need to suffer from high anxiety (it’s always the same)! Chances are that Wounded Bird Records might make you so very happy with a trio of new releases slated for February 21. Phil Everly’s 1973 solo offering for RCA Records, Star Spangled Springer, has never before been available on CD despite contributions from Warren Zevon and Duane Eddy, and so Wounded Bird’s reissue will undoubtedly fill a gap in more than a few Everly Brothers collections. It’s joined by the 2-CD release of Blood, Sweat and Tears’ In Concert, a 1976 double LP originally released overseas (and retitled Live and Improvised for a long-out-of-print 1991 CD presentation). Finally, pass the beans. Mel Brooks’ Greatest Hits, a combination of compilation LP and soundtrack for Brooks’ 1977 film High Anxiety, makes its CD premiere offering selections from Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, The Producers, and all of Brooks’ earliest and most beloved flicks.

When Phil Everly released Star Spangled Springer in 1973, he was still performing with brother Don as part of The Everly Brothers, a point the original LP liner notes took pains to emphasize. (“I’m taking this opportunity…to dispell [sic] any rumor that denies the continuance of the Everly Brothers.”) It wasn’t long, however, before the brothers split acrimoniously, and Don, too, was left to fly solo. The album’s lead-off track, Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood’s “The Air That I Breathe,” actually predates The Hollies’ smash hit version. Phil Everly was the first to cover the song, introduced on Hammond’s 1972 album It Never Rains in Southern California. Every other song on the album was written, or co-written, by Phil. Warren Zevon’s participation stemmed from his role in the Everly Brothers’ band, both as a keyboardist and an arranger. Duane Eddy contributed memorable guitar licks to the album’s closer, “Snowflake Bombardier.” The Wounded Bird release is the first time Star Spangled Springer has been revisited in the compact disc era.

Blood, Sweat and Tears’ In Concert was drawn from performances at four different venues during the group’s 1975 tour: New York, New York; Ottawa, Canada; Monterey, California; and Boston, Massachusetts. It celebrated lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas’ return to the band after a sabbatical between 1972 and 1975. Drummer/album producer Bobby Colomby chose to emphasize the band’s jazz fusion side for the sprawling set, although most of the band’s hits were present, including “And When I Die,” “Spinning Wheel” and “You Make Me So Very Happy.” BS&T was touring behind New City, Clayton-Thomas’ return, and from that album included Allen Toussaint’s “Life,” John Lee Hooker’s “One Room Country Shack” and a reworking of Blues Image’s “Ride, Captain, Ride.” The group even reached back to its Al Kooper-helmed debut for “I’ll Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know,” and covered fusion pioneer Chick Corea with “(I Can Recall) Spain.” (An aside: founding members Kooper and Colomby had a major falling out, leading Kooper to quip in his autobiography, “If they can live with ‘Lucretia MacEvil’ and their Las Vegas desecration of ‘God Bless The Child,’ then God bless them.”) Only one more album for Columbia Records would follow (1976’s More Than Ever) after which Bobby Colomby departed the ranks. For 1977’s Brand New Day on the ABC label, Colomby served as co-producer with Roy Halee. After just one more album with an even more altered line-up, 1980’s Nuclear Blues, Blood, Sweat and Tears would basically hang up their studio shoes. That wasn’t an auspicious end to a band that initially showed such tremendous promise, but nonetheless, In Concert preserves some fine instrumental interplay looking back on a strong legacy.

Hit the jump for the full track listings of Star Spangled Springer and In Concert, plus – Bialystock and Bloom are back!

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Written by Joe Marchese

February 7, 2012 at 09:20

With A Little Help From His Friends: James Burton Anthology Features Everlys, Nelson, Hazlewood and Buffalo Springfield

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When James Burton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, no less a legend than Keith Richards delivered his induction speech.  Richards was just one of the many guitarists influenced over the years by Burton, a talent whose C.V. boasts names like Rick Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joni Mitchell, John Denver, and oh yeah, Elvis Presley.  Burton’s talent has transcended genre and classification, and at the age of 72, he continues to contribute musically to selected projects.  U.K. compilation experts Ace Records have turned the spotlight on this longtime sideman and occasional solo artist with the October 4 release of James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, the first of two volumes showcasing the guitarist’s titanic body of work.

A mainstay of Elvis Presley’s TCB Band and the lead guitarist on nearly all of Ricky Nelson’s classic recordings, Burton first appeared on record in 1956 on the small Ram label, backing Carol Williams on “Just For a While,” and that track appears on The Early Years.  It wasn’t long before Burton was an in-demand session musician, playing the famous and influential solo on Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” in 1957.  Within a year, Burton had taken his place alongside Ricky Nelson, building up a body of work that still endures; of his Nelson collaborations, “My Babe,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way,” “Stop Sneakin’ Around” and “Blood from a Stone” all appear.  His association with Nelson lasted until 1967; two years later, he would take the stage in Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, where “Play it, James” became a familiar catchphrase of The King’s.

Burton’s recordings of “Fireball Mail” and “Daisy Mae” as Jim and Joe (with fellow session stalwart Joe Osborn of the L.A. “Wrecking Crew”) have been included, as well as other solo tracks including “Cannonball Rag” and “Jimmy’s Blues.”  He appears as “Jimmy Dobro” on both sides of a 1963 single, “Swamp Surfer” b/w “Everybody Listen to the Dobro.”  Other familiar names making an appearance on the compilation include Lee Hazlewood, The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard and the recently-reunited band Buffalo Springfield.  Even David Gates, later of Bread, is represented with the 1962 single by “David and Lee,” “Tryin’ to Be Someone.”

While touring with Presley in the 1970s, Burton found time to play with Emmylou Harris as a member of her “Hot Band,” and also began to work with John Denver that lasted 16 years and produced 12 albums.  A promised Volume 2 will collect Burton’s later years, including his work with Elvis Presley, Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons and others.

Hit the jump for the complete track listing with discographical annotation, plus a pre-order link, for James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969, which is due on October 4 from Ace Records! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

August 31, 2011 at 10:29