Joe, And Then... |BEST| Full Album 11 Fhoto Megaupload Rev
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I would guess if you are reading this review you know who Scott Morgan is. No? Well here is a crash course. The Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Scott Morgan Band, Scots Pirates and Powertrane...Detroit Rock n Roll and R&B. Not to mention a pair of European outfits called The Hydromatics and The Solution. This is Scott's first official solo album since his career took off with The Rationals in the mid sixties. It is the offspring of all that came before it all rolled into 11 songs with some well known and not so well know covers and yes some originals too. You'll hear some great rock and R&B hybrids like Holland, Dozier & Holland's, "Something About You," from the Four Tops. Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me," is so well known but this version smokes with the obvious R&B flavor peppered with some great lead guitar work throughout. Plus Bobbie Gentry's "Mississippi Delta" (delta rock n roll)and a very cool bluesy version of Nina Simone's "Do I Move You?" (interesting choice, yet performed with passion) as well as a faithfull rendition of The Temptations classic, "Since I Lost My Baby." The originals are just as good if not better. "Lucy May" is my favorite track on the album with a great lyrics and a nice rocking groove as only Morgan can do without even trying. If you remember the Scots Pirate bonus track "Detroit" which name checked just about every important musical heavy weight from the Motor City than you'll find the same theme in "Memphis Time" which name checks all the famous native musical giants from Memphis from B.B. King and Elvis to Booker T's MG's. My only complaint is Scott only plays keyboards on the album. No guitar this time around...I think Morgan is one of the best rhythm guitarists around and he can pick a mean lead when he wants to but like I said just piano and organ on this disc. Powertrane's Chris Taylor is one of the 3 guitarists heard on the disc. However it's Scott's singing talent that has always been out front and it is very out front on this album. The production as mentioned in other reviews is very lo-fi but only adds to the smokey R&B vibe of the album. One more thing...if you love Morgan's heavy Detroit rock and roll sound, it pokes it's head up throughout the album especially on the last track "Highway." It is the Scott Morgan album I expected and then some. Very refreshing and organic and most of all a very good album. I hope it is a huge hit for Mr. Morgan. He deserves to be heard. He has paid his dues. He has more talent than anyone on the charts today. If not, than it is with some satisfaction that Scott Morgan remains Detroit's best musical secret.
There have been a multitude of adjectives thrown at Theodore Roosevelt "Hound Dog" Taylor and his Houserockers through the decades since Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer staked his inheritance on their future. "Raw" and "gritty"are among those most often assigned, adjectives with negative connotations that end up cast in a positive and appreciative light once we get to talking about this trio. They were an unassuming, unvarnished unit that played loud and loose, avoiding rehearsals whenever humanly possible. For all practical purposes, they were a garage band with street cred, the house band for a tavern that didn't feature live music. Playing every Sunday afternoon for more than a decade at Florence's Lounge, a working-class bar, had made them a fixture on Chicago's South Side. And nowhere else.Pretty much everyone with a passing knowledge of the blues, or at least Hound Dog Taylor knows the story: Bruce Iglauer, a shipping clerk at Delmark, frustrated that that label was patently disinterested in the Houserockers, invested his $2500 inheritance to found Alligator Records, with the specific purpose of recording this trio. That record, Hound Dog Taylor & the Houserockers, would become a bit of a phenomena, selling 9,000 copies in its first year alone, an unheard of volume for an unknown blues artist on an independent label, with its very first release, no less. The album has gone on to sell more than 100,000 copies."It was very much the album I wanted to make," Iglauer recalled. "It sounded as close as I could make it to what they sounded like on the bandstand. Hound Dog was incredibly proud. He was thrilled...to make an album, to see his picture on it, to have people come up to him and ask him to autograph it. He was sitting on top of the world. He was flabbergasted when I paid him royalties...""I assumed," Iglauer would also say, "that if I hadn't come along he would have just as soon played taverns for $15-20 bucks a night for the rest of his life. He probably didn't think about it beyond that. He was amazed not only that I wanted him to make a record with me, but that I'd pay him. It never crossed his mind that he'd get paid to make a record...""It was a band you couldn't help but love, and I loved them enough to start a label, leave my day job...and become their booking agent, road manager, driver and friend..."Perhaps more than his own advocacy and aggressive marketing, Iglauer credits unique and advantageous timing for that first album's--and the Houserockers' later--success. Specifically, FM radio was only just then asserting itself and the formats were much looser. DJ's programmed their own music. This lack of structured programming and playlists, in the years before the corporatization and homogenization of FM radio, left the field wide open for the likes of Hound Dog Taylor. "People played what they thought was good," Iglauer recalled, "I knew I could get something going with that kind of radio. I picked the perfect window of opportunity--it was totally dumb luck."Through the next four years, Taylor, Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey would be elevated to a level of musical success that, throughout their entire careers until that point, would have been no more than a fanciful abstraction. They would tour the U.S., packed into a second-hand car with Bruce Iglauer at the wheel. "I'd usually drive," he'd say, "because I was the sober one." They would appear at no less than four Ann Arbor Blues Festivals, being featured artists for three of them, and tour Australia and New Zealand, with the likes of Freddie King and Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. They opened for Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton in New York and Mitch Ryder in Ryder's own Detroit home turf. They were a constantly-bickering trio, given to frequent fisticuffs and knife-pulling. Taylor would famously shoot Phillips in the arm and leg (& be charged with attempted murder) after Phillips insulted Taylor's wife, Fredda. Hound Dog wouldn't live to see a trial. Six months later, Phillips granted his old friend's dying wish and forgave Taylor on his deathbed. Hound Dog died from lung cancer the next morning, December 17, 1975.The Houserockers' music wasn't pretty and it wasn't polished. It was never intended to be. Phillips, Harvey and Taylor were more interested in their small audiences having a raucous good time than they were with niceties like tuning. Fast blues or slow, they threw themselves into each tune with gleeful abandon, never able to conceal the genuine joy they took in playing. Theirs was feel-good music for hard-working folks. Houserockin' music meant for butts to be moving. "He'd just be having a wonderful time," Iglauer recalled. "He wanted to see people laughing and grinning and dancing..." This spirit is in constant evidence throughout their various live recordings. Alligator, of course, released Beware of the Dog shortly after Taylor's death. Recorded over a trio of nights in November, '74, the album managed to capture the raw, frolicking energy that the previous two albums only approached. It may well be the best of the Houserockers' Alligator releases. For years (and excepting JSP's 1997 release of Live at Florence's), the only real competition for live Taylor would be the scatter of recordings to come out of Joe's Place, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In late November, 1972 the Houserockers played a two-week stand of shows at Joe's, the (originally bootleg) recordings from these shows would surface time and again, right up until the current day. Live at Joe's Place, Have Some Fun, Freddie's Blues, and Live in Boston would all be taken from these tapes.The best of these, the much-traveled and multiply-released Live at Joe's Place, has become a standard for me through these recent years, threatening to usurp even the nicer-sounding (& every bit as frenetic) Beware of the Dog. It's a raw and ragged disc, full of Taylor's gleeful asides, stinging slide, and the Houserockers' balls-out playing. As Cub Koda pointed out in his review (and little else) "They're drunk, they're out of tune, but the crowd goes nuts and the overall vibe cancels out any musical inconsistencies..."Yup. That'd be about the size of it.One should, however, also make mention of their searing takes on Elmore James' Wild About You, Baby, The Sky Is Crying and It Hurts Me Too, which the Hound can't help but introduce with a chuckle. Their spin on the time-honored Kansas City almost qualifies as a guilty pleasure, a gritty romp with Phillips just managing to hold it together. Add on their well-octaned readings of the stomping Kitchen Sink Boogie, Give Me Back My Wig and Take Five and we've got ourselves a 52-minute blast of houserockin' blues that, like the Hound himself, just leaves us smiling. I would argue that none of the Joe's Place recordings, including Live in Boston (which includes 6 of these 11 tracks and ends up sounding like a "Best of Joe's Place" compilation, rather than a straight live album release) quite capture the dizzying, uninhibited raunch of Live at Joe's Place. In this regard, it makes a decided case for "less being more." Like many a bluesman, and certainly Hound Dog himself, it is what it is: a rough and tumble recording of a rough and tumble outfit, treating a packed house to a night they would never forget.Peace, Mudcatz 2b1af7f3a8