Archive for Mike Bloomfield

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Buddy Miles

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2010 by 30daysout

One thing I’ve noticed, my big sister is a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix.  Now while Hendrix was only in the spotlight between his breakthrough performance at Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and his death in 1970, and he released only four albums in his lifetime, he was apparently working all the time.  Hendrix’s own material has been accumulated in 11 posthumously released albums (and more are promised) however what’s not so widely known is that apparently Hendrix worked on a number of other artists’ albums, not only as a performer but as a producer.

Today’s album by the Buddy Miles Express is Electric Church, from 1969.   Miles is of course the drummer and singer who worked with Hendrix in the Band of Gypsys along with bassist Billy Cox, who’s been covered here alsoElectric Church is of interest because of the involvement of Hendrix, who produces four of the album’s seven cuts and plays guitar on a few as well.

One of those is the opener “Miss Lady,” an R&B shouter with some stinging psychedelic lead guitar presumably by Hendrix.  Miles is a convincing R&B singer, and he pushes  “Miss Lady”  into the red with some hair-raising soul screamin’ over the raucous guitar and backing horns.  You can tell these boys liked to jam in the studio – “Miss Lady” has an electrifying “live” feel as does most of the other tunes here.

“69 Freedom Special,” with Hendrix stomping the wah-wah pedal is another uptempo jumper arranged in the style that was no doubt considered “funky” at the time – real brassy horns with some truly psychedelic guitar leads.  The saxophone playing on this cut, by either James Tatum or Bobby Rock, is excellent.  Even when Buddy slows it down with a lush soul ballad like “Cigarettes and Coffee,” he can’t help but sound psychedelic … with a little help from the odd echo on his vocals.

On “Texas,” a slow blues co-written by Miles and Mike Bloomfield, has some nice guitar work by Jim McCarty, who previously worked in Mitch Ryder’s Detroit Wheels.  Electric Church convenes with a version of Sam and Dave’s “Wrap It Up,” which was also covered on Miles’ debut Expressway To Your Skull from the previous year.  Nevertheless, the song ends the short (about 38 minutes) album on a sweaty, feverish note.

Buddy Miles would go on to play with Hendrix in the Band of Gypsys – on the album of the same name Miles debuted a song he wrote, “Them Changes.”  He would go on to re-record that tune and it would become a hit and a blues-rock standard.  During his career Miles appeared on more than 70 albums and worked with musicians including Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Barry White and George Clinton.  He died in 2008 at his home in Austin.

McCarty, by the way, went on to play with the so-called supergroup Cactus, with former Vanilla Fudge members Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice, and later in the 1970s he would form the Rockets with former Wheels drummer John Badanjek.  Les Paul covered “69 Freedom Express,” which was written by McCarty, and won a Grammy Award for that version.  McCarty is still considered one of the grandfathers of Detroit rock, influencing younger whippersnappers like Ted Nugent and late Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton.

MP3: “Miss Lady”

MP3: “69 Freedom Special”

MP3: “Texas”

Buddy Miles official website (nothing more than a splash page apparently still under construction)

Sampler Daze: Fill Your Head With Rock

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by 30daysout

FYHWRcover400

Another rock sampler from CBS/Columbia Records, this 2-LP, 23-track collection appeared in 1970.  By this time Columbia (CBS Records in Europe) had a vast array of rock artists, and they displayed them well in this sampler – from the horn-steeped jazz-rock of Chicago Transit Authority and Blood, Sweat and Tears to the prog-rock of Spirit, Steamhammer and The Flock, Fill Your Head With Rock turned a lot of British kids (it was initially released only in the United Kingdom and later in the Netherlands) to the sounds coming from the American counterculture.  By 1970, of course, corporate America had taken notice of the counterculture and had begun to figure out how to make a buck off it.  No matter that the hippie phase was already beginning to fade – we’d get this “hangover Sixties” stuff for at least three more years into the 1970s.

So: the jazz rock that Columbia seemed to specialize in took center stage.  Blood, Sweat and Tears (minus Al Kooper but now produced by James William Guercio) tackles the Traffic chestnut “Smiling Phases,” and Chicago Transit Authority (Guercio again) with “Listen” from their first album.  The Flock was more interesting – from Chicago, they released only two albums before Columbia label head Clive Davis plucked the band’s violinist Jerry Goodman (pictured on Fill Your Head With Rock‘s cover) to play in the Mahavishnu Orchestra with guitarist John McLaughlin.  Their cover of the Kinks’ “Tired Of Waiting For You” is pretty good.

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