mércores, 28 de setembro de 2011

BEANS Beans (Avalanche, 1972)

"Bleecker Street Rain"

Nada sabía deste catro mozos cando comprei o disco pero a atractiva portada, obra do debuxante John Van Hamersveld, foi motivo suficiente para tomar a decisión de levarmo. Non sucede sempre, pero esta vez si acertei, e o que apareceu foi un estupendo disco de folk pop repleto de guitarras acústicas e harmonías a tres voces. Como non había demasíada información sobre eles na web e tras atopar o correo dun dos seus membros, púxenme en contacto con el a ver que pasaba. Uns días contestou sorprendido de que alguén de Barallobre mostrara interese  polo seu disco corenta anos despois. Isto que vén a continuación é a historia de Beans por Courtney Colletti ao que agradezo a súa boa disposición.

I looked at your blog, and saw that you had a lot of interesting stuff on it. Thank you for including our music there!

Here is a quick history:

The group was formed almost accidentally in the spring of 1969. We were all students at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, New Jersey), and we met each other at a small club which hosted an “open mike” every week. I met two fellows, named Flip and Paul, who were looking for a room mate. I moved in to their place, and we started playing and jamming together.

We started going to the open mike together. I would play a couple of my songs first, and then invite Flip to play. He’d do one or two songs alone, and then invite me to play and sing back up for him. Then, he’d invite Paul to play, and he’d do a couple of songs by himself, and then invite Flip and me to play with him. This went on for a few weeks, and the lady who ran the open mike asked the three of us to play together and offered to pay us. Of course, we accepted.

The night before the show, I walked into our apartment and there was a guy named Luis Molina, who I’d never met, sitting in the living room with a conga drum and some hand percussion instruments. Paul and Flip told me that they’d asked Luis to play with us. We played the songs we were going to do, and we were so thrilled with how it sounded that we decided to be a band. Paul was the one who came up with the name “Beans” and we started using it immediately.

The show was magical.  We were so excited about how much fun we’d had, how well everything had sounded, and how the audience had responded so enthusiastically to us. A musician friend of mine named Arnie Platt had come to hear us and brought along his friend, John Felizzi. At the time, John was working at Columbia Records in New York, and he became our manager.

A few months later, Flip married his girlfriend, Lois, and he dropped out of the group. That’s when we asked Skip Roberts to join us. I’d known him almost since my first day of classes my freshman year and he was one of the few players that I really enjoyed hearing. I was very happy when he accepted our offer.

Even when I was still at Rutgers, I was a full-time musician in New York, playing for band leaders who played for parties. At that time, I would usually do an afternoon and an evening party, with a few hours in between. And, in between gigs, I would often go to Greenwich Village to get something to eat. One afternoon in 1971, I went to a guitar store in Greenwich Village, and started talking to a man I met there. He told me he was a producer and an arranger, and I told him about Beans. He asked if we would come to his Manhattan apartment and play for him, which we did, and he loved the songs and the group. At the time, he had an arrangement with a recording studio where they would let him record two songs for free, and if the group got a record deal, then the album would be recorded there. Dave produced and mixed two songs for us, which became our “demo” that we could use to shop a record deal.

We got our recording contract because another Rutgers student named Stu Greenberg, who was a friend of Paul’s,  had started working for United Artists Records in New York. The company was starting a new division called Avalanche, and Stu set up a meeting at their office.  They liked the tape of the two songs and they offered us a deal. We took it, and we became their first group.

The album was recorded at Sound Exchange studio (8th Avenue and 54th Street) during the summer of 1971, and released about January 1st of 1972. The week the record came out, Cashbox and Record World (two of the three main trade publications) selected the album as one of the week’s best releases. We started getting airplay on the main FM stations along the east coast, and it seemed like we were going to make it. However, on March 3rd, Skip was killed in a car accident. Not only was his death a horrible loss musically, it was a huge personal loss because we had become a brotherhood. It was as if we’d lost a brother.

Another Rutgers fellow took his place for two or three months until about May or June. He and Luis injected themselves to get high, used the same hypodermic needle, and both contracted Serum Hepatitis. That was the final blow that ended the group, because it was going to take months for the two of them to heal. We had to cancel all of our upcoming gigs for the foreseeable future because of their one mistake.

I had another band from 1973 to 1978 called “Johnny’s Dance Band”, which recorded for RCA Windsong. I’m on the first two of the three albums the group recorded.

I’m still a full-time musician, song writer, and voice with tv, radio and film credits.

Luis Molina died in 1993 from a heart attack at the age of 44. He had called me sometime back them, and we’d seen each other a couple of times, including my visiting him at his home in southern New Jersey. He had remarried, and seemed to be happy and doing well. He was playing music occasionally, bit made his living by working for the New Jersey Casino Commission.

Almost as soon as we started talking to each other, his called stopped. Later, when I tried to contact him, I could no longer find him. It was like he disappeared. His son had found me on the net last year, and he had told me that he had died back then.

I don’t know where Paul is. The last thing I heard was that he had moved to Miami about twenty years ago. Who knows? I might be the only one left!

Even though the album was released almost forty years ago, I am amazed and gratified that people are still enjoying our music. Being with “Beans” was a very special chapter in my life, and I was very blessed to have been a part of it.

Love, Courtney Colletti

luns, 26 de setembro de 2011

SCROUNGER Snap (Anchor, 1976)

"Parisian Cafe Blue"

Scrounger eran el dúo formado por el vocalista Paul Lewis y el pianista Ian Curnow y dejaron para la posteridad este único disco grabado para Anchor,  sello de vida breve que tuvo su momento de gloria con "How Long" de los pubroqueros Ace, aunque con éste y sus otros lanzamientos no alcanzaron esos mismos resultados. Si i te gustan como a mí ese tipo de grupos o artistas británicos de primeros setentas practicantes de pop sofisticado en la línea de 10CC, ELO, Pilot , Nasty Pop, Brian Protheroe o incluso Queen, quedarás absolutamente satifecho, sobre todo con los temas que ocupan la primera cara, la más molona, quizás en parte por los arreglos de John Cameron. Otros colaboradores del disco son sesioneros ilustres como el guitarrista Ray Russell, el bajista Mo Foster o el batería Pete Van Hooke. De Paul Lewis no se conoce actividad posterior pero sí de Ian Curnow que se labró una carrera como arreglista y sesionero en un mundillo un poco más friki, Talk Talk, Take That, Kylie Minogue o Robin Gibb, pero esa es otra historia.

domingo, 25 de setembro de 2011

THE ROKES Piangi Con Me (EP, RCA,1967)

 "Piangi con me"

Los Rokes eran ingleses pero acabaron recolocados en Italia donde desarrollaron la mayor parte de su carrera. Después de servir de banda de acompañamiento de Rita Pavone comenzaron a publicar sus propios discos tanto en italiano como inglés. Su momento más celebrado fue "Piangi Con Me" ("Let´s live for today" en inglés), compuesta a medias por su guitarrista Shel Shapiro y el gran letrista  Mogol. Fuera de Italia se convirtió en un mega éxito cuando P.F. Sloan y Steve Barri decidieron hacer su propia adaptación para los Grassroots. La canción no sólo vendió millones de copas sino que además tuvo un impacto permanente en la música y la cultura popular estadounidense. Desgraciadamente los Rokes nunca se beneficiaron del éxito de la canción en Estados Unidos y se quedaron como un simple fenómeno italiano.

xoves, 22 de setembro de 2011

PETER FOWLER One Heart, One Song / JOHNNIE ALLAN Promise Land (Stiff, 1978)

Dos muestras del sello Oval editadas en España a finales de los setenta por Stiff Records. Por una parte el roquero Johnnie Allan y su adaptación del "Promise Land" de Chuck Berry con la influencia propia de los sonidos de su tierra natal Louisiana y por otra el folk roquero y marxista Pete Fowler con "One Heart, One Song" en la que contaba con la participación de Gallagher & Lyle, Dave Mattacks y el piano de Pete Wingfield. La producción estuvo a cargo de Charlie Gillett, historiador del rock y copropietario de Oval. Curiosamente Fowler es más recordado por la cara B del single original publicado en 1975, "The Miners' Strike", tema que celebraba la huelga de los mineros del carbón 1974-5 en el Reino Unido y que causó la caída del gobierno conservador de Edward Heath.

venres, 16 de setembro de 2011

THE SPORTING CLUB Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Kama Sutra, 1971)

 "Bobby´s Boogie"

El compositor americano Michael Small es responsable de algunas bandas sonoras más o menos conocidas como "Marathon Man" de John Schlesinger, el remake de "El cartero siempre llama dos veces" de Bob Rafelson o "Klute" de Alan J. Pakula entre otras. "The Sporting Club" dirigida por Larry Peerce es una mirada inquietante y profunda del poder, la corrupción y la hipocresía en un club de caza privado y exclusivo para ricachones, el Club Centenario. En lo estrictamente musical la cosa va de rollo campestre, banjo, violín y ese tipo de parafernalia con algunos temas cantados, un par de ellos por Gene Pistilli, el mismo de Cashman, Pistilli and West y otro por el propio Small "The Dear Old Flag", de lo mejor del disco junto a "Bobby´s Boogie" con el guitarrista David Spinozza dándolo todo. Por cierto, también aparece el bueno de Jerry Lee Lewis con "Great Balls of Fire".

martes, 13 de setembro de 2011

BRUNO LOMAS Ven Sin Temor - Dame Tu Amor (Discophon, 1972)

"Dame Tu Amor"

De mi segunda visita a la gran ciudad sólo recuerdo que después de mucho insistir me acabaron comprando este single de Bruno Lomas, en aquel año me molaba mogollón "Ven sin temor", una adaptación del "How you do?" de Mouth & MacNeal . Con el tiempo fuí poniendo sólo la cara B, para mi gusto su mejor canción en los setenta.

venres, 9 de setembro de 2011

THE GRAVESTONES (Casete, 1991)

"So Tired"

The Gravestones era imberbes genuinos amantes del sonido vintage. Mis favoritos del Getxo Sound sector revival. Casi todos sus miembros continúan en activo (Dani Merino quizá sea el más conocido como cantautor, Ferdy está en Smile....) pero nada volvió a ser lo mismo. Aunque casi nadie lo sabe, Miguel Angel Villanueva metió unos coros que ellos no conseguían ordar en la grabación de su primer EP para Shangri-la.