Saturday, May 28, 2016

Harvey Mandel - Shangrenade (1973)

Harvey Mandel - Shangrenade (1973)

Blues rock with funk and jazz rock fusion elements

In the mold of Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, and Mike Bloomfield, Mandel is an extremely creative rock guitarist with heavy blues and jazz influences. And like those guitarists, his vocal abilities are basically nonexistent, though Mandel, unlike some similar musicians, has always known this, and concentrated on recordings that are entirely instrumental, or feature other singers. A minor figure most known for auditioning unsuccessfully for the Rolling Stones, he recorded some intriguing (though erratic) work on his own that anticipated some of the better elements of jazz-rock fusion, showcasing his concise chops, his command of a multitude of tone pedal controls, and an eclecticism that found him working with string orchestras and country steel guitar wizards. Mandel got his first toehold in the fertile Chicago white blues-rock scene of the mid-'60s (which cultivated talents like Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Steve Miller), and made his first recordings as the lead guitarist for harmonica virtuoso Charlie Musselwhite. Enticed to go solo by Blue Cheer producer Abe Kesh, Harvey cut a couple of nearly wholly instrumental albums for Phillips in the late '60s that were underground FM radio favorites, establishing him as one of the most versatile young American guitar lions. He gained his most recognition, though, not as a solo artist, but as a lead guitarist for Canned Heat in 1969 and 1970, replacing Henry Vestine and appearing with the band at Woodstock. Shortly afterward, he signed up for a stint in John Mayall's band, just after the British bluesman had relocated to California. Mandel unwisely decided to use a vocalist for his third and least successful Philips album. After his term with Mayall (on USA Union and Back to the Roots) had run its course, he resumed his solo career, and also formed Pure Food & Drug Act with violinist Don "Sugarcane" Harris (from the '50s R&B duo Don & Dewey), which made several albums. In the mid-'70s, when the Rolling Stones were looking for a replacement for Mick Taylor, Mandel auditioned for a spot in the group; although he lost to Ron Wood, his guitar does appear on two cuts on the Stones' 1976 album, Black & Blue. Recording intermittently since then as a solo artist and a sessionman, his influence on the contemporary scene is felt via the two-handed fretboard tapping technique that he introduced on his 1973 album Shangrenade, later employed by Eddie Van Halen, Stanley Jordan, and Steve Vai. (By Richie Unterberger)


01. What the Funk (Victor Conte) 03:06
02. Fish Walk (Victor Conte) 04:46
03. Sugarloaf (Harvey Mandel) 04:16
04. Midnight Sun II (Harvey Mandel) 03:42
05. Million Dollar Feeling (Coleman Head) 03:32
06. Green Apple Quick Step (Harvey Mandel) 03:09
07. Frenzy (Victor Conte, Coleman Head, Paul Lagos, Harvey Mandel) 04:32
08. Shangrenade (Harvey Mandel) 04:14

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Elliot Easton's Tiki Gods Easton Island

Elliot Easton's Tiki Gods Easton Island

Easton Island's thirteen original instrumentals incorporate many different strains and influences: John Barry's spy music, Mancini's crime jazz, the exotic sounds of Les Baxter, Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith, surf music, martini lounge, and space age, merged with the lush, romantic sophistication of Hollywood 60's movie soundtracks, filtered through the sensibilities of musicians who grew up pop-culturally obsessed with the 60's and '70's. This CD release includes the bonus track "Monte Carlo Nights" from the Quentin Tarantino classic motion picture "Jackie Brown".
Wonderfully conceived album. Every musician that played on this album played their instruments impeccably. For those of you who remember Elliot Easton's work as lead guitarist of the Cars you won't recognize his work here. What the listener gets is a blend between the Shadows, Ventures, Polynesian, a bit of Dick Dale, and beatnik sound all rolled into one. The really reminds me of a sound that is more like something I would have heard in the 60's then in 2013. Having said that I really like what Easton has done here. Lovers of this type of genre will enjoy this music. Each of the songs has a different cadence and beat. They are close enough so one song flows well into the next. This is in no way a concept work it just takes you on a ride through your own image of Polynesia from Tiki Gods to surfing.

This is one of those works of music that I like more each time I play it. I hear something new. I get a newer and deeper appreciation for what I am hearing. Tiki Gods reminds me of why I like instrumental music so much. No words to guide you just the spirit of the music. Tiki Gods has a great vibe to it. Try it.

1. Tiki Gods Theme
2. Rarotonga
3. Blue Lava
4. Mu Empire
5. Tabu
6. Jill's Theme
7. Sir Surfalot
8. Sydney's Samba
9. Sabotogia (I Say Sabotage)
10. Isle of Canopic
11. Ballad of Cowboyardee
12. Nocturnia, Moon Goddess
13. Monte Carlo Nights

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