Buffalo Springfield – Last Time Around

Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Genre: Classic Rock, Rock, 60’s rock
Title: Last Time Around
Released: 1968
Label: Atco
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Richie Furay – guitar, vocals, Dewey Martin – drums, Jim Messina – bass, vocals, Stephen Stills – guitar, piano, B3 organ, bass, clavinet, vibes, percussion, Handclaps, background vocals, vocals, Neil Young – guitar, harmonica, piano, background vocals, vocals, Bruce Palmer – bass, Buddy Miles – drums, Jimmy Karstein – drums, Gary Marker : bass, Jeremy Stuart – harpsichord, calliope, bells, Rusty Young – pedal steel guitar, Richard Davis – bass, unidentified – horns, saxophone, clarinet, drums, bass, drums, harpsichord, orchestra, piano, drums
Producer: Jim Messina
Engineers: Adrian Barber, Phil Iehle, Jim Messina

Last Time Around is the third and final studio album by the American folk rock band Buffalo Springfield.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Time_Around Last Time Around was released to fulfill contractual commitments. By the time it was completed the group had functionally disbanded, with the cover photo of the group consisting of a montage and the five original members only recording together on one track, “On the Way Home”.
Original bassist Bruce Palmer appears on one track: ‘On the Way Home’. His face is shown on the Last Time Around back cover photo montage with a humorous “mad” sign aligned, due to Bruce resembling Alfred E. Newman in the shot. (See it on top almost middle)?
The album contained songs that were very important to the authors. Neil Young has performed both “I Am a Child” and “On the Way Home” in concert throughout his career, the latter both solo and with CSNY, the Transband and the Bluenotes. “Kind Woman” became one of Richie Furay’s best known tunes; he performed it with Poco and throughout his solo career. Continue reading

America – Homecoming

Artist: America
Genre: Folk-Rock, Soft Rock
Title: Homecoming
Label:Warner Bros
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Dan Peek – guitar, keyboards, vocals, Gerry Beckley – guitar, keyboards, vocals, bass guitar, Dewey Bunnell – guitar, vocals, percussion, Joe Osborn – bass guitar, Hal Blaine – drums, percussion, Gary Mallaber – drums and percussion
Engineer:Bill Halverson, Chuck Leary, Mike Stone
Mastering Engineer: Lee Herschberg

Homecoming is the second studio album by America. It is acoustic guitar-based, with a more pronounced electric guitar and keyboard section than their first album. This second effort helped continue the band’s success, and includes one of their best known hits, “Ventura Highway”. For this album and the next six throughout the next five years, the group traditionally chose titles beginning with the letter “H” (the self-titled debut album became unofficially included in this distinction when fans started referring to it as the “Horse with No Name” album when that track was added to later pressings).

My copy of this LP is in a tri-fold jacket and on the green Warner Bros label, which was known for being very good pressings and that continues here.

Side one begins with “Ventura Highway”. This hit is one of my favorites on this LP. From Wikipedia:Dewey Bunnell, the song’s vocalist and writer, has said that the lyric “alligator lizards in the air” in the song is a reference to the shapes of clouds in the sky he saw in 1963 while his family was driving down the coast from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, where they had a flat tire. While his father changed the tire, he and his brother stood by the side of the road and watched the clouds and saw a road sign for “Ventura”. In the booklet for the boxed-set, Highway, he states that the song “reminds me of the time I lived in Omaha as a kid and how we’d walk through cornfields and chew on pieces of grass. There were cold winters, and I had images of going to California. So I think in the song I’m talking to myself, frankly: ‘How long you gonna stay here, Joe?’ I really believe that ‘Ventura Highway’ has the most lasting power of all my songs. It’s not just the words — the song and the track have a certain fresh, vibrant, optimistic quality that I can still respond to”. The song has a “Go West, young man” motif in the structure of a conversation between an old man named Joe and a young and hopeful kid. Joe was modeled after a “grumpy” old man he had met while his dad was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi at Keesler Air Force Base. He also stated “I remember vividly having this mental picture of the stretch of the coastline traveling with my family when I was younger. Ventura Highway itself, there is no such beast, what I was really trying to depict was the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1, which goes up to the town of Ventura.” “That’s Gerry and Dan doing a harmony on two guitars on the intro. I remember us sitting in a hotel room, and I was playing the chords, and Gerry got that guitar line, and he and Dan worked out that harmony part. That’s really the hook of the song“.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ventura_Highway

The second track “To Each His Own”, is a pop ballad and one of my favorite tracks on the LP.  “Don’t Cross the River” is a folk-rock style song and the banjo gives it a bit of country flavor, good song too. Track four gives us “Moon Song” with the signature America sound. Track five, “Only in Your Heart”, includes some keyboard/synth work, which is not the norm for this band. Yes, it is a good song too.

Side two begins with a good solid song titled, “Till the Sun Comes Up Again”“Cornwall Blank” is the second song on side two and a great song. It is similar in nature to the song “Donkey Jaw” from the band’s debut LP. Track three is “Head and Heart” and is somewhat similar in signature to the opening track on this LP, “Ventura Highway”.
“California Revisited” follows and “Saturn Nights” is the album’s closer, which is very appropriate.


Joy Of Cooking – Closer To The Ground

Artist: Joy Of Cooking

Title: Closer To The Ground
Genre: Rock, Folk-Rock, Country, Jazz, Blues
Label: Capitol
Musicians: Toni Brown-Composer, Guitar, Guitar (Steel), Keyboards, Vocals,
Terry Garthwaite-Composer, Guitar, Vocals, Fritz Kasten-Drums, Sax (Alto), Saxophone, Jeff Neighbor-Bass, Trombone,Ron Wilson-Harmonica, Percussion
Producer:John Palladino
Engineer:Ken Perry &Jay Ranellucci

Joy of Cooking was an American music ensemble formed in 1967, in Berkeley, California. Identified with the hippie culture, the band’s music melded rock & roll with folk, blues, and jazz. The band released three studio albums on Capitol Records in the early 1970s as well as a minor hit single in 1971, “Brownsville”. (Capitol Records issued three albums by Joy of Cooking in the early 1970s and an anthology disc in 1993: Joy of Cooking (1971), Closer to the Ground (1971), Castles (1972), American Originals (1993). A fourth album, Same Old Song And Dance (1973), was never released, although certain songs were included on American Originals).

With bandleaders Terry Garthwaite and Toni Brown, Joy of Cooking was one of the earliest female-fronted bands in rock music history. Joy of Cooking was led by pianist Toni Brown and guitarist Terry Garthwaite. The rest of the band comprised bass guitarist David Garthwaite (Terry’s brother), drummer Fritz Kasten, and percussion player Ron Wilson. Keyboard player Stevie Roseman replaced Toni Brown for a time, and bass players Happy Smith and eventually Jeff Neighbor replaced David Garthwaite on bass guitar. The band’s music was a mix of hippie sensibilities with rock, blues, folk, and jazz, and the lyrics often reflected feminist themes.
Official website: http://www.joyofcookingband.com/

I was not sure what to expect when I put this record on my turntable. I thought it was going to be some boring, disassociated folky stuff, but it was nothing like that. It was totally unexpected! While the vocals were not anything to write home about per se’, they were interesting and often times familiar. What is more is that this was a very versatile group and not sloppy about it. The recording is also well done on this LP. What the description given this band says is true as to their sound.
This is a very enjoyable record.

Side One:
Closer To The Ground: The obligatory title track here. This seems like a social statement lyrically, no surprise and actually quite good. The song has a Janis Joplin and the Big Brother Holding Co flavor with some funk sprinkled in. This is a strong opening song for the LP as well because the bridge is fantastic showcasing the drums, percussion and bass with piano as it comes out. Towards the end of the song you hear a strange male voice say “down”.
Blues For A Friend: Despite the title of the song, it is in fact, not a blues song, but more of a Carol King flavored jazz/samba number.
New Colorado Blues: This is more a country flavor than blues and features a two female vocal harmony with a bit of scat towards the end.
Humpty Dumpty: This must be what happens when you run dry on song titles. This one has an upbeat soul sound to it.
A Thousand Miles: While this may have a standard 1970s sound, it is still executed well.

Side Two:
Sometimes Like A River: This is another song that has a flavor of Carole King. It is my least favorite on the LP, but even so, it is still good.
Pilot: This is an up tempo Janis Joplin flavored song featuring keyboard.
The War You Left: This has a folk sound flavored of the Indigo Girls. There is a Cello in this as well. It is one of my favorites on the LP. A fantastic sounding song!
First Time, Last Time: This is your straight country style song and not bad.
Laugh, Don’t Laugh: This song has a percussion start and an up tempo almost country sound, call it Country-Rock. It is a fun song with a jam toward the end


“Closer To The Ground”:https://youtu.be/bOFTRyNZ1Ro

“The War You Left”:https://youtu.be/d7ZfxW_d3XU

“Laugh, Don’t Laugh”:https://youtu.be/H0ZB8aPCuzk