Lighthouse – Lighthouse

Artist: Lighthouse
Genre: Progressive rock, funk, rock, jazz fusion, pop, groove, psychedelic
Title: Lighthouse
Released: 1969
Format: Vinyl
Musicians: Skip Prokop / vocals, drums, leader, Paul Hoffert / keyboards, vibes
Ralph Cole / guitar, vocals, Grant Fullerton / bass, vocals, Pinky Dauvin / percussion, vocals, Ian Guenther / violin, Don Dinovo / violin, viola, Don Whitton / cello, Leslie Schneider / cello, Freddy Stone / trumpet, flugelhorn, Howard Shore / alto saxophone
Russ Little / trombone, Arnie Chycoski / trumpet, flugelhorn (uncredited)
Producer:Skip Prokop, Paul Hoffert
Arranger: Paul Hoffert, Freddy Stone

Lighthouse was formed in 1968 in Toronto by vocalist/drummer Skip Prokop (formerly of the Paupers) and keyboardist Paul Hoffert. The two met by coincidence on a flight from New York City to Toronto, and discussed forming a band structured around a rock rhythm section, jazz horn section, and classical string section. Prokop had admired Ralph Cole’s playing when they shared the bill at the Grande Ballroom in Detroit, so he brought him to Toronto to be the band’s guitarist. Prokop and Hoffert assembled the rest of the group from friends, studio session musicians, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra members, and proceeded to make a demo recording. On the advice of Richie Havens, Prokop and Hoffert took the demo to MGM Records in New York, who signed the band. Two days later they had a manager, Vinnie Fusco, out of Albert Grossman’s office, who overturned the MGM contract and made a deal with RCA Victor. Lighthouse made its debut on May 14, 1969, at the Rock Pile in Toronto.
Their first album, Lighthouse (this one), was released in 1969 by RCA from RCA’s Toronto Eastern Sound Studio Continue reading “Lighthouse – Lighthouse”

Neil Diamond – Velvet Gloves and Spit

Artist: Neil Diamond
Genre: Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary
Title: Velvet Gloves and Spit
Released: Origninal 1968, This pressing: 1970
Label: UNI/ MCA Records
Format: Vinyl
Producer: Tom Catalano, Chip Taylor, Neil Diamond

Velvet Gloves and Spit is the third album by Neil Diamond. His first for MCA’s Uni label.

Wikipedia: Upon its initial release in 1968, it only had ten songs. After the success of Diamond’s next three albums, it was re-issued in 1970 with a new sleeve (Editor’s note: artist’s rendition of Neil Diamond instead of a photo) and now included a remake of “Shilo”, a song that had previously been recorded for Bang Records, and had appeared on the preceding album, Just For You. His motivation for doing this was the release of the song as a single by his old record label with a new backing track and alternate vocal take recorded at Chips Moman’s American Studios in Memphis.

To appreciate this album, however, one must get past “The Pot Smoker’s Song,” a heavy-handed, anti-drug, bubblegum pop number, patterned roughly after Simon & Garfunkel’s “Old Friends/Bookends,” with spoken word testimonials about the dangers of drugs, punctuated by Diamond’s ridiculous sing-song chorus. It’s a strangely fascinating artifact though as this is the only LP and known recording of the song, which helps distinguish Velvet Gloves and Spit from Diamond’s catalog of albums. In fact, the album quotes: “Much credit for “The Pot Smoker’s Song” must go to the kids of Phoenix House in New York City. Without the cooperation and frankness of these young ex-drug addicts who are still struggling to find their way back, this “song” never could have been done.”  Continue reading “Neil Diamond – Velvet Gloves and Spit”

Strawbs – Ghost

Artist: Strawbs
Genre: Rock, Progressive Rock
Title: Ghost
Released: 1974
Label: A&M
Format: Vinyl
Musicians:Dave Cousins – lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, recorder, Dave Lambert – lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
John Hawken – piano, electric piano, harpsichord, mellotron, Moog synthesizer, Hammond organ, pipe organ, Chas Cronk – backing vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, Rod Coombes – backing vocals, drums, congas, percussion, Claire Deniz – cello on “Starshine/Angel Wine”
Producer:Tom Allom
Engineer: Tom Allom & Mick Glossop

While this isn’t the first Strawbs LP, it is the first one in my collection I randomly chose to review, so I’ll give some bio history here. Continue reading “Strawbs – Ghost”