Saturday, July 21, 2012


Hi everybody, not much time for a preamble tonight, just wanted to say thank you to all of you who regularly take the time to comment on the stuff that gets posted here.
It's the grease that keeps my gears turning.
Up first, formed in Cincinatti Ohio in 1973 around the nucleus of vocalist Donnie Singleton and drummer Les Sharp, four piece Heavy Rock act SPIKE became the first recording band to feature the dazzling guitar of future CJSS, CHASTAIN and SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN mainstay, David T. Chastain, who joined in 1975.
The band released their first single, "Porno Queen", backed with "Peaceful And Tranquil", in the late 1970's just before original vocalist Singleton departed.
The frontman position would be filled by Stephen Fredrick, and with the change Spike's following began to grow even stronger.
Around this time the band had the track "You Got What It Takes" featured on the "WEBN Album Project No.5" LP, an album which the Cincinnati radio station (WEBN) put together in an effort to showcase local talent.
The act toured relentlessly, and even landed the opening slot for some shows with BLACK SABBATH and BLUE OYSTER CULT on their "Black & Blue" tour.
They finally made another recording available with the 1981 self released "Leah" 7" single, and quickly followed this up the next year with another 45, "Just Want Your Money" on Starbound Records.
After the latter single's release, singer Stephen Fredrick departed from the band, initially to join BILLY THE KID, and later recording with the likes of KENZINER, FIREWIND and KINRICK.
With bassist Denny Kuller temporarily filling the vacant vocalist post, Spike recorded the track "Bad News" for 1982's "WEBN Album Project No. 7".
For a brief period the band added vocalist Kurt Dobkins, but he would eventually be replaced by Mike Skimmerhorn.
In 1983 the band released their only album "The Price Of Pleasure", on Starbound Records.
The album showcased to dazzling effect the blazing guitar work of David T. Chastain and the powerful vocals of new singer Mike Skimmerhorn.
The rhythm section of drummer Les Sharp and bassist Denny Kuller added just the right foundation to punctuate the music.
This particular line up of Spike was only around for a short time.
The group continued to shop material to labels but failed to get any major interest, so in late 1984 the band decided that Spike had run its course, with David going on to form CJSS and Chastain.
Skimmerhorn and drummer Les Sharp, would both later appear in the ranks of CJSS, and Skimmerhorn also went on to sing and play bass with the band Chastain.
SPIKE briefly reformed in 1998 for a few dates which were recorded for a prospective live album, although to date it has yet to see release.
In 2001 a further Spike album was released on Leviathan Records.
"The Forum Sessions", was an archival release comprised of songs recorded live in the studio at Forum Studios in Kentucky in 1981, but never previously released.

SPIKE - The Forum Sessions (1981) USA

AMERICADE were a traditional Heavy Metal/Hard Rock quartet formed in Brooklyn USA in 1979 by brothers Gerard and P.J. De Marigny.
Setting about building themselves a reputation on the live circuit, the band worked hard on their stagecraft and built a good fan base with their energetic live shows.
A self-titled 4 song EP was issued in 1980, and sold mainly at the band's shows.
With the band's flashy trashy semi-patriotic image it was fitting that their 1982 debut album was entitled "American Metal".
Released on Adem Records, the album was not the success they had hoped for despite some very positive reviews, but undeterred they carried on, despite bassist Dave "The Beast" Spitz leaving to join BLACK SABBATH.
Americade worked with producer Jeff Glixman on a second album with the working title "Rock Hard" but the band split up before having finished it.
In 1989, guitarist Gerard tried to resurrect the band with a new line-up but it didn't last long.
In 1995, Americade released a "new" album, "", which consisted of various unreleased studio recordings from different eras and line-ups of the band, mainly from 1988/89, along with a newly recorded track.
"", didn't exactly set the world on fire and nothing more was heard from Americade until Retrospect Records announced the release of a 5 disc box set containing the band's complete recorded works.
The box set, "Americadence", contains the albums, "First Cuts", "American Metal", "Rock Hard", "Heroes Are Back" and "".
The albums were also all issued seperately.
"Rock Hard", is the third CD in Americade's "Americadence" box set, with all 15 songs being previously unreleased.
The first four tracks are quality demos from 1988 that feature the incredible pipes of vocalist Mark Weitz.
All of the other tracks were recorded in 1983 with the classic lineup of Walt Woodward III (drums), Dave "The Beast" Spitz (bass) and the De Marigny brothers and produced by renowned producer JEFF GLIXMAN.
The track "Black Cloud" is a cover of an old song by Glenn Hughes' pre-DEEP PURPLE band, TRAPEZE.
Apparently, Gerard De Marigny recorded most of his guitar tracks here through GARY MOORE's guitar rig that was set up for a recording session at a studio in Atlanta, Georgia at the time.
You can really hear the killer progression of this bands musicianship and songwriting skills here.

AMERICADE - Rock Hard (1983-1988) USA

Previously unknown Hard vintage Southern Rock alert!!!
Obviously influenced by MOLLY HATCHET (just check out their name), and SKYNYRD too, this self-titled obscurity was released in a pitifully small pressing and has just come to my attention recently.
There's no info on the plain white sleeve, we have just the song-titles and the band's line up on the labels to go by.
I've been unable to find out where they came from or even when the damn thing was released, (1982 is an informed guess), but it seems this BOUNTY HUNTER bears no relation to any of the other bands who have used the same name who have info on the webisphere.
It pisses me off to have no background to share with you despite my best efforts, but sometimes you stumble across music that just has no available back story.
I knocked up the artwork you see here just for something to look at whilst the album's playing, as i said, the original sleeve is just blank.
So what of the music then?
Well, it's well-played Hard edged Southern Rawk, that has obvious influences, but isn't a slave to them either.
As i said, Hatchet by way of Skynyrd, but there are a couple of songs that are more individual which sound mighty good to my ears too.
Succinct songwriting, short snappy choons, distinguished by some superior geetar work.
Personally i'd have liked those guitars higher in the mix, but it's damned fine stuff nonetheless.
Have a listen, i'm sure you'll be similarly impressed if you have a liking for that vintage Southern fried sound.
Total credit and much gratitude goes to OldMusicOnVinyl1 for digging this mystery record up and for sharing his original rip.
Can any of you shed a little light on this one?

BOUNTY HUNTER - Bounty Hunter (1982) USA

KAOS, a Canadian traditional Heavy Metal quintet were formed in 1982 in remote St. John's, Newfoundland, by a young Bavarian emigre, guitarist Rainer "Rhino" Wiechmann.
After hooking up with drummer Sandy Forbes, the fledgling band performed on a CBC TV talent show called "The Fame Game".
After installing CBC voice-over artist Cindy Wiechmann as vocalist, (she soon became Rhino's wife), Kaos released the critically acclaimed "Total Kaos", Mini LP on their own Mole Records label in 1985.
The highlight of the seven song self-released record is the amazing instrumental, "March of the Gremlins", a must-hear for fans of epic '80's riffing.
"Total Kaos", now commands a ridiculous price-tag, with copies changing hands amongst collectors for around $200 in online auctions.
In 1986 the band landed some support slots on HELIX's Canadian tour, bringing Kaos to the attention of larger audiences.
A cassette only Mini album entitled "TV Eye" was released in 1987 following some line up changes within the Kaos ranks.
The band's video, "Summer Of Love", then began to get airplay nationally leading to further gigs opening for acts such as HEADPINS, SASS JORDAN and CHILLIWACK.
This in turn led to more widespread dates playing with international acts like ALICE COOPER, MOTORHEAD and DIO.
After that round of touring ended, the band planned to move to the mainland to be better placed to take advantage of any possible future opportunities.
However, one by one, the other members decided they were unwilling or unable to commit to the move, sadly bringing Kaos to an end.
Undeterred, the Weichmann's moved to London, Ontario and worked in various bar acts for more than a decade, eventually opening their own recording studio.
Following some Helix recording sessions at the Wiechmann's studio in London, both Wiechmann's were invited to become members of Helix.
Their tenure in the veteran Canadian band lasted from 2003 to 2006.
Rainer Wiechmann has also become a respected producer, working with THINE EYES BLEED, BLOOD OF CHRIST and KITTIE.
The Weichmann's now have a new band called NAIL which includes another former member of Kaos in it's line up, drummer Dale Penney.
To date, Nail have released two very impressive full length albums, 2007's "Nail" and 2010's "Power And Greed".
The power of Cindy's awesome voice remains undiminished by the passing years, and Nail's music is an impressively muscular mix of Traditional Metal with a strong Progressive edge.

KAOS - Total Kaos Mini LP (1985) Canada

Those of you who regularly view my posts will know that i always endeavour to provide some background information on the music i share.
I figure that if you're anything like me that you'll enjoy reading the back story behind the bands and their releases, and if your comments are anything to go by then that appears to be the case.
Every once in a while however i come across a band or release that leaves me stumped as i can find out next to nothing about them.
This is the case with this record, the sole (?) release by Canada's JESTER.
This Jester is no relation, as far as i can tell, to either the Montreal Hard Rock band of that name, (despite what Metal Archives says), or the Prog/AOR outfit from Ontario who also bear the Jester moniker.
Here's what i do know: this 45 was released in 1981 on the Kollato Records label, and it goes for a pretty penny now.
The last auction i could find saw this slab o' wax go for the better part of $200 dollars!
So is it worth it, i hear you ask?
Well, as ever that all depends on your tastes, and your bank balance.
To me, it's a tale of two sides.
The A-side, "Waiting This Way", is, by some distance, the more commercial song of the pair, bending over backwards for a little airplay.
It's very well done for a private pressing from the era, with some mighty fine guitar work lifting it above the average, but it is a little too lightweight for my liking.
The flipside however, is the real ace in the Jester brace.
"Find Out", is a cracking little Rocker, which sounds to me like they were aiming for "Earthshaker" era Y & T, with some prime ACE FREHLEY guitar pyrotechnics sprinkled over the top.
This being a 1981 private pressing however, the budget and production conspire to give us something a little different, but no less tasty.
The guitarist could certainly spank that plank, and the song gels really well, getting lodged in your grey matter for ages.
So on balance, i'd give the A-side a solid C, with the flip earning itself a very enjoyable B+.
Anyone know any more about this bunch?

JESTER - Waiting This Way/Find Out 7" (1981) Canada

The SOUTHERN CROSS BAND was based in Long Island, New Jersey, (a strange locale for a Southern Rock act), and were formed by the Prewitt brothers who had moved to New York from the South.
Both Prewitt brothers, Joe and Sonny were accomplished singers and guitar slingers.
They were very active on the live circuit from the late 1970's to the mid-1980's, building up a big live following, especially in the tri-state area.
Sadly, it doesn't seem that there were any official releases from them, however there were two separate promo 45s issued in 1982.
I'd previously posted the two song promo 7" of "Lady Killer"/"Outlaw (Josey Wales)".
These same two songs also turned up on a few different compilation albums of local acts put together by various New York radio stations at the time.
The A-side, "Lady Killer", is quite commercial, but still gutsy, with a really catchy chorus and a nice Hammond solo too.
The epic flip side, "Outlaw (Josey Wales)", is excellent, sounding like a beefed up version of THE OUTLAWS, with some great tempo changes and extended soloing.
It also reminds me a little of the band ASHBURY, who recorded the album "Endless Skies".
Now Nightsblood has turned up the other promo, pairing "Lady Killer" (again!?), and the previously unknown/unheard "Stay Alive".
More great Southern Rock with a Hard Rock base, catchy, succinct, and artfully crafted.
During their time Southern Cross Band supported Southern Rock legends THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND and THE WINTERS BROTHERS BAND at shows in the NY area.
Singer/guitarist Joe Prewitt is still active, having fronted a band called THE MANGOS for the last 20 years or so, apparently still playing in the Southern style, and they've just released an album called "Ain't Dead Yet".

SOUTHERN CROSS BAND - Lady Killer/Stay Alive 7" (1982) USA

Finally tonight, in our now regular, but still un-named extra-vintage slot, the beat/harmony group GOLDSTAR BROTHERS was formed in 1962 by the Groote brothers, singer André, guitarist Henk, and drummer Ben, in Apeldoorn, Gelderland, Netherlands.
In 1966 they changed their name to G-BROTHERS and recorded three 7" singles before changing their name once more to GEEBROS.
As Geebros, the band recorded several 45's, with the wonderfully named "Henry The Horse", reaching the Dutch charts in late 1967.
By now they played psychedelic music combined with strong close harmony singing, in songs like "Let Me Find The Sun", "She", "Ev'ry Day" and "Shadows Of Stone".
They were then joined by organ player Lol Nijhuis, who was in turn replaced by Henny Backers in 1968.
By this time the band's musical style had changed quite considerably, incorporating a stronger Psychedelic influence into their harmony driven Sunshine Pop.
In 1969 their musical style evolved yet again, and to reflect this they chose yet another name, CRYING WOOD.
By this time they were making Heavy Rock with a strong Progressive Rock flavour incorporated too.
Having secured a record deal with Action Records, they entered the studio to record a 45 for them.
The band's lone single, 1970's "Blue Eyed Witch/Trip", got a lot of airplay on Dutch radio but didn´t trouble the charts, leading to the loss of the Action deal.
A shame, as the record was strong, with the A-side demonstrating an organ heavy driving style akin to LUCIFER'S FRIEND or URIAH HEEP, with the instrumental "Trip", on the flip, having a more progressive, jazzy flavour.
Crying Wood toured intensively throughout the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, and even recorded an album in 1970, which was called "Forward In Time/Back To The Mountains".
However, they were unable to secure a European record deal and so the album was only released in Canada.
Apparently, the music on it is in the same Heavy vein as the single, with hints of FOCUS and PANTHEON.
Shortly after recording the album however, the band fell apart and split before 1971 was over.
In 1974 an attempt was made to reform Crying Wood by Ben Groote with an entirely new line-up, but despite recording demos they don't manage to release anything.
The band was a successful draw on the live circuit however, touring constantly in their homeland and in Germany.
After several further line-up changes, Ben Groote pulled the plug on Crying Wood in 1976, joining up with his brothers and original Crying Wood bassist Cor Mestebeld once more in a new band called AIR BUBBLE.
Air Bubble were very different stylistically to Crying Wood, playing Pop/Soft Rock with a reasonable degree of success.
Their first single, "Racing Car" in 1976, was a hugely popular record all over mainland Europe, and a string of records followed throughout the remainder of the '70's, with varying degrees of success.
Air Bubble finally split up in 1981, with André and Henk then recording an EVERLY BROTHERS tribute album, "For Everly Yours", under the name CADILLAC!
After a long time away from the stage, in recent years the brothers Groote have occassionally been treading the boards once again, billed as GEEBROS.
Their current set-list includes songs from the Goldstar Brothers, Geebros, Crying Wood and Airbubble eras alongside covers of The Everly Brothers, THE BEATLES and THE BEACH BOYS.
Here's hoping some enterprising reissue label will one day make that elusive Crying Wood album and the later demos available on CD.

CRYING WOOD - Blue Eyed Witch/Trip 7" (1970) Holland

So that's it for another post.
Hope you find something amongst that little lot that excites you.
If you don't, frankly i think you're at the wrong blog.
See you back here in 3-4 weeks for more vintage voltage from the vaults, 'til then, take care o' yerselves.