Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Apr 27, 2006 15:29:15 GMT
HEAR & NOW
Get Up, Stand Up Corner Of My Mind Caught In The Middle Everybody's Fool Livin' And Dyin' Don't Wake Up If You Gotta Make A Fool Of Somebody Feelin' So Bad White House Act Of Love That's All Right Lovin' You For All The Right Reasons
Producer: Jerry Fuller
Mike Berkowitz Percussion John Densmore Drums Robby Krieger Guitars Alex Richman Keyboards, Vocals (Track 8) Karl 'Slick' Rucker Bass Michael Stull Guitar, Vocals
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Apr 27, 2006 16:41:35 GMT
The Butts Band: Hear & Now
John Densmore and Robbie Krieger put together a second version of Butts Band for Hear & Now, which is really bizarre because Roy Davies, Phillip Chen, and vocalist Jess Roden did an admirable job on the first disc's folky blues sound. With Mike Berkowitz brought in as a second drummer, Karl Rucker on bass, and Bobbi Hall on congas, the band is expanded and substantially changed. Add Michael Stull and Alex Richman, both on keyboards and vocals, with Stull on guitar as well, and you may think you have what the Doors were up to on Other Voices. Almost, but not quite. The jazz element is definitely there, but subdued, for this is a soul record, an honest to God soul record by two of the guys who backed up Jim Morrison. Krieger and Densmore sound like they are sponsoring Barry White doing the songs of Percy Sledge. "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody" is pure rhythm & blues, as is "Livin' and Dyin'," but it is not Butts Band that producer Bruce Botnick worked with. Sure it is dynamite stuff, but as the first go round for Butts Band had no image, this must have confused the hell out of radio programmers, retail workers, critics, and fans of the Doors. Botnick has been replaced by Jerry Fuller and is truly is the anomaly when it comes to Doors spin-off projects. Heck, even Ray Manzarek's work with poet Michael McClure contains Jim Morrison American Prayer elements, but the quasi-Steely Dan sound of "Caught in the Middle" could be early Lou Rawls cutting his teeth backed by a pseudo-pop band. It's commendable that Blue Thumb allowed rock stars to stretch like this, but no one familiar with Densmore and Krieger could get a handle on where Hear & Now was going. What might have been a nice calling card would be to take the Doors' "Touch Me" and let this crew send it up the R&B charts. For two members of a totally established group to create a new entity then switch genres is totally original and quite obscure. Butts Band would have been better off trying to get Tower of Power to do this arrangement of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh's "Get up, Stand Up." Robbie Krieger writes a majority of the songs, and female vocalist Alex Richman has a bit of Kathi McDonald in her for her composition "Everybody's Fool," but it is territory not embraced by most Doors aficionados. Labelmates with the Four Tops, this was moved to the Blue Thumb/ABC imprint (the Four Tops were on sister label Dunhill for their "Keeper of the Castle" phase). Gotta have it for the collection, but Manzarek's The Golden Scarab will get more spins.
by Joe Viglione All Music Guide.
But, God bless 'em, Krieger and Densmore were determined yet again to keep their broken band alive. They put together a whole new seven-member Butts Band, replacing the other three original members and adding congas and an additional percussionist. And the music underwent a similarly drastic rethink. The 1975 album Hear & Now! opens with a cover of Bob Marley's "Get Up, Stand Up", and it's not just an aberration; the remainder of the album alternates between reggae and smooth r&b. Vocalist Michael Stull does an obvious but entertaining imitation of Barry White, and female keyboardist Alex Richman lends a genuinely soulful vocal to "Everybody's Fool" and "Feelin' So Bad". Hear & Now! is a pleasant surprise; it's a shame that the Butts Band were destined to be gone tomorrow. Note: both albums were recently available together on the CD The Butts Band - The Complete Recordings (One Way Records OW 30993). That CD is also out of print, but is easier to find than the two original albums" Rarebirds Review Pages.
BUTTS BAND Hear & Now! (ABC/Blue Thumb 1975)
Guitarist Bob Kreiger and drummer John Densmore were the leaders of the Butts Band. They could’ve picked a better name, but on this, their second album, they decided to get a new group of musicians to back them and changed their sound from Blues-Rock as heard on their first self-titled release to Soul on Hear & Now! instead. The group starts off with a decent cover of Bob Marley’s Get Up, Stand Up, but then Corner Of My Mind sounds sort of like Lou Rawls. There’s a nice and long drum break at the beginning of Caught In The Middle. When the bass comes in, it’s the perfect compliment. The rest of the song though isn’t half as good with a neo-Reggae rhythm. Luckily that intro part repeats itself in the middle. Don’t Wake Up also has some open drums before going into a slick Soul tune that reminds me of the Average White Band a little. Reviewed by: Motown67 Soul Strut 2002
The Butts Band: Hear & Now! (Blue Thumb 1975) Ok, in the pantheon of bad band names, this has to rank pretty high It'd make sense if someone actually IN the group was named Butts but, no, the leads are Robby Kreiger and John Densmore. No Butts there. Who knows why this '70s rock group decided to pay a tribute to the power of the ass (not that it doesn't deserve a tribute or anything) - all we know is that they did.
What I can't figure out - besides that whole silly name thing - is why more kids aren't really up on this. I mean, this LP has at least three solid breaks on it plus some fun, soulful rock that gets damn funky for a bunch of white folk (plus a token brother in the mix). I mean, dig on "Don't Wake Up" which is solidly a funk cut with its chicken scratch guitars, grooving basslines and slick drums. Not to mention the 4-bar break that kicks off my favorite song on this album, the soulful "Caught In the Middle" which, honestly, has some really laughable songwriting : "I think of myself as a grain of sand/here I sit/infinite/just a grain/I feel no pain." but it has a ska-feel to it and I can imagine swaying to it on some beach as it plays. And then there's a cover of "Get Up, Stand Up" which is pretty solid (though who knows if Bob would have approved), at least enough to fool drunk frat guys. Seriously though, I like this album. Think you might too. by O. Wang Soul Sides 2003
Post by TheWallsScreamedPoetry on Aug 30, 2006 8:55:49 GMT
The Wackers lead singer was Mike Stull who became singer guitar player with BB2....and Dave Marsh who wrote the piece was a friend of James Douglas Morrison.....
Crabby Appleton: Rotten To The Core; The Wackers: Wackering Heights (both Elektra)
AT FIRST GLANCE these two don't seem to have much in common, aside from the fact that they're both on the same label. While that's not altogether untrue, it's not completely accurate either.
Crabby's album is certainly the more exciting of the two. In fact, this group is probably one of the five or six best mainstream rock bands still together. They bounce through neo-Top 40 jams aplenty with a verve and directness that is seldom matched anywhere, and lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Michael Fennelly (also the "face" of the group) conveys all of this with a resourcefulness that is certainly unmatched by anything that's come from Southern California of late.
The Wackers on the other hand, show less of this effervesence and generally come off as pretty soft-poppers. Sadly, that's not at all the group's on-stage persona; the basic stance of the group, live, is much more Beatle-rock, innocent and naive in a refreshing way.
When a speck of their onstage flash does gleam through, the Wackers' potential is obvious. They use twelve-string (double-six, actually) leads a lot, and when they don't sound a little like a mutant Byrds, the guitar work tends to remind very much of George Harrison's later work with the Beatles.
Bob Segarini and Randy Bishop of the Wackers both came from Roxy, which was another underrated, if not totally realized Elektra band of a few seasons back. They do a lot of the Wackers' songwriting, and it's strange that the music here comes off so soft and near-wimpy. They do have an exciting stage show, and the tapes of their second album, part of which we heard not too long ago, look about as good as you'd want from non-embattled, non-heavy rockers. Mainstream, proficient and relaxed.
That record and their projected "live" package (supposedly another of the legendary Kinney samplers) are the things to watch for, though. Aside from 'Don't Be Cruel', their current single, and a striking original called 'On the Way Up', which sounds even better live, there really isn't much here to recommend. (But wait'll you hear their version of 'She Loves You': they shake their heads in time and the rendition even has those ethereal "Ooooos" that chilled so many souls ten years ago.)
Crabby, on the other hand, are busy perfecting an already successful direction. It is largely Fennelly's group, I think, much the way Creedence is Fogerty's. They're not quite mainstream the way CCR is, though, mainly because they have two drummers (well, the second's a conga player) and because they are post-Creedence in conception. But like the Fogerty group, they have an unparalleled sense of drive and rhythm and generally tough lyrics, which support Fennelly's adolescent yet powerful vocal sallies very well.
Rotten to the Core is their second album, and if it isn't quite as good as their near-perfect first offering, then there's not very much wrong with it, either. Part of the deficiency is due to some experimentation, some of which works very well (the countryish 'Paper to Write On', which is everything the Dead ever attempted brought to fullness), and some of which drags (they re-recorded their dangerously hard 'Lucy', a single of the early part of year, and it isn't anywhere near as good, for example.) And for once, they just take a tune and blow it, maybe because it's so inane: 'You Make Me Hot', which is really amateurish and nearly offensive. Still, for 'Tomorrow's A New Day', 'Lookin' For Love', 'Love Can Change Everything', and 'Smokin' in the Morning' this is one of the very best examples of post-Creedence mainstream rock and roll around. Dave Marsh, Creem, February 1972
LINER NOTES FOR THE WACKERS' WACKERING HEIGHTS By Richie Unterberger
At a time when album-oriented rock was moving toward more self-consciously progressive forms, the Wackers were one of the few bands to move in the opposite direction. In their three Elektra albums of the early 1970s, they set out to, as guitarist and singer-songwriter Bob Segarini states today, make "a full goose bozo run at re-creating the British Invasion sound, with 12-string guitars, bass, drums, and soaring three-part harmonies. We were out of time. We had sort of a glam look, and we played and sounded like the Beatles." They didn't sell records like the Beatles, however -- a fate that also befell some of the few other groups of the era with a similar approach, such as the Flamin' Groovies and Big Star.
The Wackers grew out of another Elektra group, Roxy, whose sole and self-titled 1969 album (also reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music) was almost entirely comprised of Segarini songs. Also in Roxy was multi-instrumentalist and singer Randy Bishop, who wrote the sole song on Roxy not composed by Segarini. As Roxy neared the end of their touring days, Segarini and Bishop sent a postcard to Elektra founder and president Jac Holzman to inform him they were considering forming a new band to be called either the Wackers or Ernie and the Incredible Chickens. "Ernie and the Incredible Chickens actually was gonna be the name of it," says Segarini. "But we liked the Wackers, 'cause one of us was reading a Beatle biography on the road, and we found out that 'hey wack' was a Liverpudlian expression for 'hey friend.' We thought Wackers was kinda cool because it was completely, totally out of touch with what was going on. [We] put the Wackers together when Led Zeppelin was getting huge. We all hated Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, all the pretentious crap going on. There were no songs, just musicianship. We wanted to play little three-minute songs. I wanted to recapture that joy of playing the jangly guitars and three-part harmony, and cool songs and hip clothes. So we went with the Wackers, and they tried unsuccessfully for six months to get us to change the name. We liked it."
The Wackers were formed in the small Northern Californian town of Eureka by Segarini, Bishop, and singer-guitarist-keyboardist Michael Stull. "We had all met, hung out, and worked together in L.A.," Bob remembers. "Basically, we'd write songs and sing constantly in living rooms. Then at night, we'd get drunk, go out to one of the bars, and play for free, for beer. We did that for weeks, and I got a phone call from Elektra going, 'You owe us some more records.' And I'm going, 'Fine. But I'm not coming to L.A. to do it. I got a great band called the Wackers, and we'd love to make a record, but we'll do it in San Francisco.' They go, 'Ah, we're not sure about that. Who's going to produce it?' And I went, 'Well, I don't know. Who do you got?' For the next few weeks, people would call from L.A. and I would talk to them. I wasn't really impressed with anybody. Then one day I got a phone call from a guy named Gary Usher."
Usher was a major backroom architect of 1960s Los Angeles rock, having co-written some Beach Boys songs (including "In My Room" and "409") with Brian Wilson, and done some renowned albums as a producer, particularly the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and Sweetheart of the Rodeo. "The guy had a phenomenal history," enthuses Segarini. "Because I know my rock lore, I knew who he was, and we talked. We're on the phone for like two-and-a-half hours. What sold me on him was, at the end of the conversation he goes, 'Do you know why bums drink their booze out of a paper bag?' I said, 'No.' He said, 'Because they don't want to know when the end is coming.' I went, 'Alright, I'll talk with you.' I called Jac Holzman the next day and said, 'I like this Gary Usher guy. So I'm good with that.'"
Continues Bob, "About a week after the conversation with Jac, Elektra calls back and says, 'Usher's gonna come up to hear the band.' So he comes to Eureka, which I thought was really kind of cool, and we have a big dinner at Mike's mom's house. We sing three-part harmony at the kitchen table and he was floored, of course. We're getting ready to go out and play a set at the Purple Haze for him, and he goes, 'So you guys think you're better than the Beatles?' We didn't even blink. We all went, 'Yep.' And he cracked up. He goes, 'I have asked every band I've ever worked with if they're better than the Beatles, and none of them said yes, let alone did it without hesitating. So you're on.' And that was how we started our relationship with Gary."
The quintet that recorded the Wackers' debut album, Wackering Heights, was completed by bassist Bill "Kootch" Trochim (who'd played with Segarini in the late 1960s in the Family Tree) and drummer Ernie Earnshaw. The more pop-rock- and vocal harmony-oriented sound they were pursuing was reflected not just in the LP's material, but also its production. "We were an anomaly at the time, and proudly so," declares Bob. "We knew that people still loved that music, even though radio had quit embracing it. The reason that all three Wackers albums are so acoustic for the most part is because everything we did always started around a kitchen table or a living room coffeetable. We could entertain at a moment's notice anywhere, even without a guitar. We'd go into a place called the Keg in Arcata and be standing in line waiting to order burgers and get a pitcher of beer, and we would sing 'Nowhere Man.' The place would go nuts, and we'd get free hamburgers. The records always reflected what the producer heard, and the producer always heard us around a kitchen table."
Where every song but one on the Roxy album had been penned by Segarini, in the Wackers a more collaborative songwriting process was at work. The tracks (except for a cover of Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel") were sometimes credited to Segarini, Bishop, and Stull; at others to Segarini and Bishop, or Segarini and Stull; and at others, to either Segarini, Bishop, or Stull alone. "Travelin' Time" was written by Segarini, Bishop, and Rita Coolidge, with whom Bob and Randy worked in the early '70s, singing backup vocals on her first album. "Things would come together so fast and fully realized," remarks Segarini. "'Such a Good Thing,' I dreamt that song from beginning to end, almost every word. It was so defined in my dream that I woke up and ran downstairs to grab a guitar so I could remember it. I ran downstairs, and Randy and Mike were already in the living room with a couple of guitars singing around the coffeetable. I grabbed my guitar, sat down, and said 'listen to this, listen to this, listen to this.' I found the first chord and sang them the song. By the time I got to the end, they already had the harmony parts for the chorus, and the three-part harmony parts for the oohs and aahs in the middle.
"It was the most fun I ever had in a band, because it wasn't work. That was the excitement of the Wackers. It was like rolling off a log. You couldn't not enjoy it. Everybody knew where to go for their harmony part. I love Wackering Heights, because you can sort of hear the joy of it." As to what made their vocal harmonies special, he adds, "If you listen to Beatle records, most of their harmony is two-part. I grew up learning how to sing by singing the unsung third part in Everly Brothers records. So when the Beatles came out, I would sing the third part that wasn't there on those records. Like 'If I Fell'; I'm the only person on earth who can sing a successful third part to 'If I Fell,' especially the really difficult part in the bridge. I just figured it out by singing along with it. So basically the Wackers is harmony-heavy because we always included the part that nobody ever did. When there were great things like 'Nowhere Man' where they did do the three parts, we built on that. Kootch also sang, so occasionally we would use four parts on tunes." The Beatles weren't the only influences that could be heard in the harmonies; as Segarini told Gary Sperrazza and Lester Bangs for their Wackers article in Shakin' St. Gazette, "Jac Holzman once told me we sounded like a cross between the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young."
Particularly emblematic of the Wackers' concise, melodic aesthetic was one of the album's strongest tracks, "Body Go Round," which to Segarini remains "one of my favorite songs I wrote. It's based on a short poem I used to play between sets at the Whisky A Go Go. The Family Tree were a mainstay at the Whisky A Go Go in L.A., and they used to show little short films there, light shows and stuff, between sets. There was this little short film that started -- it looked like space, like the planets and little dots of stars and stuff, and it would pull back, and it would be a square of black. You'd pull back further, and it would be a picnic blanket, and two people sitting on a picnic blanket. Then it would pull up further, and you would see they were in a park in a city. It would pull back further, and the city was in a state. It would pull back, and you're in North America, and you'd see the whole world. Then the world disappears, and you're out in space. Then it comes back out, and you're coming out of that little black square -- it was a black and white film -- in the picnic blanket. It just went over and over and over. That stuck with me, and a couple years later, I wrote 'Body Go Round.' That song is a real simple statement: If I love you, and you love me, what can it hurt to go around together, to be in love? That's what that song is about. That song is all it is. I like the circular feel of it."
Like the material, the production on Wackering Heights was less ornate than much other rock music in 1971, when the album saw its release. "We went down to Wally Heider's [studio in San Francisco] and cut thirteen complete songs, mixes and all, in ten days," Segarini informed Shakin' St. Gazette. "We were so hot -- neither Randy nor I had been in a studio for a year and a half -- that we just went berserk. In the first four days we recorded nine songs, tracking vocals with no overdubs. It was just time, we couldn't wait, not even long enough to make sure or bully our way to having the album sound like we'd dreamed it would." When the first album was recorded, according to Segarini, "Usher told us that if it did well, meaning critically or sold a bunch of records or whatever, we could go someplace exotic to cut the next one." Wackering Heights did not make the charts, but it must have done well enough in some regard for Elektra to give the go-ahead for another album. Largely recorded in Montreal, it would give the band some opportunity to reflect their harder-rocking live side -- a story told in the liner notes to the CD reissue of Hot Wacks........