Episode #78 – Jesus Christ Superstar (Part 2: The Singers)

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Show Updates:

  • Amazon music just launched a podcast feature.  You can follow us here.
  • Apple Podcasts Review:
    • ElectricEye87, 09/10/2020 – FIVE STARS
    • Let’s Go Space Talkin’
    • I rate this podcast 5 Ritchie Blackmore floppy hats. Never thought I’d enjoy listening to a podcast where guys talk over songs I love, but here I am. Extremely informative, a solid blend of humor and content, and the guys are very easy to listen to. When listening to Whoosh! for the first time, I even found myself thinking about what they might have to say about it when their review dropped. It’s perfect aside from the occasional swear word. I would expect that kind of language at Denny’s, but NOT HERE! Other than that, all I hear is burn.
  • Comments from social media.
  • Tommy Bolin Memorial Statue Fundraiser

Lead up to the Album:

  • They decided a good move would be to get a leading clergyman to endorse the single.  They found Martin Sullivan at St. Paul’s Cathedral.  He wrote, “There are some people who may be shocked by this record. I ask them to listen to it and think again.  It is a desperate cry.  Who are you, Jesus Christ? Is the urgent enquiry and a very proper one at that.”
  • Sullivan also offered up St. Paul’s Cathedral for the premiere if and when Jesus Christ Superstar was finished.
  • The single was released and they did a late night show, David Frost’s Saturday ITV.
  • The Daily Express had gotten quotes that they were looking to cast John Lennon as Jesus.  This was untrue as they hadn’t even gotten a complete script to cast anyone yet.
  • The budget to record the album was £20,000/$25,580 (£318,000/$406,726 in today’s money).
  • Most of the melodies and themes were completed in January.  Side 1 is dated February 21 with side four dated March 4.
  • In December of ‘69 there was a note that Mary Magdelne’s first song should be in 5/4.
  • They began to seek out vocalists.  They wanted a well known name as Jesus.
  • Their first pick for Jesus was Colin Blunstone, the lead singer of the Zombies.  Rod Argent, a member of the Zombies would be involved in the recording.
  • Andrew Lloyd-Webber had been invited to Royal Albert Hall to see Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra.  Malcolm Arnold had been a friend of Lloyd-Webber’s father.
  • Lloyd-Webber says in his biography, after meeting Tony Edwards: “I found the music bland, so I droned on about how daring it was to fuse a rock group with an orchestra.”  He found out that Deep Purple was taking a heavier direction moving forward and he mentioned something about Jesus Christ Superstar to Tony Edwards.
  • Lloyd-Webber says a few months later that he got a call saying Deep Purple had a new singer and asked if he and Tim would like to go listen to him.  We know this is inaccurate as Gillan would have been the singer at the Concerto.
  • They played Gillan’s rough tapes and he heard Gilaln’s scream and thought that he had found his Jesus.  He said after hearing Gillan he went back and rewrote the moment Jesus confronts the moneylenders.
  • When Murray and Gillan were cast Webber began working on solidifying the band.  Since Joe Cocker was on a break he was able to get Alan Spenner an dBruce Rowland for bass and drums.  He spoke to Clapton’s manager to get try to get Eric Clapton on lead guitar but was unable to secure him.  Therefore he reverted to Henry McCulloguh from the Grease Band.  Chris Mercer of Juicy Lucy as the sax and another guitarist, Neil Hubbard, also from Juicy Lucy.
  • Someone played Quatermass for Webber and he was keen to get Peter Robinson into the band as well.  They also took John Gustafson from Quatermass in the role of Simon.
  • Most of the songs came about the first time around except “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.”  Originally they’d had Annabel Leventon to play Mary.  She had been in Hair with Murray Head.  They recorded with her and said it was good but wasn’t quite what they were looking for.
  • There was a jazz singer performing at the Pheasantry in Chelsea who Don Norman, who was working as their manager, wanted to pitch as Pilate.  While they weren’t sold on the singer there was another performer that night that caught their eye: Yvonne Elliman.
  • They wanted someone very theatrical to be Pilate and pitched it to Barry Dennen.  Barry’s agent arranged a meeting and he agreed to record the album.
  • Tim was friends with Mike d’Abo who had recently become singer of Manred Mann.  And with that, filling in with some MCA employed artists their casting was complete.

Personnel

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Episode #75 – Tommy Bolin – Private Eyes

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Lead up to the Album:

  • Immediately after Deep Purple Mark 4 imploded Tommy Bolin formed The Tommy bolin Band.  Deep Purple ceased in mid March of 1976 and by June he was in the studio with his band recording Private Eyes.
  • Tommy had recorded demos of several of the tracks at Glen Holly Studio in Hollywood Hills.
  • Recording Session began at Cherokee Studios on June 8, 1976.
  • Private Eyes Session Dates
    • https://www.tommybolin.com/history/private-eyes/
    • Bobby Berge reports that the recording dates at Cherokee Studios in Hollywood included:
    • June 8: “Shake the Devil” and “Post Toastee”
    • June 9: “You Told Me That You Loved Me” and “Gypsy Soul”
    • June 10: “Hello Again”
    • June 11: “Someday Will Bring Our Love Home” (Carmine Appice filled in on drums.)
    • June 14: “Gotta Dance,” “Sweet Burgundy” and “Bustin’ Out for Rosie” (Bobby back on drums)
    • June 15: Tommy did a number of overdubs
    • June 16: Tommy did a number of overdub
  • They talk of using a drum booth to record trying to mimic the sound the Beatles got at Abbey Road.  It’s also mentioned that in some cases they plugged the guitar direct into the mixing board instead of micing a cab.

Personnel

  • Bass, Vocals – Reggie McBride
    • http://reggiemcbride.com/
    • Played with Rare Earth, Minnie Ripperton (Lovin’ You), Stevie Wonder, Billy Preston, Van Morrison, Elton John, Ry Cooder
  • Drums, Percussion – Bobby Berge
  • Drums – Carmine Appice
    • Interview talking about Tommy
      • How do you remember late Tommy Bolin?
      • Tommy opened up for CACTUS in one of his bands. I always thought he was a great guitarist. I helped him get into DEEP PURPLE and we were always friends. He loved drinking and taking drugs – too bad he was great!!!
      • What do you mean by “I helped him get into DEEP PURPLE”?
      • I knew Tommy and I knew he was a great player. The guys in DEEP PURPLE asked me about him, what I thought of Tommy. I told them he was a great player and a nice guy – next thing I know he was in PURPLE…
      • Did Ritchie Blackmore ever asked you to play with him?
      • Yes, he asked me to join RAINBOW as the original drummer. I couldn’t do it, at the time I had a group with Mike Bloomfield called KGB and I was signed to MCA Records and they wouldn’t let me out of my contract. So, I couldn’t do it. So he then asked Cozy. I used to have a joke with Cozy about him being my professional replacement – first with Jeff Beck and then with Ritchie Blackmore.
  • Guitar, Lead Vocals – Tommy Bolin
  • Keyboards, Vocals – Mark Stein
  • Percussion – Bobbye Hall
  • Piano – Tommy Bolin on “Hello Again”
  • Producer – Dennis Mackay and Tommy Bolin
  • Saxophone, Percussion, Vocals – Norma Jean Bell
    • Played with Dave Mason, The P-Funk All Stars, Frank Zappa.
    • In the 90s she started a Detroit-based record label.
  • Wikipedia credits Del Newman for string arrangements.
  • Wikipedia says it is engineered By Thomas La Tonore and Stephen W Tayler.
    • Stephen W Tayler worked with Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush, Rupert Hine, Rush, Bob Geldof, and Tina Turner.
    • Stephen says that this was one of the first albums he mixed and that those first few albums weren’t recorded by him.
    • Stephen W Tayler Experiential evocation by Anil Prasad
      • Private Eyes was my first proper job as a full engineer at Trident. I wasn’t involved with the recording. That was done in the States. At this time, Tommy had been playing with the touring line-up of Deep Purple, and I remember the atmosphere and entourage were quite rock and roll, with lots of partying and outrageous behaviour. 
      • But we had a wonderful time when it was just us in the mix room. There was great music and sounds blaring out of the massive studio monitors, along with very silly humor. We all wore hats. Sometimes all of us were wearing berets. We took several photos of the four of us swapping seats, but with the hats staying in the same position. We spent much of the time in hysterics, but the work did get done.
      • It was an incredible experience for me to be a part of this amazing-sounding record. Fond memories. On the last night of working on the album after Tommy had gone back to his hotel, Dennis said “I don’t think we will see Tommy again,” which felt very strange at the time. A couple of months after that we heard the tragic news that Tommy had died from an accidental overdose while on tour.

Album Art & Booklet Review

Bolin 2

Album Tracks:

Bolin 3

Side one:

  1. Bustin’ Out For Rosey (Bolin)
  2. Sweet Burgundy (Cook, Bolin)
  3. Post Toastee (Bolin)
Bolin 4

Side two:

  1. Shake the Devil (Cook, Bolin)
  2. Gypsy Soul (Cook, Bolin)
  3. Someday Will Bring Our Love Home (Tesar, Bolin)
    1. Drums by Carmine Appice?
  4. Hello, Again (Cook, Bolin)
    1. Bolin plays piano on this track
  5. You Told Me That You Loved Me (Bolin)

Reception and Review

  • As soon as the recording was complete the band was back on the road opening the tour in Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 16.
  • On the tour they played material from Teaser and Private Eyes.
  • There was a break in the tour and on August 29 they continued with Johnnie Bolin on drums and Jimmy Haslip on bass after Berge and McBride left the band.
  • The album was released in September of 1976.

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Episode #74 – The Rod Evans Singles

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Lead up to the Recording:

  • July of 1969 to 1972, Rod did very little musically.
  • During this time he seems to have attended medical school in America.
  • Some sources such as Discogs say this single was released in October of 1970.
  • Jerry Bloom says it was released in October of 1971 (via Rod Evans Facebook Page in 2014).

Note from Maria, Rod’s ex-girlfriend:

Album Art & Booklet Review

  • Original official release.
  • Bootleg versions. “The Booby Bootlegs”

Album Tracks:

Side one:

  1. Hard To Be Without You (George Fischoff & Tony Powers)
    1. Rod Evans – 1970 – Hard To Be Without You
    2. George Fischoff
      1. A Julliard graduate. Youngest composer on Broadway in 1970.
      2. Tons of credits on Discogs including “98.6” by Barry St. John (and versions by others). “We Were Made For Each Other” by The Monkees.
      3. Wrote the song “Lazy Day” by Spanky and Our Gang.
    3. Tony Powers
      1. https://tonypowersmusic.com/home.html
      2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Powers
      3. Co-wrote the song “98.6 with George Fischoff.  Wrote the song “Odyssey” which was covered by KISS.

Side two:

  1. You Can’t Love a Child Like a Woman (Barry Gordon)
    1. Rod Evans – 1970 – You Can’t Love A Child Like A Woman
    2. Barry Gordon
      1. https://www.discogs.com/artist/1079471-Barry-Gordon
      2. At the age of 6 he recorded “Nuttin’ for Christmas”

Producer – Bobby Paris

  • Blue-Eyed soul singer from The Golden Keys
  • Produced some singles for Capitol Records through until the early 80s.

Bootleg Release:

According to DPAC.at bootleg was released in November of 1970.

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Episode #73 – David Coverdale’s Whitesnake – Snakebite

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Lead up to the Album:

  • The newly formed Whitesnake was supposed to play their first gig at The Sky Bird Club in Nottingham on February 23, 1978.  Neil Murray confirms in Martin Popoff’s book “Sail Away” that this never happened.
  • 5-6 April 1978 London rehearsals
  • Recorded April 7th – 13th 1978 Central Recorders to record Snakebite EP
  • Bernie Marsden explains that “the record company wouldn’t commit to an album.”
  • They apparently had a friend — Robbie Dennis — at EMI who was a bit fan of the band but his boss wouldn’t let him sign them.  Bernie Marsden credits Dennis in having a huge part of the Whitesnake story.
  • Released June 2, 1978 in the UK.

Personnel

Album Art & Booklet Review

  • Marsden said the covers changed all over the world.  He claims they didn’t even see the covers until Lovehunter.

Technical:

Album Tracks:

Side one:

  1. Bloody Mary
    • Written by Coverdale
  2. Steal Away

Side two:

  1. Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City
    • Written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh in 1974
    • First recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland
    • Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City
    • Martin Popoff says they used this song as an audition piece for the “revolving door of players they were trying to bring into the band.”
    • Marsden says that to this day people still think Whitesnake wrote this song.
  2. Come On
    • Written by Coverdale, Marsden
    • This one would become a live staple.  This was the first song Marsden and Coverdale wrote together in a flat in London.

Reception and Review

  • Marsden says there was a fifth song for this EP called “The First Time” but it was lost and has never resurfaced.
  • Murray says there wasn’t much difference between the EP and the album Trouble because they went into the studio to do the full album just a few months later.
  • For North America this was combined with four tracks from Northwinds and sold as an LP.
  • The first 15,000 copies were pressed on white vinyl.  The second edition was pressed as black vinyl but a much smaller number.
  • Murray says this was the turning point where it shifted from Coverdale solo to the band Whitesnake.
  • On May 1, 1978 the band filmed a promo video for Snakebite at Shepperton Studios.
  • Bloody Mary was on TOTP on that day
  • 20th June 1978 London, UK: Recording backing for Bloody Mary for Top Of The Pops. 21st June 1978 London, UK: Filming for Top Of The Pops. Aired 22nd June.
  • Snakebite video:
    • 0:00 Come On
    • 3:30 – Aint’ No Love in the Heart of the City
    • 8:05 – Bloody Mary
    • 11:07 – Steal Away (fade out)
  • The Snakebite video was shown in the UK as support feature to the Bilitis soft porn movie by David Hamilton and premiered on June 22. David got some offers to appear in movies afterwards
  • Pictures from the premier.
  • Whitesnake – Bloody Mary (Top Of The Pops 1978)

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Bonus Episode #6 – Interview with Ray Fenwick

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In this bonus episode we interview Ray Fenwick. We talk about his beginnings as a session player, his time working with Joe Meek, The Spencer Davis Group, Fancy, his solo album “Keep America Beautiful, Get a Haircut,” Jon Lord’s “Windows” project, The Butterfly Ball, Wizard’s Convention, Eddie Hardin, Ian Gillan Band (“Clear Air Turbulence” in particular), his single “Queen of the Night,” what he’s working on now, and more!