The Sons Of Adam. Saturday’s Sons – The Complete Recordings 1964-1968. High Moon Records

Occasionally Blabber’n’Smoke will wander off the roots music path to investigate other releases and when this fine compilation of 1960s garage rock popped through the door, we were definitely intrigued. The band’s name was familiar and, sure enough, there they were on one of the Pebbles LPs with a song written by none other than Arthur Lee of Love. That song, Feathered Fish, was a powerful slice of early pop psychedelia (with Lee revisiting some of it on Love’s Seven + Seven Is) and to have it here, in vastly better sound quality, was the gateway drug into spending some time with this disc.

For a band who released no albums and who really are no more than a footnote in the annals of Nugget styled punk/garage/psychedelia, they are treated very generously here. Available on CD or as a double vinyl release with a detailed 48 page booklet, it’s a very handsome package. Consisting of the A and B sides of their three singles, three unreleased studio songs and an eight song live set recorded at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom in 1966, the album also contains six numbers recorded when the band were into surf music and went by the name of The Fender IV. Altogether, that’s around 70 minutes of prime mid sixties LA rock.

The disc kicks off with the live show which has them playing four of their own songs alongside typical beat group fare such as the Solomon Burke number Everybody Need Someone To Love, The Yardbirds’ Evil Hearted You and, of course, Gloria. The sound quality is quite astounding as the band pound through their set with guitarist Randy Holden sounding like John Cipollina as he eviscerates Gloria with all manner of mind bending guitar effects. They sound as tight as a duck’s ass on stage and the studio songs reinforce the idea that, had they taken off, they could have been major chart contenders. They sound confident and assured and there’s a definite punch, especially on the four songs produced by Gary Usher. They kick off with the Mersey beat influenced Take My Hand before looking to The Stones on Tomorrow’s Going To be Another Day. I Told You Once Before and Without Love sally into folk rock territory al la The Byrds or The Turtles and their take on You’re A Better Man Than I is much more muscular than The Yardbirds version while its B side, Saturday’s Son is a rocket fuelled belter.

The postscript surfing numbers by The Fender IV which complete the album are certainly not there just to pad out the album. Leaning much more towards Dick Dale than Brian Wilson they’re turbo charged with the guitars set to stun as on the thrilling Mar Gaya and Everybody Up while Lonely Surf Guitar is quite simply, just astounding. All in all, a fantastic collection and a must for anyone interested in garage/punk/surf/psych pop of the sixties.


Ian M Bailey. You Paint The Pictures. Kool Kat Music

“If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it” goes the old axiom and, in Ian M Bailey’s case he certainly adheres to it. A veritable one man band, Bailey has just about cornered the market in revitalised California inspired jangled pop and rock over the past couple of years and You Paint The Pictures reinforces this, albeit with more nods to the trippier side of LA than on his previous album Songs To Dream Along To.

Once again Bailey has co-written all of the songs with Glasgow’s Daniel Wylie, the pair seeming to be in, a word which has recently become all too familiar, lockstep. And, as before, their collaboration comes up with golden nuggets such as on the sunshine rays of Life Without You which is just about as perfect a candied California pop confection as one could wish for. In fact, several of the songs here inhabit a similar terrain with jangled guitar and heavenly harmonies coalescing as on Change Is Easy and I Wanted The Sun To Shine while I Don’t Want To Start Again zones into mid sixties Gene Clark territory and does so brilliantly.

The trippier aspect looms large on the instrumental The Year Of The Tiger, a mobius strip like repetition channelling The Doors with its groovy organ pulse while Brazil, a Mondo Hollywood like loose limbed slinky affair really should come accompanied by psychedelic lighting and painted go-go dancers being ogled by Jack Nicholson and Peter Fonda. However, it’s the mini epic Dreams Of Love which really takes all of the honours here as Bailey wanders, wide eyed, through a psychedelic mindscape peopled by the likes of David Crosby and Curt Boettcher, creating a truly impressive trip of a song. Sure enough, You Paint The Pictures is coloured by the past, but Bailey and Wylie bring that past bang up to date with a super high definition fidelity. It’s a gorgeous listen.

Buy You Paint The Pictures here

Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra. The Party’s Over. Tea Pad Recordings

After the relatively inward looking Soul Of My City, an album which found these retro rockers adding some social commentary regarding their home town of Newcastle amidst their usual old time carousing, The Party’s Over might be considered as a coming of age album. The opening and closing songs (Go Home (The Party’s Over) and The Doctor Told Me) both deal with the perils of over indulgence and the inevitable reckoning while several other cuts are sung in the wake of break ups. However, anyone fearing a sober and sombre listen need not fear as the band inject the songs with their usual infectious joy.

They open with the hybrid jug band blues of Go Home (The Party’s Over) which romps along with Tom Cronin’s harmonica getting a starring part (reminding one of Jimmie Fadden of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and they bookend the album in a similar style (with more of a tongue in cheek attitude) on The Doctor Told Me although here the song eventually blows up into a grand New Orleans like bluster. In between, and as on previous albums, they sashay from style to style with some aplomb.

There’s the sax blown exotic sway of She Hypnotised Me which rivals the work of Leiber & Stoller’s songs for the Coasters, the zydeco strut of Snip Snap Snout and, quite wonderfully, a trip to the American south west on the Morricone influenced The Horse That You Rode In, a total hoot of a song with Heron tackling every cliché he can find (lyrically and musically) and doing so quite brilliantly, whip lash and all.  That song is followed by what might be the best one on the album which is the glorious rock’n’roll rumble of Dilly Dally Sally, a song which finds the band on fire with twanged guitar and urgent organ stabs pushing Heron’s frenzied vocals.

While there’s always been a great deal of fun to be had with Rob Heron’s previous albums, it’s very  tempting to say that The Party’s Over is his and The Tea pad Orchestra’s best yet. You can check for yourself as the band are currently on tour, all dates here.


Live Review: Danny George Wilson + Katy Rose Bennett. Glasgow Americana Festival @ The Glad Cafe. Thursday 6th October 2022

It’s time for the second post pandemic Glasgow Americana Festival and this writer was especially impressed by the inclusion in the line up of Danny George Wilson who was appearing without the safety net of his excellent Champions Of The World band. Danny & The Champs, as anyone who has seen them can testify, are simply one of the best live acts around (with two brilliant live albums available to support this) but, having released his first solo album for 16 years in late 2021, this time Wilson is appearing under his own name with a fresh band and a fresh sound.

It’s not a radical makeover. Champs mainstay, guitarist Paul Lush remains in place and he continues to thrill with his scintillating playing while bassist Joe Bennett has been an occasional Champ and tours with Wilson’s other famed troupe, Bennett Wilson Poole (the Bennett here being Joe’s brother, Robin). Completing the line up are Steve Brooks on drums and Henry Garratt on keyboards.

The two opening songs from Wilson’s solo album opened the set. A short instrumental flurry of sound led into a driving and confident Lost Future which segued into the loping Sincerely Hoping with Lush launching into the first of many incendiary solos of the night. This was impressive playing, the band tight and the songs rousing, a beefed up delivery of an old Champs song, Those Days was power pop heaven. The pace slowed down on Right Place, another song from the new album which had more than a hint of cosmic country in its gentle lilt which eventually grew into an epic guitar swathed climax.

Recalling that the last time he played Glasgow it was in this venue with Bennett Wilson Poole, Wilson and the band launched into a worthy rendition of Not Forgetting (Just Not Remembering) with Lush’s guitar flourishes making up for the absence of Tony Poole’s Rickenbacker chimes. It was followed by an acoustic interlude with Lush picking on mandolin which found Wilson revisiting two songs from the first Danny & The Champs album. The Truest Kind and Red Tree Song. These reminded one of The Champs’ folksier days and when Bennett played a mournful trumpet towards the end of the latter song it was reminiscent of that peculiar melancholy which Roy Harper used to mine so well.

All amped up again, Wilson quipped that they now intended to play their way through Yes’s Tales Of Topographic Oceans – a cool joke given that he admits that in his day job as a record shop owner he has had has his eyes and ears opened wide to a number of past acts and genres (although that Yes album is still a bit of a stretch), some of which influenced the sound and textures of Another Place. The next songs were more kaleidoscopic and, dare one say it, almost psychedelic. Heaven For Hiding glistened and Can You Feel Me (with its Carly Simon intro) had a Big Star like jangle to it before evolving into a lengthy “space rock” like jam with Garratt’s keyboards sounding as if they had been beamed down from Hawkwind’s orbiting spaceship. A cover of Spirit’s We’ve Got A Lot To Learn (with some George Harrison licks thrown in) compounded the thought that Wilson is hugely enjoying his access to his shop’s “pre-loved” albums. They wound up with a rollicking and raucous Jukebox, an old Grand Drive song which was followed by an even more glorious slice of jangled and boss infused rock’n’roll as they sashayed powerfully through Every Beat Of My Heart. This was a thrilling close to a great show. Proof that Wilson, with or without the Champs, is a most engaging and powerful force on the stage.

Opening the show was another Bennett, Katy Rose, sister of the aforementioned Joe and Robin. Playing a fine looking Gretsch electric guitar, she sang a short set of songs which ranged from folk nostalgia on the delightful Jack & Ivy to a Billy Bragg like sense of outrage on the savagely delivered She Was Just Walking Home. Clearly the Glasgow audience had warmed to her (her T-shirt, adorned with the slogan “ Tories Lie Bab” – bab being a Birmingham term for babe – undoubtedly helped) as Bennett was able to cajole them into singing along with her on two songs from her recent acapella album, Alone On A Hill. To hear the low thrum of “yoy, yoy, yoy” repeated by the crowd throughout Trees, so early in the evening, was somewhat akin to, as Bennett said, being at a singing workshop, but it was also quite uniting, a theme repeated in the other sing-along, Growing Peas, where we all sang “I really need to see you and sing the songs out loud, being in a place with the people I love and playing to a real live crowd”. A lovely post pandemic nod to the power of live music.