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Showing posts with label Snake Box. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snake Box. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Purple Pyramid Records artist: Harvey Mandel - Snake Box - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Snake Box, from Harvey Mandel and it's very adventurous. For those of you unfamiliar with Mandel's work, he played with Charlie Musselwhite, Canned Heat, John Mayall, Rolling Stones, Love and the Ventures. This 6 disc set, 5 studio releases packaged in original covers and one live jam set make up a good cross section of Mandel's early work. Also in the box are 4 pages of liner notes, poster photos and track info.

Disc One, Cristo Redentor was released in 1968 and shows a strong slice of the musical experimentation that was happening at the time. Before Six with it's Latin rhythm and horns is not unlike things that Butterfield was experimenting with. Musselwhite adds his distinctive harp tones on the Lark. The Snake has a lot of the sounds that you would expect from a San Francisco band of the late 60's. Long Wait shows true signs of blues roots with interesting interweaving of guitar, keys and percussion. A long experimental guitar solo on Wade In The Water backed by strings shows definite direction. You Can't tell Me has a poppy rhythm but again aggressively mixed musical styles. This is a disc that definitely warrants a listen if you don't know or already love the roots of jam music.

Disc Two, Righteous, released in 1969 shows a blues progression opening with the title track and Mandel doing guitar swells over a 12 bar melody. Jive Samba has a much smoother jazz ballad feel with strong horn backing. Funk steps up on Love Of Life with horns and drums laying down a 60's splashed horn track and Mandel taking a bluesy solo over the top. Quite cool! Poontang again shows the early fusion of blues, soul, rock and R&B with keys and guitar. Cool! Just A Hair More is a straight up slow blues with Mandel wailing away. Excellent!

 Disc Three, Games Guitars Play, released in 1970 shows a more mature and adventurous jazz blues fusion opening with a cool funky Leavin' Trunk. Very nice! Classic Honky Tonk has the blues country feel with a Roy Buchanan like flair. Excellent! Capurange is one of my favorites on this disc with a cool rhythm and twin guitar leads. A cool exploration with just enough solidity.

 Disc Four, Baby Batter, released in 1971 has an even closer to the funky side of the blues with similarity in features to the Oblivion Express. Title track has a great groove and more succinct guitar soloing. Midnight Sun, remaining in the funky groove shows Mandel's continued maturation and control of his own expression on the guitar. Morton Grove Mama is a cool boogie with Mandel trading off with Howard Wales on organ and a strong driving bass line of Larry Taylor. Freedom Ball is a real funky track but with wailing guitar work from Mandel and groovin drums by Colin Bailey and congo by Big Black. El Stinger has some really intense guitar work over a loose funky rhythm. Hank The Ripper, the disc closer goes back to primary 12 bar form but with again loose experimentation. A definite change in each disc.

 Disc Five, The Snake, released in 1972 shows a further polishing and change to a more structured but still intense style. Opening with The Divining Rod has a great tight drum intensity and Mandel takes a structured approach to his experimentation. Very cool! Title track, The Snake has a real swampy funk and a eerie guitar lead. Levitation is a cool 12 bar number with steel and 6 string work. Certainly not your typical blues but definitely a solid blues beat and cool guitars. Wrapping disc 5 is Bite The Electric Eel with a solid drive consistent with the style I associate with Jeff Beck. Straight ahead beat and reckless guitar work. Excellent!

 Disc Six, Live At The Matrix was recorded live in San Francisco in 1968 with Jerry Garcia, Elvin Bishop, Stephen Miller, Mickey Hart and John Chambers. Opening with Jam, a 36 plus minute jam featuring a dead like extended guitar jam. Elvin Bishop's You've Got to Feel It is up next and holds the soul groove to Bishop's band. Nice guitar work and Miller's key work fill the track. An extended 3 O'clock In The Morning has a definite blues groove. Picking up speed as the track progresses over 9 minutes, the guitars interweave. She's A Mojo Worker has a definite R&B feel and extending over 20 minutes, finds the guitar players searching each expression.

 This is a very cool exhibition of Mandel's early work and one that will find interesting to the extent that you like guitar, improvisation and history of rock and blues music.

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Legendary Blues Guitarist Harvey “The Snake” Mandel Releases Early Solo Albums In 6CD Box Set!

Legendary Blues Guitarist Harvey “The Snake” Mandel Releases Early Solo Albums In 6CD Box Set!

Los Angeles, CA - Innovative blues guitarist Harvey Mandel, has had the kind of career that musicians dream about. Most known for his pivotal work with blues rock institution Canned Heat in 1969 & 70 including their legendary performance at Woodstock, Mandel has over the course of his 6 decade career collaborated with music luminaries such as John Mayall, The Rolling Stones, Love, The Ventures and many more! But Mandel’s genius playing truly shines on his solo efforts, which he began releasing in 1968, and continues to release to this day. Now, some of these early solo albums are being made available in a deluxe 6CD box set from Purple Pyramid Records on January 20. The limited edition Snake Box includes 5 classic solo albums each packaged in its own sleeve with original artwork plus a bonus 1968 concert recording and a full-color booklet with in-depth liner notes! Taking its title from Mandel’s nickname “The Snake” given to him by Canned Heat’s keyboardist for his cracked leather jacket and his snake-like guitar licks, this box set is an essential piece for fans of this lethally talented musician.

Harvey Mandel began his career as the original guitarist for Chicago blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, appearing on his 1966 debut album Stand Back!. He then relocated to the Bay Area, performing often at a club called The Matrix, where local favorites like Jerry Garcia and Elvin Bishop would sit in and jam (a recording of which makes up the bonus disc of Snake Box). He then met up with renowned producer Abe “Voco”' Kesh, releasing his first solo album titled, Cristo Redentor in 1968, which included his extra-terrestrial version of “Wade in the Water,” still a classic to this day. Then the news arrived that Harvey Mandel had replaced Henry Vestine as lead guitarist of Canned Heat, and it was clear that his talents had been noticed by more than just a few musicians. After several tours and 3 albums with the Heat, he was recruited by British blues man John Mayall to be a member of the Bluesbreakers. In 1971 Mandel resumed his solo career, releasing several more albums including Baby Batter & The Snake.

One of Mandel’s most significant session credits was his participation on The Rolling Stones’ 1976 LP Black and Blue. His unique style is evident on the song “Hot Stuff.” When Mick Taylor left the Stones at the end of 1974, Jagger & Co. auditioned various guitarists, among them Mandel and the man who eventually got the job, Ronnie Wood. Following his success with the Stones, he became a busy session player with groups such as Love and The Ventures, and opened for Jeff Beck on his Canadian tour as part of a power trio with Jimmy Haslip, of the Yellowjackets. He relocated to Chicago in the late ‘70s and continued to tour extensively as well as supporting groups such as Roxy Music. Throughout the next 3 decades, Mandel has earned copious praises for both his solo work and his collaborative efforts becoming one of the most influential and best known guitar players of his era. Now’s your chance to own a box set featuring the albums that started it all!

To order the box set:

To download on iTunes:

DISC 1: Cristo Redentor (1968)
1. Cristo Redentor • 2. Before Six • 3. The Lark • 4. Snake • 5. Long Wait • 6. Wade In The Water • 7. Lights Out • 8. Bradley’s Barn • 9. You Can’t Tell Me • 10. Nashville 1 A.M.

DISC 2: Righteous (1969)
1. Righteous • 2. Jive Samba • 3. Love Of Life • 4. Poontang • 5. Just A Hair More • 6. Summer Sequence • 7. Short’s Stuff • 8. Boo-Bee-Doo • 9. Campus Blues

DISC 3: Games Guitars Play (1970)
1. Leavin’ Trunk • 2. Honky Tonk • 3. I Don’t Need No Doctor • 4. Dry Your Eyes • 5. Ridin’ High • 6. Capurange • 7. SeƱor Blues • 8. Games People Play

DISC 4: Baby Batter (1971)
1. Baby Batter • 2. Midnight Sun • 3. One Way Street • 4. Morton Grove Mama • 5. Freedom Ball • 6. El Stinger • 7. Hank The Ripper

DISC 5: The Snake (1972)
1. The Divining Rod • 2. Pegasus • 3. Lynda Love • 4. Peruvian Flake • 5. The Snake • 6. Uno Ino • 7. Ode To The Owl • 8. Levitation • 9. Bite The Electric Eel

DISC 6: Live At The Matrix 1968
1. Jam • 2. You’ve Got To Feel It • 3. 3 O’Clock In The Morning • 4. She’s A Mojo Worker