Mike Cooper - Places i Know (Progressive Rock UK 1971)

Rabu, 16 Januari 2013

Size: 98 MB
Bitrate: 256
Ripped by: ChrisGoesRock
Artwork Included
Source: Japan 24-Bit Remaster

Mike Cooper's third album for Dawn/Pye was to have been a double album, one which revealed his country-folk side, and the other was his rock-jazz/freak-out side. Management decided to issue Places I Know first, and withheld the release of its second half (and the original title for the entire project), The Machine Gun Company, for two years. Fans of early- to mid-'70s West Coast Americana -- Randy Newman, Jackson Browne, Neil Young, Tim Buckley, Gram Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Bob Dylan -- circa 1965-1969 -- will have little trouble finding the majority of this album thoroughly enjoyable. Tracks such as "Night Journey" are almost apes of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" -- the only time in Dylan's recording career that he ever directly copped from another songwriter; we could argue all day about where Dylan ripped the melody off from, but it's pointless. 

Cooper here apes the lyrical style and even the tone of the piano. However, it's of little consequence since the rest of the disc is a gorgeous blend of acoustic and electric guitars (with wah-wah pedals pumping), bleating R&B saxes, and psychedelic British country music. Notable tracks -- and based on the above you already know what they sound like -- are "Goodbye Blues, Goodbye," the title track, and the amazingly heart-rending country blues "Paper and Smoke." Places I Know stands alone as a wonderful collection of songs, but listened to along with The Machine Gun Company, it is an introduction to another dimension of Mike Cooper. While the album is different from his previous Dawn/Pye recordings, it's not that much of a stretch musically from there to here. From Places I Know to The Machine Gun Company is a huge leap within the same recording session. Places I Know is a tender, moving, and frightfully solid set -- it's a goodbye, in a way, because Cooper would never make a record remotely like this again. 

Born 1943, England. A singer and guitarist based for most of his years in Reading, Berkshire, England, Cooper was one of the leading lights of the country blues movement in Britain in the 60s. His first bookings came at the Shades cafe, and led to his first recording, Out Of The Shades, an EP for the independent Kennet Records label. By now a major advocate of the blues, he established a popular folk/blues club in Reading and was one of the instigators of the Matchbox label, for which he also recorded. There were even rumours that he turned down an offer to join the Rolling Stones.

Between 1968 and 1974 Cooper appeared on the Pye Records, Dawn and Fresh Air labels, and he also contributed guitar work to records by Ian A. Anderson, Stefan Grossman and Heron. His own solo album debut came in 1969 with Oh Really?, but it was not until the advent of a follow-up collection a year later that he had begun to write his own material. This only gelled fully on the same year’s minor masterpiece, Trout Steel, a visionary mix of blues and free jazz improvisation. The formula was further refined on 1971’s Places I Know, which was scheduled to have accompanied his collaboration with Reading band Machine Gun as a double album. In the event Dawn/Pye released each record separately and, unsure of Cooper’s direction, refused to countenance any further records. Cooper, however, was still under contract, and the two-year recording hiatus this enforced undoubtedly damaged his career. Disillusioned, he travelled to Spain to become a fisherman, until Tony Hall of the Fresh Air production company invited him back to record Life And Death In Paradise in 1974. The album allowed his bitterness towards the music industry to surface. 

Another period of seclusion, this time in Heidelberg, Germany, followed. There he liaised with local actors and poets, and was drawn to the underground avant garde scene. On his return to England he joined Eddie Prevost’s band and also worked with saxophonist Lol Coxhill. 1982’s Live From Papa Madeo saw him return to the blues, this time rooted in the Delta tradition rather than his previous ragtime-inspired approach. Further musical expansion, with the experimental dance project Tristerio System and world music with Dudu Pukwana, ensued. Truly eclectic, he also flirted with Greek Rembetico and Hawaiian slide guitar music, before forming the Recedents with Coxhill and drummer Roger Turner, and the Uptown Hawaiians with Coxhill, French slide guitarist Cyril Lefebvre, Steve Beresford and Max Eastley. Cooper has written extensively about the Hawaiian slack key guitar style and is a regular contributor to the UK magazine Folk Roots aka fROOTS. [AMG]

01. Country Water  
02. Three-Forty Eight  
03. Night Journey  
04. Time To Time  
05. Paper & Smoke  
06. Broken Bridges  
07. Now I Know  
08. Goodbye Blues, Goodbye  
09. Places I Know  
10. Schaabisch Hall (Bonus Track)  
11. Time In Hand (Bonus Track)

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