Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Long Time Comin
Genres: Pop, Rock
The reissue of 1968 album features 14 tracks including 4 bonus tracks, 'Sunny', 'Mystery', 'Look Into My Eyes' (previously unreleased) & Going Down Slow' (previously unreleased), packaged in a digipak. Featuring such legen... more »
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The reissue of 1968 album features 14 tracks including 4 bonus tracks, 'Sunny', 'Mystery', 'Look Into My Eyes' (previously unreleased) & Going Down Slow' (previously unreleased), packaged in a digipak. Featuring such legendary musicians as Mike Bloomfield, Richie Havens & Buddy Miles. SMM.
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Psychedelic BIG BAND BLUES nearly forgotten
W. T. Hoffman | Pennsylvania, United States | 01/07/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'd known the ELECTRIC FLAG forever, tho I'd think, "How is this band so important? The real motor and instigator of this band was Michael Bloomfield. Bloomfield was famous around 1965-1967 in the USA, the way Clapton or Jeff Beck was in England. First he played on the early Butterfield Blues albums, including EAST WEST, which came out in 1966 with the first 14 minute raga rock freak out song, "East West". Most of that song is played by Bloomfield, especially, the eastern raga scales. Also, Bloomfield contributed lead guitar on Dylan's 'HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED". Just that would have kept him in our country's musical history books. BUT, add the BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND, the ELECTRIC FLAG, and BLOOMFIELD KOOPER SUPER SESSIONS, you have a top shelf 60s legend. Michael Bloomfield faced 1967 away from his sweet home Chicago, moving to acid drenched San Fransesco, where he hooked up with Nick Gravenites (composer and blues singer extrodinaire), and Buddy Miles, who ended up as Jimi Hendrix's drummer after the Experience broke up. Combining intelligent, cutting edge blues guitar, a fantastic blues singer and songwriter , with a funk drummer before there WAS funk, Bloomfield creates a NEW SOUND for big band blues, at a time when NEW SOUNDS were erupting everywhere. The band in question, ELECTRIC FLAG, brought together BLUES and POP music, with a Chicago HORN section, with a good dose of LSD. AND YES, this was DEFINATELY a psychedelic band, tho there's not much flipped out music on THIS album. (Most of their Psychedelic work ended up on soundtrack albums like Roger Corman's THE TRIP, and the rare 60s underground film, YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.) Once you get past the basic blues song structure, you hear how all these influences, and giant talent, brought together excellent execution of material, wild time changes, experimental soundscapes, and heart breaking blues riffs, mixed with Indian raga rock. Music like the STAX VOLT sound predominated, but this album is great for the songs that people forget about. The song I listen to all the time is ANOTHER COUNTRY. IT's a total psychedelic masterpiece, with sitar droning, (Courtesy of Richie Havens), and the long, modernist song center, where the music breaks into free form freak out. Seriously, for a few minutes it gets downright scary. THEN, the brass figure breaks in like gangbusters, the sitar starts to drone, while Nick Gravenites begins to sing of the horrors of the time. Back then, songs were called "heavy" which often sound trite, or dated. However, ALMOST ALL of this album, that's NOT the case. The sound was freaky then, and its freaky now.
THE ELECTRIC FLAG's "A LONG TIME COMING" is a compendium of all Bloomfield's influences, like Dylan in 1965, the Butterfield Blues band's extended blues, and a stax/ volt reed section, with a funky, freaky drummer. BINGO..music history is made. The Flag's first album was huge, and a big influence on Janis Joplin's KOSMIC BLUES BAND. (Doubt it? Check out how many Nick Gravenite Songs are on her album, after the Electric Flag album came out.) The psychedelic Funk sound influenced JIMI HENDRIX to leave the Experience, and hook up with the Flag's drummer, on BAND OF GYPSIES. When the CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY got their first album together, it was almost a xerox of this band's sound, minus the funk and deep blues. In fact, without ELECTRIC FLAG, I doubt we'd have heard CHICAGO's first 3 albums, which were psychedelic and experimental, before they mellowed out. THis album is Michael Bloomfield's true masterpiece, and yet, as soon as he succeeded with the sound, he left the band to Buddy Mile's leadership. (The second Electric Flag album looses everything, that makes the first album so great....BLOOMFIELD.) Michael Bloomfield abandoned this success to record the SUPER SESSION album with Al Kooper. A huge smash, tho by this time Bloomfield was addicted to smack, like his other psychedelic blues buddy, Janis Joplin. HE had a couple of other cool albums, before his long slow demise during the 70s. Gravenites and Bloomfield LIVE at the FILMORE WEST 1969 has great live blues, even country rock, with lots of songs written or sung by Gravenites. But it can be argued, that after ELECTRIC FLAG's first album, Bloomfield lost his direction as an artist. But on this album, a lack of tight stylistic focus contributes to an EYE OPENING RANGE OF SOUNDS, that really made me a major fan of Bloomfield's work. You like JUMP BLUES? Listen to the song WINE. You like Slow Blues like early SAVOY BROWN played so well? Listen to the song TEXAS. You like that OTIS REDDING R&B sound, or STEVE CROPPER? Listen to YOU DONT REALIZE. And, if you enjoy Psychedelic freak out somewhat like the Grateful Dead on ANTHEM OF THE SUN? Then, get into their song ANOTHER COUNTRY. It's all here waiting, for over 40 years, just waiting to be discovered again.
Some of the less innovative material from the second album is tagged onto the album's end, including the single SUNNY, and Easy Rider. Also are two outtakes, one of which, GOIN DOWN SLOW is another fantastic slow blues. The horn charts are almost like clarion calls, nearly classical for the times (until the songs start, and you get those horn jabs, or backing horn chords). And everywhere, restrained, but present, is BLOOMFIELDS AMAZING ACID BLUES GUITAR WORK. The only part of this act, which isnt drenched in the psychedelic formula of the times, are the lyrics. To the band's credit, you dont get to hear about how "green blue rays of alien love bring courage to the hobbits who want to stop the war." No, this band remained deeply grounded in the blues street attitude. This blues foundation, the kick butt horn charts, and down to earth lyrics, keep the psychedelic element from becoming trite, or silly. Nick Gravenites wrote incredible songs at this time. (Remember Janis Joplin's songs BURIED ALIVE IN THE BLUES, and WORK ME LORD? Nick Gravenites wrote both of them, so that's what I'm talking about.) As the 60s becomes more of a historical artifact, and not a memory of a generation, its important that future generations latch onto the very best of the 1960s artistic renaiscence. Bloomfield's name, and this first ELECTRIC FLAG album A LONG TIME COMIN' needs to be remembered, as the initial influence for everyone from Janis Joplin's breakaway KARMIC BLUES album, Jimi Hendrix's funky blues extensions, and the fountainhead of the early sounds of the band CHICAGO. I'm SO happy to have finally found out what this album has buried in it. Now, who's going to dig this? Well, you had better like Blues, and you had better like experimentation, and you had better like horn charts from R&B songs, and you had better enjoy gut busting blues singers. The ELECTRIC FLAG is connected to the genre of other american bands like BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS and early CHICAGO. Yet, they surpase those more famous bands. A LONG TIME COMING is a blazing example of what the freedom to experiment, and mix genres, did for a creative group of people, willing to innovate and expand musical boundries. Bloomfield's guitar playing is at turns scorching, then dripping with languid blues understatement. I waited to get into this band, and I regret it. Even if you only like half the songs after you buy it, you are still getting a huge bargain."
GREAT BUT COULD HAVE BEEN BETTERQ
Bill Your 'Free Form FM Handi Cyber | Mahwah, NJ USA | 04/26/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ok, I usually don't review stuff this well known, but I just had to comment on this album. I have always loved it, and it has always bothered the absolute hell out of me.
The songs themselves are no problem: Groovin' is easy, Sonny, Another Country, all the writting and arranging the album is great, and of course, you have Mike Bloomfield, and what better secret weapon could a band ask for,
The problem with Long Time Commin is that it got caught right in between the post-Sargent Pepper phase, when even Lawance Welk thought he could be psychadelic, and the back-to-basics wave that developed in rock late in 1968, with Music for Big Pink and John Wesley Harding. You have a lot of really good R&B numbers on here that have way to much eccho, way too many effects that just don't need to be there, and this very strange flanged sound that just doesn't fit this type of music. Another Country is a great jazz piece that segues into bassa nova, but do you really need the sound montage in between? (I know, i know, it was 1968)
People at this point were re-learning to record rock, as the techniology was getting a lot better every few months, but this is the kind of music you could have recorded on a 4 track tube board in mono and it would have sounded great. In fact, they probably should have.
Long Time Commin is in a lot of ways a victim of its time and technology. Listen to some of Nick Gravities solo albums and you'll realize how much better this could have been. Having said that, the band is great and the writting itself is too, and this is also a great album as an historical artifact, so it is definately, strangely, essential."