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Scott Morgan speaks to eyeplugs’ Colin Bryce (Mohair Sweets)

Colin Bryce A.K.A Mohair Sweets recently caught up with a couple of legends for eyeplug.net…

Scott Morgan and the Sights: Rough and Ready (Rouge Records) After a lengthy – seven years in fact – wait we finally have a new Scott Morgan album! His last record was the 2010 release on Alive Records simply titled Scott Morgan. The UK based Easy Action label has done some collections of Scott’s tenure with the Hydromatics, Sonics Rendezvous Band and his solo records of the 80s and 90s but in terms of new material this is the latest.

In the years that have passed since his previous solo record, Scott has dealt with a serious health scare and a lengthy recovery period. Thankfully he is now back in playing shape and ready to take his rightful place as an elder statesman of Detroit rock & soul. With backing by the Eddie Baranek led Sights -whose own lengthy resume includes some of the finest Motor City sounds of the last couple of decades – Morgan is able to get down and get with some of the great – now almost lost – classic soul sounds.

The band’s material (co-written by Morgan and Baranek) owes much to their shared influences and with the added bonus of horns, keys and backing singers they easily chug, groove and soothe through the tunes. From salty (“Mom Scott’s Smoking”, “Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me”) to sweet (“Jamaica Vanilla”) and deep (“Soothe Her”) this is the real deal Soul. Don’t be square, get it here and get it now!
BUY IT HERE

Interview with Scott Morgan

Eyeplug: This new record was a couple years in the making wasn’t it?

Scott: About two years. I lost my voice during my downtime but we hit it off right away after that and started putting a show together. Then Eddie and I decided to write all the album together. You can find it at rougerecordco.com We’re pressing 12-inch vinyl at Third Man, Detroit, as well as digital downloads.

Eyeplug: I mentioned to Eddie that I hear more of a Stax influence in the writing. Is that a fair comparison?

Scott: We started off old-school soul, but then it just became our own originals. The live show will also include some Rationals and soul covers like Nina Simone, Staple Singers etc.

Eyeplug: Its tough times in the music industry for gigs and touring. What are you hoping will come about with this new record?

Scott: A release party is at Ants Hall in Hamtramck December 1st. The record is in pre-order now and hit the streets October 27. After that, we would like to travel as much as possible.

Eyeplug: I’m a little surprised you didn’t play any guitar on the record. When you and Eddie were writing the tunes did you work out anything on guitar or did you just leave it all to Eddie? Surely you must have chimed in here and there?

Scott: I stopped playing guitar on the Solution sessions for the most part. Now I write lyrics and Eddie handles the music with me participating in the arrangements. I did chime in here and there. The Sights were a rock combo. We added horns and singers. I grew up on Motown with an equal dose of Stax and all of Soul.

Eyeplug: I’m sure all your fans are hoping you get the show on the road beyond a few select Mid-West or NYC dates but without tour support, a larger band is bound to be a challenge. I guess the one good thing about being based in Ann Arbor/Detroit is that with only a few hours here and there you should be able to hit Chicago etc. Do you think that will be manageable? Say yes. HA!

Scott: We’ll start in Michigan and hope to travel more of the U.S.

 


Interview with Eddie Baranek

Eyeplug: So this is the second time you’ll have recorded and worked with Scott Morgan on a project. This time though you participated in the writing of the tunes. Could you tell me a bit about how it came about and how you approached the tunes?

Eddie: Yes, the first time Scott and I collaborated on a record I was brought in midway through the recording. That was fun, but I just sang a little with Scott and played some guitar. This time around Scott and I wrote all ten tunes together, face to face in a room. It began a few years ago when Scott was recuperating from a serious health scare. I asked him to sing a song onstage with my old band The Sights. It went really well, and you could hear that his voice was in there and he was back. It quickly grew into a “Hey man, why don’t we try writing some stuff?” Scott would bring a batch of lyrics over – it’d usually be a handful of different ideas. Then I’d pick one or two of them and we’d start chipping away at it. I’d have a guitar in my hand and I’d work through chord changes and when he dug one he’d tell me. Or, if I was strumming and he didn’t say anything to me then I knew we were alright, ha-ha. We’d write in batches of 2-3 songs at a time, and then we’d go in and record them. Once those tunes were recorded, we’d get together and write more. It never took us long to finish a song once we both got cooking.

Eyeplug: I hear a strong Stax influence in the tunes. Am I wrong?

Eddie: You are correct! I don’t think it was a conscious thing, like let’s aim this thing toward Memphis or Georgia. It was more organic, and that’s probably why Scott and I are working together in the first place. When I was a teenager and I first heard The Rationals I could identify with it right away. Sure, it was 1999 and 35 years after they debuted, but it was coming from the same world I was coming from. Anyway, I am not big on a two-guitar attack, and I wanted to hear Scott’s voice come through in a different way. His voice works so well on slower, moodier tunes, like a mournful ballad, so some of the tunes we wrote were in that vein. It was a lot of fun, and we brought horns and female backing vocalists in and they are all over the record.

Eyeplug: What are you hoping to do with the new record in terms of touring and stuff?

Eddie: We are gearing up for a record release party December 1st at Ant Hall in Hamtramck. After that, we shall see!!!! Maybe New York City, Chicago, anything east of the Mississippi.

Eyeplug: I’m pressuring you guys to get some dates west of the Mississippi of course but I know nowadays with a line-up of six pieces or more that will be a major challenge. Any interest in making it up to Toronto at least? I know Scott’s last trip up there with Powertrane was a bit of a hassle.

Eddie: We’d all love to be touring, I’d think. But this record was made with nine people. Toronto would be fantastic, and I don’t think unrealistic. The Sights had played Toronto a ton of times, and I know Scott has as well. I’ve heard the border has relaxed a bit for musicians. We’ll see, I know Chicago is on our “go to” list.

Eyeplug: Both you and Scott have a solid history in the Motor City area so what kind of interest are you seeing from fans regarding the new record?

Eddie: I’ll try to be humble here but I think it’s a great record, one that serves Scott’s voice well. Not only that, but I love the stories in his lyrics and he has the street cred to back it all up. When he opens his mouth and sings, it’s believable. I think authenticity goes a long way. Fans are loving the combination – The Sights were on their last leg and so we shifted gears and just started backing up Scott. The band only exists today as his backing band. I’ve built up history and cred as well, and it’s just been really fun to collaborate with someone who’s been in the business for over 50 years! Fifty years. I mean, I have 20 years under my belt, and I’ve watched the sea changes happen. This project has really injected some energy back into both of us, and to think – we almost lost Scott a few years ago. People love a comeback story, and Scott is back with a great band and some great songs.

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Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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November 23, 2017 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Garage Heroes Interviews RnB Rock Soul Tags:, , , , , , , ,
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Easy Action LP Reviews by Colin Bryce

thunderscold

Johnny Thunders

In Cold Blood (Easy Action – 2 Disc Set)

I miss Johnny Thunders. I would have loved to have seen him beat it all. I think we all would have liked to have seen that. I imagine those moments when he – and the Heartbreakers, and the Dolls – were at the top of their game. Those gigs when he felt good, was confident and was interacting in positive ways with band mates, family and friends. We know there were times like those. But when it wasn’t like that it was, by all accounts, a challenge to be in the orbit of Mr. Thunders. Things go haywire. Things break for a seemingly endless variety of reasons. Directions change. Necessities change. Addresses change, but eventually something happens. Nothing short of miraculous I suppose.

Easy Action’s new Johnny Thunders double-disc release In Cold Blood is a collection of varying quality sessions with noted producer Jimmy Miller and other regular JT cohorts, with the second disc a live gig at London’s Marquee Club recorded in June 1982.

The Jimmy Miller session’s material is both acoustic and electric work. The acoustic bits sometimes float and seem unfinished or forced. The electric work while always loud also varies from inspired to, uh, not so much. Fair dues, he was seldom in “great” shape at this point in time.

On disc two we find Mr. Thunders in league with arguably the greatest drummer ever to wear Cuban heels, the late Jerry Nolan. London scenesters and otherwise notable and downright groovy rock’n’roll cool cats (the late, much lauded guitarist) Steve New, and bassist Tony James who fill in and do duty live at this Marquee Club date in June 1982. Little or no rehearsal for the new guys as usual. They needn’t have worried though coz it’s basically the soundman who ruins this gig. I’m guessing some communication issues between Mr. T and the sound person. I’m guessing of course, but when John asks for more echo I think he really meant reverb (which is something an old school guy would more than likely want on his vocal) as opposed to the delay type effect known as echo. It ends up sounding like the Heartbreakers being dubbed by Lee Perry.

Surely to god someone was half ways sober and could have toned it down at least. No rock’n’roll guy ever wanted that kinda “reverb” even if actually got reverb. Whaddya gonna do? You’re gonna listen to it anyway. Warts and all. It is a bit messy of course. I had a challenge the first few attempts to make it through this disc I will admit. It felt like a long night for the crowd. Available time was part of the problem coz you really wanna kind of immerse yourself with Mr. Thunders on recordings like this. It ain’t casual. Claimed or otherwise. Eventually I made it through. Sadly not everybody did. BUY HERE!

hydromaticspower

The Hydromatics

Powerglide High Octane (Easy Action – Double CD)

The Hydromatics were easily one of the best hard rocking, high-energy bands of the last 30 years.

Fronted by Ann Arbor, Michigan’s finest upstanding rock and roll catalyst, songwriter and vocalist, Scott Morgan, the Hydromatics tone and attitude is pure sonic literature. Scott Morgan wrote the book on this stuff over his multi-decade career of trying to make the rent and do a record. The fact’s are here. Even by the time he was making these recordings and he was in his early 50s, he was still kicking ass and takin’ names.

The original edition of the mighty s/t Powerglide was out for but a brief while. If you blinked? Oh yeah, gone buddy. Thankfully this reissue includes the album, five bonus tracks and a second CD of rehearsals with the band rehearsing and sounding fantastic and ready to ball. These recordings are what had been crowned “The Perry Como” tape. You see the session was the night of his passing. Scott mentions it here on the recording.

The actual Powerglide album has a bit more time for groove than the previous release Parts Unknown. But it has also has some of the same seriously hard time rock and roll numbers and includes a couple of largely under-exposed Sonics Rendezvous Band classics re-told. The hard hitting drums of newcomer and fellow Michigander Andy Frost with Theo Brouwer on bass and Tony Slug on both lead and rhythm guitars make the noise alongside Scott’s own ripping guitar and vocals to do the songs proud.

Big, bold, righteous, and rigorous. Or if need be, smooth, rumbling and soulful. Get your grease on HERE!

Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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August 29, 2015 By : Category : Features Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Jeff Monk LP Reviews July 2015

Stiv Bator

Do You Believe in Magyck? (Easy Action)

This two-disc live/studio set completes the career arc of one Steven John Bator (1949-1990). Collect-o-philes may have some version of the eight tracks offered on the studio set, but by combining that music with a wildly entertaining Limelight, New York City set from 1988 “DYBIM” puts paid to any other versions extant. There is no doubt had Bator lived he would have been involved in some kind of regressive Lords of the New Dead Boys Church reformation so it’s best we use this set as the premier lasting memory of the rail-thin, bad boy singer. The studio set busts out of any preconceived notion that Bator was a one-trick glam-punker. With some quite excellent white-hot rock action guitar riffage courtesy of Kris Dollimore (The Godfathers) and Neal Whitmore (Montecristos, Sigue Sigue Sputnick, Adam Ant, Marc Almond) this May 1990 set is a mover from front to back. Bator, in his usual fashion, can’t help but bring the vocal drama to the one moodier track (“Don’t Go Away”) he’s on full throttle sky-high yelp when it counts. The live set, features a completely different band and knocks around some well-chosen covers (“Have Love, Will Travel”, “It’s Cold Outside”) mixed in with a careerist overview that was likely Bator’s only cash cow at the time. The audience sounds miniscule but the music production on both discs is pretty much faultless considering this music was fated for some sonic graveyard. For fans, a must buy. BUY HERE!

(Disc One: 8 tracks Disc Two: 13 tracks)

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can’t be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

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July 26, 2015 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , ,
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Jeff Monk LP Reviews June 2015 (Part 1)

Lost Dawn: Lost Dawn (Easy Action)

lost-dawn
Falmouth’s Lost Dawn has the kind of fearless attitude that makes some bands great and others not so much. Their self-titled premier full-lengther is the kind of album that will grow on even the most jaded fan of this kind of music – a cross between overt pop inclinations with a slight psychedelic twist, and loose nut, rave-up experimentalism. The first two-thirds of “LD” lo-fi’s its’ way into your brain cells wonderfully. There is a distinct Marc Bolan vibrato to the effects-driven vocals that meshes well with the reverb boogie of “Breaking Bad” and “Count On Me”. Drums splash and attention spans expand and it all makes perfect contrary logic until “Manchild” when, for over six minutes the band builds from a fairly typical rhythmic pattern and heads for the very outside edges of their sound. Call it a rave-up or simply a progression to the limits in the confines of the song-it works to create a new sense of what this band is capable of when they stretch. Closing with hippie dream ballad “Kennedy”, Lost Dawn turns the tables again and all told this pleasing set builds a strong case for watching what this band does to follow this.
(11 tracks) GRAB A COPY HERE

Honey: Weekend Millionaire (Easy Action)

HONEY
Blame grunge. Blame Courtney Love. Blame anything else but poor Cornwall, U.K. trio Honey for their immediately identifiable retrograde sound. Sure, every band has roots and most bands can’t shake a sound-a-like framework at the outset of their careers. We’ll give the three in Honey their first fault. Originality is a difficult and delicate thing to grab and shape into something a band can stand behind proudly. It needs to come from within the group rather from their record collections… eventually. Singer/guitarist Sarah Marie Tyrrell has guts to spare yet mewls and roars like you’ve heard it before. Points given for a guitar-centric roar that chop chops at chords defiantly while drummer Sammy and bass guitarist Ele complement heroically. That part works. Sometimes the deck requires a quick re-shuffle before the players can get down to a serious game. Honey is at the table and ready to deal except the cards are marked and the dealer already knows exactly what will be played next. Next?
(10 tracks) GRAB A COPY HERE

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can’t be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

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June 22, 2015 By : Category : Dark Eyeplugs Features Front page Indie Music Post-punk Psychedelic Reviews Rock Tags:, , ,
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Brian James: LP Review by Colin Bryce

Brian James: The Guitar That Dripped Blood (Easy Action)

Brian James’ distinctive guitar tone, riff-craft and sonic song-writing style is on full alert here on this new one from Easy Action. Ten top tracks that echo the Damned, Stooges and James’ own previous solo classics (Tanz Der Youth, Brains etc) and that push this one hard. James doesn’t handle all the lead vocals here though – it makes little or no sense to me that James would have anyone other than himself sing. His charismatic drawl is everything that these songs need. Guest vocalist Adam Becvar (4 tunes) sounds similar enough to be unnecessary and but different enough to want to hear James back taking the lead. This is a rough and ready release and guest guitarist Cheetah Chrome grinds it out with James on ‘Becoming a Nuisance’ just to add that little bit more Stoogey-grind so beloved by both guitarists. (10 tracks.)

GRAB A COPY HERE!

Web Links
easyaction.co.uk

 
 

 

Colin -Mohair Sweets- Bryce

One of Canada’s late 70’s “punk” rock crowd and from 1997 to 2007 the fellow behind Mohair Sweets print and webzine. Currently passes the time by playing the odd gig or two, shaking his head, wringing his hands and pondering whether or not the tape vaults of the legendary Pirates are really exhausted.

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June 5, 2015 By : Category : Eyeplugs Front page Garage Music Picks Post-punk Punk Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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