Davila 666

                 Davila 666  (puerto rico) 
Davila came all the way from puerto rico, a garage band from the west indies, can’t miss that, make my way to the front.  The stage is crowded for a three-piece band, but these guys brought along twice that, crowd together so close I can reach out and pat them on the backs.  I don’t think they speak english but they get my drift, launch into the jams.  This woman links her arm with mine, and we push the boring people to the back.  Pretty soon, I’m sardined with about a devil dozen dancing dames, having ourselves the times of our lives, my disease just making me feel dizzy and happy, sweating it out on the floor, the place baking with summer heat, the band cooking with gas.

      davila 666      

When it’s done, I thank the band for coming all that way, make my way out down the sidewalk, find myself sleeping in my car the next morning.


David Axelrod: producer

Ray Anthony
Swim, Swim, C’mon Let’s Swim
Capital T2188
ProducerS: David Axelrod & Bill Miller
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)

Jazz trumpeter and band leader Ray Anthony goes all rock & roll on us, which is usually a mistake for an aging big band leader, but here he blows the top off the thing, driving rhythm, sax honking,organ, guitar cranked, horns blasting, girls singing, black male lead vocalist on some cuts, a mix of instrumental and vocal cuts, dance craze and crazy, originals and covers–“Twist & Shout,” What’d I Say,” and a “Hard Day‘s Night.”


It’s all a little over the top, but forget all that early Beatles, this blows them back to England where they belonged.

The sleeve doesn’t provide credits except Dave Axelrod and Bill Miller as producers, Don Simpson showing up on several song credits. 

David McCallum
Capital ST 2748
Produced by David Axelrod
Arranged by H. B. Barnum


Noteworthy ***

The last of four McCallum sets produced by David Axelrod, orchestrated instrumentals focused on recent hits by various groups (the Monkees, Donovan, the Beatles, etc.), the set closing with three originals, one for each of the named contributors: Axelrod, Barnum and McCallum.  (It’s not clear what British actor McCallum contributed other than that one cut.)

Only Axelrod could pull something like this off, filling the sound with the Barnum arrangements and using his signature punches to lift this a few notches above elevator music.

(producer’s name misspelled on album.  Axelrod is the correct spelling.)

The rhythm section and other instruments rise out of the mix to provide the punches, then sink back down into the arrangements.  While the contributions of an unnamed guitarist doesn’t get a lot of spotlight, the rarity of those moments make them stand out.
(Likely the line up featured Howard Roberts, guitar; Carol Kaye, bass; and Earl Palmer, drums.)

On “Mercy Mercy Mercy” the groove briefly rises on a guitar-heavy bridge, but they soon descend into two feather-weight originals, the first by Barnum, the second by McCallum.  While it’s not really saying that much, the best of the three originals is clearly Axelrod’s contribution that closes the album. 

There’s nothing here worth searching for, but if this sort of thing is your bag, it’s worth a listen.  It’s pure 1960s and another page in the story of Axlerod.  

— winch

Howard Roberts
Spinning Wheel
Capital (ST-336)
Producer: David Axelrod
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)

While the title of this album obviously refers to the playful version of the Blood, Sweat & Tears number that opens this set, the metaphor also points out how the band runs through a variety of styles, stopping in Nashville for the second cut, then heading over to Memphis for the third cut, Roberts fingerpicking an acoustic guitar on “Country Shuffle” and then putting some fuzz distortion to the Memphis groove of “Gasoline Alley,” moving between these styles with an ease that makes the transition seem as natural as the fact that you can travel between the two cities without leaving the state.

Axelrod’s navigation also likely helped make the set sound fairly cohesive.  Band members get a chance to strut their stuff but keep from wandering too far from the longitude or latitude of the compositions.  The producer was likely part of that control as the music seems stamped with his involvement.

You could certainly use this set to show that Axelrod didn’t have the Midas touch, but while some cuts are quite lacking, others show elements of that balance of exploration and economy, that pop complexity, that punch that Axelrod was so good at helping deliver.  

Producing this album was perhaps the return of a favor, as Roberts had just played on Axelrod’s first two solo albums, Song of Innocence and Song of Experience
This album doesn’t come close to the dates that secured H.R.’s place in the annals of jazz, but a few cuts standout from some of his other commercial material.

Band members include Dave Grusin (keyboards), Chuck Domanico (bass), John Guerin (drums) & Tom Scott (sax, flute, organ). 

— winch

Daniel Amos (1982) Doppelganger: The !Alarma! Chronicles Volume II (LP) !Alarma!/A.R.T. 1010

Daniel Amos
The !Alarma! Chronicles Volume II
!Alarma!/A.R.T. 1010
Produced by Terry Taylor & Jerry Chamberlain

Rating: **** Recommended

This God-rock outfit always changed with the times, and these changes were wise decisions, as this set is one of the most interesting albums in the Christian rock category, all electro new wave, mixing studio trickery such as tape reversal with some basic old-school rock elements. This set is home to several cool and unique cuts.

The Talking Heads, Gary Numan, and Bowie appear to be influences, but the band delivers their own sound.  From the influences showing on “Real Girls,” they go into a neo-rockabilly sound for “New Car,” the entire side quite entertaining.

Side two also offers some gems, and plenty of variety, going into 60s garage on “Autographs.”  That song, “New Car,” and “I Didn’t Build it for Me” (as well as “Youth With a Machine”) flirt punk rock (relatively speaking considering this was Christian rock outfit), the first three apparently attacks at televangelists–in a time before the scandals involving Swaggart and Jim Baker.

While some of the material approaches the typical boredom of new wave, even those numbers are more interesting than the competition, and this has more than enough to make it a recommended listen for fans of new wave, perhaps even more than fans of God rock.  In fact, you’d likely never know this is a Christian-themed album if you’re not familiar with this group.

This outfit is an essential part of the God-rock story, and this is perhaps their most interesting and enjoyable album.

(The band’s name alludes to the Bible.  This was the second of four in the Alarma Chronicles.)

— winch

Daniel Amos (1978) Horrendous Disc (LP) Solid Rock Records 2011 (1981)

Daniel Amos
Horrendous Disc
Solid Rock 2011
Released in 1981

Rating:*** (Noteworthy)

For this album, this God-rock outfit moves completely away from its original hillbilly-rock sound, this set obviously coming from the same place as E.L.O., Steely Dan, 10cc, Badfinger,…from Sgt. Pepper.

The first side starts out strong, rocking without going overboard, dragging a bit as it progresses, but fairly solid to the end, a Beatles-style ballad effectively closing the side.  Unfortunately, they don’t pull the slack out on the flip side.  “On The Line” sounds like Steely Dan, “Man on the Moon” sounds like E.L.O., and the other cuts sound like filler.

While this is a varied set, the stronger cuts make this one of the more interesting and enjoyable God rock albums.  It was recorded in 1978 for Maranatha!
Records, but not released until Larry Norman picked it up for his Solid Rock label in the early 80s.

— winch


Crass (1977 – 1984) Best Before (LP) Crass Records 5 (1984)

Best Before
Crass Records (5)
Material: 1977 – 1984
Recorded 1977 – 1984, released July 1984 (UK only)

This double LP collects singles and unreleased material, a nice gesture, saving fans from having to collect all the singles, and packaging the material with killer artwork.  While this might have been better served up as a more concise two-sider, it certainly provides an overview of their history, moving from fairly straight-forward punk to abrasive avant garde. 

For fans, this is essential.  It also serves as a good intro.

— winch




The Cramps (1986) A Date With Elvis (LP) New Rose 81

The Cramps
A Date With Elvis
New Rose 81
Produced by The Cramps
Good Shit *****

While other bands from this era were running out of steam by this time, the Cramps keep the engines pumping and pull this classic into the station.  Everybody, jump on board.

Ivy, Lux and others focus and polish the sound a bit, but keep the original fuzz and stomp intact.  Another essential set for fans, and not a bad introduction for the non-initiated.

— winch