Episode 7 - Are You Ready for the Mountains? Introducing Tumbleweed Records


Tumbleweed was founded by Bill Symczyk and Larry Ray, which at that time worked for ABC-Dunhill but because of fears for a major earthquake in LA in the early 70s they decided to move to Denver, Colorado where the new label had its office. All of the recordings however were still done in studios in LA with seasoned studio pros backing the label artists. The whole project was paid for by Gulf+Western, which kept the party going for 2 years until the money ran out and the label folded in 1973. At that time Tumbleweed Records had released 9 albums and recorded many more, which until this day remains unreleased. The story of Tumbleweed Records is both unusual and entertaining and it seemed to have been a great time for everyone involved where not only the recordings but also the extensive partying was sponsored by Gulf+Western. Apart from that the label also succeeded in releasing some great music and in this episode we will play six of the most interesting albums (the seventh and last artist was not on Tumbleweed but has a distant connection to it, as you will hear in the episode).

Danny Holien-s/t (1972)
Arthur Gee-s/t (1971)
-Dawn of Time
Robb Kunkel-Abyss (1973)
-You Were the Morning
Dewey Terry-Chief (1972)
-Sweet As Spring
Rudy Romero-To the World (1973)
-Simple Things
Pete McCabe-The Man Who Ate the Plant (1973)
-Magic Box*
Ruthie Allen-Colorado Folk vol II (1974)
-Bow and Arrow

*In my excitement during the show I (Martin) mix up the song title Magic Box with Music Box, which is another song on the album but it's not the song we play. The actual titel of the song in the show is Magic Box and nothing else.

More info:

Here is an interview with Robb Kunkel telling the story of Tumbleweed and all of its releases.

Pete McCabe is still active as a musician so check out his webpage and here you can read an interesting interview with him. 

Episode 6 - Crossover Town, Jazz-rock and other Fusions


This episode will end our short exposé on the UK underground scene and in this last episode we are concentrating on some interesting crossover music. During the progressive period the bands started to incorporate other genres like jazz and funk to a larger extent, which created crossover genres like jazz-rock and fusion. Especially jazz-rock was very vital during this period with major bands like Manfred Mann’s Chapter Three, Keef Hartly Band and Traffic but what is also interesting is the mixing of up-tempo and more dance oriented music as heard in the two last songs in the episode (Hold On to Your Mind was even a standard tune at the Loft in New York). Mixing of styles in this way created some really great music and we think this episode includes some of the best tunes in our UK underground series.

Christine Harwood-Nice To Meet Miss Christine (Birth) 1970
-Wooden Ships
Trifle-First Meeting (Dawn) 1971
-Home Again
Sunforest-Sounds of Sunforest (Deram Nova) 1969
-Magician In the Mountain
East of Eden-New Leaf (Harvest) 1971
-Bradshaw The Bison Hunter
Hemlock-Hemlock (Deram) 1973
-Just An Old Friend
Andwella-World's End (Reflection) 1970
-Hold on to Your Mind
Obeah Man (Bell) 1971
-Iron Horse

Episode 5 - Guitar Driven Thing, British Heavy Psych and Prog


Today’s episode continues to explore the underground progressive scene and here we are focusing on the heavier more guitar driven style, which many bands started to practice around 1969. Instead of being influenced by the keyboard dominated sound of King Crimson and Yes many psych bands choose another path of development, adding heavier elements inspired by the guitar virtuosity of Jimi Hendrix and Cream. This eventually evolved into hard rock and heavy metal and in the US same development can be seen with bands like Iron Butterfly and Amboy Dukes. However, this was a slippery slope to take and according to us there are many examples where the mixing of prog and psych with wailing wah-wah guitars and heavy drumming was not successful. In this episode we are going to play some songs where bands did succeed in creating some quality music and which we considered are good representatives of the British heavy psych-prog genre.

Blossom Toes - If Only For a Moment (Marmalade) 1969
-Listen To the Silence

Mighty Baby - s/t (Head) 1969 
-Egyptian Tomb  
Red Dirt - Diamonds in the Dirt (Audio Archives) 1971/1995
-Mixed Blessing
Pink Fairies - The Never Never Land (Polydor) 1971
-Never Never Land
Dark-Round the Edges (SIS) 1972