I originally heard this new release in its raw format three years ago now and was surprised by the laidback feel of it….wow, Sonic’s Rendezvous Band playing a front bar pub type of gig to 25 people….how cool to have seen that? I didn’t even know they did that sort of thing
There’s plenty of on/off stage banter, some jamming and tune ups; it was a nice surprise and refreshing to hear a recording of one of my favourite bands playing in a different situation and early on in their development. This recording joined some of the dots in the band’s history (no they didn’t just appear out of nowhere as this blindingly amazing live band – it took years and plenty of gigs) and fleshes these guys out as players.
After years of medical tribulations, Scott Morgan is taking the next step in his return to active musical duty. The former Rationals, Sonic's Rendezvous Band, Hydromatics, The Solution and solo band artist with a career spanning five decades releases his first new album in seven years this month, the stellar "Rough and Ready" (Rouge Records).
Backed by The Sights, his band of choice on recent live outings, Morgan emphatically returns to his blue-eyed soul roots, laying down 10 songs of righteous beauty and grandeur.
Co-written with Eddie Baranek of The Sights and recorded by Jim Diamond at Ghetto Recorders and Adam Cox at Hamtramck Studios, it's a refreshingly pure album and a reminder of why Morgan has long been regarded one of the best rock and soul voices in the business. We asked Scott to walk us track-by-track through "Rough and Ready". The photos are by Marian Krzyzowski.
The American college town of Ann Arbor - A2 to the locals - has a lot to answer for. This re-issue of a long out-of-print live recording of some of its famous sons makes it apparent.
Originally released on CD only by Philadelphia's Real O-Mind Records in 2002, it's on vinyl as well as shiny silver disc this time around, and marks the return of David Laing's Grown Up Wrong label.
Everything about this show smokes. Powertane were the vehicle for A2 legend Scott Morgan, a soul prodigy (The Rationals) who made up a quarter of one of the greatest guitar rock and roll bands to ever go MIA in the mists of musical legend status, Sonics Rendezvous Band.
This recording is where it all started for recent Sonic’s Rendezvous Band fans. Originally issued in 1998 as “Sweet Nothing”, it was the first non-bootleg, live recording that stood up, sonically speaking, and both the CD and LP pressings sold out quickly.
A second disc of live and tweaked studio stuff (“City Slang”) surfaced a year later and we’ve been fairly spoiled with a flow of material since then.
“Sweet Nothing” was an ear-opener in all senses of the term. No longer did you need to listen to “Strikes Like Lightning” or any of the other lamentably poor quality boots and ponder why nobody in Detroit in the mid-‘70s owned a boombox with a decent microphone.
The steady stream of releases peaked with Easy Action’s lavish 2006 “Sonic’s Rendezvous Band” box set, a six-disc CD collection that included rehearsals, other live recordings and a spruced-up version of this show. Now, this vinyl release has arrived as part of the annual Record Store Day hoopla.
Gang War at Second Chance in Ann Arbor in 1979. Sue Rynski photo
It’s said the drummer in a rock and roll band has the best seat in the house. It’s given John Morgan his unique perspective on some of rock and roll’s most talented, fascinating and sometimes flawed characters.
Now living in Ventura, California, John Morgan’s spent half his life as a professional musician, playing with a long list of blues and jazz bands. But it’s his insights into two in particular: Gang War and Sonic's Rendezvous Band - the former as a partcipant, thw latter as an observer - that will hold the most interest for I-94 Bar patrons.
Some bands defy objective assessment and Sonic’s Rendezvous Band is one of them. So let’s not even try to pretend.
How can you be objective about a band that issued just one single in its lifetime when it happens to be “City Slang”, inarguably the greatest rock and roll seven-inch of all time? Can you really question the worth of a band whose lineage is former MC5, Rationals, Stooges and The Up members?
Beyond The Sound (...And Beyond) – Scott Morgan’s Powertrane (Easy Action)
The passing of guitarist Robert Gillespie after a lengthy illness earlier this year should give you an excuse (if any were needed) to chase down this vynil re-issue of the 2007 CD he played on as a member of Scott Morgan’s Powertrane.
Gillespie was a guitarist of rare skill who’d played in The Torpedos,glammy Motor City Rockersand The Rob Tyner Band, and was a longtime Mitch Ryder sideman. Scott Morgan’s Powertrane may not have been household names but, damn, they were a fine band that was blessed with one of the great vocalists in Scott Morgan. He and Gillespie were also a superb guitar pairing – as you’ll hear on this record.
This could be the best news fans of raw and real rock and roll will hear this year: Esteemed Australian label Grown Up Wrong - th forerunner of Dogmeat Records - is back in business. Owner David Laing is kicking off with a bang with two killer releases to get the ball rolling (again.)
First is a fantastic collection of primarily live recordings from the original Perth-based line-ups of The Scientists - back when James Baker of Victims/Hoodoo Gurus was still drumming for them. "Not For Sale: LIve 1978/79" is an archival set of recordings from the band's ragged powerpop days when they sounded like a collision between the Flamin' Groovies and The New York Dolls.
The second release is a reissue – with extra tracks, and for the first time on vinyl – of a rare 2002 live album called “Ann Arbor Revival Meeting” by Scott Morgan's Powertrane with Deniz Tek and Ron Asheton.
Detroit legend Scott Morgan is back with his first album in 10 years with the releae of "Rough and Ready" on Rouge Records (LP and download) on October 27.
Morgan has teamed with crack Michigan band The Sights to hammer out "Rough and Ready", a return to his soul music roots first planted with The Rationals back in the '60s.
The Sights have been around since 1998 and have five albums and numerous US and European tours under their belts.
Morgan is a former member of Sonic's Rendezvous Band, the Hydromatics, Scott Morgan Band, Dodge Main (with Wayne Kramer and Deniz Tek) and many more.
He achieved succcess as a blue-eyed soul prodigy fronting The Rationals, wrote for and performed with the Hellacopters and charted in Scandinavia with The Solution, a soul band he fronted with Nicke Royale (Hellacopters) on drums.
A Stooges Asthma Attack at th Grande Ballroom in1968. Robert Matheu photo.
The year 2006 was something of a watershed for fans of high-energy rock and roll of the Detroit variety. The reformed Stooges were in full flight and an historic six-CD, eponymous Sonic's Rendezous Band box set came out on UK label Easy Action.
The box set's executive producer of the box was ROBERT MATHEU, a Detroit-raised and former Creem magazine staff photographer. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2018, but a dozen years before, he told the back-story of the box set to the I-94 Bar - and of course regaled us with stories about the MC5 and the Stooges.
We're revisiting many of the stories originally published on the I-94 Bar that were archived when we moved virtual location a few years ago. This is one of the trips back in The Time Tunnel.
Detroit guitarist Robert (Bob) Gillespie died on June 17 after a long illness.
He played lead guitar and provided backing vocals in a slew of outstanding bands including The Rob Tyner Band, (1976-78), The Torpedoes (‘78-80), The Motor City Rockers (with Jimmy Marinos of The Romantics), Powertrane Featuring Scott Morgan and as a longtime sideman to Mitch Ryder.