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The American rock-blues band Tiny Town was formed in 1997 by "Tiny Town Residents" Pat McLaughlin (vocals, guitar), Tommy Malone (guitar, vocals), Johnny-Ray Allen (bass) and Kenny Blevins (drums). The group recorded only one album, the eponymous "Tiny Town", produced by ex-Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon, in 1998.

Malone and Allen were former members of The Subdudes (usually seen lowercase as just "subdudes"), a New Orleans-based roots rock band formed in 1987 whose sound blended folk, swamp pop, New Orleans R&B, Louisiana blues, country, cajun/zydeco, funk, soul and gospel. Subdudes had disbanded in 1996.

McLaughlin is a Nashville-based songwriter who found early success in the 1980s with hits such as "Lynda", recorded by Steve Warriner, and "Tell Me About It" by Tanya Tucker and Delbert McClinton. Other McLaughlin compositions have been recorded by numerous artists including Bonnie Raitt, Alan Jackson, Taj Mahal, Trisha Yearwood, Al Kooper, Nanci Griffith, Josh Turner, Gary Allan, Shawn Camp and Don Williams.

Drummer Kenny Blevins, a Louisiana native, has been involved with more than 80 albums in his music career. Though best known for his work with John Hiatt and Sonny Landreth, he also has performed with Li'l Queenie and the Percolators, and The Continental Drifters.

Allman Brothers and Dickie Betts Band veteran Johnny Neel majorly contributes to the album on Hammond B-3 as a "Tiny Town Guest".

The album was praised for its musicianship and polish but criticized for a lack of cohesive style. It is still quite listenable, nonetheless. Highlights on the album include the opener "I'm Sorry Baby" and "Save It For A Rainy Day". "Hollywood" has a distinctly Steely Dan-ish feel to it. The swampy "Follow You Home" from the album was featured on NBC's "Homicide." The funky title track "Tiny Town" closes out the album.

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The self-titled album "Arc Angels" was released in 1992 by the American rock band of the same name. The band featured guitarists and vocalists Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II. Bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton previously backed up Stevie Ray Vaughan as Double Trouble. The group formed while jamming at the Austin Rehearsal Complex (ARC) in Austin, TX.

"Arc Angels" was the band's only studio album, and it was well-received by critics and fans alike. The album features a mix of blues, rock, and soulful ballads, showcasing the band's exceptional musicianship and songwriting.

Some of the standout tracks on the album include "Living in a Dream," "Sent by Angels," "Sweet Nadine," and "See What Tomorrow Brings." The album's production was handled by Little Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, who helped the band achieve a polished and cohesive sound.

Unfortunately, despite the critical acclaim, the band didn't achieve significant commercial success with the album, and they disbanded shortly after its release. However, the album has since gained a cult following and is still regarded as a classic of '90s rock.

In Spring 2023, a reformed Arc Angels has appeared as special guests at two Santana: Miraculous Supernatural Tour shows in Texas.

Arc Angels genealogy and discography
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The Illusion was an American rock band active during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The band was formed in Long Island, New York in 1967 (originally as The Five Illusions in 1964 by then high school senior John Vinci). The band's lineup consisted of Vinci (vocals), Ritchie Cerniglia (guitar), Chuck Alder (bass), Mike Maniscalco (keyboards), and Mike Ricciardella (drums).

The Illusion gained popularity in the late 1960s with their self-titled debut album, produced by Jeff Barry, which was released in 1969 on the Steed record label. The album featured a mix of psychedelic and hard rock influences, and included the hit single "Did You See Her Eyes". The band's second album, "Together (As a Way of Life)", was released in 1970 and featured a more progressive rock sound.

Despite their initial success, The Illusion disbanded in 1971 due to creative differences and financial issues. However, their music has continued to be influential to later generations of rock musicians. The band's members went on to have varying degrees of success in other musical projects, with guitarist Ritchie Cerniglia and drummer Mike Ricciardella going on to form the band Wiggy Bits.

Trivia: I addition to writing their hit single "Did You See Her Eyes", producer Jeff Barry also co-wrote hits for other groups such as "Do Wah Diddy Diddy", "Da Doo Ron Ron", "Then He Kissed Me", "Be My Baby", "Chapel of Love", and "River Deep - Mountain High" (all with his then-wife Ellie Greenwich and Phil Spector); "Leader of the Pack" (written with Greenwich and Shadow Morton); "Hanky Panky" (with Greenwich); "Sugar, Sugar" (written with Andy Kim); and "Without Us" (written with Tom Scott).

The Illusion genealogy and discography
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The self-titled debut album by Crack the Sky was released in 1975. The band, hailing from West Virginia, had been playing together for a few years before signing to Lifesong Records and releasing this record. The album features a blend of progressive rock and hard rock with intricate arrangements, catchy melodies, and quirky lyrics.

The opening track, "Hold On," sets the tone for the album with its driving rhythm, soaring vocal harmonies, and intricate guitar work. Other standout tracks include "Surf City," "Hold On," and "Ice," a haunting ballad with a melancholic melody and lyrics about lost love. Quirkier selections include "I Don't Have a Tie," "Robots For Ronnie," and "Sea Epic".

One of the album's most well-known tracks is "She's a Dancer," a catchy and upbeat song with a memorable chorus and a funky guitar riff. The lyrics tell the story of a dancer who captures the attention of everyone around her.

Track by track (vinyl):

  1. Hold On:
    • Overview: The album opens with "Hold On," a dynamic track that showcases Crack the Sky's ability to blend progressive rock elements with catchy melodies. The song features intricate guitar work, rhythmic complexity, and strong vocal harmonies.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the shifting time signatures, the energetic guitar riffs, and the way the vocals interact with the instrumentation.
  2. Surf City:
    • Overview: "Surf City" takes a departure from the progressive rock sound and introduces a surf rock vibe. It's a piece that demonstrates the band's instrumental versatility and willingness to explore different genres.
    • Musical Highlights: Listen for the surf-inspired guitar melodies, the tight rhythm section, and the overall playfulness of the composition.
  3. A Sea Epic:
    • Overview: "A Sea Epic" is a longer, more ambitious track that allows the band to delve into extended musical explorations. It's characterized by shifts in mood, tempo, and musical themes, showcasing their progressive tendencies.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the various sections of the song, including the quieter, more introspective moments and the more intense, guitar-driven passages.
  4. She's a Dancer:
    • Overview: "She's a Dancer" is one of the more accessible and radio-friendly tracks on the album. It's a catchy, upbeat song with a memorable chorus and a driving rhythm.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the infectious melody, the funky guitar riff, and the way the song combines elements of rock with more pop-oriented sensibilities.
  5. Robots for Ronnie:
    • Overview: "Robots for Ronnie" is a quirky and experimental track that showcases the band's dark sense of humor. It features unconventional lyrics and musical elements, adding a unique flavor to the album.
    • Musical Highlights: Listen for the offbeat lyrics, unconventional song structure, usage of strings and the band's willingness to inject humor and creativity into their music.
  6. Ice:
    • Overview: "Ice" is a more somber and reflective ballad. It showcases a different side of Crack the Sky, with emotive vocals and a melancholic atmosphere.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the emotional depth of the song, including the evocative lyrics, the expressive vocal delivery, and the overall mood created by the instrumentation.
  7. Mind Baby:
    • Overview: "Mind Baby" is another track on the album, and it's known for its complex structure and progressive rock elements. It often features intricate instrumental passages and demonstrates the band's technical prowess.
    • Musical Highlights: Pay attention to the interplay between different instruments, the shifting dynamics, and the overall progressive nature of the composition.
  8. I Don't Have A Tie:
    • Overview: "I Don't Have A Tie" is known as one the more energetic tracks on the album.
    • Musical Highlights: Has a funky, almost Steely Dan groove to it, with good vocal harmonies and the type of quirky theme the band is known for. The track wakes up a mostly low-key side two.
  9. Sleep:
    • Overview: "Sleep" is the final track on the album and is known for its dreamy and atmospheric qualities. It might serve as a contrast to the more energetic tracks earlier in the album, providing a thoughtful conclusion.
    • Musical Highlights: Explore the ambient and atmospheric elements in the song, including the use of keyboards or other textural instruments that contribute to the dreamlike quality.

In summary, Crack the Sky's self-titled debut album is a diverse and accomplished work that combines progressive rock intricacies with accessible melodies. The band's willingness to experiment with different styles and moods contributes to the album's lasting appeal.

Despite the record company's lackluster promotion, and nearly non-existent airplay, Rolling Stone named "Crack The Sky" the “debut album of the year.” The magazine ranks it in the top fifty prog rock albums of all time. The album showcases the band's impressive musicianship and songwriting skills, and remains a beloved classic of the progressive rock genre.

Crack The Sky genealogy and discography
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This one came up on the radar years ago in a magazine review which mentioned that if you liked Bad Company, you'd probably like The Joneses. For that reason, I took a chance and bought it. I'll say there are some things about them I almost like better than Bad Company, the guitar work being the most compelling. Don't get me wrong, Mick Ralphs' work defined the Bad Co. sound, but The Joneses' Billy Loosigian does some fine playing on this record, the lengthy outro solo on "Don't You Know" being a standout. It appears they only released this one album.

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The self-titled album "Elf" was released August 1, 1972 and was produced by Ian Paice and Roger Glover, the drummer and bassist of Deep Purple. The album features the early work of Ronnie James Dio, who wrote most of the songs and sang lead vocals. On this album, Dio is credited by his birth name, Ronald Padavona.

The music on the album is a mix of blues rock, hard rock, and early heavy metal. Some of the notable tracks on the album include "Hoochie Koochie Lady," "Never More," and "First Avenue."

"Elf" is a relatively short album, with a total running time of about 35 minutes. It contains eight tracks in total, with most of the songs being original compositions written by Dio and his bandmates. The album showcases Dio's powerful and soulful vocals, which were already well-developed at this early stage in his career.

The album's opening track, "Hoochie Koochie Lady," is a hard-driving blues rock number that features some impressive guitar work by David Feinstein, who also co-wrote the song with Dio. Other standout tracks on the album include "Never More," a haunting ballad that showcases Dio's range and emotional depth, and "First Avenue," a hard rock song with a catchy riff and some great vocal harmonies.

"Elf" is an interesting artifact of its time, showcasing a young Ronnie James Dio and his bandmates experimenting with various styles of rock music. While the album may not have been a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since gained a cult following among fans of early heavy metal and Dio's later work.

Trivia: The elven figure on the front and back cover is Dio (Padavona) himself, in prosthetic makeup.

Trivia #2: In 1975, Ritchie Blackmore left Deep Purple and recruited Dio and Elf to form the band Rainbow.

Elf genealogy and discography
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