Sunday, December 27, 2009
American Blues Exchange - Blueprints 1969
American Blues Exchange was started in the spring of 1968 by a group of students at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Like many of their young contemporaries, the band members were enamored with the progressive blues of some of Britain's heaviest rock bands, who themselves were paying homage to American heroes like Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and Chuck Berry. Initially formed by Peter Hartman (bass) and Roger Briggs (guitar) as a duo, American Blues Exchange quickly morphed into a band with the additions of classmates Roy Dudley (vocals, harmonica) and Dale Reed (drums) and they began playing together at area coffeehouses, clubs, and frat parties. Dan Mixter (guitar, vocals) joined in the fall of the year, completing the lineup that would remain together for the next two-and-a-half years. American Blues Exchange played mostly on weekends, due to its members' school commitments, and for the most part were limited to the Connecticut/western Massachusetts region. Dudley developed into the band's strongest original writer, and his songs gradually began to be incorporated into the band's live shows. By 1969, there were enough original songs to record an album, and the band entered the studio to make Blueprints, pressed in a run of a thousand LPs, about half of which actually sold.
By Stanton Swihart, All Music Guide.
Big ticket dealers would have you believe this is a lost psych masterpiece. Take my word - it isn't, rather this is one of those cases where the band was upfront and honest with their image ... note the name American BLUES exchange.
With a line-up consisting of lead guitarist Roger Briggs, singer Roy Dudley, bassist Peter Hartman, rhythm guitarist Dan Mixter and drummer Dale Reed this quartet apparently started their short lived recording career while students at Hartford, Connecticut's Trinity College. Like thousands of their contemporaries, they began playing local clubs, dances and parties before finding a 'sponsor' in the form of Nancy Taylor. Taylor apparently put up the money for recording sessions and financed the release of an album on their own Tayls imprint. For her efforts Taylor got a thank you in the liner notes.
With four of the five members contributing material, the predominant sound on 1970's "A-B-E Blueprints" is blues. Briggs and Mixter showcase some nice dual lead guitar of tracks like ''Cold Iron Blues' and 'The Taker', but this stuff is little more than standard blues workouts. Elsewhere Mixter's 'Recorder Thing' is a throwaway instrumental (showcasing a recorder lead instrument - nightmares back to my own limited music education). So far doesn't exactly sound like a must-own psych classic does it? Well you can forget the term psych classic, but things do get a little better. Dudley isn't the world's most impressive singer but on the lead off track 'Oh Solitude' and the rocker 'Age Child' his amateur performances are actually kind of engaging. The album also improves markedly when the group moves away from the blues. 'Oh Solitude', 'Burlington Letter' and 'The True Son Confesses' are all pretty good with the latter two songs actually reflecting a mild psychedelic edge.
Roy Dudley- (Vocals, Harmonica),
Roger Briggs- (Guitar),
Peter Hartman- (Bass),
Dale Reed- (Drums),
Dan Mixter- (Guitar, Vocals)
A1. On Solitude 3:32
A2. Cold Iron Blues 6:00
A3. Recorder Thing 2:39
A4. The Taker 5:17
A5. Burlington Letter 6:25
B1. Ode to the Lost Legs of John Bean 3:22
B2. Big Max Revenge 4:30
B3. The True Son Confesses 4:50
B4. Age Child 8:34