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Tramp 1974: Rare & Unissued Recordings, Volume 3 - Jo-Ann Kelly

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Tramp 1974: Rare & Unissued Recordings, Volume 3 (2001) - Jo-Ann Kelly

    Featuring »

Dave Brooks, Bob Brunning, Pete Emery, Bob (Robert) Hall, Keef Hartley, Jo-Ann Kelly, Danny Kirwan, Pete Miles, Adrian (Putty) Pietryga, Tramp

    Tracklisting »

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'Til My Back Ainít Got No Bone
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 4:41
  Comments: Billed as "Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone"
Love Blind
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 7:08
Niki Hoeky
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 3:55
  Comments: Billed as "Nicki Hoeky"
Feel Like Breaking Up Somebodyís Home
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 4:35
Jump Steady Daddy
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 5:14
Put A Record On
  Date Performance: 1974-03-00, Running Time: 3:12
Help Me Through The DayLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 4:25
  Comments: Billed as "Help Me Through The Night"
Travellin' Mood
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 2:57
Baby, What You Want Me To Do
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 3:49
  Comments: (Live Session)
Too Late For That Now
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 3:44
  Comments: (Live Session) Billed as "It's Too Late For That Now"
What You Gonna Do
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 5:18
  Comments: (Live Session)
You Don't Love MeLyrics available
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 4:16
  Comments: (Live Session) Billed as "You Don't Love Me Baby"
Put A Record On
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 3:59
  Comments: (Live Session)
You Gotta Move
  Date Performance: 1974, Running Time: 3:41
  Comments: (Live Session) Billed as "You Got To Move"
    Guest Appearances »

Dyan/Di Birch, Dyan/Di Birch, Frank Collins, Frank Collins, Paddie McHugh, Paddie McHugh, The Kokomo Singers

    Released »


    Format »

Import Vinyl/CD Album

    Other Appearances »
Lucille Bogan (Anderson) (Bessie Jackson) (Songwriter), Bob Brunning (Songwriter), Bob Brunning (Songwriter), Willie Cobbs (Songwriter), Dennis Cotton (Songwriter), Gary Davis (Songwriter), Eddie Floyd (Songwriter), Jim/James Henry Ford (Songwriter), Bob (Robert) Hall (Songwriter), Bob (Robert) Hall (Songwriter), Alvertis Isbell (Songwriter), Al Jackson(, Jr.) (Songwriter), Jo-Ann Kelly (Songwriter), Jo-Ann Kelly (Songwriter), Timothy Matthews (Songwriter), Mississippi Fred McDowell (Songwriter), (Mathis) Jimmy (James) Reed (Songwriter), Leon Russell (Claude Bridges) (Songwriter), Pat Vegas (Songwriter), Lolly Vegas (Songwriter), James Wayne (Songwriter), Peter Moody (Research), Peter Moody (Compilation), (Jet) Martin Celmins (Sleevenotes), Pete Emery (Photos (Jo - Front Cover)), Pete Emery (Photos (Jo - Front Cover)), Pete Emery (Photos (Jo - Page 6)), Pete Emery (Photos (Jo - Page 6)), Pete Emery (Photos (Band Shot Page 2)), Pete Emery (Photos (Band Shot Page 2)), Pete Emery (Photos (Pete Emery)), Pete Emery (Photos (Pete Emery)), Pete Emery (Photos (Putty)), Pete Emery (Photos (Putty)), Barry Plummer (Photos (Jo - Trayliner 1972)), Dave Peabody (Photos (Bob Hall)), Pete Frame (Family Tree), Bob Brunning (Photos (Bob Brunning)), Bob Brunning (Photos (Bob Brunning))

    Record Label »
Mooncrest Records

    Catalogue Number »

CRESTCD 063 Z (UK) CRESTCD 063 (Export)

    Running Time »


    Liner Notes »

All tracks recorded in London, Spring 1974

The fourteen tracks on Tramp 1974 are from live and studio sessions made around the time when Tramp's second album Put A Record On came out. Reviewing that album Melody Maker asked, "Is this the last sound of the sixties?". Listening again nearly thirty years on, the answer here is a definite no. This mixture of blues, soul-funk and R&B is classic mid-1970s pub rock...and, as such, the relative calm shortly before punk, pogo-ing and gobbing at the stage was what kids got up to down music pubs most nights of the week.

True, Tramp was sixties in that it was the late-1960s brainchild of Bob Brunning and Bob Hall. Also, as the name suggests, the band's lineup was big on transience, and all the better for it. But from start to finish, bonding Tramp's deliberately loose ties was the great blues voice of Jo Ann Kelly who by 1974, in her own words, musically found herself "somewhere between Washboard Sam and Bobby 'Blue' Bland". So Tramp 1974 in effect focuses Jo Ann Kelly's development from late-1960s solo artist and Memphis Minnie replicant, into a soul/funk/blues diva happy to front a band.

From the onset, Tramp was never meant to be anything other than a one-off studio band, and the possibility of promoting the album by gigging wasn't even discussed beforehand, even though a few gigs did subsequently materialise, almost as if by chance. And as Bob Hall recalls, it all first came about in 1969 thanks to Brunning:

"Bob would blag a deal with someone and he was remarkably good at it: he did it with no idea who would play on it. He would just say, 'I'm famous - I used to be with Fleetwood Mac. How about making an album with me and my mate Bob?' The guy who was first interested was Peter Eden, who was something to do with Pye Records."

Brunning's blagging landed Tramp two album deals: the first in 1969 produced Tramp, and the second recorded in 1974 - was Put A Record On. These featured similar though not identical lineups, with Fleetwood Mac's Mick Fleetwood, Danny Kirwan and Jo Ann's brother Dave Kelly (ex-John Dummer and Rock Salt guitarist and singer) making strong contributions to both records.

Although Fleetwood drummed on the Put A Record On studio album, like Dave Kelly, he couldn't make these Tramp 1974 sessions. Instead, Pete Miles (who'd previously enjoyed top ten chart success in Australia before coming back to live and work in England) joined for a while, and appears on the Tramp 1974 studio session. Drummer Keef Hartley 'depped' as a one-off only, on the live session featured here.

Danny Kirwan plays on the live tracks 9-14 - this recording is the last known live performance by the ex-Fleetwood Mac blues wunderkind - but on the eight studio cuts guitar credits are shared by Pete Emery and 'Putty' Pietryga.

Yet, amongst the good-time blues and soul, there is another - and sadder subtext to the Tramp project: namely, that it exposes the music business's sometimes cruel fickleness. One year may well be a short time when you're struggling to make it, but it works the other-way round once you've been there. In other words, a change for the worse comes all too unexpectedly, as Fleetwood and Kirwan had both found out by 1974.

Both musicians were on a roll when Brunning asked his old mates to become musical tramps for a day in 1969 - Mac were chart-toppers as well as being Britain's coolest of cool blues bands. Then, five years later when Bob got back in touch for the Put a Record On session both Mick and Danny each were fighting their own very real demons. The post-Peter Green Fleetwood Mac was yesterday's news in Britain with Mick unable to work anywhere whilst he fought an expensive legal battle with his ex-manager over rights to the group's name. Meanwhile, Kirwan - fired from Mac in August 1972 for drunkeness played well enough on the studio album and this live session, but inwardly he was already on the slippery slope that led to alcoholism a few years later.

That same period, 1969-1974, also saw Jo Ann Kelly go through some heavy music-biz scenes. She deliberately passed on Janis Joplin-type stardom in 1969, when she turned down Bob Hite's offer for her to front Canned Heat. Then a year later, what could have been a very interesting hook-up with Johnny Winter never came off. It was at the Second National Blues Convention in September 1969 that she jammed with Canned Heat's Al Wilson on blues harp. Then at the end of the month Jo Ann and fellow Tramp pianist Bob Hall sat in with Canned Heat at the Marquee club and it was there that Heat frontman Bob Hite was impressed enough he asked her to join the band.

Turning Canned Heat down was something she would deeply regret. as she explained to Stefan Grossman in 1978:

"I approached the whole thing with a non-business attitude and turned them down. I now think it would have been great to do a year with Canned Heat because then I would have had the experience and made my name, I was just so much into acoustic blues - a bit of a purist I'm afraid."

Often during this era Jo Ann displayed a complexity and even waywardness where she appeared to be determined in some way to spite herself. For instance, in the early days her image sometimes was very much at odds with the music, she was variously described by the press as a convent schoolgirl or bespectacled schoolteacher. What's more, she shared the bill at the 1968 First National Blues Convention in London with the then unknown Free and also Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation - both bands heavily into blues-rock's grubby testosterama image. And yet Jo Ann took the stage daintily kitted out in a short frock. Any apparent daintiness only lasted until she began to sing - then, bizarrely, you were listening to a big black woman's voice... even more magical was that she accompanied herself with raw Fred McDowell-style slide guitar (whom she accompanied only a year later at London's Mayfair Hotel).

By the early-1970s her image was better suited to the music, moving from feminine to feminist. For a year, around 1972, she fronted a band called Spare Rib, sharing its name with the recently launched full-on women's lib magazine. Bob Brunning now wrankles at the memory of the one gig he played as a member of Spare Rib:

"We did a benefit at the Marquee for the magazine and that was the first time I encountered sexism. We did the gig for nothing to support the magazine and eagerly awaited the next issue to see the review and...when we looked there was no review. So I rang them up and said, we did this for you and you didn't even give us a review? And they said, no... that's because you're blokes... And I said, I didn't think that that was what it was all about."

By this time Jo Ann's attitude was a million miles from the peace-and-love self-effacement she exuded in the 1960s, as this quote from a 1974 interview with Sounds Jerry Gilbert reveals:

"I was at a club in Boston called Paul's Morn and it was one of those clubs where all the prostitutes looked really great - it was a great club and I was supporting Johnny Nash. But the students think it's a terrible place, they've got their own scene elsewhere. I've decided I can't stand hippies - I'd rather work with crooks and pimps than hippies."

Her distaste for hippies may have started in Los Angeles in 1969-1970. She played a brilliant showcase at the 1969 Memphis Blues Festival - and she'd previously been spotted by Johnny Winter. So, before you could say the words 'this-could-go-platinum', hippy-era record company execs began their hype and smooth-talking: Jo Ann must play with Winter; Jo Ann must sign a five-year deal with CBS's Epic offshoot, and then record with Winter; Jo Ann must tour with the Johnny Winter Band, CBS even flew her out to Los Angeles to perform at their business convention. And yet all this amounted to nothing more than hollow promises: "The people at CBS said, 'All we want you to do is come over, and then we'll fly you to Johnny Winter's house in New York, and you two can see what you can do together."

The Winter/Kelly rehearsals for a proposed US tour went well but then Jo Ann got the bombshell: "CBS offered me $80 a week for the tour. I said, 'Man, that couldn't even take care of my plane fare, let alone my hotel.' So the tour didn't come off because they weren't prepared to sink any money into it and expected management to."

She returned to America in 1973 a couple of years after the Johnny Winter fiasco, this time to tour as a solo artist with Taj Mahal and Larry Coryell. 1972 saw her embark on another ill-fated project - her first permanent band, Spare Rib. Featuring 'Putty' Pietryga on guitar, had it been better organised by Jo Ann, this band might well have taken off.

So, by early 1974 it's perhaps not surprising that the two Bobs needed all their powers of persuasion to talk her into fronting a second Tramp lineup, as Hall remembers: "I seem to remember it wasn't so easy to get Jo Ann and Dave to that session. Though Dave was always easy, Jo Ann wasn't so sure... and yet, on the other hand some of her singing on that second album is the best I've ever heard her."

Put A Record On was recorded on January 9 & 10 1974 with promotional gigs and related projects that went on for a couple of months after that. For instance, they re-recorded the title track in March and Spark released it as a single with excellent backing vocals from Kokomo's singers. Put A Record On wasn't a hit but did make radio play-lists.

Listen to any track on Tramp 1974 and you'll hear Jo Ann's unmistakable vocals melding with Dave Brooks' very free and exuberant sax playing: listen to the very start of Love Blind - track 2 and it's easy to mistake one for the other - what sounds like a sax intro turns out to be Jo Ann's voice with an especially nasal timbre.

Guitar honours are shared out between Putty and Pete Emery in the studio, whilst Danny Kirwan plays live, Putty's soloing is blues-rock with an emphasis on rock - as on Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home track 4, whereas Pete Emery has more of a traditional blues man's approach to solos, as on 'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone - track 1. Tramp 1974 is something of a blue milestone in Danny Kirwan's blues-playing career. His solos are short with one or two flashes of inspiration, as on What You Gonna Do - track 11 but overall it sounds as though he's far happier ably to be playing second guitar behind Dave Brooks' strong improvising on sax.

The fact that Kirwan makes a bigger and more assured contribution on the studio album does tend to back up the feeling - expressed more than once since then by Mick Fleetwood - that Kirwan's sensitivity meant that the stage was often a daunting place for him to be. As we know, eventually this really did take its toll. Jump Steady Daddy - track 5 shows how Bob Hall was and remains - a key player on the British blues scene, whilst Bob Brunning's bass playing is characteristically solid throughout the album.

Tramp 1974, though, is really Jo Ann Kelly's show. Her most successful band, Second Line, came a few years later in 1980, but this collection, and the entire Tramp project, remain poignant reminders of Jo Ann's versatile approach to blues-based music, and also of the good times her personality brought to the stage.

'Jet' Martin Celmins

Jo Ann Kelly Mooncrest albums Volume 1 "Key To The Highway" - CRESTCD 037 and Volume 2 "Talkin' Low" - CRESTCD 045 include further 1974 recordings from 'Tramp'. 'Til My Back Ain't Got No Bone' and 'Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home', tracks 7 and 9 on CRESTCD 045 and the version of 'Put A Record On' on CRESTCD 037 were all recorded at an earlier session before the versions here, they are without the addition of 'Putty' Pietryga and the Kokomo Singers. The Kokomo Singers are Dyan Birch, Paddie McHugh and Frank Collins. The Guitar interplay between the two guitarists features solos by both Pete Emery, on tracks 1 and 8, and 'Putty' solo breaks on tracks 4 and 7.

The live set features the only performance of Keef Hartley with the band, whose usual drummers were Mick Fleetwood or Pete Miles. The set is issued in its entirety except for a version of Lucille Bogan's 'Jump steady Daddy' which is available on "Key To The Highway"

(P) (C) 2001 Mooncrest Records
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    Reviews »
Add your review here.

Kelly's greatness comes through, sometimes
Review written by John Fitzgerald, June 20th, 2005

You're better going into this if you've heard Tramp's "Put a record on" album which while good, is probably seen as a disappointment next to their classic 1969 selftitled album as this release, like "Put a record on" centers more on funk rhythms than on guitar driven improvisation which made their debut so appealing. This is best demonstrated on the live run through of the one song here that is from the first album, the nugget "Baby what you want me to do". Also, if one is ready for the imperfect sound quality that comes with most
Mooncrest releases than they will enjoy this set thoroughly. This as not as gloomy as I've made it out though, this is an important musical document for Mac (and especially Danny Kirwan) collectors, Jo Ann was always one of Tramp's strongest assets so, as one may guess with this release being billed as a Jo Ann Kelly release as opposed to a Tramp one even though these are Tramp recordings, we are treated to her singing lead on all tracks. That's one complaint I have about the first Tramp album, they should have used her more on that one. My favorite moments are the first three ultra funky numbers. Although "Love blind" may seem a bit wordy, the sax breaks work well and it's irresistible rhythm track (similar to the Rolling Stones "Fingerprint file" from "It's only rock and roll" conquers in the end. This coupled with the great opener "Til my back ain't got no bone" make you wonder why these were discarded at the time of sequencing "Put a record on" in favor of more inferior numbers. It seems the songs that work best on here are in fact the songs that didn't appear on "Put a record on". Billy Burnette fans will recognize the well covered blues classic "Nicky Hoeky" (spelled "Niki Hoeky" on his selftitled 1979 Polydor album) however it is extremely speeded up here which has a unique energy and those fans of John Mayall's "A hard road" will remember Peter singing lead on "You don't love me" billed here as "You don't love me baby". It's actually easier to appreciate the number for what it is here as this doesn't include the rather intrusive harmonica part the Bluesbreakers version employs. What is intrusive on this album is the work done on the studio tracks on here by the Kokomo singers. One generally feels the listener could pay more attention (as they want to when they here this) to Jo Ann's great voice but their backups make it hard to do that at times but you can feel the blues Kelly sings in particular on the slower tunes like "Feel like breaking up somebody's home" & "Help me through the night". The two versions of "Put a record on" don't fair much better than the version from the "Put a record on" album and they don't even come close to the best version of the song which appears on the "Brunning Hall sunflower blues band" album. However, "What you gonna do" does stand up pretty well with it's studio counterpart as it's longness doesn't seem as apparent here as it is on the studio version. Important for Mac fans as well in that Brunning plays on all songs except "Jump steady daddy" and Danny of course plays on the live tracks which are the last six on the platter. Good points and not so good points overall for me ends up in the middle but if some of the things that annoyed me about the disc you don't think will annoy you, then without hesitation, go for it.

    Comments »

From the Mooncrest Records Website: "A great mix of previously unreleased and rare live & studio sessions. Classic British Blues at it's best. 14 tracks, over 65 minutes of music. Also features contributions from Fleetwood Mac's Danny Kirwan, also Keef Hartley, Bob Brunning & Bob Hall.

Tracks 9-14 feature the last known live recordings of Danny Kirwan. Digitally remastered. 8 page booklet including detailed liner notes & many previously unseen photos."

    Last Modified »
    Tracklisting »
Discography entry submitted by Mario Pirrone & Marty Adelson.