A List of Things We Lost is the rare vinyl blog of the sometimes corporeal, always ephemeral Unbreakable Records.

Nothing posted here will be found on a compact disc. Links are lingering somewhere at the end of each post; go find 'em!

No commercial endeavor is implied or supported by the posting of this music, it is for personal enjoyment and consumption only.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Another great rarity, and one which people seem to be rarin’ to find. So, this one’s for you!

Pretty much everyone comes to Danny Holien’s self-titled album [Tumbleweed TWS 102, 1972] through the lead track, “Colorado.” Originally hailing from Cannon Falls, Minnesota, Holien had fronted the under-recorded (and therefore legendary) garage band the Shades. Moving west to Denver, he got caught up with a bunch of drug-gobbling rockers and second generation hippies, recording this gem in the process. Holien lived in the Rockies, near Evergreen, CO. His album reflects the pensive and acoustic fingerstyle guitar one might expect, but it isn’t lacking in the frenetic workouts that a Nuggets-era band like the Shades employed. “Colorado” was the biggest hit that the short-lived Tumbleweed Records would score, but it’s just one among many strong, country inflected jangles herein. He was in good company both proximally and sonically: Stephen Stills was right around the mountain in Nederland, CO, where he was busy recruiting the crew that would become Manassas. In fact, a quick search for “Colorado” on ye olde Google shows many people misremembering it as a Manassas tune.

Holien’s hit (his album was Tumbleweed's best success) was actually a protest against the possibility of the ’72 Olympic Winter Games being held in the state. It’s propelled by the same thump that marks contemporaneous CSNY-related tunes like “Ohio” and “Chicago” (also, coincidentally, named for U.S. locales), but the rest of the record is replete with jazzy interludes, lilting flute jams and harmony-laden acoustic/electric orchestrations. As part of the burgeoning preservationist movement, Danny Holien decried development and promoted the state’s natural beauty that would be all but lost if the Olympics came to Denver. And also, I mean, everyone knows how much skiers love weed, so it’s understandable that those back-to-the-land types were afraid the olympians would come & smoke what them musicians was working so hard to grow.

Other highlights are the twangy, tangy “Hick,” the eastern vibes of “Satsanga” and the garagey rave-up “Lino The Wino”. Danny Holien was produced by the great Bill Szymczyk, who’d previously worked with the James Gang and helped B.B. King with his crossover success “The Thrill Is Gone.” Szymczyk would follow Joe Walsh’s upward trajectory, engineering and producing massive hit albums for the Eagles and the Who, among others.

Colorado-based Tumbleweed Records’s brief existence actually owes a lot to Szymczyk, who, along with ABC-Dunhill A&R head Larry Ray and musician/producer Robb Kunkel (whose excellent Abyss is also a cult fave) wangled something like $1.5 million from gas masters Gulf+Western, of all companies, which was eager to exploit the continuing upswing in sales in the hippie music market. Tumbleweed’s most prescient release was the debut of Michael Stanley, which featured Walsh, Todd Rundgren and Rick Derringer. Considering that most of the label’s releases were in editions of 500, all with gatefold covers and lavish, full-sized, textured-paper booklets, and didn’t get much past the region, it’s unsurprising that Gulf+Western pulled the plug after only about 11 releases (but probably gleefully, what with the massive tax write-off that Tumbleweed provided for its parent company).

At 16 pages long, Holien’s liner notes feature hand-printed scores of all the melodies on the album. I’m not sure who’s benefit this was for, but it’s a lovely touch, one of those you’d-never-get-this-with-a-CD moments. Reticent and reluctant to tour, Holien returned to southern Minnesota shortly after recording this record, continuing to play around in the intervening decades with his band Cookies, but dropping out of the biz for all intents and purposes. I haven’t heard Cookies, but considering the strength of playing and writing on Danny Holien, I’m sure what he’s doing today is just as worth checking out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008



October 1, 2012: Alex Stimmel's Ashman-Reynolds piece will be featured in the upcoming Ugly Things #34.  All-new interviews with Aliki Ashman, Harry Reynolds and the Heavy Metal Kids' Keith Boyce (as A-R's 17 year-old drummer) - nice tie-in with my very first List post.
Should hit the stands by Early November . . . Go buy it!

Ashman Reynolds has been called a British supergroup of sorts, and I’d tend to agree, if you’d consider a group to be “super” even when it’s composed of musicians no one’s ever really heard of. Although members came from – and would move on to – Blue Mink, Picadilly Line, Fleetwood Mac, Heavy Metal Kids, Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Savoy Brown, Murray Head, Nazareth and Long John Baldry’s band, the band’s namesakes were Aliki Ashman and Harry Reynolds. Ashman had put in serious time in the late-60’s singing with both the Graham Bond Organisation and Ginger Baker’s Airforce, and Reynolds was a formidable session bassist and guitarist.

Their sole album, 1972’s barnstorming Stop Off, is as well-rounded an apotheosis of the British infatuation with American country rock as will be heard, holding its own with contemporaneous albums by the Faces and Stones. Ashman Reynolds also expertly hits West Coast rural psych moves, in part because of their three-guitar frontline (with Reynolds joined by Rod Edwards and Mickey Keene).

With washes of gospel organ, blue-eyed soul wailing and ripping guitar leads, Ashman Reynolds rock the down-home family-n’-friends feel of early Delaney & Bonnie, replete with sparkling group interplay and strong songs. Why they didn’t stay together is a mystery; so is how they came together in the first place. As mentioned above, everyone found continued work in the rock biz, most likely moving on to higher-profile and better-paying gigs. So Stop Off is exactly that - one of those rare alightments at the right place and time that produced a singular and unrepeatable tour de force.


In keeping with the ethos of the List, I’m not ripping anything that can be bought on CD or LP reissue, but I just had to share some sweet recent pulls from the stacks. Click the links to get some consumer action & hear for yerself...

Pride - S/T [Warner Bros. WB, 1970]
Mysterious, quasi-anonymous loner/downer folk. Draped with acoustic breakbeats and fuzzy psych touches, and masterminded by David Axelrod, billed here as "D.A. Axelrod", and his brother, who presumably does the
singing. Sounds like a lot of Axe's usual L.A. heavies on it, too. Part of the highly-recommended 2CD Reprise Sessions set.

Doug Ashdown - The Age Of Mouse [Sweet Peach, 1970]
Sprawling double album of Christian-themed acid-folk by this Aussie singer/songwriter. Was the first release for the Sweet Peach label, and was subsequently released in the U.S. on Coral as a single disc (Faintly Blowing has a dl to that one), but the whole sprawling epic is well worth the listen.

Martha & the Vandellas - Natural Resources [Gordy GS952, 1970]
By now my favorite Martha Reeves album and one of the best on the Motown roster, I'd say. Slammin' covers of
Something and Everybody's Talkin', and funky original tunes from the usual Hitsville stalwarts.

Roxy - S/T [Elektra EKS 74062, 1969]
After the baroque-folk-psych of Family Tree, the prolific Bob Segarini formed this Canadian band, whose sole self-titled LP is one of my favorites of all his projects. Segarini went on to form the, er, wacky (or wack, depedning on your taste) Wackers, and then redeem himself with a solid career as a powerpop star.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Awrightie then. . .

Sun, 9.13: Unbreakable Records is back in the saddle this coming Sunday (& every Sunday in September) at the Flea. As if with cosmic timing, our return coincides with the Flea's first annual Superstar DJ Record Fair!

So on top of boxes upon boxes of hot new pulls for the stall, I'll be spinning a short set mid-day of some rare funk 45s, all of which will be for sale. Many other stores, musicians & all-around tastemakers will also be spinning AND selling from their personal collections!

Fri, 9.19: Our good friends in Apothecary Hymns are playing with The Low Lows from Austin, TX, featuring Parker Lee Noon of Parker & Lily) at Union Pool. Sweaty psychedlia from the hardest-working power trio in the Brooklyn underground. Don't miss it!

Coming up: Unheard treasures from Ashman Reynolds, Danny Holien, Michael Fennerly and more. . .