Hello from Melbourne

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Hello from Melbourne

Postby kenny » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:08 pm

This week I surprised some of my more smug journalistic brethren - the one's who had me totally pegged as ONLY a jazz nerd - by writing a country rock review for the Sunday Herald Sun here in sunny Melbourne.

Actually, I wrote the review last week - BEFORE my copy of the new PPL/Bustin' Out CD had arrived from Amazon. I've still got tattered LP versions of both, but hadn't played them for yonks. But as I've lived with this music for about 30 years, writing a review without hearing the new CD was a breeze. It sounds great.

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COUNTRY ROCK

Pure Prairie League/Bustin' Out
Pure Prairie League
(Acadia Records)


In short: Masterpieces together for the first time.

THERE was country rock before Pure Prairie League.

And plenty more - including a slew of mediocre PPL platters - has followed since the Ohio outfit's first two albums.

But no one has ever equalled or bettered these early '70s classics.

They are goosebump-glorious slices of country rock nirvana.

The self-titled debut: Plenty of twang and searing guitars; the gorgeous wail of John Call's pedal steel; great tunes such as Tears, You're Between Me and Harmony Song.

The follow up, Bustin' Out: Both tougher (Angel No.6, leave My heart Alone) and gentler (the big hit Amie, early Morning Riser), more of those those guitars; and even strings on a couple of tracks (Boulder Skies, call Me Tell Me), as arranged by Mick Ronson.

And throughout: the homespun songs and vocals of George Powell and the more heart-worn tunes of Craig Fuller, whose angelic voice is a thing of monumental beauty.

KENNY WEIR

*****************

My newspaper's reviews are real short, so I didn't have much room to move. I could've gone on to say that these albums, IMNSHO, easily cream everything ever put out by the likes of Poco and anyone else you care to mention.

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When they were released I was at high school in Dunedin, New Zealand, and becoming friends with an Aussie hippie dude who ran an underground freebie music/leftie rag called variously Southern Flyer, Midnite Rider and so on. It was he who introduced me to the first album. When he split for London, I took the rag over, and eventually ran an interview with Craig Fuller. I borrowed it, with permission. from an English fanzine called Omaha rainbow, run by a bloke called Pete O'Brien and obsessed with all things John Stewart. The Fuller interview was done after he'd left the band.

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The closest I've ever come to seeing PPL was the comeback gig by Little Feat on a riverboat in New Orleans. I was so excited that i was goona get to hear Craig Fuller, I toted both my LPs from Melbourne in the hope of snagging a couple of autographs. The gig was a drag. Little Feat were fine, as was Bonnie Raitt. But, you know, they WEREN'T THE PURE PRAIRIE LEAGUE.

*******************

Next step for me: Ordering the new album. Sounds pretty good, from what I've heard at Pandore. And get me a T-shirt, too.

*******************

I've lurked here for a while, but still can't find a plain answer to a nagging question: What's up with George Powell?
Where's the gumbo?
kenny
 
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Postby Dan Williams III » Thu Oct 05, 2006 12:45 am

Thanks for that , Kenny. It's a pleasant surprise to have learned that PPl is that well-appreciated so far from home. Any chance of resurrecting the old Craig Fuller interview for us? No doubt it would delight us all. Thanks, mate!
Dan
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Postby kenny » Tue Oct 10, 2006 8:13 pm

Dan Williams III wrote:Thanks for that , Kenny. It's a pleasant surprise to have learned that PPl is that well-appreciated so far from home. Any chance of resurrecting the old Craig Fuller interview for us? No doubt it would delight us all. Thanks, mate!
Dan


Hi Dan! I've looked for the interview online to no avail, so I'll have to send it snail mail. It's very small print! So what address?

Cheers, Kenny
Where's the gumbo?
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Postby Dan Williams III » Wed Oct 11, 2006 3:16 am

I put the info in a PM to you. Much thanks, Kenny!
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Postby kenny » Fri Oct 13, 2006 6:06 pm

Dan Williams III wrote:I put the info in a PM to you. Much thanks, Kenny!
Dan


Done
Where's the gumbo?
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Postby Tom » Wed Oct 18, 2006 5:08 am

Hi guys,

Welcome Kenny.

I went through this article some time ago as I prepare the scrapbook section. Unfortunately, no pictures.It took place I believe in late 1975 as Two Lane Highway had already been released.

The article primarily deals with Craig's problems with his CO status, ultimately leading to his leaving PPL. Probably no need to belabor that now, as we know it was a difficult time for him.

As for the PPL part, it appears that mostly everthing Craig states has been on this site in one thread or another. Craig states how it was too much for him to continue playing in the band plus work a full time job.Craig spoke about maybe doing a solo LP, but as we know he ended up in American Flyer.He also makes reference to how at one point he and George considered working together as a duo and using sidemen, but in the end went with a band concept, as George preferred. There are no details along these lines but it was in PPL's earliest years as the band had trouble getting gigs, and the lineup was sketchy, depending on who was available at any given moment. Tom McGrail, Jim Caughlin and Billy Hinds all drummed with the band at various points. Others, like John Call, had jobs.

It also makes reference to the legal difficulties that arose re: the name PPL and how it was resolved. For those who haven't read it here before, basically PPL continued on w/o Craig after he declined to continue. PPL became hot and then suddenly the band no one cared about had quite a few people getting interested: ex managers, agents, it seemed everyone was very concerned about PPL ! The ultimate resolution worked out extremely well for all involved, as Craig's royalties were protected and PPL caught fire with Two Lane Highway and rose to the top of the country rock world with that LP and Bustin' Out . The thing about it was these guys were all friends, and if it was left strictly up to them, they probably could have made it all work out. But others were involved and it blew up a bit. Despite the difficult time period for Craig, he still maintained his sense of humor. He was great friends with Waverly buddy John Call and stated he would love to have John play on an LP with him." He and I are good friends and we work together real well. Yeah, we really do." Craig is then a bit hesitant about putting that in the article and jokes that the PPL manager might sue him for trying to take John from PPL.

Craig is also consistent. I put in the Quote of the Day thread something from Craig from several years back re: PPL playing Amie without him.He stated that it was probably harder on the guys in the band doing it then it was for him. In this article he says virtually the same thing. In addition to Call and Powell he also had some kind words for Larry Goshorn and Mike Reilly. "...Mike Reilly does a very good imitation of me. More power to him. He's a bit too tall though !." Like I said, Craig's humor was still intact. On Larry: " I think he wrote about half the tracks on their new album, Two Lane Highway....I knew Larry. He's a good guy..."

Another thing which is no surprise if you've been reading this site for awhile is that Craig has never been into the whole celebrity type thing.The music speaks for itself, he doesn't look for fame in the sense most people think of it, yet he certainly has a deep appreciation for those who enjoy his efforts.When Craig worked in the hospital, his music had started to catch fire. Suddenly people he worked with everyday were looking at him a bit differently, asking for his autograph, etc. In the meantime, Craig was quite proud of the work he was doing on the job !

Although not in this article, a Craig quote many years later probably sums it all up the best: " I'm sorry I didn;t get to participate in the notoriety.They wre flying all over the country in those private Lears.But the money was rolling in, " he laughed. " That part was good. Real good."

So, in the end ,it was all's well that ends well for the guys in the band and the loyal prairiedogs.

All the best,
Tom
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