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11 Jun 2017

Marc Jonson "Years" 1972 US Psych Folk,Baroque Pop







Marc Jonson  "Years" 1972 US Psych Folk,Baroque Pop

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Marc Jonson’s debut album "Years" is one of the rarest and most treasured albums in the voluminous Vanguard vaults................

Marc Jonson / Years Criminally under appreciated major label folk psych masterpiece! I only was turned onto this a couple of months ago, but it has been on repeat pretty much since then. Long Song is my personal favorite with it’s trippy arrangement and instrumentation. I hear Bob Trimble vibes on Rainy Dues, John Pantry Vibes on Autopsy, and the weirdness of David Stoughton on Munich…All while being completely original and strange. .............

The Vanguard Records label is known for some obscure gems, but Marc Jonson's 1972 debut album Years, just might be the rarest—and the fairest—of them all! Not only has it never been reissued on vinyl or CD or even bootlegged, but this lost psych folk/baroque pop masterpiece marked quite a departure for a label known for its traditional folk, blues, and roots music. Comparisons have been made to Tim Buckley's Goodbye & Hello, Phil Ochs' Pleasures of the Harbor, Bill Fay's first album as well as other obscure Popsike legends such as Bobb Trimble, John Pantry, and David Stoughton…throw in a touch of the intimate vibe of Big Star and you’ll have an idea of the coolness that awaits those who discover (or rediscover) this cult classic. As Jonson remarks in the liner notes, "I used left over harpsichords from classical sessions the night before. I hired string players and a string arranger. I even met a street player named Steven Gardner who played the recorder!" Produced for reissue by Pat Thomas, this expanded reissue of Years sports many rare vintage photos, a detailed interview with Marc Jonson by Steve Simels , an ace remastering job (from the original tapes) by John Baldwin , and four bonus tracks featuring plus a non-LP single and several 7 inch single mixes, all never before on CD!........

This record is fascinating in so many ways that it would take too much space for my lowbrow writing abilities. Anyway, what really baffles me is how snobs and connoisseurs spend their life salibating at incredibly rare,hopelessly dull, "conazo" records while major label artists like David Stoughton, Bob Brown or Jonson himself are still undervalued by everyone (just google his name to check).
How odd!
It's good to know there are still records out there that thrill me the way they used to in my youth.
How great! ...........~ by CarlosCastro (RYM).................
I own the CD reissue signed by Mark Johnson, aka Marc Jonson, of this enchanting record originally released on Vanguard Records in 1972 and now available on Radioghost as a special product.
This is a truly magic listening experience that reflects the very peculiar recording process if we are to believe Marc/Mark Jonson/Johnson himself: "I used left over harpsichords from classical sessions the night before. I hired string players and a string arranger. I even met a street player named Steven Gardner who played the recorder and set him to task on a long instrumental part of one of the songs. It was very ahead of its time in many ways"
Amazing, isn't it?
By the way, Mark Johnson later recorded three powerpop CDs that are must-haves, even for earlier fans of the folk-psych-pop music to be found on 'Years'.
 ~ by popphil (RYM)..................

YEARS by MARC JONSON I own the CD reissue signed by Mark Johnson, aka Marc Jonson, of this enchanting record originally released on Vanguard Records in 1972 and now available on Radioghost as a special product.
This is a truly magic listening experience that reflects the very peculiar recording process if we are to believe Marc/Mark Jonson/Johnson himself: “I used left over harpsichords from classical sessions the night before. I hired string players and a string arranger. I even met a street player named Steven Gardner who played the recorder and set him to task on a long instrumental part of one of the songs. It was very ahead of its time in many ways” Amazing, isn’t it?
By the way, Mark Johnson later recorded three power pop CDs that are must-haves, even for earlier fans of the folk-psych-pop music found on ‘Years’.YEARS by MARC JONSON I own the CD reissue signed by Mark Johnson, aka Marc Jonson, of this enchanting record originally released on Vanguard Records in 1972 and now available on Radioghost as a special product.
This is a truly magic listening experience that reflects the very peculiar recording process if we are to believe Marc/Mark Jonson/Johnson himself: “I used left over harpsichords from classical sessions the night before. I hired string players and a string arranger. I even met a street player named Steven Gardner who played the recorder and set him to task on a long instrumental part of one of the songs. It was very ahead of its time in many ways” Amazing, isn’t it?
By the way, Mark Johnson later recorded three power pop CDs that are must-haves, even for earlier fans of the folk-psych-pop music found on ‘Years’....Psychedelic Guy...................

Marc Jonson YEARS Criminally ignored by the retrospective 4 cd box ” Make it your sound, make it your scene, Vanguard Records and the 1960s musical revolution”. Tell us why, because “Years” is a forgotten gem of baroque pop, by a guy possessing a rightly thrilling voice and outstanding composer skills… The non LP single is stellar too. Another guy to add on the too long list whose lack of success is the big mystery.................

IN 1978 LYNN SAMUELS had a free-form radio show on WBAI called “Part of the Act”—between discursive monologues and lively discourse with her audience she played music, and the most-featured artist was an extraordinary talent named Mark Johnson.
It doesn’t take much to fall in love with his music—ethereal and familiar, Mark Johnson sings from and of the human heart: his lyrics describe love’s extensive permutations, with music to match these rich emotions. The music I heard on Lynn Samuels’ show was not available in record stores—at the time Mark Johnson had one album, Years, released in 1972 on Vanguard, that was out of print. I kinda freaked out, but recorded on cassette from the radio, eventually compiling about thirty minutes of his music.

When I went to see him in concert I found a wild man, a performer who sang each song as if his life depended on it. The experience of hearing Mark Johnson at Folk City, standing less than ten feet from me, in black pants, white shirt, tight cowboy boots, crying/screaming/spitting out the words to his song “Noreen,” gives me chills a quarter century later.
After the show I asked him if he had any plans to make another record and he mumbled something about working on some tapes, but he didn’t sound particularly serious, and I was furious with him for depriving the world (and me, mostly me) of his music. He clearly had lots of songs, and while I used a little Panasonic walkman to tape his live shows on the sly, the clinking of drinks and bar chatter ruined the listening experience.

Lynn Samuels left WBAI, Folk City closed, and ultimately Mark Johnson stopped performing at The Other End, Kenny’s Castaways, and the Speakeasy. I lost track of him and was left with my half hour cassette, which began to deteriorate from overuse. I dubbed copies to play and kept the original as my “master tape.” Grateful to have these few gems, I despaired of ever getting more.
Mark Johnson resurfaced in 1992 with a CD, 12 in a Room, on his own label, Tabula Rasa Records. This is Mark at his best—in the “studio” (a small apartment above the Cornelia Street Café) with himself at virtually all the instruments and vocals—mixing and matching, using the musical genius RCA Records recognized when they offered him a contract as an artist and producer at age 20, when he walked in off the street with a homemade demo. (Years, the album from this time period, is a classic which holds up amazingly well some thirty-five years later—it is mind-boggling that this sophisticated music came from someone barely out of his teens).

12 in a Room is brilliant, containing songs I already loved and others I soon would. “Cold Weather” is the down-and-out-in-the-Village masterpiece after which Mark’s music publishing company is named; “Desperate” is a musical exegesis of the heart-wrenching experience of trying to regain a relationship lost to petty misunderstanding. The album also includes “Larry Stein,” a reworking from the RCA demo. Yes, Dave Edmunds recorded “King of Love,” and the Roches covered “Love Radiates Around,” but no one sings these songs like Mark. Naturally, one must hear this music to appreciate it, but I’d describe it as the work of a folk-rock singer-songwriter pop music troubadour, with melodies as gorgeous as his words.

After the spurt of activity that came with 12 in a Room, I once again lost touch with Mark and his music. Another decade passed before I came upon him in cyberspace through his website http://www.mark-johnson.com, where I discovered he had a new album, Last Night on the Roller Coaster. Is it better than 12 in a Room? Maybe, but mostly I’d say it’s different. 12 in a Room is a bunch of hits nicely strung together whereas Last Night feels more like a themed album, one song flowing into the next with musical logic. On this CD one can hear the many musical styles Johnson effortlessly embraces: to my ears “Suddenly Sunshine” evokes George Harrison, portions of “So Wonderful” are reminiscent of 50’s doo-wop, in “Coney Island Night” I hear shades of Billy Joel at his best, but all of the songs, whatever tradition/influence/homage they may suggest, have the distinct stamp of Mark Johnson. Throughout this musical journey Johnson’s voice changes with each song—he’s as comfortable with a sweet ballad as with a hard-rocking tune, and everything in between.
Johnson has since released Mark Johnson and the Wild Alligators, which documents the collaboration with his rock band in the early eighties, when I was hearing him live on a semi-regular basis. The immediacy of the performances on this CD gives it the feel of a live recording, with the sound quality of a studio album. I was surprised to find that a few of the songs such as “Precious Love,” “Bad Love” and “Six Nine One,” were actually by Mark Johnson—I was sure they were covers of top-forty radio hits until I checked the credits. These songs weren’t on my “bootlegged” cassette, but were so engrained in my memory that I could easily sing along with them some twenty years later.

Johnson is currently working on a new CD, which must be a daunting task since he’s set the bar so high with his previous releases—there are no “throwaways” in any of his four major albums; even songs which might sound “lite” at first, gain depth upon repeated listens.
Recently Johnson has supplemented his oeuvre with songs for companion CD’s for the Disney movies Finding Nemo and Cars. His songs continue to be recorded by other artists—if he’s the best-kept secret in pop, he’s well known within the industry. Mark Johnson’s success, while substantial, has never matched his talent; he awaits “discovery” by a larger audience—meanwhile he has attained cult status, and I, for one, happily, giddily, ineluctably joined the cult.......by Vincent Collazo...........................

If you like hummable pop melodies, Mark Johnson is the one-man show Big Star wishes they'd been as a group. This endlessly listenable collection includes rockabilly Dave Edmunds covered ("King of Love") and
a stunning ballad the Roches covered ("Love Radiates Around"), as well as major-league productions that bring to mind the big pop recordings of the 70s and 80s (think: Air Supply with more complex lyrics and arrangements). And the songwriter played most of the instruments and created all of the recordings. So if you like pop recordings that sound like Brian Wilson meets Phil Spector (because Mr. Johnson is exactly that), you have to own this one. .............    

Tracklist
A1 Rainy Dues 3:53
A2 Mary 5:52
A3 Mother Jane 2:08
A4 Fly 3:34
B1 A Long Song 5:15
B2 Autopsy 1:38
B3 Return To The Relief 5:51
B4 Munich 2:37
B5 The Tredmill 2:42

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..