[MUSIC] 'Get Hooked (Valentino's Deal)' (Original Music)
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The self-titled debut from the East Bay groovers Stoneground is a solid effort blending accomplished straight-ahead rock & roll with a distinct bluesy vibe similar to many of the group's San Fran contemporaries. The band's revolving-door personnel centered on a Concord, CA, trio featuring Luther Bildt (guitar), Tim Barnes (guitar), and Mike Mau (drums). Through Bay Area music mogul Tom Donohue, the trio hooked up with former Beau Brummels leader Sal Valentino (vocals). In turn, John Blakely (guitar/bass) arrived via Donohue, and by the time that both Valentino and Blakely had settled in, Stoneground was also sporting a quartet of female vocalists. While Annie Sampson, Lydia Phillips, and Deirdre LaPorte were virtually unknown, Lynne Hughes had been in a seminal version of Dan Hicks' Hot Licks as well as in the short-lived Tongue and Groove. The band continued to expand when it toured England in the Medicine Ball Caravan (1970) tour, picking up future Jefferson Starship and Hot Tuna member Pete Sears (keyboards) in the process. With occasional help from former Mystery Trend member Ron Nagle (keyboards/percussion/inspiration), the sprawling combo that would contribute to Stoneground (1971) was intact. Part of the band's quaintly indefinable sound can be attributed to the inclusion of more than half a dozen different lead vocalists on the album's ten tracks. While Valentino supplied a majority of the originals, the disc is highlighted by some truly exemplary cover tunes as well. These include a gospel-rock reading of Rev. Gary Davis' \"Great Change Since I Have Been Born\" and the refined East Bay funk rendition of the Kinks' \"Rainy Day in June,\" as well as the slide guitar blues of John D. Loudermilk's \"Bad News.\" Arguably, best of all is the rousing \"Don't Waste My Time,\" which shows off the full force of Stoneground's cohesiveness. The power ballad \"Brand New Start\" is masterfully driven by the gospel inflections of Sampson. The Valentino compositions -- \"Looking for You,\" the quirky \"Added Attraction (Come and See Me),\" and \"Stroke Stand\" (which is notable for an ensemble vocal) -- bear repeated listens and hint at this group's truly great potential.
Born in Michigan in 1983 to Seventh Day Adventist parents Birch was not only banned from listening to pop music as it was deemed sinful but also taken by her parents to the remotest parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa before she had even reached a double figured age. Not an easy start to life I should imagine. When she was eleven the family settled in Portland and Birch began a clandestine affair with pop music. By the time she reached her teens she had rebelled entirely and had become a Goth with a love of The Cure, Bauhaus and the Sisters of Mercy to name but three. As soon as school was completed she ran away to Los Angeles got any job she could singing and playing piano in hotels and bars and even managed to be noticed by Prince who invited her to his home to write songs. Birch was one of the generation of musicians helped by the original MySpace concept and the songs posted on there led to her being offered her record deal. By this time she had relocated again, this time to London but the record deal from S-Curve saw her return to America and New York where she still resides. 59ce067264