Archive for the Don “Sugar Cane” HARRIS Category

Don "Sugarcane" HARRIS – Cup Full Of Dreams 1973

Posted in BLUES, Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS on November 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Don “Sugarcane” HARRIS – Cup Full Of Dreams 1973


Blues violinist Sugarcane Harris is on fire during this 1973 studio session for BASF, which features many of his regular collaborators of the period. Harris, who wrote all of the material heard on the date, mixes elements of jazz, country, and rock into his brand of blues. He is brilliant in the midtempo blues “Runnin’ Away,” though none of the solos that follow measure up to the leader’s. “Hattie’s Bathtub” is a catchy blues waltz. But it is the extended composition “Cup Full of Dreams” that showcases Harris’ lyricism on his instrument. One amusing aspect of the LP is the obvious presence of guitarist Harvey Mandel, who evidently could not be named for contractual reasons, though his photo is barely disguised with an old-fashioned black bar over his eyes. Just a few years after this record was released, poor health put an end to the violinist’s career. Sadly, this record is long out of print and somewhat hard to find.
By Ken Dryden, All Music Guide.
Victor Conte- Bass, Guitar
Don “Sugarcane” Harris- Violin, Composer, Vocals, Producer
Paul Lagos- Drums
Harvey Mandel- Guitar
Randy Resnick- Guitar
Larry Taylor- Bass, Guitar (Bass)
Dewey Terry- Percussion, Keyboards, Piano (Electric)
A1. Runnin’ Away   8:00
A2. Hattie’s Bathtub   7:23
A3. Bad Feet   5:21
B1. Cup Full of Dreams   14:24
B2. Generation of Vipers   4:15

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Don "SugarCane" HARRIS – Got The Blues 1972

Posted in BLUES, Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Don “SugarCane” HARRIS – Got The Blues  1972
MB 21283


The jazz-rock violinist Don “Sugar Cane” Harris, who came to prominence in the late 1960s with his fiery performances on Frank Zappa’s HOT RATS, is given often inspired support on this early-`70s live set by some of Europe’s most noted free-jazz and avant-garde rock musicians, including the then-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt and the bassist Neville Whitehead. Harris demonstrates how he put jazz-rock violin playing on the map with four extended pieces, including Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father,” that combine technical wizardry with surprising sensitivity.

Furious rock frenzy and deep felt rhythm & blues from the unchallenged master of rock violin, live at the Berliner Jazztage, backed by a most prominent band including ex-Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt. Originally released on MPS in 1972. Unique gate fold cardboard packaging.
With the realization that there will always be more music coming at him than he can keep up with, AAJ Managing Editor John Kelman wonders why anyone would think that jazz is dead or dying.
One of the greatest definers of late-1960s and early-1970s jazz was the collaboration of musicians from disparate backgrounds, a perfect example being Charlie Mariano’s 1976 MPS release, Helen Twelve Trees (Promising Music/MPS, 2008), featuring ex-Mahavishnu keyboardist Jan Hammer alongside ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce. Equally, 1972’s Sugar Cane’s Got the Blues—another MPS title seeing issue on CD for the first time courtesy of Promising Music’s tender care—demonstrates that stylistic differences can often come together to create music that’s exciting and completely unexpected.
Violinist Don “Sugar Cane” Harris seemed to burst onto the scene with two appearances on Frank Zappa’s classic Hot Rats (Rykodisc, 1969), resulting in a flurry of recording activity that mysteriously died out by the mid-1970s. Got the Blues captures two electrifying performance at Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall from November, 1971, a potent combination of groove and improvisational freedom that makes Harris’ later disappearance from the scene (he passed away in 1999) all the more curious.
The quintet of musicians come from diverse backgrounds: from Britain, Soft Machine drummer Robert Wyatt and bassist Neville Whitehead, who traveled in similar circles; and from Germany, keyboardist Wolfgang Dauner and guitarist Volker Kriegel, two multi-disciplinary players comfortable across a broad spectrum of styles, one example being Kriegel’s work on The Dave Pike Set’s Live at the Philharmonie (Promising Music/MPS, 2008). Norwegian guitarist/ECM mainstay Terje Rypdal replaces Kreigel on Got the Blues’s most purely jazz-centric track, Horace Silver’s “Song for My Father,” which may sport the album’s most relaxed vibe, but still can’t seem to restrain Harris’ fiery delivery.
The balance of the disc’s four extended tracks belong to Harris. “Liz Pineapple Wonderful” may at first revolve around a simple set of changes and, later, a one-chord vamp, but it grooves mightily with relentless energy. In addition to a “burning down the house” solo from Harris, he also sings on the track, as he does on the pseudo-swinging minor-keyed title track which, after another introductory two-chord vamp, turns modal and double time for individual and in tandem solos from Dauner and Kriegel before a finale with everyone in the pool for three minutes of spirited free play. Harris also sings on the funky closer, “Where’s My Sunshine,” another lengthy vamp that morphs into a blues, with a surprisingly authentic piano solo from Dauner.
Harris’ unrelenting and passionate delivery keeps the excitement level high throughout, despite Got the Blues’ largely simple and vamp-based tunes. And while Kriegel’s jazz/rock tendencies are no surprise to those familiar with him, hearing the usually free jazz-centric Dauner and Whitehead kick out the jams alongside Wyatt’s powerful drumming is an eye and ear-opener. In many ways, it’s this very multi-disciplinary nature of this collective that allows an album this compositionally spare to be so viscerally compelling.
Harris recorded a number of other discs for MPS that will, no doubt, see first-time release on CD thanks to Promising Music. Until then, Sugar Cane’s Got the Blues will serve as a fine introduction to those unfamiliar with this unsung hero of jazz/rock violin.
By John Kelman. AAJ.
Electronics, Keyboards- Wolfgang Dauner
Guitar- Terje Rypdal (tracks: B1) , Volker Kriegel (tracks: A1, A2, B2)
Electric Violin, Guitar- Don “Sugarcane” Harris
Bass- Neville Whitehead
Drums- Robert Wyatt
A1. Liz Pineapple Wonderful
A2. Sugarcane’s Got The Blues
B1. Song For My Father
B2. Where’s My Sunshine

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New Violin Summit – Live At The Berlin Jazz Festival 1971

Posted in Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS, JAZZ on November 17, 2010 by whoisthemonk

New Violin Summit – Live At The Berlin Jazz Festival 1971


Don “Sugar Cane” Harris’ drug addiction curtailed his career long prior to his death in 2000, but this performance at the 1971 Berlin Jazz Festival stands out as his best overall recording. Taped during the same day as the highly recommended New Violin Summit (which features Harris with fellow violinists Jean-Luc Ponty, Nipso Branther, and Michal Urbaniak).
Bass- Neville Whitehead
Drums- Robert Wyatt
Guitar- Terje Rypdal
Keyboards- Wolfgang Dauner
Violin- Don “Sugarcane” Harris , Jean-Luc Ponty , Michal Urbaniak , Nipso Brantner
A1. Valium  10:02
Violin-Quartet, solo order Urbaniak – Ponty – Brantner – Harris
A2. Got My Mojo Working  8:50
Violin-Duo, solo order Harris – Brantner
B1. Nuggis  12:52
Violin-Duo, solo order Ponty – Urbaniak
B2. Horizon  7:52
Four violins and guitar, no rhythm section
C1. Flipping  12:30
violin-solo Ponty
C2. Astrorama  11:22
Violin-Duo, solo order Harris – Ponty
D1. Violin Summit Nr. II  17:03
Violin-Quartet, solo order Urbaniak – Ponty – Brantner – Harris

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Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS – Fiddler On The Rock 1971

Posted in BLUES, Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Don “Sugar Cane” HARRIS – Fiddler On The Rock  1971
CRM 878, 0654 807


Born in 1938, was Don ‘Sugar Cane’ Harris certainly one of the rare genius on the electric violin. Hardly surprising, he had enjoyed as a child instruction in the classical violin. Since the late sixties he was a guest musician a popular size and can be heard on numerous boards, including by Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, Frank Zappa, and – how could it be otherwise – the European blues pioneer John Mayall, with whom he toured frequently.
Shortly after Mayall 1970 his’ broke Turning Point’ troupe, he was working on a new incarnation of his’ Bluesbreakers’ and was Harvey Mandel and Larry Taylor of Canned Heat get into it, which according to Al Wilson’s death from the ‘adopted heat canned’ had. The new formation was also Paul Lagos, the Mayall with ‘Sugar Cane’ met. Then there was the ‘devil’s fiddler “himself – John Mayall was a big fan of his, and thus the British blues pioneer was on the road for the first time with all-American colleagues.
During a tour in Holland called ‘Sugar Cane’ with unforgettable Joachim Ernst Berendt – the German pope of jazz – in order to proclaim him, with almond, Taylor and Lagos, he had found his perfect formation and he would immediately import a record.
In addition to his many journalistic activities in the then South West radio, Berendt also operate the MPS label (including the first published Volker Kriegel project ‘Missing Link’). The company operated out of the Black Forest and the world has brought many classic Blues’n’Jazz’n’Rock.
In February 1971, it was time, in the studio Villingen, the magical sounds of the quartet moved to tape. Innovation, inspiration, wit, stunning security of instrumental mastery and beyond, the perfect ‘Interplay’, was the outstanding result of the sessions. The booklet is Berendt’s statement: “Almost all the pieces of the plate are ‘First Takes’, the band was so well recorded.”
And that’s what you hear with every stroke.
The famous Lennon / McCartney epic “Eleanor Rigby” is indeed in a number of cover versions, but these may well be among the best, because it excels with its expressive power and smooth even the original. Dark, sometimes slip into the depressed, to again bring out the postitive. Really great to play here just Taylor and Lagos, offering a rhythmic carpet on which we can not sit still.
A similarly compelling intensity also convey “I’m Gonna Miss You” and “So Alone” – one suffers with normal. The other tracks range from blues and R & B with jazz skillfully interspersed shortcuts. And the typical jazz without any wind instrument.
Most particularly surprising is the idea of Harvey ‘The Snake’ Mandel: He has known and mastered all the tricks on the electric guitar up to the ‘two-hand tapping’ – that is walking on the strings of Fretboards with the fingers of both hands – and will his art here is clearly in the service of songs, beautifully acted more in the background. The solo instrument in this work happens to be ‘Sugar Cane’ electrically amplified violin.
‘Sugar Cane’ had previously recorded four solo albums and set up for ‘Fiddler On The Rock “with almond a formation called Pure Food And Drug Act. With this band 1972 live album was recorded here by the present five of the eight songs as bonus tracks. Overall, a trace in the rock hiking, these songs a welcome added value, where “My Soul’s On Fire” works without violin. This is the situation of Harvey Mandel – no wonder that he wanted to commit the Stones to replace Mick Taylor!
Under the relatively limited number of rounders in the electrically amplified violin – here are Jean Luc Ponty, ‘Papa John Creach’ (Jefferson Airplane) and Jerry Goodman (The Flock and Mahavishnu Orchestra) as examples – was ‘Sugar Cane’, at least on a par but unlike the other more of the Hendrix of the instrument. Only his decades of drug addiction actually denied him the rightful superstar status. He died in December 1999 in Los Angeles.
This album is not just for me one of the very, very great works that enrich our lives and to support my thesis I would like to quote John Mayall, who brought it to the point.
By Manni Hüther.
This is a jam album, but no meandering 1970s affair.
This is a 70s show featuring Harris with the great and completely under recognized guitarist, Harvey Mandel.
Based on the blues, the numbers are long, but both soloists-Mandel turned down an invitation to replace Mick Taylor in the Stones and Harris played on “Gumbo Variations” on Zappa’s Hot Rats-have such concentration, their long solos take on a classical grandness and architecture. Listen to the rework of the Beatles “Eleanore Rigby,” which turns into a Hot Ratsish jam.
The rare 1971 “Fiddler On The Rock” album by the late, great blues-rock violinist Don ‘Sugar Cane’ Harris – featuring guitarist Harvey Mandel, bassist Larry Taylor and drummer Paul Lagos – and recorded in Germany when all were on tour as members of the John Mayall Band.
Pasadena-born “Sugarcane” Harris was half of the R&B duo Don & Dewey in the mid-50s, writing a number of rock & roll hits, including ‘Farmer John’. Apart from his time with Mayall, he is best known for his work with Frank Zappa on the albums “Hot Rats”, “Burnt Weeny Sandwich”, and “Weasels Ripped My Flesh”.
Harris claimed to have assembled his perfect group for the ‘Fiddler’ album and the label’s producer Joachim E. Berendt later commented that “almost all the pieces that Sugar Cane plays on our record are first takes – the four musicians were so well attuned to each other.” The quartet recorded five Harris originals.
This release also includes five bonus tracks from the band “The Pure Food & Drug Act”, a quintet formed by Harris and Mandel, which also included Paul Lagos. These tracks are from the short-lived group’s 1972 debut and only album.
Don “Sugar Cane” Harris- Violin, Vocals
Paul Lagos- Drums
Harvey Mandel- Guitar
Larry Taylor- Bass
A1. Eleanor Rigby (9:36)
A2. I’m Gonna Miss You (4:50)
A3. The Buzzard’s Cousin (6:05)
B1. The Pig’s Eye (6:31)
B2. So Alone (7:06)
B3. No Inspiration (4:00)

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Pure Food & Drug Act Live at Civic Center – Choise Cuts 1971

Posted in BLUES, Don "Sugar Cane" HARRIS, Pure Food & Drug Act on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Pure Food & Drug Act Live at Civic Center – Choise Cuts 1971
Pasadena, CA on Dec 20th.
2002 Issue.


This is perhaps one of the funkiest Live Albums to come out of the 70’s.Harvey Mandell is in top form on guitar, and those of us who know “Sugarcane” well, this is hard to top…This album did not recieve wide public fame when it was released, but if you want to hear a great live album, this is it. Finally it’s available on CD, I waited for years for this, the CD is excellent, do yourself a favor and buy this to get “Soul Food” and other classic cuts…PF&DA…Yeah
By Harlan P. Busch.
Pure Food and Drug Act  Popular Music band that was formed in the early 1970s by Don “Sugarcane” Harris. The band began with Paul Lagos on drums, Larry Taylor on bass and Randy Resnick on guitar. Resnick was at that time experimenting with a one and two handed tapping technique which later became a standard guitarist’s tool. The group played small rooms in the Los Angeles area, such as the Troubador and the Ash Grove, for several months.

While the band was searching for a record deal, Larry Taylor allegedly began to tire of Don’s constant lateness and irresponsibility and decided to continue his career with Mayall. At the same time, Harvey Mandel, a Mayall alumni, was brought in to beef up the accompaniment and to stimulate record label interest, as he already had a following from his Chicago blues days. To replace Taylor on bass, a relative newcomer, Victor Conte, was recruited from Common Ground, a funk band in Fresno that Resnick had played in. Conte went on to play in Tower of Power and with Herbie Hancock in his Monster Band.

Choice Cuts was the band’s only album, recorded live in Seattle in 1972, but it was mostly unsuccessful. Allegedly because of Don’s unreliable nature, the band rarely rehearsed. Live performances included extended solos and improvised ensemble sections, and one song would often last 20 minutes or more. Various line-up changes took place until the band broke up a few years after releasing its first album.
Don “Sugar Cane” Harris- Violin
Harvey Mandel- Guitar
Randy Rare Resnick- Guitar
Victor Conte- Bass
Paul Lagos†- Drums
01. Introduction: Jim’s Message  1:44
02. My Soul’s on Fire  4:20
03. ‘Till the Day I Die  7:12
04. Eleanor Rigby  11:01
05. A Little Soul Food  4:06
06. Do It Yourself  4:24
07. Where’s My Sunshine?  9:03
08. What Comes Around Goes Around 4:23

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