Max and 1
Band members Related acts
- Ira Stone -- guitar, backing vocals
- Maxine Stone -- lead vocals, guitar
- Sal Celi -- dums
- Chino de Jesus -- percussion
- Adam Ippolitto -- keyboards
- Dave from Brooklyn -- drums
- Rick Kunis -- keyboards
- Corky Laing -- drums
- Bruce Stewart -- drums
- Gary Van Sycock -- bass
- Mick Vwzarev -- bass
- Leslie West -- lead guitar
- Colin Woolcott - tablas
- The Last Word (Ira Stone)
- Stoneband (Ira and Maxine Stone)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Max and 1
Company: Western Horizon
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)
Catalog ID: 5703
Not like there are tons of references to this tax-loss obscurity, but the few that you'll stumble across almost always erroneously refer to it as 'Max and I' - the LP title is actually "Max and 1". This one's also interesting as the first release on Morris Levy's short-lived Western Hemisphere label.
So here's what Ira Stone's website has to say about the LP:
"Around 1972 we had a manager named Mark Etra. Mark’s good buddy from college was a very wealthy Indian. Mark wanted us to work on our music, on our originals, so he sent us to his friend in India and we spent, on and off, a couple of years performing and writing songs while living in India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Then we’d come back to the States and record it. We used to record with a producer named Bob Schaffner, who worked at Sound Ideas Studios on West 46th Street. So we accumulated quite good recordings over the years. In fact in 1973, I believe it was, we did a song with Leslie West and Corky Laing of Mountain on guitar and drums and that eventually was put out on our album [based on the track listing performance credits it must have been 'So Much Better'].
Also in the ‘72 to ‘75 period we had accumulated enough material for an album and we got our own record deal with a guy named Paul Mandel. It was published by Charlie Koppelman and Marty Bandier on a label called Western Hemisphere Records and was distributed by Roulette Records, Morris Levy. That came out in 1976. It wasn’t promoted or anything, but at least we had an LP of our own with some very good guest artists on it. We had three musicians from Elephant’s Memory who had played with John Lennon. They had played on a couple of cuts on the album and as I mentioned, also Leslie West and Corky Laing from Mountain."
So what's 1976's "Max and 1" actually sound like? Co-produced by Ira and Bob Schaffner (Paul Mandl credited as executive producer), I'll be honest and admit the first couple of times I listened to this one it did nothing for me. The Stones were decent enough writers, but none of the nine tracks really jumped out at me. The collection basically struck me as being a rather faceless set of mid-1970s corporate rock. As lead singer I also found Maxine to be an acquired taste. On tracks like 'You've Got Me On Hold' her little shrill girl voice didn't resonate with me. Luckily this was one I set aside to give another chance. It took me a couple of years to get back to it, but the second time around I found the results far more likeable. Most of the songs were quite good - strong melodies and nice performances throughout with a couple of the tracks having considerable commercial potential ('Maybe I'm a Fool'). Moreover Ira was quite a diverse and impressive guitarist (check out his slide work on 'So Much Better' or 'You Can't Shoot Love'). Maxine's voice was also better than I'd remembered. Yeah, she was still occasionally on the shrill side, but by the same token on tracks like ballad 'Let the Love Light Through' and 'Go Away' she reminded me a bit of a lightweight version of Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny. Not a bad baseline for comparison. Complete with Indian atmosphere, the vaguely psychedelic flavored 'You Can't Shoot Love' was the standout performance.
As Stone mentioned, there was no promotion for the set and in keeping with Morris Levy's tax loss operating scheme, it seems unlikely that more than a handful of copies were actually pressed - this is the only copy I've seen in 30 years of collecting. That's unfortunate since it was actually one of the more professional Morris Levy tax scam releases.
"Max and 1" track listing:
1.) You've Got Me On Hold (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
2.) Let the Love Light Through (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
3.) So Much Better (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
4.) Rush Hour (instrumental) (Maxine Stone) -
5.) You Can't Shoot Love (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
2.) For Old Love's Sake (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
3.) Go Away (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
4.) Same Old Story (Maxine Stone - Ira Stone) -
For anyone interested, Ira Stone has a nice website complete with a brief nod to this album at:
Mr. Stone also happened to stumbled into my write-up and sent the following note:
I was searching the web for a new web site we are developing, www.maxandirastone.com, and found your site. It is very cool. Thank you for the nice review of our old album. I am going to search your site for other albums that I played on that I don't have copies of anymore.
Many of the songs on Max & 1, (it was supposed to be Max & I but the Art department at Roulette was not that swift!), were written just after we played at Woodstock with Bert Sommer........I can still get Max to sing one or two of them from time to time. Our current band's site, www.thestoneband.com, is being redone as we had not changed it for many years.
Again, thanks for the review and I am glad a few of the tunes resonated with you. I am still playing a lot of slide guitar and I also liked "You Can't Shoot Love!" and "So Much Better". I just finished some slide work on P.J. Pacifico's new release. I think you might like his writing and singing. The record is called the Outlet and his music is getting good airplay.
I hope you sell our old album. We still have a few copies here or I would have bought it.
Ira Stone, March 2012
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