Monday, October 24, 2016

Rockin' in the Days Of Confusion # 1643 (starts 10/26/16)

Artist:    Patti Smith
Title:    Gloria: In Excelsis Deo/Gloria
Source:    LP: Horses
Writer(s):    Smith/Morrison
Label:    Arista
Year:    1975
    Patti Smith's first appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live TV show was a memorable one. The first song she performed was her radical rearrangement of Van Morrison's Gloria, with a slow introductory buildup written by Smith herself. By the time the nearly six-minute-long piece was finished the audience was totally engrossed in the performance, and the world knew that a major new talent was now on the scene. To say that Smith revolutionized rock music is perhaps overstating the importance of the album Horses, but if so, not by much. Before Horses, punk rock was a little known fringe movement; Smith brought it into the spotlight. What made Smith stand out from other punkers, however, was her use of poetry as lyrics, something that only a handful of artists (such as Smith's idol Jim Morrison) have ever been able to pull off in any music genre.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Inside And Out
Source:    Canadian import 12" 45 RPM blue vinyl EP: Spot The Pigeon
Writer(s):    Rutherford/Collins/Hackett/Banks
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1977
    After Genesis finished recording sessions for the Wind And Wuthering album the band members realized that they had more music than they could fit on a standard LP, and three tracks were left off the album. Those three tracks, including the five and a half minute long Inside And Out, were issued in May of 1977 on an EP called Spot The Pigeon. In North America the EP was only issued in Canada, on blue 12" vinyl that played at 45 RPM. Hey, whatever it takes to get it to sell, I guess.

Artist:    Tommy Bolin
Title:    Savannah Woman
Source:    Japanese import CD: Teaser
Writer(s):    Bolin/Tesar
Label:    Sony (original US label: Nemperor)
Year:    1975
    Tommy Bolin's second solo LP, Teaser, is often overlooked, mostly due to a lack of promotion on the part of the record company. This is generally attributed to the fact that the Deep Purple album Come Taste The Band, which featured Bolin as Ritchie Blackmore's replacement, came out at the same time as Teaser, overshadowing Bolin's solo effort. This is a shame, since Teaser is strong album that covers a variety of styles. The song Savannah Woman was issued as a single from the album and got some airplay, mostly on FM rock radio stations and on jazz stations that were playing jazz/rock fusion tracks at the time.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Mystery
Source:    LP: Bang
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    It seems like every James Gang album (excepting the first one) ends with a long, grandiose track, complete with strings. For the 1973 album Bang, guitarist Tommy Bolin came up with Mystery, a song very much in the same vein as Joe Walsh's Ashes The Rain And I. Roy Kenner, who had joined the band in 1972, provides lead vocals on the track.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Daughters Of The Sea/Flying Cloud
Source:    CD: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Writer(s):    Simmons/Porter
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1974
    When I got out of basic training in southwestern Texas I was told to report to duty at my tech school in northern Texas. Now this might seem a fairly short distance; apparently the people making my travel arrangements thought so, because, rather than a plane flight, they put me on a bus. This bus also had several other basic training graduates on it, all heading for the same tech school location. The ride took approximately six hours, as I recall, and one of the guys had used his initial paycheck to buy a boombox and an 8-track tape of the new Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits. Apparently he didn't realize how big Texas is, as he did not buy any other tapes. And so, for six hours, we listened to the new Doobie Brothers album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, over and over. And over. And over. Luckily, it's actually a pretty decent album, although some songs are more listenable than others, of course. A personal favorite is (are?) the closing track of the original LP, which is actually two songs that merge together, Daughters Of The Sea and the short instrumental Flying Cloud. A good way to end a good album.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    That's The Way
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    I read somewhere that Jimmy Page came up with The Rain Song (from the album Houses Of The Holy) in response to someone asking him why Led Zeppelin hadn't recorded any ballads. Apparently that person had never heard That's The Way, from the album Led Zeppelin III.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Source:    LP: At Fillmore East
Writer(s):    Dicky Betts
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    1971
    One of the greatest instrumentals in rock history, In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed was written by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dicky Betts. The song got it's name from a headstone that Betts saw at the Rose Hill Cemetary in Macon, Georgia. That same cemetary is where band members Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were eventually buried. The version of the song heard on the 1971 album At Fillmore East was recorded live on March 13, 1971 and contains no edits or overdubs. Yes, they were that good.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Woodstock
Source:    LP: Miles Of Aisles
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1974
    Oddly enough, the song most associated with the Woodstock Music And Art Festival was written by someone who did not attend the event. Joni Mitchell actually had an opportunity to perform at Woodstock but was advised by her manager that it would be better to make an appearance on the Dick Cavett show that weekend. She was, however, dating Graham Nash at the time. Nash, of course, was at Woodstock (in fact a case could be made that his appearance as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was one of the highpoints of the entire festival) and was more than willing to tell her all about the experience. Mitchell then based her song on Nash's recollections and released it on her 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. Other versions of the song by various artists, including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, followed and in 1974 Mitchell included her own electric version of the song on her Miles Of Aisles live album with Tom Scott And The L.A. Express.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Race With The Devil
Source:    British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    One of the most popular songs on the jukebox at the teen club on Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany in 1969 was a song called Race With The Devil by a band called Gun. The song was so popular, in fact, that at least two local bands covered it (including the one I was in at the time). Nobody seemed to know much about the band at the time, but it turns out that the group was fronted by the Gurvitz brothers, Adrian and Paul (who at the time used the last name Curtis); the two would later be members of the Baker-Gurvitz Army with drummer Ginger Baker. I've also learned recently that Gun spent much of its time touring in Europe, particularly in Germany, where Race With The Devil hit its peak in January of 1969 (it had made the top 10 in the UK in 1968, the year it was released).

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Goodbye
Source:    CD: Madman Across The Water
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    MCA (original label: Uni)
Year:    1971
    Not to be confused with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Goodbye is a short piece at the end of Elton John's Madman Across The Water album, released in 1971.

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