Monday, June 26, 2017

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1726 (starts 6/28/17)

Got not one, but two entire album sides for your listening pleasure this week, plus a few other tasty tracks to fill out the hour. Check it out!

Artist:    Who
Title:    Amazing Journey
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Polydor UK (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a blind deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his "deaf, dumb and blind" condition.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Lyin' Eyes
Source:    LP: Greatest Hits
Writer(s):    Henley/Frey
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1975
    The Eagles got one of their biggest hits in 1975 with Lyin' Eyes, the second single released from their One Of These Nights album. The song nearly hit the top of the pop charts, peaking at #2, and, surprisingly, went to the #8 spot on the country charts as well. It would take the Eagles over 30 years to again hit the country top 40. The single version of the song was heavily edited to get it down to near the four-minute mark in order to insure top 40 airplay. The Eagles Greatest Hits album, however, uses the original LP version of the song, which runs well over six minutes.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    It's Yourself
Source:    British import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Collins/Rutherford/Banks/Hackett
Label:    Charisma
Year:    1977
    One of the rarest Genesis tracks, Its Yourself was originally slated to be included on the 1976 album A Trick Of The Tail, but time limitations forced the band to instead hold the song back and release it as the B side of Your Own Special Way the following year. That single was never released in the US, however, and the song has not been included on CD versions of any regular Genesis albums, even as a bonus track. Why is a bit of a mystery to me, since Its Yourself is an outstanding track worthy of greater exposure.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    On The Threshold Of A Dream (side two)
Source:    CD: On The Threshold Of A Dream
Writer(s):    Hayward/Thomas/Edge/Pinder
Label:    Deram
Year:    1969
    Ever since their 1967 album Days Of Future Passed, the Moody Blues have had this annoying habit of letting all the songs on their albums run into each other, making it difficult to impossible to play an individual track on the radio. As a result, I play the Moody Blues sparingly, essentially playing an entire album side about one sixth as often as I might play just one song. This time around it's side two of their third concept album, On The Threshold Of A Dream. The side begins with Justin Hayward's Never Comes The Day, which leads into Ray Thomas's Lazy Day followed by Hayward's Are You Sitting Comfortably. The rest of the side, known collectively as the Voyage Suite, starts with Graeme Edge's The Dream (recited by Mike Pinder), followed by Pinder's Have You Heard (part 1), The Voyage and Have You Heard (part 2). The side wraps up with a sound effect that continues on into the inner groove of the original LP and fades out after a few seconds on CD and tape versions of the album.

Artist:    Nektar
Title:    A Tab In The Ocean
Source:    LP: A Tab In The Ocean
Writer(s):    Nektar
Label:    Passport
Year:    1972
    On the surface it seems like a story you've heard before: a group of young British musicians go to Hamburg, Germany to hone their craft, building up a cult following in the process. But this story is not about the Beatles. It is about Nektar, formed in 1969 by Roye Albrighton on guitars and vocals, Allan "Taff" Freeman on keyboards, Derek "Mo" Moore on bass, Ron Howden on drums, and Mick Brockett and Keith Walters on lights and special effects. Nektar's early style is well represented on the title track of their second LP, A Tab In The Ocean, which takes up the entire first side of the album. Nektar would eventually become closely associated with the progressive rock movement of the early to mid 1970s. Like fellow prog-rockers Genesis and Gentle Giant, Nektar began to commercialize their sound with shorter songs containing fewer time and key changes; unlike those other bands, however, Nektar did not become more popular because of the changes. Indeed, by 1978, the band had decided to call it quits, although two of the members reformed the band briefly the following year, releasing one album in 1980 before disbanding again in 1982.

Artist:     Uriah Heep
Title:     Blind Eye
Source:     LP: The Magician's Birthday
Writer:     Ken Hensley
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1972
     This week's closing number is from Uriah Heep. The single Easy Livin' from the album Demons and Wizards was a top 40 hit, giving the band some momentum for their follow up album, The Magician's Birthday. Both albums were certified gold. Blind Eye, the second single from The Magician's Birthday, barely made a dent in the charts, but by 1972 album sales were considered a more important measure of success anyway. Both albums were notable for their cover art by Roger Dean, who also did cover art for Yes during their most popular period.

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