Monday, July 3, 2017

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1727 (starts 7/5/17)

Got a pretty full plate this time around, with a total of 12 tracks (7 of which are making their HermitRadio debut this week). It all starts with a James Gang set...

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Dreamin' In The Country
Source:    LP: Thirds
Writer(s):    Dale Peters
Label:    ABC
Year:    1971
    Perhaps inspired by bandmate Joe Walsh's acoustic pieces on side two of James Gang Rides Again, bassist Dale Peters came up with a country sounding tune of his own for the album Thirds. And just to make sure nobody missed the point he even called it Dreamin' In The Country. All in all, it's a pleasant enough little song, with some nice steel guitar work provided by Walsh.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Get Her Back Again
Source:    LP: Straight Shooter
Writer(s):    Dominic Troiano
Label:    ABC
Year:    1972
    While drummer Jim Fox was forming the James Gang in the late 1960s, two of his future bandmates were having some success in the popular Canadian club band, Mandala. Around the time the James Gang were working on their most successful LP, James Gang Rides Again, Mandala was morphing into a rock band called Bush. Bush only released one album before disbanding, but, significantly, that album made them labelmates with the James Gang. When guitarist/lead vocalist Joe Walsh departed the James Gang for a solo career, the remaining two members of the band (Fox and bassist Dale Peters) recruited the two songwriting members of Bush, vocalist Roy Kenner and guitarist Dominic Troiano, to keep the James Gang going. The first album by the quartet was Straight Shooter, an album that in many ways was a stylistic continuation of the Walsh version of the band. Even songs like Get Her Back Again, written by Troiano, had a Joe Walsh feel to it, which in the long run actually hurt the band more than it helped. Troiano would stick around for one more James Gang album before returning to Toronto, where he became Randy Bachman's replacement in the Guess Who. Meanwhile, the James Gang would recruit guitarist Tommy Bolin for a pair of albums that temporarily revived the group's fortunes.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Yadig?
Source:    LP: Thirds
Writer(s):    Walsh/Peters/Fox
Label:    ABC
Year:    1971
    Following the pattern established on their previous LP, the James Gang album Thirds leads off with a stong Joe Walsh rocker, followed up by a group-penned instrumental piece. For Thirds that piece is Yadig?, a jazzy little tune that features some nice vibraphone work from bassist Dale Peters.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Bridge Of Sighs/In This Place
Source:    LP: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    One of the most celebrated guitar albums of all time, Bridge Of Sighs was Robin Trower's second solo LP following his departure from Procol Harum. Released in 1974, the LP spent 31 weeks on the Billboard album charts, peaking at #7. Bridge of Sighs has served as a template for later guitar-oriented albums, especially those of Warren Haines and Gov't Mule.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:     Bleeding Heart
Source:     CD: Blues
Writer:     Elmore James
Label:     Legacy
Year:     1969
     Before forming the Experience, Jimi Hendrix made a handful recordings with Curtis Knight and signed a contract with record producer Ed Chalpin giving Hendrix 1% of all royalties from the songs, which were released on a pair of singles that went nowhere. After Hendrix became a star, Chalpin began to insist that Hendrix was still under contract to him. Chalpin leased the recordings (along with some jam sessions Hendrix had done with Knight) to Capitol, which released the LP: Get That Feeling in late 1967. The legal battles were not over, however, and after the Experience broke up Hendrix agreed to record an album of new material for Capitol. This album was recorded live at the Fillmore East by a group consisting of Hendrix, Cox and drummer Buddy Miles (Electric Flag) on New Years Eve 1969 and released under the name Band of Gypsys. This group also recorded several studio tracks, although none of them were released during Hendrix's lifetime. One of those tracks was this recording of the old Elmore James tune Bleeding Heart.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    One Kind Favor
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    L T Tatman III
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Canned Heat's best known song is Going Up The Country, a single from the band's third LP, Living The Blues. The B side of that single, One Kind Favor, was also from the same album. One Kind Favor is one of two tracks on Living The Blues (the other being Boogie Music) credited to L.T. Tatman III, a name sometimes thought to be a pseudonym for one or more of the band members. The song itself bears a strong resemblance to an earlier Canned Heat single, On The Road Again, which appeared on the band's second LP, Boogie With Canned Heat.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Money Can't Save Your Soul
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/ Peverett
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrott)
Year:    1970
    Looking In was the sixth album by British blues-rockers Savoy Brown, and the first without original lead vocalist Chris Youlden. It was also the final outing for guitarist Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl, who would go on to form Foghat after being dismissed by bandleader Kim Simmonds. The album was made up entirely of original compositions such as the low-key Money Can't Save Your Soul, which was written by Simmonds and Peverett, had had taken over lead vocals upon Youlden's departure. Both Foghat and a new Savoy Brown lineup would continue to have success, especially in the US, where both bands toured extensively throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Taunta (Sammy's Tune)/Nantucket Sleighride (For Owen Coffin)
Source:    LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall
Year:    1971
    Mountain, formed in 1970, took its name from Leslie West's 1969 solo album, recorded after the guitarist shortened his name from Weinstein following the breakup of the Vagrants. Just as important to the band's sound, however, was Felix Pappalardi, sometimes known as the "fourth member" of Cream. Pappalardi had produced all but the first Cream album, and, along with his wife Janet Collins, helped write some of their best material, including Strange Brew, which opened the second Cream album, Disraeli Gears. As a member of Mountain, Pappalardi played keyboards and bass, as well as singing lead vocals on several of the band's most popular tunes, including Nantucket Sleighride (For Owen Coffin), the title track of Mountain's second LP. The song is based on the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship that was rammed and sunk by a sperm whale in 1820. Owen Coffin, a young seaman on the ship, was killed and eaten by his shipmates following the sinking. The term "Nantucket Sleighride" refers to the experience of being towed along in a boat by a harpooned whale. The song is generally preceded by a short instrumental piece called Taunta (Sammy's Tune), which was named after Pappalardi's pet poodle.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Squonk
Source:    LP: A Trick Of The Tail
Writer(s):    Rutherford/Banks
Label:    Atco
Year:    1976
    After Peter Gabriel decided to leave Genesis to spend more time with his family, there were some members of the rock press that thought it would be the end of the band. The remaining band members themselves, however, were determined to carry on, and listened to an estimated 400 audition tapes in search of a replacement frontman. Drummer Phil Collins had already done a handful of lead vocals, and the other members eventually talked him into taking a shot at one of their new tunes, Squonk. His performance on Squonk was well-received by the rest of the band, who decided right then and there that their search for a new vocalist had reached a successful conclusion. Collins, of course, remained the lead singer of Genesis for the rest of the band's existence. The song Squonk itself is based on a legendary creature, said to live in northern Pennsylvania, that dissolves into a pool of tears when captured. The song appears on the Genesis album A Trick Of The Tail, released in 1976.

Artist:    Paul And Linda McCartney
Title:    Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
Source:    LP: Ram
Writer(s):    Paul And Linda McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1971
    Paul McCartney pretty much established who would be the most commercially success ex-Beatle with Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey, his first #1 single as a solo artist. The song appeared on the album Ram, and was credited officially to Paul And Linda McCartney. Indeed, Linda's vocals are heard quite prominently on the "Hands across the water" segment of the song and elsewhere. The track is not without its share of controversy, however, as it has been criticized for being cute, self-indulgent and annoying by some critics.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Up To Me
Source:    LP: Aqualung
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    Jethro Tull's fourth album, Aqualung, was undoubtably the band's commercial breakthrough. The album has, according to bandleader Ian Anderson, sold over seven million copies worldwide, making it their best selling record. Many of the songs on Aqualung have a harder edge that the band's earlier work, but a few, such as Up To Me, would actually fit in well on their previous album, Benefit.

Artist:    Graham Nash and David Crosby
Title:    The Wall Song
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    Such was the popularity of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young in the early 70s that each of the members, both as solo artists and in various combinations of two or three members, released albums in addition to official group recordings, all of which sold well. One such effort was the 1972 album by Graham Nash and David Crosby. One of the more notable tracks on the album is The Wall Song, featuring (in addition to Crosby and Nash) Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann on guitar, bass and drums. The version heard here is the rare mono mix of The Wall Song, issued as a B side in 1972.

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