Monday, January 8, 2018
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1802 (starts 1/10/18)
Two sets this time. Following a Traffic classic, we run through the years 1970-73...in reverse. From there it's all 1969, from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin.
Title: Feelin' Alright
Source: CD: Smiling Phases (originally released on LP: Traffic)
Writer: Dave Mason
Label: Island (original label: United Artists)
Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second LP. Among those was the classic Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.
Artist: Rick Wakeman
Title: Catherine Of Aragon
Source: LP: The Six Wives Of Henry VIII
Writer(s): Rick Wakeman
Rick Wakeman left the band Strawbs in 1971 to replace keyboardist Tony Kaye in the more successful Yes. Kaye had been asked to leave Yes over his reluctance to use synthesizers. By the end of the year Wakeman had signed a five-year deal with A&M Records as a solo artist, although he continued to perform as a member of Yes as well. His first album for A&M, released in 1973, was The Six Wives Of Henry VIII, a series of instrumental pieces that Wakeman described as "my personal conception of their characters in relation to keyboard instruments." The opening track, Catherine Of Aragorn, actually started off as a possible track for the album Fragile, the first Yes album to feature Wakeman on keyboards. When the tune wasn't used for Fragile, Wakeman reworked it for his solo project. The track features fellow Yes members Steve Howe on guitar and Chris Squire on bass, along with percussionist Ray Cooper from Strawbs.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: LP: Machine Head
Label: Warner Brothers
The longest track on Deep Purple's most popular album, Machine Head, Lazy was long a concert favorite, often running over 10 minutes in length. The original studio version starts with a Jon Lord solo on a heavily overdriven Hammond organ. This leads into the first instance of the song's main riff, played by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. The two of them continue to trade licks as the rest of the band comes in, building to one of the hardest rocking songs ever recorded.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: Embryo/Children Of The Grave
Source: CD: Master Of Reality
Label: Warner Brothers
One of the spookiest experiences in my life was crashing at a stranger's house after having my mind blown at a Grand Funk Railroad concert in the fall of 1971. A bunch of us had ridden back to Weatherford, Oklahoma, from Norman (about an hour's drive) and somehow I ended up separated from my friends Mike and DeWayne, in whose college dorm room I had been crashing for a couple of days. So here I am, lying on the couch in this room with black walls, a black light, a few posters and a cheap stereo playing a brand new album I had never heard before: Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality. Suddenly I notice this weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Such was my state of mind at the time that I really couldn't tell if it was a hallucination or not. The stereo was one of those late 60s models that you could stack albums on, and whoever had put the album on had left the stereo in repeat mode before heading off to bed, with no more albums stacked after the Sabbath LP. This meant that every twenty minutes or so I would hear Children Of The Grave, with that weird little tapping sound going back and forth from speaker to speaker. Trust me, it was creepy, as was the whispering at the end of track. No wonder Ozzy Ozbourne called Children Of The Grave "the most kick-ass song we'd ever recorded."
Source: LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: First Step)
Label: Warner Brothers
Although credited to the Small Faces in North America, First Step was actually the debut album of Faces, a group combining the talents of Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood (from the Jeff Beck group) with what was left of the Small Faces (Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan) following the departure of bandleader Steve Marriott. Unlike later Faces albums, First Step featured songwriting contributions from all five band members, including Stewart, Wood and Lane collaborating on the album's centerpiece, Flying.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2 (Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End)
Source: LP: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys. The second one consists of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End, with Her Majesty (not included on this week's show) tossed in as a kind of "hidden" track at the end of the album. The End is somewhat unique in that it features solos by all three guitar-playing members of the band, as well as the only Ringo Starr drum solo to appear on a Beatles album.
Artist: Shy Limbs
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Dickenson
Label: Grapefruit (original label: CBS)
The volatile nature of the late 60s British rock scene is clearly illustrated by a band called Shy Limbs. Formed by songwriter John Dickenson and vocalist Greg Lake, both former members of a band called Shame, the band also included guitarist/bassist Alan Bowery (from a band called the Actress) and drummer Andy McCulloch. The B side of the band's first single, a song called Love, featured guest guitarist Robert Fripp, who was in the process of forming his own band, King Crimson, at the time. Before the single was even released, Lake had left to join Fripp's band, and Shy Limbs released a second single without him before disbanding, at which time McCulloch replaced Michael Giles in King Crimson. By then, however, Lake had left King Crimson to co-found Emerson, Lake and Palmer.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Love In Vain
Source: LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s): Robert Johnson
Starting with the 1966 album Aftermath, the Rolling Stones largely abandoned doing cover songs in favor of recording original material (the exception being the US-only 1967 Flowers album, which included several outtakes from earlier sessions). With the 1968 release of Beggar's Banquet, however, the band began to once again record cover tunes, but in a style much more consistent with their own material. This trend continued with the 1969 LP Let It Bleed, which included (as its second track) an old Robert Johnson song called Love In Vain. Truth to tell, for a long time I thought it was written by Mick and Keith.
Title: Blood Of The Sun
Source: CD: Woodstock 2
There are conflicting stories concerning this recording of Mountain's Blood Of The Sun. The producers of the anniversary edition of the Woodstock 2 album insist that it was indeed recorded at the legendary rock festival in the summer of 1969. The four-disc Rhino Records collection Back To Yasgur's Farm, however, contains a noticably different recording that, according to that collection's compilers was the actual Woodstock performance of the song. The liner notes for that collection go on to say that the performance used on Woodstock 2 was actually recorded somewhere else and used at the band's insistence rather than the actual Woodstock performance. As this version, which has a slightly slower tempo, giving it a "heavier" feel, is technically a stronger performance of the song, this second story is probably closer to the truth.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Stone Free
Source: CD: Valleys Of Neptune
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2010
The 1969 version of Stone Free actually exists in many forms. The song was originally recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966 and issued as the B side of Hey Joe in Europe and the UK, but not in the Western hemisphere. As Hendrix always felt that this original version was rushed, due to financial restraints, he resolved to record a new version following the release of Electric Ladyland. The band went into the studio in April of 1969 and recorded a new, much cleaner sounding stereo version of Stone Free, which eventually appeared on the Jimi Hendrix box set. This was not the last version of the song to be recorded, however. In May of 1969 Hendrix, working with drummer Mitch Mitchell and his old friend Billy Cox on bass, created an entirely new arrangement of the song. These new tracks were then juxtaposed with the lead guitar and vocal tracks from the April recording to make the version heard on the 2010 CD Valleys Of Neptune.
Title: Cross The River
Source: CD: Zephyr
Writer: Candie and David Givens
Label: One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
The Boulder, Colorado band Zephyr featured the vocal talents of Candie Givens, who had a multi-octave range that would not be equalled until Mariah Carey hit the scene years later. Also in the band was lead guitarist Tommy Bolin, who would go on to take over lead guitar duties with first the James Gang and then Deep Purple before embarking on a solo career. Unfortunately that career (and Bolin's life) was permanently derailed by a heroin overdose at age 28. The rest of this talented band consisted of Robbie Chamerlin on drums, John Faris on keyboards and David Givens (who co-wrote Cross The River with his wife Candie) on bass.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin II
For years album (now called classic) rock radio stations have been playing Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker and letting the album play through to the next song, Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman). Back when Stuck in the Psychedelic Era was a local show being played live I occassionally made it a point to play Heartbreaker and follow it with something else entirely. These days I tend to waffle a bit on the whole thing; currently I'm in favor of just playing the two songs together as they appear on the album. Next time, who knows?