Monday, April 16, 2018
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1816 [B16] (starts (4/18/18)
The focus this week is on music that's designed to be played loud, so get ready to crank it up.
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: Me And My Baby
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s): Alvin Lee
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Cricklewood Green, the fourth studio LP from Ten Years After, is generally considered to be the British blues rockers' best. All the tracks were written by guitarist/vocalist Alvin Lee, including Me And My Baby, which showcases the band's ability to emulate a Wes Montgomery-like 1950s jazz style. The track opens side two of the original LP.
Title: Boom-Ba-Boom/Somebody Listen
Source: CD: Zephyr
Label: MCA/One Way (original label: ABC Probe)
Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Zephyr was a blues rock band that was formed in 1968 by members of various local bands. In the early days the focus was on vocalist Candy Givens, who had a range of several octaves and could easily have performed without a microphone. Once the band had recorded their self-titled debut LP, the attention began to shift to Tommy Bolin, a self-taught guitarist who would go on to become a member of the James Gang, and then Deep Purple, as well as pursuing a solo career. In addition to Bolin and Givens, the band included Candy's husband David Givens on bass, John Faris on keyboards, and Robbie Chamberlin on drums. Many of the tracks on the first Zephyr album were credited to the full membership of the band, although Boom-Ba-Boom, which segues into Somebody Listen, came from David Givens.
Artist: Jo Jo Gunne
Title: 99 Days
Source: LP: Jo Jo Gunne
Writer: Jay Ferguson
After the commercial disappointment of The Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus in 1971, vocalist Jay Ferguson and bass player Mark Andes left Spirit to form a new band, Jo Jo Gunne. Lead guitarist Matt Andes provided a much heavier rock sound than Spirit's Randy California, who had strong jazz roots. The result was a band that sometimes sounded like a heavier version of Spirit, which was natural, since Ferguson had served as Spirit's primary songwriter throughout his tenure with the band. 99 Days, which opens side two of Jo Jo Gunne's first album, was selected as a follow up single to Run Run Run. Both songs got a decent amount of airplay on FM rock radio, which at the time had a more or less free-form format and did not report their playlists (which varied from station to station and even from DJ to DJ) to the national charts.
Title: Highway (Killing Me)
Source: LP: Foghat
When bandleader Kim Simmonds decided to take Savoy Brown in a new direction following the Looking In album, he encountered resistance from the other band members, guitarist/vocalist Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl, who were happy with the band's sound and didn't want to mess with success. Undaunted, Simmonds fired the lot of them and put together a new lineup for the next Savoy Brown album. Meanwhile, the three former members found a new lead guitarist, Rod Price, whose own band, Black Cat Bones, had recently disbanded. Calling their new band Foghat, they released their debut LP in 1972. Most of the material on the album was written by band members, including Highway (Killing Me), a tune that helped establish the new band's sound. Foghat would go on to become one of the top concert draws of the 1970s.
Artist: Stray Dog
Title: I Would
Source: LP: While You're Down There
Originally called Aphrodite, Stray Dog started off in Texas, but soon migrated to Denver, Colorado, where they became one of the area's most popular bands. A move to London in 1973 led to the band signing with Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Manticore label. A change in personnel following their first album brought guitarist/vocalist Timmy Dulane and keyboardist Luis Cabaza into the band in time for the band's second LP, While You're Down There. The new members brought a more commercial sound to the band, although I Would, written by bassist Alan Roberts and drummer Leslie Sampson, is more consistent with the band's original style.
Title: Tired Angels (For J.M.H.)
Source: LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Throughout the history of popular music there have been artists whose influence on their fellow musicians outstripped their popularity with the general public. In a few cases, though, these "musicians' musicians" have managed to become popular themselves, while retaining the qualities that have earned them the respect of their fellow artists. One such artist, arguably the greatest of the psychedelic era, was James Marshall Hendrix, who revolutionalized the role of the lead guitarist in rock music. His death at the age of 27 in September of 1970 had a profound effect on his fellow musicians, especially those who were among the guitarist's own circle of friends. This circle included Felix Pappalardi, producer of Cream's 1967 album Disraeli Gears and later a member of Mountain, who, with his wife Janet Collins, wrote and sang lead on Tired Angels (For J.M.H.), a tune from the second Mountain LP, Nantucket Sleighride.
Artist: Paul McCartney And Wings
Source: Eupopean import LP: Band On The Run
Writer(s): Paul and Linda McCartney
Jet was the first single from the 1973 Paul McCartney And Wings LP Band On The Run. The song, which reached the top 10 in several countries, including the US and Britain, was reportedly named after a black labrador puppy. Band On The Run ended up being McCartney's most successful album as a solo artist, both commercially and critically.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Wind Up
Source: CD: Aqualung
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
The first three Jethro Tull albums saw the group transition from a blues base to a more eclectic sound, defined by the songwriting of vocalist/flautist/acoustic guitarist Ian Anderson. The real breakthrough for the band, however, was their fourth LP, Aqualung, which for a while was the most-played album on progressive rock radio in the US. The second side of the album is a scathing condemnation of the hypocrisy of modern organized religion. The final track, Wind Up, takes its title from the closing line of the album: "I don't believe you, you've got the whole damn thing all wrong. He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sunday."
Source: LP: Queen
Writer(s): Freddie Mercury
One of the most powerful songs on Queen's 1973 debut album, Jesus tells part of the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The song was written by Freddie Mercury, who was a devout Parsi Zoroastrian. Guitarist Brian May provided effects toward the end of the song that are reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix at his most creative.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: No One Came
Source: LP: Fireball
Label: Warner Brothers
The second album by the popular Deep Purple "Mk II" lineup (Richie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord, Ian Paice), Fireball was an instant hit on both sides of the Atlantic, going to the top of the British charts and garnering significant airplay on FM rock radio stations in the US. One of the highlights of the album is the closing track, No One Came. Vocalist Gillan has said of Fireball that "The reason I liked that so much was because I thought, from a writing point of view, it was really the beginning of tremendous possibilities of expression. And some of the tracks on that album are really, really inventive." Deep Purple would release two more albums before once again undergoing a lineup change.
Title: Perpetual Change
Source: The Yes Album
Label: Elektra/Rhino (original label: Atlantic)
Although Yes had already recorded two albums by 1971, The Yes Album marks the beginning of the band's most successful period. Probably the biggest reason for this newfound success was the addition of Steve Howe on guitar to a lineup that already included vocalist Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Bill Bruford, as well as keyboardist Tony Kaye (who would soon be replaced by Rick Wakeman). Another factor in the album's success was the fact that all the tracks were written by members of the band, including Perpetual Change, which closes out side two of the LP.