Monday, June 25, 2018
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1826 (starts 6/27/18)
There don't seem to be any love songs on this week's show. Well, maybe one, but I didn't listen to the lyrics of Oh No No No enough to be sure (then again, it was co-written by Bert Berns...).
Title: Green-Eyed Lady
Source: LP: Sugarloaf
The unwritten rules of radio, particularly those concerning song length, were in transition in 1970. Take Sugarloaf's Green-Eyed Lady, for example. When first released as a single the 45 was virtually identical to the album version except that it faded out just short of the six-minute mark. This was about twice the allowed length under the old rules and it was soon replaced with an edited version that left out all the instrumental solos, coming in at just under three minutes. The label soon realized, however, that part of the original song's appeal (as heard on FM rock radio) was its organ solo, and a third single edit with that solo restored became the final, and most popular, version of Green-Eyed Lady. Meanwhile, though all of this, FM rock jocks continued to play the original album version heard here. Smart move on their part.
Title: Mississippi Queen
Source: CD: Electric 70s (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Label: Warner Special Products/JCI (original label: Windfall)
One of the most overlooked bands of the mid-1960s was the Vagrants. Based on Long Island, the group made a specialty of covering popular R&B and rock songs, often slowing them down and featuring extended solos by guitarist Leslie Weinstein, inspiring fellow Long Islanders Vanilla Fudge to do the same. Although the Vagrants themselves never were able to gain much national attention, Weinstein himself had established quite a reputation by the time the group disbanded. Meanwhile, keyboardist/producer/songwriter Felix Pappalardi had been working with the members of Cream as a producer, but with the demise of that band was looking for a new project to sink his teeth into. That new project turned out to be a solo album by Weinstein, who by then had shortened his last name to West. The album was called Mountain, and soon after its release West and Pappalardi decided to form a band of the same name. The group first got national attention performing at Woodstock, and in 1970 released the album Mountain Climbing, featuring the hit single Mississippi Queen.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Whisky Train
Source: LP: The Best Of Procol Harum (originally released on LP: Home)
By 1970, Procol Harum was being pulled in two very different musical directions at once: the semi-classical progressive musings of Gary Brooker and Keith Reid that had always defined the band's style, and the more hard rock sound favored by guitarist Robin Trower, as heard on Whisky Train, from the 1970 LP Home. Ultimately this clash of musical ideas would lead to Trower's leaving the group for a successful solo career.
Artist: Fairport Convention
Title: Crazy Man Michael
Source: LP: Liege And Lief
1969 was a singularly prolific year for Britain's premier folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, who released no fewer than three albums over a period of less than twelve months. It was also the only year that vocalist Sandy Denny was a member of the band; in fact, by the time Liege And Lief was released she had already left the group to form Fotheringay. 1969 was also a year of transition for the band. Their 1968 debut LP had drawn comparisons to early Jefferson Airplane. Leige And Lief, their fourth effort, is considered by some to be the seminal British folk-rock album, combining new arrangements of traditional material with original compositions in a similar style, one example being Crazy Man Michael, which closes out the LP.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Life's One Act Play
Source: British import CD: A Step Further
Writer(s): Chris Youlden
Label: Deram (original US label: Parrot)
Like many British blues bands, Savoy Brown had almost as many lineup changes as they did albums. In fact, it wasn't until their fourth LP, A Step Further, released in 1969, that the same two group of musicians appeared on two consecutive albums. This would, however, be the last Savoy Brown album to include lead vocalist and frontman Chris Youlden, who wrote several songs on the album, including Life's One Act Play. The band is supplemented on the track by a rather large string and horn section that would be absent from the group's next LP, Looking In.
Artist: Jiim Hendrix
Title: Jam Back At The House
Source: CD: Live At Woodstock
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
There have been several different versions of Jam Back At The House released over the years, all taken from the same original performance by Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, accompanied by an assortment of musicians sometimes (but not officially) known as Gypsy Sun And Rainbows. Apparently Larry Lee's guitar was so badly out of tune that it has been mixed out of existence in all the released versions of the performance, but there are other differences as well, mostly concerning Mitch Mitchell's drum solo. The first released version of Jam Back At The House, on the double LP Woodstock Two left Mitchell's solo out completely, while others, such as the 2009 CD Live At Woodstock includes only a portion of that solo. As to whether any released versions contain the full solo, I have yet to find one, although there may be a bootleg or two out there with it.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Oh No No No
Source: British import CD: The Book Of Taliesyn (bonus track)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2000
Unlike most of the songs heard on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion, Deep Purple's version of Oh No No No was never heard on FM rock radio in the 1970s. In fact, it wasn't heard anywhere outside of a studio until 2000, when it was included as a bonus track on the CD edition of Deep Purple's second album, The Book Of Taliesyn. The song was recorded in December of 1968, two months after Taliesyn's US release.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: The Court Of The Crimson King
Source: CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Label: Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Perhaps the most influential progressive rock album of all time was King Crimson's debut LP, In The Court Of The Crimson King. The band, in its original incarnation, included Robert Fripp on guitar, Ian MacDonald on keyboards and woodwinds, Greg Lake on vocals and bass, David Giles on drums and Peter Sinfield as a dedicated lyricist. The title track, which takes up the second half of side two of the LP, features music composed by MacDonald, who would leave the group after their second album, later resurfacing as a founding member of Foreigner. The album's distinctive cover art came from a painting by computer programmer Barry Godber, who died of a heart attack less than a year after the album was released. According to Fripp, the artwork on the inside is a portrait of the Crimson King, whose manic smile is in direct contrast to his sad eyes. The album, song and artwork were the inspiration for Stephen King's own Crimson King, the insane antagonist of his Dark Tower saga who is out to destroy all of reality, including our own.
Title: Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The "King Of Rock & Roll"
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): J. Thomas
The story of Minneapolis' Crow is a sadly typical one for the time. Formed in 1967, Crow was a sort of local supergroup made up of members from locally popular bands Jokers Wild and The Rave-Ons. In 1969 they recorded a demo for Columbia Records, but the label did not sign the band. Instead, Crow went with Amaret Records, a new Hollywood-based label that had a distribution deal with London Records, the American arm of the British Decca label. It soon became obvious that Crow was Amaret's biggest-selling act, thanks to the chart performance of their debut single, Evil Woman (Don't Play No Games With Me). Unfortunately, subsequent singles by the band, including their version of Don't Try To Lay No Boogie Woogie On The "King Of Rock & Roll", did not do so well. This led to increased pressure from Amaret, whose other acts were all going nowhere. This pressure eventually led to the band breaking up in the early 1970s after three albums and a handful of singles.
Artist: David Bowie
Title: Andy Warhol
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: Hunky Dory)
Writer: David Bowie
Label: RCA Victor
Although the song Changes appeared on Bowie's third LP for RCA, the label went back to Bowie's first RCA album, Hunky Dory, for the B side, Andy Warhol. The pairing makes for an interesting contrast between Bowie's pre and post Ziggy Stardust styles.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: Echoes In The Dark
Source: British import CD: The Magician's Birthday
Writer(s): Ken Hensley
Label: Sanctuary (original US label: Mercury)
Uriah Heep followed up their breakthrough LP, Demons And Wizards, with the similarly-styled The Magician's Birthday. Both albums were released in 1972 and featured strong lead vocals by David Byron. Echoes In The Dark is a somewhat typical song of the period for the band.