Sunday, August 12, 2018
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1833 (starts 8/15/18)
This time around I decided to just take things one year at a time and see where it led. I also wanted to "bookend" the show with tunes from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, but modified it a bit by just featuring half the group at the beginning of the show. From there, I took it from 1968 to 1973, then followed up with a 1969 set before finishing with CSN&Y. Hope you enjoy the show.
Artist: Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title: Immigration Man
Source: LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s): Graham Nash
A frustrating experience with a US Customs agent was the inspiration for what might well be the best song Graham Nash ever wrote. Immigration Man, from the album Graham Nash David Crosby, was released in March of 1972, and became the duo's only top 40 hit. The song has taken on new relevance in recent years, with immigration becoming a divisive political issue, not only in the US but in several European nations as well.
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Oh, Sweet Mary
Source: LP: Cheap Thrills
The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, had new lyrics and a "dreamy" bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Oh Well
Source: Mono LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Then Play On)
Writer(s): Peter Green
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Fleetwood Mac had already established themselves as one of Britain's top up-and-coming blues bands by the time Then Play On was released in 1969. The band had just landed a deal in the US with Reprise, and Then Play On was their American debut LP. At the same time the album was released in the UK, a new non-LP single, Oh Well, appeared as well. The song was a top pick on Radio Luxembourg, the only non-BBC English language top 40 station still operating in Europe in 1969, and Oh Well soon shot all the way to the # 2 spot on the British charts. Meanwhile the US version of Then Play On (which had originally been issued with pretty much the same song lineup as the British version) was recalled, and a new version with Oh Well added to it was issued in its place. The song itself has two distinct parts: a fast blues-rocker sung by lead guitarist Peter Green lasting about two minutes, and a slow moody instrumental that runs about seven minutes. The original UK single featured about a minute's worth of part two tacked on to the end of the A side (with a fadeout ending), while the B side had the entire part two on it. Both sides of the single were added to the US version of the LP, which resulted in the first minute of part two repeating itself on the album.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Title: Message To Love
Source: CD: Voodoo Soup (originally released on LP: Crash Landing)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1970, released 1975
Voodoo Soup, released in 1995, was Alan Douglas's attempt to approximate what would have been the fourth Jimi Hendrix studio album had the guitarist lived to complete it. Two years later the Hendrix family, who had gained control of the Jimi Hendrix catalog, released their own version of the album, which they called First Rays Of The New Rising Sun. One of the handful of tracks that appeared on Voodoo Soup, but was left off First Rays, was an early 1970 recording of Message To Love, a song that had been premiered just a couple of weeks earlier at a series of concerts at the Fillmore East that were used for the Band Of Gypsys live album. This recording, originally released on the 1975 LP Crash Landing, features Billy Cox on bass and Buddy Miles on drums.
Title: The Witch Queen Of New Orleans
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Message From A Drum)
Writer(s): Pat and Lolly Vegas
Label: Sony Music (original label: Epic)
Citing part-Cherokee Jimi Hendrix as an inspiration, brothers Pat and Lolly Vegas, already veteran performers who had appeared several times on ABC-TV's Shindig, among other places, decided to form an all Native American band in 1969. Their first hit single was The Witch Queen Of New Orleans, from the 1971 LP Message From A Drum. Redbone recorded a total of six albums for the Epic label in the early 1970s, and are known for being the opening act at the first Earth Day event.
Artist: Little Feat
Title: Got No Shadow
Source: CD: Sailin' Shoes
Writer(s): Bill Payne
Label: Warner Brothers
Besides Lowell George, the member of Little Feat with the most songwriting credits is keyboardist Bill Payne. One of his earliest contributions is Got No Shadow, from the band's second LP, Sailin' Shoes. The tune, sung by George, features Payne's trademark barrelhouse piano style.
Title: The Cinema Show/Aisle Of Plenty
Source: CD: Selling England By The Pound
Label: Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
As early as 1973 there were concerns in the UK about the Americanization of British culture, and Genesis took inspiration from a recent Labour Party slogan, Selling England By The Pound, for their next album title. The album itself is considered one of the group's best, thanks to songs like The Cinema Show (about Juliet and Romeo each preparing for their movie date) and Aisle Of Plenty, which takes place in an American-style supermarket. Selling England By The Pound was the fifth Genesis album, and the second to feature the group's "classic" lineup of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: I Can't Quit You
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but, at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You. Still, it can't be denied that messrs. Page, Plant, Bonham and Jones completely revamped the blues classic into something uniquely their own.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Be Careful With A Fool
Source: British import CD: Johnny Winter
Label: Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Johnny Winter's first album for Columbia (his second overall) is nothing less than a blues masterpiece. Accompanied by bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner, Winter pours his soul into classics like B.B. King's Be Careful With A Fool, maybe even improving on the original (if such a thing is possible).
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Can't Find My Way Home
Source: CD: Blind Faith
Writer: Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Blind Faith was the result of some 1969 jam sessions in guitarist Eric Clapton's basement with keyboardist/guitarist Steve Winwood, whose own band, Traffic, had disbanded earlier in the year. Drummer Ginger Baker, who had been Clapton's bandmate in Cream for the previous three years, showed up one day, and Winwood eventually convinced Clapton to form a band with the three of them and bassist Rick Grech. Clapton, however, did not want another Cream, and even before Blind Faith's only album was released was ready to move on to something that felt less like a supergroup. As a result, Winwood took more of a dominant role in Blind Faith, even to the point of including one track, Can't Find My Way Home, that was practically a Winwood solo piece. Blind Faith disbanded shortly after the album was released, with the various band members moving on to other projects. Winwood, who soon reformed Traffic, is still active as one of rock's elder statesmen, and still performs Can't Find My Way Home in his concert appearances.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title: Find The Cost Of Freedom
Source: CD: Carry On (promo excerpt disc) (originally released on LP: 4-Way Street)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
One of the most celebrated songs in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young catalog is Neil Young's Ohio. Written in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the song was quickly recorded and rush released in 1971. Often overlooked, however, is the powerful B side of the single. Find The Cost Of Freedom is a simple song by Stephen Stills, consisting of a guitar intro followed by a two-line verse, with the entire sequence repeated. Although both songs were included on the 1971 live album 4-Way Street, the studio versions remained available only on monoraul 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits collection, So Far, was released in 1974. Since 45s in the US generally went out of print within six months of their release, Ohio/Find The Cost Of Freedom was considered a collector's item for several years.