Sunday, February 10, 2019
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1907 (starts 2/11/19)
This week's show is one long uninterrupted set of tunes from 1971-1972 (with a classic Doors tune thrown in at the end). You wanna know what FM rock radio in the early 70s really sounded like? This is it.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: Into The Void
Source: LP: Master Of Reality
Label: Warner Brothers
In addition to being James Hetfield's favorite Black Sabbath track, Into The Void was, according to guitarist Tony Iommi, the most difficult song to record for the group's third LP, Master Of Reality. Both vocalist Ozzy Osbourne and drummer Bill Ward had problems with the song's sudden stops and starts and tempo changes. Iommi went on to say that they even tried to record Into The Void in two different studio in an effort to get Ward on track. Eventually everything came together, and Into The Void is now considered a classic example of Black Sabbath in their prime.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: Tears In My Eyes (extended version)
Source: European Import CD: Look At Yourself
Writer(s): Ken Hensley
Year: Recorded 1971, released 2003
Most people who heard Uriah Heep's first album agreed that the band had potential. That potential was realized with the 1971 album Look At Yourself. One of the more popular songs on the album was Tears In My Eyes, which opened side two of the original LP. The version on the album was actually edited down from the original tapes. This version is a slightly longer edit, with an extended acoustic section in the middle of the piece.
Artist: Cheech And Chong
Title: Welcome To Mexico
Source: LP: Cheech And Chong
Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong were already a successful stage act when they decided to commit some of their bits to vinyl in 1971. Among those bit is Welcome To Mexico, which manages to send up the petty corruption encountered at US/Mexico border crossings while making a more serious point about how a second coming of Jesus in modern times might actually turn out.
Artist: Steely Dan
Title: Dirty Work
Source: CD: Can't Buy A Thrill
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
When Walter Becker and Donald Fagen first formed Steely Dan their hope was that they could be a successful studio band in the mold of the post-1966 Beatles, without having to actually go on tour. Their record label, however, saw things differently, and insisted that the band begin making plans for touring before even finishing their first LP, Can't Buy A Thrill. This brought to the fore an issue that Fagen in particular had hoped would not become an issue: his own stage fright. Such was his fear of public performance as a vocalist that a second lead singer, David Palmer, was brought in to be the band's front man for live appearances. He ended up singing lead on three of the album's ten tracks as well. Of these, Dirty Work is probably the best known. Fagen, of course, soon got over his stage fright, and Palmer and the band parted company.
Title: Supper's Ready
Source: CD: Foxtrot
Label: Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
The longest track Genesis ever recorded is also one of their most celebrated. Supper's Ready, from the Foxtrot album, is almost 23 minutes long and takes up most of the second side of the original LP. At least one critic has proclaimed Supper's Ready to be the band's masterpiece. The song (or more accurately, song cycle) was originally released in October of 1972. The piece, with its supernatural imagery and overall theme of good vs. evil, was inspired by an incident at a British castle in which vocalist Peter Gabriel's wife Jill went into a trance state just as the windows of the room they were in suddenly blew open. Supper's Ready is divided into seven sections: Lover's Leap, The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man, Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men, How Dare I Be So Beautiful, Willow Farm, Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet), and the final section, As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet), which combines elements of some of the earlier parts. From 1972 on Supper's Ready was the centerpiece of the band's stage show throughout Gabriel's tenure as frontman for Genesis.
Artist: Wishbone Ash
Title: Blowin' Free
Source: CD: Argus
Known to the band's fans as the "Ash Anthem", Blowin' Free is probably the single most popular song Wishbone Ash ever recorded. The song, with lyrics written by bassist Martin Turner before Wishbone Ash even formed, is about Turner's Swedish ex-girlfriend.
Artist: David Bowie
Title: Hang Onto Yourself
Source: CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s): David Bowie
Label: Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
David Bowie proved that he was quite capable of writing a straight up power pop tune with Hang Onto Yourself from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars. The album itself, as the title implies, documents the short career of pop star Ziggy Stardust against a backdrop of the imminent destruction of the world. While most of the songs on the album are about Ziggy Stardust, I've always imagined Hang Onto Yourself as being one of Ziggy's own songs, a hit single along the same lines as Grand Funk Railroad's We're An American Band or Mountain's Mississippi Queen. Interestingly enough, Bowie had released an earlier version of Hang Onto Yourself as a 1971 single under the name Arnold Corns. Was "Arnold Corns" an early version of Ziggy Stardust?
Artist: Moody Blues
Title: I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band)
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): John Lodge
Following the release of their eighth LP, Seventh Sojourn (don't ask), the Moody Blues decided to take a sojourn of a different kind: a five-year hiatus, allowing the individual members to pursue various solo projects. Before calling it quits, however, they released one last single. As the last track on Seventh Sojourn, I'm Just A Singer (In A Rock And Roll Band) was an appropriate choice for a final effort, and did reasonably well on the US charts, peaking at #12, although it barely made the top 40 in their native England. Since reforming in 1978, the Moody Blues have established themselves as a consistent concert draw, especially around PBS pledge drive time.
Artist: Climax Blues Band
Title: Shake Your Love
Source: Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Although never a first-tier group, the Climax Blues Band (formed in 1967 as the Climax Chicago Blues Band) nonetheless had a decent career, releasing a total of 19 albums during their existence. Among those was the 1972 LP Rich Man, which included Shake Your Love, a song that was also released to radio stations only in single form. The tune was co-written by the band and their producer, Richard Gottehrer. Gottehrer is probably best known for writing or co-writing several hit songs in the 1960s, including My Boyfriend's Back, Hang On Sloopy, and I Want Candy, the latter being credited to Gottehrer's own band, the Strangeloves.
Title: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.