Sunday, April 28, 2019
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1918 (starts 4/29/19)
This week's show includes a whole bunch of tunes from 1969, including an entire LP side from San Francisco's It's A Beautiful Day. We end on a more regional note, with album tracks from Detroit's Frijid Pink and Denver's Sugarloaf.
Artist: Joni Mitchell
Source: LP: Ladies Of The Canyon
Writer(s): Joni Mitchell
Ladies Of The Canyon, the third Joni Mitchell album, is considered to be the beginning of her transition from guitar-oriented folk music to a piano dominated jazzier style. Her folky side is well represented on the album, however, by songs like Conversation. Howard Kaylan, in his book Shell Shocked, later said that Conversation's lyrics referred to Turtles bandmate Mark Volman, who was in a bad marraige at the time.
Artist: It's A Beautiful Day
Title: Bombay Calling/Bulgaria/Time Is
Source: CD: It's A Beautiful Day
Label: San Francisco Sound (original label: Columbia)
The story of It's A Beautiful Day shows a dark side of late 60s San Francisco. In mid 1967 It's A Beautiful Day, formed by former Utah Symphony violinist David LaFlamme and his wife, keyboardist Linda LaFlamme, caught the attention of Matthew Katz, who was managing both Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape. The LaFlammes were not aware of the fact that both of the other bands were trying desperately to get out of their contracts with Katz, and were more than happy to sign a contract with him. Katz immediately shipped It's A Beautiful Day off to Seattle, where they became the house band at a club called the San Francisco Sound that was owned by Katz himself. The band lived upstairs from the club and had no transportation; their only money was a meager food allowance provided by Katz. It was in this environment, during the rainy Seattle winter, that the band composed the music that would become their first LP. Side one was highlighted by the songs White Bird and Hot Summer Day, while the second side was a continuous piece of music that was banded as three separate tracks, Bombay Calling, Bulgaria and Time Is (probably to increase royalties). Deep Purple used the opening riff from Bombay Calling for Child In Time on their 1970 album Deep Purple In Rock. Conversely, It's A Beautiful Day "borrowed" the main riff and much of the arrangement of Deep Purple's Hard Road (from their 1968 LP The Book Of Taleisyn) for Don And Dewey, the opening track of their own 1970 LP, Marrying Maiden.
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Well, All Right
Source: CD: Blind Faith
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
Supergroup Blind Faith was made up of members of Cream (Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker), Family (Rick Grech) and Traffic (Steve Winwood). The group only recorded one LP before disbanding, and almost all of the material on that album was written by members of the band. The lone exception was a heavily-modified arrangement of Buddy Holly's Well All Right, which sounds more like a Traffic song than any other track on the LP.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Graveyard Train
Source: LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s): John Fogerty
The influence of Chess-era bluemen like Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters is evident on Graveyard Train, from Creedence Clearwater Revival's second LP, Bayou Country. The lyrics are reminiscent of an even earlier time, when such subjects as death (with supernatural overtones) were often dealt with by members of chain gangs in song.
Artist: Arlo Guthrie
Title: Motorcycle Song (Significance Of The Pickle)
Source: The Best Of Arlo Guthrie
Writer(s): Arlo Guthrie
Label: Warner Brothers
To be honest, I am not sure when this particular recording was made. Arlo Guthrie originally recorded the Motorcycle Song for his 1967 debut album, Alice's Restaurant. The first live recording of the song was released the following year on the LP Arlo. However, his reference to having been performing the song for twelve years makes me think this is a mid-seventies performance. It's even possible that the greatest hits album, issued in 1977, was the first time this particular performance was released.
Title: Behind Blue Eyes
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Pete Townshend
One of the most iconic Who songs ever, Behind Blue Eyes continues to get played on commercial FM stations, both in its original form and the more recent cover version by Limp Bizkit. Well, I might be wrong about that last part. I mean, I've never heard the Limp Bizkit version played on the radio. Does anyone play Limp Bizkit at all anymore, for that matter?
Artist: Frijid Pink
Title: Boozin' Blues
Source: German import CD: Frijid Pink
Label: Repertoire (original label: Parrot)
Although never considered a first-tier band, Frijid Pink was a solid component in Detroit's "second-wave" of rock bands in the late 1960s. Formed in 1967, when fellow Detroiters Mitch Ryder and ? And The Mysterians were already riding high, Frijid Pink came up around the same time as the Amboy Dukes and The Stooges, among others. Despite releasing some of the hardest rocking singles of the time, they experience limited commercial success until their cover of House Of The Rising Sun became an international smash hit in 1970. A self-titled album soon followed which included several of their earlier singles, as well as originals like the sultry Boozin' Blues. Subsequent efforts by the band failed to equal the success of House Of The Rising Sun, however, and within a couple of years Frijid Pink had melted back into the shadows.
Title: Rollin' Hills
Source: LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer(s): Robert Yeazel
Following the success of their first LP and its hit single Green Eyed Lady, Denver's Sugarloaf opted to add a second guitarist, Robert Yeazel, for their second album, Spaceship Earth. The result was an album that was much more developed musically than the band's first effort, although it did not have a huge hit single to help it out in the sales department. Yeazel was the credited songwriter on some of the album's stronger tracks, including Rollin' Hills, which closes out the first side of the LP.