Sunday, August 11, 2019
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1933 (starts 8/12/19)
This week the focus is on the beginning of the decade, with multiple tracks from 1969, 1970 and 1971, including a mix of singles, album tracks and even an alternate recording of a well-known Allman Brothers classic.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: One Of These Days
Source: LP: A Collection Of Great Dance Songs (originally released on LP: Meddle)
Label: Columbia (original label: Harvest)
In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on FM rock radio.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: Sweet Leaf
Source: LP: Master Of Reality
Label: Warner Brothers
Composed pretty much entirely in the recording studio, Sweet Leaf is Black Sabbath's unapologetic ode to marijuana. The title was inspired by writing on the inside lid of a pack of Irish cigarettes that contained the words "it's the sweetest leaf that gives you the taste". The coughing at the beginning of the track was provided by Tony Iommi, who was caught by surprise at the potency of a joint handed to him by Ozzy Osbourne. And yes, the entire band was stoned when they recorded Sweet Leaf.
Artist: Cheech And Chong
Source: LP: Cheech & Chong
Forget Platoon and Apocalypse Now. Cheech And Chong recorded, by far, the most accurate chronicle of what life in Vietnam was really about for the typical American GI on their first album. "As a matter of fact, the whole platoon is wiped out"!
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Bron Y-Aur Stomp
Source: German import LP: Led Zeppelin III
Although often regarded as the fathers of Heavy Metal, Led Zeppelin was actually capable of playing in a variety of styles. Evolving out of the standard-bearing band of the London blues scene (the Yardbirds), Led Zeppelin soon moved into uncharted territory, recording music that incorporated elements of both American and British folk music as well as rock. Much of the group's third LP (Bron Y-Aur Stomp in particular) sounds like it could have been written and performed in the heart of Appalachia.
Artist: Guess Who
Title: No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
Source: CD: American Woman
Randy Bachman's No Sugar Tonight was not intended to be a hit single. In fact, when he first unveiled the song he was told by his bandmates that it was too short. So, to flesh it out he and Burton Cummings combined No Sugar Tonight with a Cummings tune, New Mother Nature, that was still a work in progress. The resulting medley was included on the 1970 LP American Woman. Additionally, No Sugar Tonight itself, in its short form, was also released as the B side of the American Woman single. It proved so popular that it made the top 40 in its own right. Meanwhile, FM rock stations began playing the full medley, and the shorter single version was soon abandoned by top 40 stations as well. Bachman says the song itself was inspired by an incident that transpired on a California street in which a "tough looking biker" type got publicly dressed down by a five foot tall woman for neglecting his household chores to hang out with his friends. The last words heard before they drove off in her car were "and one more thing, you ain't getting no sugar tonight".
Title: House Of The King
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s): Jan Akkerman
Dutch band Focus released House of the King as a single in 1970, between their first and second albums. After getting considerable airplay in Europe and the UK, the song was added to later pressings of their debut LP, Focus Plays Focus (alternatively known as In And Out Of Focus). The song finally appeared on a US LP when Focus 3 was released three years later. Contrary to popular belief, the song was not re-recorded for the 1973 album.
Artist: Allman Brothers Band
Title: Statesboro Blues
Source: CD: Fillmore East February 1970
Writer(s): Willie McTell
Label: Bear's Sonic Journals
The Allman Brothers Band is generally accepted as the original Southern Rock band. Much of this reputation, however, is based on the group's second phase, following the death of founder Duane Allman. In the beginning, however, the Allman Brothers Band was first and foremost a blues-rock group, perhaps even the best American blues-rock band of its time. This is evidenced by the fact that their breakthrough album, At Fillmore East, starts with their electrifying arrangement of a Blind Willie McTell blues classic, Statesboro Blues. McTell originally recorded the tune in 1928. Forty years later Taj Mahal recorded a blues-rock version that inspired Duane Allman to take up the slide guitar. This particular recording of Statesboro Blues, made by Owsley "Bear" Stanley at the Fillmore East in 1970 specifically for the band's use, features a slightly different arrangement than the 1971 version of the tune.
Artist: Jo Jo Gunne
Title: Run Run Run
Source: LP: Jo Jo Gunne
After Spirit called it quits following the disappointing sales of the Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes hooked up with Andes's brother Matt and William "Curly" Smith to form Jo Jo Gunne. Their best known song was Run Run Run, which hit the British top 10 and the US top 30 in 1972, receiving considerable amount of airplay on progressive rock stations as well.
Title: Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Abraxas)
Writer(s): Mike Carabello
Label: Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Mike Carabello, one of the three Santana percussionists, only had one solo songwriting credit on the three LPs he played on. It was a good one, though. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is the opening track of the second Santana LP, Abraxas. The tune flows so naturally into the next track that it is sometimes considered a long intro to Black Magic Woman, despite the fact that Singing Winds, Crying Beasts (heard here as a separate track) is nearly five minutes long.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Nothing Is Easy
Source: LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Stand Up)
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Not long after the release of the first Jethro Tull album, guitarist Mick Abrahams, who was a blues enthusiast, left the group due to musical differences with lead vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson, who favored a more eclectic approach to songwriting. Abrahams's replacement was Martin Barre, who remains a member of the group to this day. One of the first songs recorded with Barre is Nothing Is Easy, a blues rocker that opens side two of the band's second LP, Stand Up. More than any other track on Stand Up, Nothing Is Easy sounds like it could have been an outtake from This Was, the band's debut LP.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Bird Has Flown
Source: LP: Deep Purple
Much of the music on the first two Deep Purple albums (including the singles Hush and Kentucky Woman) was made up of extensively rearranged cover songs, leading some critics to consider the band England's answer to Vanilla Fudge. Although the band was doing well enough in the US, they were virtually ignored at home, and in early 1969 set out to do something about the latter. The most important change was to focus on original material. Their next single was a pair of songs composed by the band, with the more experimental of the two, a song called The Bird Has Flown, appearing as the B side of the US release of the record (a song from their second LP was chosen for the British B side). Feeling that the song was deserving of greater exposure, the band recorded a new version (retitled Bird Has Flown) for their self-titled third LP. Unfortunately, the band's US label, Tetragrammaton, was having serious financial problems, resulting in a delayed release of the album with virtually no promotion from the label itself. Tetragrammaton went bankrupt not long after the LP hit the stands, making it by far the most obscure Deep Purple album ever released.
Artist: Spooky Tooth
Title: All Sewn Up
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Spooky Tooth probably went through more significant lineup changes than any other band during its short history. Formed in 1968, the original lineup only lasted through their second album, at which time bassist Greg Ridley left to join Humble Pie. Following their third LP, primary songwriter Gary Wright also left, and the remaining members disbanded a few months later. Wright, along with vocalist Mike Harrison, formed a new version of Spooky Tooth in 1972 that included future Foreigner guitarist Mike Jones. It was this lineup that recorded the album Witness, with it's single All Sewn Up, in 1973. After a couple more personnel changes, Spooky Tooth called it quits on November of 1974.
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 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.