Sunday, October 6, 2019
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1941 (starts 10/07/19)
This week's show is pure free-form, careening from art-rock to folk-rock to blues-rock and beyond. It starts with a Randy Newman classic and ends with an instrumental piece that can only be described as jazz-rock-soul from a group you've probably never heard of called Earth Disciples. Read on...
Artist: Randy Newman
Title: Mama Told Me (Not To Come)
Source: LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: 12 Songs)
Writer(s): Randy Newman
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Although it is best known as a Three Dog Night song, Randy Newman's Mama Told Me (Not To Come) was actually written for Eric Burdon, whose version appeared on the album Eric Is Here in early 1967. Newman's own version of the tune, written from the perspective of a strait-laced young man experiencing his first Los Angeles style party, was included on his 1970 LP 12 Songs, which came out at around the same time as Three Dog Night's cover of the tune. Newman's version features slide guitar work from Ry Cooder, supplementing Newman's own piano playing.
Title: Back In NYC/Hairless Heart/Counting Out Time
Source: CD: The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Label: Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Atco)
The 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway marked the beginning of the many changes Genesis would undergo as the band evolved from an art-rock band with a loyal cult following to one of the most popular mainstream bands of the 1980s. It was the band's first double-LP studio album and the first to appear on the Atco label in the US, becoming the band's highest charting album up to that point in time, both in the US and Britain. There were two singles released from the album, the second of which was actually the final part of a three song sequence that begins with one of the group's hardest rocking pieces to date, Back In NYC, proceeds to a quiet instrumental featuring acoustic guitar from Steve Hackett intertwined with Tony Banks's keyboards and concludes with Counting Out Time, the aforementioned single. Not long after the release of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway, lead vocalist Peter Gabriel announced his departure from the group, a move that eventually resulted in drummer Phil Collins becoming the band's front man. The rest is history.
Artist: Stealer's Wheel
Title: Next To Me
Source: Mono 45 RPM single B side
Stealer's Wheel was a Scottish folk-rock band co-led by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. They had one huge hit with Stuck In The Middle With You, from their 1972 debut LP. Also from that LP was a song called Next To Me, which was also released as a B side in 1973. Although Egan was the more prolific songwriter of the group, it was Rafferty that went on the greater fame as a solo artist with his late-70s hit Baker Street.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Money Can't Save Your Soul
Source: CD: Looking In
Writer(s): Simmonds/ Peverett
Label: Deram (original label: Parrott)
Looking In was the sixth album by British blues-rockers Savoy Brown, and the first without original lead vocalist Chris Youlden. It was also the final outing for guitarist Dave Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens and drummer Roger Earl, who would go on to form Foghat after being dismissed by bandleader Kim Simmonds. The album was made up entirely of original compositions such as the low-key Money Can't Save Your Soul, which was written by Simmonds and Peverett, who had taken over lead vocals upon Youlden's departure. Both Foghat and a new Savoy Brown lineup would continue to have success, especially in the US, where both bands toured extensively throughout the 1970s.
Artist: Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title: Still...You Turn Me On
Source: CD: Brain Salad Surgery
Writer(s): Greg Lake
Label: Rhino (original label: Manticore)
By 1973, Emerson, Lake & Palmer had established somewhat of a pattern with the albums. Most of each LP was dominated by the bombastic stylings of Keith Emerson's keyboards, supplemented by Greg Lake's bass and vocals (and occasional guitar) and Carl Palmer's percussion work. There was almost always one ballad on the LP, however, that was penned by Lake, and often became the only single released from the album. On the album Brain Salad Surgery that ballad was Still...You Turn Me On. By this time, however, ELP was not even bothering to release singles from their albums, although Still...You Turn Me On did show up as a promo B side in 1974 that was never released commercially.
Artist: Roy Buchanan
Title: Wayfaring Pilgrim
Source: CD: The Best Of Roy Buchanan (originally released on LP: In The Beginning)
When it comes to pure technique, very few guitarists can claim to be in the same class as Roy Buchanan. Born in Ozark, Arkansas, in 1939, Buchanan made his recording debut as a sideman for Dale Hawkins in 1958, releasing his first single as a solo artist in 1961. Throughout his career he was known for being a master of the Fender Telecaster guitar, and was considered a major influence by many younger guitarists over the years, including Robbie Robertson (whom he tutored when they were both members of Ronnie Hawkins's Hawks) Jeff Beck and Jerry Garcia. Buchanan's greatest commercial success, however, came in the 1970s after signing the the Polydor label, which was looking for talent to fill out the roster of its newly-formed US division. Buchanan recorded five albums for Polydor, including In The Beginning, which was released in the UK as Rescue Me. Buchanan's arrangement of Wayfaring Pilgrim from that album also features the talented Neil Larsen on piano.
Title: God's Children
Source: British import 7" 33 1/3 RPM EP: From the soundtrack of the film "Percy"
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Pye)
The final Kinks album released on the Pye label in the UK was the soundtrack album for a film called Percy. In addition to the LP, Pye issued a four-song EP from the album as well, promoted as a "maxi-single", perhaps the first ever use of the term. The opening track from both the album and the EP was God's Children; the song was also released as a single in the UK but did not chart. None of these records, by the way, were ever given a North American release, resulting in the Percy soundtrack being the best selling Kinks import album in the US for several years.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Source: CD: déjà vu
Writer(s): Neil Young
Many of the songs on the second Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album, Deja Vu, sound as if they could have been on solo albums by the various band members, particularly Neil Young, whose style really didn't mesh well with the others. A prime example of this is Helpless. Despite this (or maybe because of it) Helpless got more radio airplay than most of the other songs on the album.
Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Cowgirl In The Sand
Source: LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer: Neil Young
It has been said that adverse conditions are conducive to good art. Certainly that truism applies to Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand, written while Young was running a 102 degree fever. Almost makes you wish you could be that sick sometime.
Artist: Ten Years After
Title: Sugar The Road
Source: CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer(s): Alvin Lee
Label: Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Ten Years After's fourth LP, Cricklewood Green, was the band's first release following their appearance at Woodstock, and by all accounts they made the best of the situation with what is generally considered to be their best studio album. In addition to progressive FM radio favorites Love Like A Man and 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain, the album contains several tunes that show the group's diversity, such as Sugar The Road, which opens side one of the LP.
Artist: Earth Disciples
Title: Life Cycle
Source: LP: Getaway Train
Label: Solid State
There is no question that 1970 was a year of experimentation in music. The surface implication of such a statement might lead you to think of bands like Tangerine Dream, who were trying out all kinds of new electronic effects, or Renaissance, who were taking a classical approach to rock. But there were other types of experiments going on as well. New radio formats were developing. Artists were looking at new hybrid genres to explore, such as jazz-rock and soul-funk. One band that went that route was Earth Disciples from the Chicago area. Co-led by guitarist Jimmy Holloway (who also did some keyboard work), Earth Disciples were fond of jazz experimentation, yet included elements of rock and soul that sometimes actually overpowered the band's jazz elements on instrumental tracks like Life Cycle. As to what happened to the band, your guess is as good as mine.