Saturday, November 30, 2019
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1949 (starts 12/2/19)
A lot of deep cuts this time around, starting with one from Geoff and Maria Muldaur and finishing up with a set of live recordings. In fact, the only single in the bunch is one of the live tracks: Procol Harum's 1972 rendition of Conquistador with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
Artist: Geoff And Maria Muldaur
Title: New Orleans Hopscop Blues
Source: LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Pottery Pie)
Writer(s): George Thomas
Label: Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Geoff And Maria Muldaur were both members of the legendary Jim Kweskin Jug Band. In fact, Geoff Muldaur was a founding member of the group. The two of them split off from the group to record their first album, Pottery Pie, in 1968. Although the entire album was made up of cover songs, the two of them put their own stamp on everything they did, including George Thomas's New Orleans Hopscop Blues. Following the release of Pottery Pie, the couple moved up to Woodstock, NY. They separated in 1972, right after Geoff joined Paul Butterfield's Better Days. Maria, of course, went on to a successful solo career, highlighted by her hit single, Midnight At The Oasis.
Artist: Moody Blues
Title: Send Me No Wine/To Share Our Love/So Deep Within You
Source: CD: On The Threshold Of A Dream
The Moody Blues scored their first #1 album in the UK with the 1969 release On The Threshold Of A Dream. The album was also their first to make the US top 20 albums chart. As was the case with their previous LP, In Search Of The Lost Chord, many of the songs on the album run as a continuous sequence, including Send Me No Wine/To Share Our Love/So Deep Within You, which finish out the album's first side. So Deep Within You was also released as the B side of the album's only single.
Artist: Sons Of Champlain
Source: British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally/The Sons/Follow Your Heart (originally released on LP: Loosen Up Naturally)
Writer(s): Steven Tollestrup
Label: BGO (original label: Capitol)
Bill Champlin is probably best known as the lead guitarist for Chicago from 1981 to 2008 (more or less). Before and after that period, however, he fronted his own band, the Sons Of Champlin. Like Chicago, the Sons were distinguished by the presence of a horn section, a trend that was just getting underway in 1969. Unlike most other bands of their type, however, the Sons Of Champlin were a San Francisco band, and one of the more popular local acts of their time. They did not show much of an interest in touring outside the Bay Area, however, and as a result got limited national exposure. The first single from the first of two albums they recorded for the Capitol label was a tune called 1982-A. I really can't say what the title has to do with the lyrics of the song, but it is a catchy little number nonetheless.
Title: Samba Pa Ti
Source: LP: Abraxas
Writer(s): Carlos Santana
One of the most enduring tracks from Santana's second LP, Abraxas, Samba Pa Ti starts off as a slow instrumental, slowly picking up the pace and adding percussion to give it a decidedly latin flavor. As far as I know, Carlos Santana still includes Samba Pa Ti in his concert repertoire.
Artist: Eric Clapton
Title: Easy Now
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Eric Clapton
One of only two solo compositions on Eric Clapton's first solo album, Easy Now was also released as the B side of After Midnight in 1970 and again in 1972 as the B side of Let It Rain. The song, which features Clapton on vocals and acoustic guitar with no other instrumental accompaniment, is easily one of the artist's most underrated recordings.
Artist: James Gang
Source: LP: Thirds
Writer(s): Joe Walsh
The second side of the second James Gang album featured acoustic ballads written by guitarist/vocalist Joe Walsh, with minimal embellishments by bassist Dale Peters and drummer Jim Fox. This softer side of the power trio was even more evident on the band's next LP, Thirds. One of the best of these is Again. The piece starts off almost lethargically, but soon begins to pick up the pace, first with a nice descending acoustic guitar line and later with a faster instrumental section that, oddly enough, makes me think of America, a band that would not make their recording debut until 1973.
Title: For Ladies Only
Source: LP: For Ladies Only
The fifth Steppenwolf album, For Ladies Only, is probably best remembered for its gatefold cover, the center of which was a photo of a full-sized motor vehicle that looked like, well, a giant penis with European plates being pulled over by the cops on a city street. The title track, which opens the album, is a long (over nine minutes) piece with a pro-feminist message. Mixed messages? Maybe, or possibly (from a 1971 perspective) two sides of the same coin.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix/Band of Gypsys
Title: Message To Love
Source: LP: Band Of Gypsys
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
In the mid-1960s Jimi Hendrix sat in on some recording sessions with his friend Curtis Knight, signing what he thought was a standard release contract at the time. It wasn't until Hendrix was an international star that the signing came back to haunt him in the form of a lawsuit by Capitol Records accusing him of breach of contract. The end result was that Hendrix ended up owing the label two albums, the first being an album called Get That Feeling that was made up of the material Hendrix had recorded with Knight. The second album was to be all new material, but at the time of the settlement in mid-1969 Hendrix had just disbanded the Experience and was experimenting around with different combinations of musicians before getting to work on his next studio project. Hendrix appeared at Woodstock with a number of these musicians, including his old Army buddy Billy Cox on bass. The two of them soon began to work up a live set with drummer Buddy Miles, who had made a guest appearance on the last Experience album, Electric Ladyland. The new three-piece group, calling itself Band Of Gypsys, played a two-night engagement at New York's Madison Square Garden over the New Year's holiday, using the best performances from both nights to compile a live album that was released by Capitol the following spring. Among the new songs that made their debut on Band Of Gypsys was Message To Love. The song is a fair indication of the direction that Hendrix's music was beginning to take.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Child In Time (live version)
Source: CD: Made In Japan
Label: Rhino/Purple (original label: Warner Brothers)
British and American rock bands had been popular in Japan throughout the 1960s, but as a general rule the bands tended not to capitalize on this popularity. One of the first to actively build on their Japanese success was Deep Purple, who recorded their highly successful live album Made In Japan there in August of 1972. The album featured electrifying performances of some of the band's most popular pieces, including Child Of Time, which had first appeared two years earlier on the album Deep Purple In Rock. Made In Japan continues to be one of the most popular live albums ever recorded, and was ranked the sixth best of all time in a 2012 readers' poll conducted by Rolling Stone magazine.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Conquistador (live)
Source: 45 RPM single
Although Conquistador was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum album in 1967, it was the 1972 live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became one of the band's biggest hits, second only to A Whiter Shade Of Pale.
Artist: ZZ Top
Source: LP: Fandango
Marketed as "The American Classic", Thunderbird wine has been around since Prohibition ended. It was created to be the lowest-priced wine available and was marketed to the poorest neighborhoods in the country. In the 1970s it became even more popular among high school students, due to its low price and relatively high alcohol content (13-18%). Thunderbird was particularly popular in Texas, prompting ZZ Top to write a song praising it.