Sunday, May 10, 2020
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2020 (starts 5/11/20)
This week's show starts with a rather unusual countdown to a musical journey from 1968 to 1972. From there it's a wild mix of album tracks and B sides, but what else would you expect from a show called Rockin' in the Days of Confusion?
Title: Take Off
Source: British import CD: Gun
Writer(s): Adrian Gurvitz
Label: Repertoire (original label: CBS)
As was becoming more and more common in 1968, the final track of Gun's debut LP was an extended jam piece designed to showcase each of the band members' individual talents as well as their improvisational ability as a group. What makes Take Off a bit unusual is the addition of horns to the mix, something that Al Kooper was experimenting with in the US at around the same time, as can be heard on the Super Session album.
Artist: Steve Miller Band
Title: Lucky Man/Gangster Of Love/ You're So Fine
Source: CD: Sailor
The Steve Miller Band's second album, Sailor, was the last to feature original members Jim Peterman and Boz Scaggs. The album is less overtly psychedelic than its predecessor, Children Of The Future, instead shifting the focus to more of a blues-rock sound. This can be heard on the medley of tunes heard on side two of the album. Lucky Man is a Peterman original, while Gangster Of Love came from Johnny "Guitar" Watson. The final part of the trilogy was Jimmy Reed's You're So Fine. Miller made an in-song reference to Gangster Of Love a few years later in his hit tune The Joker.
Title: Come Together
Source: LP: Abbey Road
After the Beatles released their 1968 double LP (the so-called White Album), they went to work on their final film project, a documentary about the band making an album. Unfortunately, what the cameras captured was a group on the verge of disintegration, and both the album and the film itself were shelved indefinitely. Instead, the band decided to record an entirely new group of compositions. Somehow, despite the internal difficulties the band was going through, they managed to turn out a masterpiece: Abbey Road. Before the album itself came out, a single was released. The official A side was George Harrison's Something, the first Harrison song ever to be released as a Beatle A side. The other side was the song that opened the album itself, John Lennon's Come Together. In later years Come Together came to be one of Lennon's signature songs and was a staple of his live performances.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: Electric Funeral
Source: CD: Paranoid
Label: Warner Brothers
When Black Sabbath first appeared on vinyl they were perceived as the next step in the evolution of rock, building on the acid rock of the late sixties and laying the groundwork for what would become heavy metal. Electric Funeral, from the band's second album, Paranoid, shows that evolution in progress.
Artist: J. Geils Band
Title: Whammer Jammer
Source: Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Juke Box Jimmie
First they were a Boston bar band called Snoopy and the Sopwith Camel. Then they became the J. Geils Blues Band. Finally they dropped the "blues" from the name and became famous. Whammer Jammer, an early B side showcasing "Magic Dick" Salwitz on lead harmonica, shows why the "blues" part was there in the first place.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Free Four
Source: CD: Works (originally released on LP: Obscured By Clouds and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Roger Waters
Label: Capitol (original label: Harvest)
In addition to touring and making albums, the members of Pink Floyd got heavily into writing and performing film soundtracks, including Barbet Schroeder's directorial debut on More in 1970. In 1972, in the midst of recording Dark Side Of The Moon, the band took a couple of breaks to travel to France to write and record music for Schroeder's new film, La Vallée. A falling out between the band and the film production company led to the band releasing the music themselves as an album called Obscured By Clouds. Interestingly, the film itself was susequently retitled La Vallée (Obscured By Clouds) for its own release. The band released one single from the album, a Roger Waters composition called Free Four (so titled because the band playfully did its studio countdown as "one, two, free, four"). The song itself is one of those that has happy sounding music combined with rather negative lyrics, a sort of 70s trend.
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Robby Krieger
One of the most obscure Doors tracks in existence, Treetrunk was the non-LP B side of Get Up And Dance, a single released in 1972 that did not chart. The song was recorded during sessions for the album Full Circle, but left off the LP because the song's writer, Robby Krieger, felt it was "too commercial". Treetrunk is one of only three songs that were not included on Doors albums, and the only one released after the death of the band's original vocalist, Jim Morrison. Keyboardist Ray Manzarek provided the lead vocals for the track.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Four Sticks
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin IV
One of the most difficult songs to record in the Led Zeppelin catalog, Four Sticks, from the fourth Zeppelin album, did not have a name until John Bonham's final drum track was recorded. He reportedly was having such a hard time with the song that he ended up using four drumsticks, rather than the usual two (don't ask me how he held the extra pair) and beat on his drums as hard as he could, recording what he considered the perfect take in the process.
Artist: David Bowie
Title: Andy Warhol
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single B side (reissue originally released on LP: Hunky Dory)
Writer: David Bowie
Although the song Changes appeared on Bowie's third LP for RCA, the label went back to Bowie's first RCA album, Hunky Dory, for the B side, Andy Warhol. The pairing makes for an interesting contrast between Bowie's pre and post Ziggy Stardust styles.
Artist: Steely Dan
Title: Any Major Dude Will Tell You
Source: LP: Pretzel Logic
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
For a while it looked like Steely Dan would, like many other early 70s bands, start strong and then slowly fade away. Their debut single, Do It Again, got a lot of airplay on AM top 40 radio, which actually worked against them when it came to the more album-oriented FM stations that were starting to pop up all over the US. Despite the fact that their second LP, Countdown To Ecstacy, was much more suited to FM, it was pretty much ignored by FM rock stations at the time. However, it all came together for the group with the release of their third LP, Pretzel Logic, in 1974. In addition to a big hit single (Rikki Don't Lose That Number), Pretzel Logic included several FM-friendly tunes, such as Any Major Dude Will Tell You, and was a favorite of the rock press.
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Sea Of Joy
Source: CD: Blind Faith
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
At the time Blind Faith was formed there is no question that the biggest names in the band were guitarist Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, having just come off a successful three-year run with Cream. Yet the true architect of the Blind Faith sound was actually Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group and, more recently, Traffic. Not only did Winwood handle most of the lead vocals for the group, he also wrote more songs on the band's only album than any other member. Among the Winwood tunes on that album is Sea Of Joy, which opens side two of the LP.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Black Night (1995 Roger Glover Mix)
Source: 45 RPM single
Label: Warner Brothers
Prior to 1970, Deep Purple had achieved a moderate amount of success, but were pretty much ignored in the native England. That all changed, however, with the addition of two new members, lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover. Following the experimental Concerto For Group and Orchestra, the band's new lineup released its first studio album, Deep Purple In Rock, on June 3, 1970. Two days later the released a non-album single called Black Night. The song was an instant hit, going all the way to the #2 spot on the British charts and quickly becoming part of the band's concert repertoire, usually as the first encore. A 1995 remix by Glover was released as a single on blue vinyl in 1995 for Record Store Day that runs nearly 30 seconds longer than the original 1970 US release.