Sunday, November 1, 2020

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2045 (starts 11/2/20)

    This week the emphasis is on songs by artists that rarely get played on this show, including two (Second Hand and New Colony Six) that have never appeared on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before. We do have a few tunes from our "regulars" as well, including a Led Zeppelin track that hasn't been played on the show since the two-hour long "pilot" episode that original aired as an Independence Day special on our companion show, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, in 2016, and a track from David Bowie's Hunky Dory album that I have never heard played on the radio.

Artist:    Dr. John
Title:    Right Place Wrong Time
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mac Rebenack
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    Mac Rebenack was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for over 50 years. He first started performing publicly in his teens, lying about his age to able to play in some of the city's more infamous clubs. At age 13 he was expelled from Jesuit school and soon found work as a staff songwriter and guitarist for the legendary Aladdin label. In 1957, at age 16, he joined the musicians' union, officially beginning his professional career. In the early 1960s he got into trouble with the law and spent two years in federal prison. Upon his release he relocated to Los Angeles, due to an ongoing cleanup campaign in New Orleans that had resulted in most of the clubs he had previously played in being permanently shut down. While in L.A., Rebenack developed his Dr. John, the Night Tripper personna, based on a real-life New Orleans voodoo priest with psychedelic elements thrown in (it was 1968 after all). By the early 1970s Dr. John had developed a cult following, but was getting tired of the self-imposed limitations of his Night Tripper image. In 1972 he recorded an album of New Orleans cover songs, following it up with his most successful album, In The Right Place, in 1973. Produced by the legendary Allen Toussaint, In The Right Place provided Dr. John his most successful hit single, Right Place Wrong Time, which went into the top 10 in both the US and Canada and has remained one of the most recognizable tunes of the early 70s thanks to its use in various films over the years. Around this time he returned to New Orleans, but continued to record at some of the top studios in the country, both as a solo artist and as a session player, appearing on literally thousands of recordings over the years. Dr. John continued to perform until shortly before his death on June 6, 2019.

Artist:    J. Geils Band
Title:    I Don't Need You No More
Source:    British import LP: The New Age Of Atlantic (originally released on LP: The Morning After)
Writer(s):    Wolf/Justman
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    I Don't Need You No More is the opening track of the second J. Geils Band album, The Morning After. It was also chosen for inclusion of the 1972 British sampler album The New Age Of Atlantic that came out in early 1972. The song was never released as a single, however.

Artist:    New Colony Six
Title:    People And Me
Source:    CD: Sunlight (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Wilson
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    Although best remembered for a pair of light pop hits that made the top 40 in 1968 (I Will Always Think About You and Things I'd Like to Say), The New Colony Six was actually one of the more successful regional bands of the late 1960s, with several tunes getting extensive airplay on Chicago's AM powerhouse WLS , which could be heard at night as far away as the Rocky Mountain states. Originally recording for the local Centaur (later Sentar) label, the NC6 signed with Mercury in 1968, releasing two LPs for the Chicago-based label. After the second LP, Attacking A Straw Man, failed to generate sales the group tried a harder sound for the non-LP single People And Me, released in 1970. After a few more unsuccessful singles, the New Colony Six finally called it quits in 1974, nine years after beginning their recording career.

Artist:    Climax Blues Band
Title:    Shake Your Love
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Climax/Gottehrer
Label:    Sire
Year:    1972
    Although never a first-tier group, the Climax Blues Band (formed in 1967 as the Climax Chicago Blues Band) nonetheless had a decent career, releasing a total of 19 albums during their existence. Among those was the 1972 LP Rich Man, which included Shake Your Love, a song that was also released to radio stations in single form. The tune was co-written by the band and their producer, Richard Gottehrer. Gottehrer is probably best known for writing or co-writing several hit songs in the 1960s, including My Boyfriend's Back, Hang On Sloopy, and I Want Candy, the latter being credited to Gottehrer's own band, the Strangeloves.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Portable People
Source:    CD: Ten Years After (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    Following the release of the 1967 debut LP, Ten Years After got to work on what was to be a followup album. These plans got sidetracked, however, when it was decided that their second LP would be made up of live performances taped at a London club near a recording studio. This left the band with several finished studio recordings, many of which were the same songs that would appear on the live Undead album. Two of the other unused studio tracks became the band's first US single, the A side of which was a tune called Portable People. This song remained unavailable in any other form for several years, finally appearing as a bonus track on the CD version of their first album.

Artist:    Graham Nash/David Crosby
Title:    Girl To Be On My Mind
Source:    British import LP: Graham Nash David Crosby
Writer(s):    Graham Nash
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1972
    In fall of 1971, after each releasing successful solo albums following the first breakup of Crosby, Still, Nash & Young, Graham Nash and David Crosby embarked on a series of concerts together, performing several new songs that would appear the following year on the album Graham Nash David Crosby. Most of the songs on the album, including Nash's Girl To Be On My Mind, feature backing tracks by the Section, a group of in-demand studio musicians based in southern California consisting of Craig Doerge, Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, and Russell Kunkel.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Rain Song
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    One of the most popular songs in the Led Zeppelin catalog, The Rain Song was reportedly written in response to a comment made by George Harrison of the Beatles to drummer John Bonham, that Led Zeppelin never did any ballads. When guitarist Jimmy Page heard about it he went to work on the piece, which he initially called Slush for its simulated orchestral arrangements on guitar. He presented the finished melody to Robert Plant, who then wrote lyrics and came up with the final title for the tune. John-Paul Jones added mellotron tracks, adding to the orchestral feel of the seven and a half minute long piece.

Artist:    Alice Cooper
Title:    Dead Babies
Source:    LP: Killer
Writer(s):    Cooper/Smith/Buxon/Bruce/Dunaway
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Alice Cooper (the band) raised a lot of eyebrows when they released a song called Dead Babies on their 1971 Killer album. Because of the band's reputation for outrageousness, a lot of people assumed that the song must be about some sort of imaginary deviant behavior. Unfortunately, the truth is  far worse. Dead Babies, in fact, is about a very real form of behavior that is all too common in the modern world: child neglect, and its tragic consequences. The song was a highlight of the band's Killer and School's Out tours, where it was followed immediately (as it is on the LP itself) by the song Killer, which featured the most talked-about part of the band's stage show, in which frontman Alice Cooper was led up to, and hung on, a gallows to close out the band's performance.

Artist:    Davic Bowie
Title:    The Bewlay Brothers
Source:    CD: Hunky Dory
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1971
    Called by one critic "probably the most cryptic, mysterious, unfathomable and downright frightening Bowie recording in existence", The Bewlay Brothers is the final track on the 1971 album Hunky Dory, and the one with the longest lyrics. Bowie himself, in a 1977 interview, called it "another vaguely anecdotal piece about my feelings about myself and my brother, or my other doppelgänger. I was never quite sure what real position Terry had in my life, whether Terry was a real person or whether I was actually referring to another part of me, and I think 'Bewlay Brothers' was really about that."

Artist:    Second Hand
Title:    Reality
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Reality)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Gibbons
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    Formed in Streatham, South London, in 1965 by vocalist/keyboardist Ken Elliott, guitarist Bob Gibbons and drummer Kieran O'Connor, the Next Collection soon won a local battle of the bands and the opportunity to make a demo recording at Maximum Sound Studios. This brought them to the attention of producer Vic Keary, who got them signed to Polydor in 1968 under the name Moving Finger. Just as the album Reality was about to be released, however, another band called the Moving Finger released a single on another label, forcing Elliot and company to come up with a new band name, as well as new packaging for the LP. The name they chose was Second Hand, since all of their equipment had been bought used. Apparently the delay also caused some rethinking on the part of the people at Polydor, who had initially been enthusiastic supporters of the band. When Reality was released in late 1968 it got no promotional support whatsoever from the label, and was a commercial failure. In recent years, however, Second Hand's Reality, including the title track, has come to be recognized as one of the pioneering albums of the prog-rock movement, predating bands like Yes and Emerson, Lake & Palmer by several years.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Back From The Shadows Again
Source:    LP: I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus is the fourth Firesign Theatre album, released in 1971. Like it's predecessor, Don't Touch That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, Bozos is one continuous narrative covering both sides of an LP. It tells the story of a visit to a Future Fair that somewhat resembles Disney's Tomorrowland, with various interractive educational exhibits such as the Wall Of Science. The piece was actually made up of shorter bits that the Firesign Theatre had used previously on their weekly radio show, but reworked and re-recorded for the new album. One of these was Back From The Shadows Again, sung to the tune of Gene Autry's signature song Back In The Saddle Again.

Artist:    Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen
Title:    Seeds And Stems (again)
Source:    LP: Lost In The Ozone
Writer(s):    Farlowe/Frayne
Label:    Paramount
Year:    1971
    Okay, so Seeds And Stems (again), from the first album by Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, Lost In The Ozone, may not officially be recognized as the ultimate country song, but it should be. I mean, the guy's woman leaves him, his home gets repossessed and his dog can you get more country than that? By finding yourself down to Seeds and Stems (Again), that's how.

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