Monday, March 27, 2017

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1713 (B14r) (starts 3/28/17)

This week it's all (or at least mostly) about Genesis. Specifically it's about the classic Genesis lineup of Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford, with 40 minutes worth of tracks from the Foxtrot and Selling England By The Pound albums. Yeah, the other 20 minutes is pretty good, too.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    In early 1973 Genesis was coming under fire by some British music critics for trying too hard to appeal to an American audience. The band responded with the album Selling England By The Pound. The title was chosen by vocalist Peter Gabriel, who borrowed it from a slogan used by the UK's Labor Party at the time. The lyrics of pieces such as Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, which opens the album, puts an emphasis on the decay of British folk culture in favor of rampant Americanization. The song itself is based on piano pieces composed by Gabriel, embellished with guitar parts from Steve Hackett and a choir effect (created on a mellotron) from keyboardist Tony Banks. Although Selling England By The Pound got a mixed reaction from both audience and critics at the time it was released, it has since gone on to achieve gold record status and has been cited by Hackett as being his favorite Genesis album.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Supper's Ready
Source:    CD: Foxtrot
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1972
    The longest track Genesis ever recorded is also one of their most celebrated. Supper's Ready, from the Foxtrot album, is almost 23 minutes long and takes up most of the second side of the original LP. At least one critic has proclaimed Supper's Ready to be the band's masterpiece. The song (or more accurately, song cycle) was originally released in October of 1972. The piece, with its supernatural imagery and overall theme of good vs. evil, was inspired by an incident at a British castle in which vocalist Peter Gabriel's wife Jill went into a trance state just as the windows of the room they were in suddenly blew open. Supper's Ready is divided into seven sections: Lover's Leap, The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man, Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men, How Dare I Be So Beautiful, Willow Farm, Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet), and the final section, As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet), which combines elements of some of the earlier parts. The piece was a major part of the band's stage show throughout Gabriel's tenure as frontman for Genesis.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Firth Of Fifth
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Firth Of Fifth, from the Genesis album Selling England By The Pound, was originally written by keyboardist Tony Banks for inclusion of the band's fourth LP, Foxtrot, but was rejected by the rest of the band's members. After reworking the tune, Banks again presented it to the band in time for it to be included on their next LP, Selling England By The Pound. The title is a parody of the name of a Scottish body of water called the Firth of Forth, an estuary of the River Forth. The lyrics were worked out by Banks and Genesis bassist Mike Rutherford. The song, considered by many to be a classic example of the progressive rock genre, remained part of the band's stage repertoire for many years.

Artist:        Ten Years After
Title:        Woodchopper's Ball
Source:     LP: Undead
Writer(s):    Herman/Bishop
Label:    Deram
Year:        1968
        Live albums were still somewhat of a rarity in the 60s, and generally featured material that had not been previously released in the studio. Such was the case with the second Ten Years After album, Undead. Guitarist Alvin Lee flat out smokes on the Woody Herman jazz classic Woodchopper's Ball.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:     I Put A Spell On You
Source:     CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer:     Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Label:     Rhino
Year:     1969
     Before getting major attention for its string of top five singles (including three consecutive # 2 songs), Creedence Clearwater Revival released a pair of cover tunes in 1968: Dale Hawkins' Suzy Q and this one from an entirely different Hawkins, Screamin' Jay. Although the Creedence version of I Put A Spell On You only made it to the # 58 spot on the national charts, it was still part of their repertoire when they played at Woodstock the following year. It cooks.

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    Big Yellow Taxi
Source:    LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Ladies Of The Canyon)
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1970
    One of Joni Mitchell's best-known tunes, Big Yellow Taxi was originally released on the 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. The original studio version of the song hit the top 10 in Australia and the top 20 in the UK and Mitchell's native Canada, but only reached the #67 spot in the US. A later live version of the song, however, cracked the top 30 in the US in 1974. Mitchell says she was inspired to write the song on a visit to Hawaii, where she looked out her hotel window to view a mountain vista in the distance, only to be shocked back to reality when she looked down to see a parking lot "as far as the eye could see".

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