Monday, May 22, 2017
Rockin' in the Days of Confusion #1721 (starts 5/24/17)
No matter how you look at it, this week's show is dominated by one track: Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (or more specifically, side one of Tubular Bells), one continuous 25 minute plus piece of music. The other nine songs ain't too shabby either.
Title: Parchman Farm
Source: CD: Cactus
Writer(s): Mose Allison
Label: Wounded Bird (original label: Atco)
I know of at least three versions of Mose Allison's Parchman Farm that came out in the years 1968-70. The first was the feedback-laden Blue Cheer version from their Vincebus Eruptum LP. Next was the jazzy Blues Image version from their 1970 LP Open. By far the most energetic, though, was the frenetically-paced version that opened the first (and best) Cactus album. Although the best-known members of Cactus were bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice from Vanilla Fudge, it was former Detroit Wheels guitarist Jim McCarty that steals the show on this three-minute track. Vocals on the song were provided by former Amboy Dukes member Rusty Day.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: Gallows Pole
Source: CD: Led Zeppelin III
Writer(s): Traditional, arr. Page/Plant
Following a year of intensive touring to promote their first two albums, Led Zeppelin members Robert Plant and Jimmy Page decided to take some time off, cloistering themselves in a small Welsh cottage known as Bron-Yr-Aur for several weeks. The place had no electricity, and the pair used the time to write and/or adapt acoustic material for the band to record for their third LP. One of the best of these "new" songs was Gallows Pole, which Page adapted from a 1962 recording by Fred Gerlach, although the song's roots go back several centuries.
Artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title: Find The Cost Of Freedom
Source: CD: Carry On (promo excerpt disc) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
One of the most celebrated songs in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young catalog is Neil Young's Ohio. Written in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings, the song was quickly recorded and rush released in 1971. Often overlooked, however, is the powerful B side of the single. Find The Cost Of Freedom is a simple song by Stephen Stills, consisting of a guitar intro followed by a two-line verse, with the entire sequence repeated. Although both songs were included on the 1971 live album 4-Way Street, the studio versions remained available only on monoraul 45 RPM vinyl until the group's first greatest hits collection, So Far, was released in 1974. Since 45s in the US generally went out of print within six months of their release, Ohio/Find The Cost Of Freedom was considered a collector's item for several years.
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 went to work recording 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 Lennon's signature song and was a staple of his live performances.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Johnny Winter And)
Writer(s): Rick Derringer
Label: Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Athough best known as a solo Rick Derringer hit, Rock And Roll Hoochie Coo was originally recorded in 1970 by Johnny Winter for the album Johnny Winter And when Derringer was a member of Winter's band (also known as Johnny Winter And at that time). As can be heard here the arrangement on the earlier version is nearly identical to the hit version, the main differences being Winter's lead vocals and the presence of two lead guitarists in the band.
Artist: Jethro Tull
Title: Driving Song
Source: Lebanese import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ian Anderson
By 1969 the presence of "underground" FM radio stations in most major US cities playing what would come to be called album rock was making it possible for an artist to be considered successful without having the benefit of a top 40 hit record. This was not the case in the UK, where top 40 itself was considered an underground format heard on illegal AM pirate stations broadcasting from offshore transmitters. This meant that British bands such as Jethro Tull were continuing to put out singles that were either only available as album cuts or not released at all in the US. Driving Song was originally released as the B side of Living In the Past in 1969; neither song appeared in the US until the Living In the Past LP was released in 1973.
Artist: Stealer's Wheel
Title: Next To Me
Source: 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.
Title: The Way Love Used To Be
Source: French import 33 1/3 RPM 7" EP from the soundtrack of the film Percy
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Although their record sales were a bit down in the early 1970s the Kinks were still able to stay gainfully employed by providing soundtracks for various British movies, including a comedy called Percy that came out in 1971. Songs from that film were released in the UK and Europe as a 7" Extended Play record, a format that was not commonly used in the US at that time. Recently a French import version of that EP appeared as part of the annual Record Store Day promotion. The EP includes The Way Love Used To Be, a song that was previously available in the US on a 1973 release called The Great Lost Kinks Album.
Artist: Mike Oldfield
Title: Tubular Bells
Source: LP: Tubular Bells
Writer(s): Mike Oldfield
So you probably immediately recognize this piece as the theme from The Exorcist. But have you ever heard the entire album-length version of the piece, entitled Tubular Bells? Well, you're hearing the first half of it now. A bit of trivia: Tubular Bells was the first album ever released by Virgin Records. Several sequels have been recorded in the years since the album's original 1973 release, including Tubular Bells II and III and The Millenium Bell (released in 1999).
Artist: Stray Dog
Title: Bits And Pieces
Source: LP: While You're Down There
Writer(s): Timmy Dulane
Originally called Aphrodite, Stray Dog started off in Texas, but soon migrated to Denver, Colorado, where they soon became one of the area's most popular bands. A move to London in 1973 led to the band signing with Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Manticore label in 1973. A change in personnel brought guitarist/vocalist Timmy Dulane into the band. Dulane ended up writing most of the material for the band's second LP, While You're Down There, including Bits And Pieces. Stray Dog split up in 1976.