Monday, June 11, 2018

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1824 (starts 6/13/18)

    This week's show can be looked at as a series of blocks. The first four songs have been played at least once on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion (although none of them have appeared on our sister show, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era). The next five tracks are making their HermitRadio debut, while the final four have been played on one show or the other over the years. As to which is which here's a clue: the last three have never been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    déjà vu
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    David Crosby
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    One of the biggest selling albums in the history of rock music, Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young's déjà vu was also one of the most difficult and time-consuming albums ever made. It is estimated that the album, which to date has sold over 8 million copies, took around 800 hours of studio time to record. Most of the tracks were recorded as solo tracks by their respective songwriters, with the other members making whatever contributions were called for. The album also features several guest musicians (including John Sebastian, who plays harmonica on the title track), as well as drummer Dallas Taylor and bassist Greg Reeves, whose names appear in slightly smaller font on the front cover of the album.

Artist:    Paul McCartney And Wings
Title:    Jet
Source:    CD: Wings Greatest (originally released on LP: Band On The Run)
Writer(s):    Paul and Linda McCartney
Label:    Capitol (original label: Apple)
Year:    1973
    Jet was the first single from the 1973 Paul McCartney And Wings LP Band On The Run. The song, which reached the top 10 in several countries, including the US and Britain, was reportedly named after a black labrador puppy. Band On The Run ended up being McCartney's most successful album as a solo artist, both commercially and critically.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Sometime World
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Turner/Turner/Upton/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Guitarist Andy Powell shines on Sometime World from the third Wishbone Ash album, Argus. The song, about missed opportunities and second chances, starts quietly, building slowly to become a powerful rocker over the course of nearly seven minutes. Although the song was seldom performed live, Powell has since stated that Sometime World is his favorite track on Argus.

Artist:    Rare Bird
Title:    Birdman-Part One (Title #1 Again)
Source:    45 RPM promo (stereo side)
Writer(s):    Kaffinetti/Karos/Curtis/Kelly/Gould
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1972
    The appropriately named Rare Bird was never very popular in their native England. None of their albums charted there, and they only had one charted single that went to the #27 spot in 1969. They were much more successful in continental Europe, however. That same single, Sympathy, was an international hit, selling a million copies worldwide and hitting the #1 spot in both France and Italy. By the time the Rare Bird's third LP, Epic Forest, was released, the band had gone through several personnel changes, including the loss of the group's founder, keyboardist Graham Field. In the US the band got some airplay on college radio stations, but was virtually ignored by mainstream US listeners. I did manage to find a copy of Birdman-Part One (Title #1 Again), the single from the Epic Forest album in a thrift store many years ago. It's really quite listenable.

Artist:    Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Title:    Brain Salad Surgery
Source:    Stereo European import 7" 33 1/3 RPM one-sided EP (on clear vinyl yet!) (originally released in UK as flexi-disc magazine insert)
Writer(s):    Emerson/Lake/Sinfield
Label:    BMG (original label NME)
Year:    1973
    Sometimes things don't go quite as planned. In 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer set out to make their fourth studio LP. They decided to call it Brain Salad Surgery, and recorded a song of the same name to use as a title track. Then came Karn Evil 9, a massive three-part piece running nearly 30 minutes in length that became the album's showpiece. That left very little room for other tunes, and the title track itself was cut from the song lineup. That wasn't the end of the story, however. Around the same time the album was released, the song appeared as a one-sided flexi-disc insert in the latest issue of New Music Express, a British trade magazine. The following year it was released as a promotional single (with Still...You Turn Me On as a B side) to US radio stations on the Atlantic label. The song did not get an official release, however, until 1977, when it appeared on the album Works, volume 2, and as the B side of Fanfare Of The Common Man. 

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Gypsy
Source:    LP: Uriah Heep
Writer(s):    Byron/Box
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1970
    Gypsy, the first track on the first Uriah Heep album was also the first Heep song I ever heard. Apparently the rock press hated the song, the album, and the band itself, but it turns out that 1970 was a good year to be hated by the rock press. Just look at how things turned out for Grand Funk Railroad. For that matter, Uriah Heep didn't do too badly over the next few years, either. Maybe that's why Rolling Stone magazine turned to politics: much easier to get away with being totally wrong about something, and when you're right everybody praises you for your journalistic integrity.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Super Trouper
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Super Trouper is the shortest track on Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are. It is also one of their most obscure songs. Enjoy.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Hot Water
Source:    LP: Spaceship Earth
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Yeazel
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Robert Yeazel joined Sugarloaf right after their first album was released, strengthening an already solid lineup. He contributed to many of the tracks on the band's second LP, Spaceship Earth, among them Hot Water, which he co-wrote with keyboardist (and band leader) Jerry Corbetta.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Prodigal Son
Source:    Austrian import CD: Johnny Winter And
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    Following the release of the 1969 album Second Winter, guitarist/vocalsit Johnny Winter disbanded his group in favor of a whole new lineup, retaining only his brother Edgar on keyboards for the album Johnny Winter And. Prodigal Son, a Winter original, shows the band gravitating more toward hard rock, a direction Edgar (and second guitarist Rick Derringer) would continue in when Johnny returned to his blues roots an album or two down the line.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    Lady Love
Source:    LP: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Trower/Dewar
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1974
    It says a lot about the quality of an album like Robin Trower's Bridge Of Sighs that even one of the weaker tracks like Lady Love is worth listening to. Like many hot guitarists, Trower did not do his own singing on the album. Vocals were provided by bassist James Dewar, who also co-wrote Lady Love.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Woman
Source:     CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer:     Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:     MCA
Year:     1970
     During my senior year of high school I often found myself hanging out at this sort of coffee house in Alamogordo, NM, whose name I have long since forgotten. The place had a room with an old console stereo in it, and a stack of half a dozen albums that someone had donated. Side one of James Gang Rides Again must have been played a hundred times on that thing, often over and over when everybody was too stoned to get up to change the record. By the time I graduated I knew every word of Woman, as well as every other song on that side of the album, by heart.

Artist:    Three Dog Night
Title:    Liar
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Russ Ballard
Label:    Dunhill
Year:    1971
    Before the Beatles came along a typical pop group consisted of three or more vocalists backed by studio musicians and performing material provided by professional songwriters. In a sense Three Dog Night was a throwback to that earlier model, as the group was formed around a nucleus of three vocalists: Chuck Negron, Cory Wells and Danny Hutton. Unlike the early 60s groups, however, Three Dog Night chose to hire a fixed set of instrumentalists to both play on their records and perform live material (most of which did indeed come from professional songwriters). One of their many hit singles was Liar, a song written by Argent's lead vocalist Russ Ballard and originally released on that group's 1970 debut LP. The Three Dog Night version went into the US top 10 in 1971.

Artist:     Blues Image
Title:     Ride Captain Ride
Source:     CD: Open
Writer:     Blues Image
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:     1970
     After having mild commercial success with their self-titled debut album in 1969, Blues Image deliberately set out to write a hit song for their second LP, Open. The result was Ride Captain Ride, which made the top 40 in 1970. The album itself, however, did not do as well as its predecessor, and was the last one issued by the band's original lineup.

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