Sunday, May 19, 2019

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1921 (starts 5/20/19)

    This week's edition of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion is kind of a "stream of consciousness" type of show, where you never quite know where it's going to go next...unless, of course, you read the playlist below before actually listening to the show.

Artist:    Robin Trower
Title:    About To Begin
Source:    CD: Bridge Of Sighs
Writer(s):    Robin Trower
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1974
    Many of the artists featured on FM rock radio in the 1970s had already established themselves in the latter part of the previous decade, getting airplay on underground stations as well as the occasional top 40 hit. Others were newcomers that would go on to become stars in the 1980s. Then there are those few who seem to be exclusively associated with the 1970s. Among this group is Robin Trower, former guitarist of the art-rock oriented Procol Harum. Trower seldom got a chance to shine in the keyboard-dominated Harum, however, and left the group in 1972 to form his own band, Jude. Jude did not last long enough to record an album, but it did provide Trower with the core of his new trio, consisting of Trower himself on guitar, James Dewar on bass and vocals and Reg Isidore on drums. Trower's first solo album, Twice Removed From Yesterday, was fairly well-received by the rock press, but it actually was only setting the stage for what is now considered one of the greatest rock guitar albums ever recorded: 1974's Bridge Of Sighs. Even the lesser-known tracks like About To Begin got at least some airplay, and deservedly so.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:     I Put A Spell On You
Source:     CD: Chronicle (originally released on LP: Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Writer:     Screamin' Jay Hawkins
Label:     Fantasy
Year:     1968
     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 CCR is generally known for their shorter songs and tight arrangement, their version of I Put A Spell On You (which hit the #58 spot on the Billbaord charts) is dominated by John Fogerty's blistering guitar work.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Source:    CD: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Writer(s):    Billy Myles
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Once in a while you hear a song that makes you stop what you are doing and just listen. The Derek and the Dominos version of the 1961 Billy Myles tune Have You Ever Loved A Woman is just such a song. The recording features heartfelt vocals from Eric Clapton (who, perhaps not coincidentally found himself in exactly the situation described in the song's lyrics) punctuated by outstanding guitar solos from Clapton and Duane Allman, who was a late addition to the band itself.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    European import CD: Ten Years After
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    The late 1960s saw the rise of a British blues-rock scene that brought fame to Peter Green, Dave Edmunds and other talented guitarists. One of the first bands to release an album in this sub-genre was Ten Years After, led by Alvin Lee. Their debut LP, released in 1967, included several cover tunes, including Spoonful, which had been recorded the previous year by Cream (in studio form), and would gain popularity as a live track in 1968.

Artist:    Leslie West
Title:    Blood Of The Sun
Source:    45 RPM single B side (also released on LP: Mountain)
Writer:    West/Pappaliardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall
Year:    1969
    After the Long Island band The Vagrants disbanded guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his last name to West and recorded a solo album called Mountain. Helping him with the project was producer Felix Pappaliardi, who had previously worked with Cream on their Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire albums. Among the better tracks on the album was a tune called Blood Of The Sun, which the two of them wrote (along with Pappaliardi's wife Janet Collins). The pair of them meshed so well that they decided to form a band with drummer Corky Laing, using the name Mountain. One of the first gigs by the new band was the Woodstock festival, where they played Blood Of The Sun to an enthusiastic crowd.

Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Your Time Is Gonna Come/Black Mountain Side/Communication Breakdown
Source:     LP: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Year:     1969
    One of the great ironies of Led Zeppelin is that half the members of a band that was revered for its live performances were in fact in-demand studio musicians long before they started performing live. Your Time Is Gonna Come and Black Mountain Side, from the debut Zeppelin album was written by those two members, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The two songs run together on the album, and are immediately followed by the B side of the band's first single, Communication Breakdown. I'm pretty sure that back when the album first came out, some unknown DJ was unable to stop the turntable fast enough to cut off Communication Breakdown and ended up just letting the two and a half minute track play on through. Somebody liked the way it sounded and the three have been played as a continuous set ever since. Who am I to argue with a tradition like that?

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Speed King
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The live version of Speed King, a song that originally appeared on the album Deep Purple In Rock, was taken from a 1970 performance on the BBC series In Concert. The album Deep Purple In Concert itself was not released until 1980, but an edited version of Speed King was issued as the B side of the Black Night single in the US in 1970. The song's lyrics, the first written for Deep Purple by vocalist Ian Gillan, reference several Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis Presley songs. The Dutch version of the single heard here differs from other versions in that it has piano overdubs in strategic places.

Artist:    National Lampoon featuring Gilda Radner
Title:    I'm A Woman
Source:    CD: Greatest Hits Of The National Lampoon (originally released on LP: Goodbye Pop 1952-1976)
Writer(s):    Jacobs/Kelly
Label:    Uproar (original label: Epic)
Year:    1975
    Gilda Radner was a regular performer on the National Lampoon Radio, which ran from November of 1973 to December of 1974 on over 600 radio stations throughout the US. Several albums were released featuring material from that show, as well as one LP of all-original material called Goodbye Pop 1952-1976. Released in 1975, the album featured song parodies by members of the Radio Hour cast, many of whom would soon join the cast of a new TV show called NBC Saturday Night. I'm A Woman, performed by Radner, is a biting piece of satire pointing out that, despite the gains of the women's movement in the early 1970s, the record industry was still very much male-dominated, as evidenced by several men trying to tell a female singer how to perform a song called I'm A Woman.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Fountain Of Salmacis
Source:    Canadian import CD: Nursery Cryme
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1971
    Genesis' original guitarist, Anthony Phillips, left the group following their second LP, Trespass, in 1970. This almost caused the band to break up, but ultimately resulted in a revised lineup consisting of Peter Gabriel (vocals), Tony Banks (keyboards), and Mike Rutherford (bass), along with new members Steve Hackett (guitar) and Phil Collins (bass). Early in 1971 the five got to work on a new album, which eventually came to be called Nursery Cryme. Although the album was not a huge seller in their native England, it found enough of a following in European nations such as Belgium to allow the band to continue on. The Fountain Of Salmacis, the album's closing track, is an instrumental piece inspired by the story of a water nymph who becomes a hermaphodite after bathing in cursed water (hey, blame the ancient Greeks for that story).

Artist:        Spirit
Title:        Topanga Windows
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer:        Jay Ferguson
Label:        Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:        1968
        Ed Cassidy had already made a name for himself on the L.A. jazz scene when he married the mother of guitarist Randy California. He soon started jamming with his teenage stepson's friends, leading to the formation of a band initially known as Spirits Rebellious (but soon shortened to Spirit), one of the first rock bands to heavily incorporate jazz elements in their music. The majority of the songs on the group's self-title first album were written by lead vocalist Jay Ferguson, who would eventually leave the group to co-found Jo Jo Gunne and in recent years has been a soundtrack composer for movies and TV shows, including the theme song of the US TV show The Office.

Artist:    Doobie Brothers
Title:    Another Park, Another Sunday
Source:    CD: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits
Writer(s):    Ton Johnston
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    One of the most underrated songs in the Doobie Brothers catalog, Another Park Another Sunday was the first single released from the band's fourth LP, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits, in late 1973. Although the tune made the top 40 charts, it was eventually eclipsed by its B side, Black Water, which went all the way to the top of the charts when it was re-released as a single the following year.

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