Sunday, November 24, 2019

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 1948 (starts 11/25/19)

    This week's show features two sets from back to back years. The first, from 1971, features several tracks making their Rockin' in the Days of Confusion debut, while the second, from 1970, starts off in more familiar territory but ends on unfamiliar ground as well.

Artist:    Eagles
Title:    Outlaw Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    David Blue
Label:    Asylum
Year:    1973
    I have never been a huge Eagles fan. Don't get me wrong. I don't hate them or anything like that, I just never really got into their music. Still, I do respect their musicianship and their ability to connect with large numbers of people. I just wasn't one of those people. There are exceptions, of course. The first of these is a tune I first heard on AM radio in the early 1970s called Outlaw Man. It wasn't a huge hit at the time, peaking at #59, but something about the song grabbed me, and still does. Unfortunately, the album version of the song is overlapped by a short instrumental piece that is in turn overlapped by yet another song, making it impossible to play Outlaw Man in the clear. Unless, of course, you have a copy of the 45 RPM single. Of course, most copies of 45 RPM singles from the early 1970s sound horrible, thanks to a vinyl shortage that resulted in the use of inferior materials. Somehow, though, I managed to find one in excellent condition. Enjoy!

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    You Can't Get Away
Source:    LP: Nantucket Sleighride
Writer(s):    West/Collins/Laing
Label:    Windfall/Bell
Year:    1971
    Maybe it's just my perceptions, but songs from the early 1970s seem to have better guitar hooks than what came later. One such example is You Can't Get Away, from Mountain's 1971 LP Nantucket Sleighride. Lead vocals on the song are provided by guitarist Leslie West, who co-wrote the tune with drummer Corky Laing and lyricist Janet Collins, who was married to the band's keyboardist, Felix Pappalardi.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Dr. Whiplash
Source:    LP: Dear Friends
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1971, released 1972
    Dr. Whiplash is a comedy bit performed by the Firesign Theatre on January 24, 1971 as part of their Dear Friends series on Los Angeles's KPFK radio. The program was later edited and made availble for syndication to other stations around the country. In early 1972 the group chose what they considered to the the best bits from the series for release on a double-LP, also called Dear Friends.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Look At Yourself
Source:    European import CD: Look At Yourself
Writer(s):    Ken Hensley
Label:    Sanctuary/BMG (original US label: Mercury)
Year:    1971
    Uriah Heep's third LP, Look At Yourself, was the first one to receive positive reviews from the rock press. One of the reasons for this was the emergence of keyboardist Ken Hensley as the group's primary songwriter. Hensley's songs tended to be more tightly arranged than the group compositions heard on the band's earlier albums, as can be heard on the LP's title track, which was also released as a single.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Hyacinth House
Source:    LP: L.A. Woman
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Although credited to the entire band, Hyacinth House, from the Doors album L.A. Woman, was actually the work of keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who wrote the music and vocalist Jim Morrison, who added the lyrics. Although the album itself is more blues oriented than its immediate predecessors, Hyacinth House sounds more like an outtake from The Soft Parade, the 1969 album that drew criticism for its overly-complicated arrangements.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Heart Of The Sunrise
Source:    CD: Fragile
Writer(s):    Anderson/Squire/Bruford
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although it is the fourth most played song in the Yes catalogue, Heart Of The Sunrise, from the 1971 album Fragile, was never issued as a single. This is due mostly to the fact that the track runs over ten minutes in length, far exceeding even such lengthy tunes as Paradise By The Dashboard Light, American Pie or MacArthur Park. The song was written by Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford and Rick Wakeman, but due to contractual reasons, Wakeman's name had to be left off the credits.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    The Man Who Sold The World
Source:    45 RPM single B side (originally released on LP: The Man Who Sold The World)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    RCA Victor (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1970
    The Man Who Sold The World is the title track of David Bowie's third LP. At the time, Bowie was a relatively obscure artist still looking for an audience and, in his own words, an identity as well. Unlike other Bowie albums, The Man Who Sold The World was released in the US several months earlier than in the UK. The song itself was not considered single material at the time, although it ended up being a surprise hit in the UK for Lulu in 1974, and became popular with a whole new generation when Nirvana released an unplugged version of the tune in 1993. After Bowie signed with RCA, The Man Who Sold The World was re-issued as the B side of Space Oddity in 1972.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Stranger To Himself
Source:    LP: John Barleycorn Must Die
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1970
    Stranger To Himself is one of two songs that Steve Winwood had completed for his first solo album when he decided to instead make a new Traffic album. Rather than recut the song, Winwood included the recording, on which he plays all the instruments himself, as the first track of side two of the fourth Traffic LP, John Barleycorn Must Die.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Singing Winds, Crying Beasts/Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen/Oye Como Va
Source:    CD: Abraxas
Writer:    Carabello/Green/Szabo/Puente
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    One of the greatest album-opening sequences ever recorded.

Artist:    Gypsy
Title:    I Was So Young
Source:    LP: Gypsy
Writer(s):    Enrico Rosenbaum
Label:    Metromedia
Year:    1970
    Gypsy was yet another one of those bands that had plenty of talent, and even opportunity, yet were never able to achieve the massive popularity of bands like Led Zeppelin, the Who or even Yes. Formed in 1962 as the Underbeats, the band's fortunes seemed to be changing after the relocated to Los Angeles, becoming the house band at Whisky a Go Go for about eight months. Toward the end of that run they released their debut album, a double LP set that included their only charted single, Gypsy Queen. Another strong track on the album was I Was So Young, which features blues-style unison vocal/guitar lines by Italian born Enrico Rosenbaum, who also wrote the song. Gypsy recorded a total of four albums, after which time Rosenbaum left the group, which continued on as the James Walsh Gypsy Band.

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