Sunday, January 5, 2020

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2002 (starts 1/6/20)

    After all the structured programming over the holidays, I decided that an hour of free-form rock was just what was needed. Among other things we have a pair of eleven-minute tracks that have never been played on the show before, a couple of songs from bands that carried on after losing a key early member, and the answer to the question "What did Crazy Horse sound like when they weren't backing Neil Young?"

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Inside And Out
Source:    Canadian import 12" 45 RPM blue vinyl EP: Spot The Pigeon
Writer(s):    Rutherford/Collins/Hackett/Banks
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1977
    After Genesis finished recording sessions for the Wind And Wuthering album the band members realized that they had more music than they could fit on a standard LP, and three tracks were left off the album. Those three tracks, including the five and a half minute long Inside And Out, were issued in May of 1977 on an EP called Spot The Pigeon. In North America the EP was only issued in Canada, on blue 12" vinyl that played at 45 RPM. Hey, whatever it takes to get it to sell, I guess.

Artist:    Yes
Title:    Heart Of The Sunrise (live)
Source:    LP: Yessongs
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. The live version heard on the 1973 triple-LP Yessongs, recorded in November of 1972, features Alan White on drums, Bruford having left the group earlier that year.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Our Lady
Source:    Japanese import CD: Who Do We Think We Are
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Deep Purple was the top selling artist of 1973, thanks in large part to the release of their seventh studio album, Who Do We Think We Are. It was also the final year for the band's classic MK2 lineup, with both Ian Gillan and Roger Glover leaving the band that summer. According to Gillan, the band had just finished 18 months of touring and every member had had some sort of major illness over that same period, yet their managers insisted that they immediately get to work on the new album, even though the band members desperately needed a break. Nonetheless the album itself is one of their strongest, in spite of the fact that, for the most part the band members weren't even on speaking terms and much of the album was recorded piecemeal, with each member adding his part at a different time. The final track on the album, Our Lady, was a return to the band's psychedelic roots, with a definite Hendrix vibe to the entire piece.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Throw Down The Sword
Source:    British import CD: The Collection (originally released on LP: Argus)
Writer(s):    Wishbone Ash
Label:    Spectrum (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1972
    One of the first bands ever to feature two lead guitarists was Wishbone Ash. The story goes that following the departure of their original guitar player, bassist Martin Turner and drummer Steve Upton auditioned several lead guitarists and got it down to two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner (no relation to Martin), but could not decide between the two. At that point they decided just to keep both of them, and a heavy metal tradition was born. Whether the story is true or not, the two definitely traded off leads for the next three years and five albums, including their third and most successful LP, Argus. The closing track from Argus, Throw Down The Sword, features Andy Powell and Martin Turner sharing the lead vocals.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Upsetter
Source:    45 RPM promo single (taken from LP: E Pluribus Funk)
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    Grand Funk Railroad was something of an enigma. Due to universally negative reviews in the rock press, progressive FM stations avoided them like the plague. At the same time, top 40 radio was in the process of being supplanted as the voice of the mainstream by the Adult Contemporary (A/C) format, which tended to ignore hard rock. Nonetheless Grand Funk Railroad had a following. In fact, GFR was the first band to book (and sellout) entire sports arenas, setting attendance records wherever they played. This translated into major record sales, as they became the first band to have three LPs hit the million-seller mark in the same year (1970). That year they also had their first mainstream hit with I'm Your Captain (Closer To Home). From that point on the band would continue to release singles, although most, such as Upsetter, were still ignored by A/C radio (although they did get a fair amount of airplay from the remaining "true" top 40 stations). As the group's album sales were beginning to drop off, the singles became increasingly important to the band's continued success, and from 1973 on (starting with We're An American Band ) Grand Funk became pretty much a singles-oriented group, cranking out tunes like Bad Time and Some Kind Of Wonderful.

Artist:    Crazy Horse
Title:    Dirty Dirty
Source:    LP: Crazy Horse
Writer(s):    Danny Whitten
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1971
    Crazy Horse traces its origins to 1963 when guitarist Danny Whitten,bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina were all members of a band called Danny & The Memories. After a few personnel and name changes, they recorded their first LP in 1968 as The Rockets. Although the album did not sell particularly well, it did lead to them reconnecting with singer/songwriter Neil Young, whom they had first met when he was a member of Buffalo Springfield. Young recruited the three of them to be his backup band on his second solo LP, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, rechristening them Crazy Horse. Although the original plan was for the three to record the album then return to being the Rockets, along with the Whitsell brothers, George and Leon, who were not part of Crazy Horse. That all changed, however, when Young decided to make Crazy Horse his regular band, going on tour and adhering to a strict practice schedule. The following year Young became the fourth member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, leaving Crazy Horse with a diminished role. This continued when Young opted to use the group on only three songs for his next LP, After The Gold Rush. By the end of 1970 Young and Crazy Horse had parted ways, although two of the musicians featured on After The Gold Rush, Jack Nitzsche and Nils Lofgren, were now part of the Crazy Horse lineup. It was this group that recorded the 1971 LP Crazy Horse. Danny Whitten, who use of heroin was one of the primary reasons for Young's falling out with the band, still maintained a leadership role in Crazy Horse, handling most of the lead vocals and writing or co-writing nearly half the band's material on the album, including Dirty Dirty. The song also features guest Ry Cooder on slide guitar. Whitten, the "inspiration" for Young's iconic The Needle And The Damage Done, died of a drug overdose the following year.

Artist:    Rush
Title:    Xanadu
Source:    LP: A Farewell To Kings
Writer(s):    Lee/Peart/Lifeson
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1977
    One of the most popular Rush songs, Xanadu appeared on the band's fifth LP, A Farewell To Kings. It was the first Rush track to use synthesizers extensively and features both Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson playing synth parts, often using foot pedals, as well as their regular bass and guitar. Lyrically, Xanadu is inspired by the work of Samuel Coleridge, and tells the story of a man who searches for, and finds, immortality, only to find himself a madman "waiting for the world to end" after a thousand years.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    The Battle Of Evermore
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin IV
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Fairport Convention's Sandy Denny makes a guest appearance on The Battle Of Evermore, an acoustic track from Led Zeppelin's fourth album. The song originally came about when guitarist Jimmy Page began experimenting with a mandolin owned by bassist John Paul Jones (Page had never played a mandolin before). As the song developed, Robert Plant came up with a vocal line, but felt that something more was needed. He then asked Sandy Denny, who had recently parted company with Fairport Convention, to provide a counterpoint vocal on the song, with Plant taking the part of the narrator and Denny the town crier. As was the case with many early Led Zeppelin songs, The Battle Of Evermore draws much of its imagery from J.R.R. Tolkein's Lord Of The Rings trilogy. The track is the only one in the Led Zeppelin catalog to feature a guest vocalist.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Fat Man
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1969
    In 1976, Jethro Tull released a new single...sort of. The songs on the record were both taken from older LPs. The A side, Locomotive Breath, was one of the more popular tracks on the 1971 album Aqualung, but, because of the word "balls" did not get as much airplay as it could have. The 1976 single replaced "balls" with "buns". For the B side they went even further back for Fat Man, a tune from their second LP, Stand Up. Fat Man was among the first Jethro Tull songs to be built around acoustic instruments like the mandolin rather than the electric guitar featured prominently on their 1968 debut LP, This Was.

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