Sunday, March 8, 2020

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2011 (starts 3/9/20)

    This time around we manage to squeeze in 13 tunes, including one that runs over 11 minutes in length. I'm still not sure how that happened.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Good Morning
Source:    CD: Number 5
Writer(s):    Bobby Winkleman
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    In 1970 bassist Lonnie Turner, who had been with the Steve Miller Band since its founding in 1966 (and would return in 1973), left the band for reasons unknown. His replacement, Bobby Winkleman, immediately made his presence felt by penning the opening track of the band's next LP, a tune called Good Morning that was based on a children's song. Winkleman had been a member of the legendary San Francisco East Bay band Frumious Bandersnatch, and several of his former bandmates would appear on the following album, Rock Love. Winkleman himself has remained active in the music business, producing (among other things) a CD called Nuggets From The Golden State: The Berkeley EPs, A British anthology album on the Big Beat label that collected rare recordings from legendary Bay Area bands such as Country Joe and the Fish, Mad River and of course Frumious Bandersnatch.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Naked Eye
Source:    LP: Odds And Sods
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    Track
Year:    1974
    While touring to promote the Tommy album, the Who began developing several new songs as part of their live act. Many of these appeared, at least in part, on the Live At Leeds album in 1970. One of those songs, Naked Eye, was partially recorded in the studio around the same time, but remained unfinished when the 1971 album Who's Next was released. Over the next couple of years several bootlegs of the Who's live performances were in circulation, prompting bassist John Entwhistle to compile a new album of outtakes and unreleased tracks in 1974. That album, Odds And Sods, included the completed version of Naked Eye.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Anyday
Source:    CD: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Writer(s):    Clapton/Whitlock
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Derek And The Dominos was originally an attempt by Eric Clapton to remove himself from the solo spotlight and work in a larger group setting than he had with his previous bands, Cream and Blind Faith. Such was Clapton's stature, however, that even among talents like Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and Bobby Whitlock, Clapton was still the star. However, there was one unofficial member of the group whose own star was in ascendancy. Duane Allman, who had chosen to stick with his own group the Allman Brothers Band, nonetheless played on eleven of the fourteen tracks on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. His slide guitar work is especially noticeable on the title track and on the song Anyday, which remains one of the most popular songs on the album.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Honey Roll
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    Uni
Year:    1971
    Shortly after the release of Tumbleweed Connection, Elton John and Bernie Taupin worked on a soundtrack album for a film called Friends. The film itself was a bomb. Despite this, the album became John's third gold record of 1971, despite being released on the Paramount label rather than through MCA/Universal. Still, despite Universal now having the rights to all of Paramount's catalog, the Friends soundtrack has never been released as a standalone CD, although all of the songs were included on the Rare Masters set released in 1992. The only single from the album was the title track, with Honey Roll, a tune fairly typical of John and Taupin's work during that period, appearing on the B side.
Artist:    J.J. Cale
Title:    After Midnight
Source:    CD: Naturally
Writer(s):    J.J. Cale
Label:    Mercury/Polygram (original label: Shelter)
Year:    1972
    J.J. Cale is one of the most highly-respected, yet unknown to the general public, names in the history of rock music. He is credited as the creator of the Tulsa Sound adopted by Eric Clapton in the early 1970s. In fact, several of Clapton's best known songs were written by Cale, including After Midnight, originally released by Cale as a single in 1966 and re-recorded in 1972 for Cale's Naturally LP after Clapton's 1970 version of the song had become a hit. Cale's version is more laid back than Clapton's, and is itself a classic example of the Tulsa Sound.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Who Scared You
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    The Doors only released two non-album tracks while Jim Morrison was alive. The first of these was Who Scared You, which appeared as the B side of Wishful Sinful, a minor hit from the 1969 album The Soft Parade. Unlike the songs on The Soft Parade itself, Who Scared You is credited to the entire band, rather than one or more of its individual members. The song made its album debut in 1972, when it was included in the double-LP compilation Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine.

Artist:    Free
Title:    Mr. Big
Source:    British import CD: All Right Now-The Collection (originally released on LP: Fire And Water)
Writer(s):    Kossoff/Fraser/Kirke/Rodgers
Label:    Spectrum (original US label: A&M)
Year:    1970
    After two albums that failed to make the charts, Free became overnight stars with the release of the song All Right Now in 1970. The international sucess of the single propelled the band's third LP, Fire And Water, to the upper reaches of both the US and UK album charts, peaking at #2 and #17 respectively. One of the album's highlights was Mr Big, the only track credited to the entire band, which led off the LP's second side.
Artist:    Flower Travellin' Band
Title:    Satori-Part IV
Source:    CD: Satori
Writer(s):    Satori
Label:    Phoenix
Year:    1971
    Possibly the first Japanese heavy metal band and almost certainly the first Japanese psychedelic group, the Flower Travelin' Band was created as a side project of Yuyu Yuchida, a friend of John Lennon's who, having heard Jimi Hendrix and Cream on a trip to England, wanted to introduce Japanese audiences to this new kind of music. After returning to Japan he gathered a group of musicians together and recorded the first Flowerin' Travellin' Band LP in 1969. The album was made up entirely of covers of bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin. It wasn't until 1971 (and several personnel changes) that the FTB recorded their first LP made up entirely of original material. The album was called Satori, as were all five tracks on the album. It was worth the wait.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Pandora's Box
Source:    LP: Procol's Ninth
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1975
    By 1975 Procol Harum had pretty much run out of steam. The proof of this was the album Procol Harum's Ninth. The only song to draw any attention at all was the album's opening track, Pandora's Box, which had been written (and partially recorded) by the band several years earlier. That said, Pandora's Box is actually one of Procol Harum's best songs. Too bad the rest of the album falls flat by comparison.
Artist:    Triumvirat
Title:    Million Dollars
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Frtiz/Bathelt
Label:    Harvest
Year:    1974
    Triumvirat was formed in 1969 in Cologne, Germany. Originally a cover band specializing in prog-rock they soon began writing and performing their own material. Thanks to the flamboyant virtuosity of keyboardist Jürgen Fritz, they were often compared to Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Most of the band's lyrics were written by percussionist Hans Bathelt, including Million Dollars, part of a suite called Mister Ten Percent that appeared as the second side of their second LP, Illusions On A Double Dimple. At around the same time that the LP was released, Triumvirat toured the US as the opening act for Fleetwood Mac, performing the album in its entirety at each show. This helped establish Triumvirat as one of the most visible krautrock bands of the 1970s. Bathelt left the group in 1977, and Triumvirat finally disbanded in 1980 following a final album that was essentially Fritz backed up by several guest musicians.
Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Something
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    For years, the Beatles' George Harrison had felt that he was not getting the respect he deserved from his bandmates for his songwriting ability. That all changed in 1969 when he introduced them to his latest tune for inclusion on the Abbey Road album. Something impressed everyone who heard it, including John Lennon (who said it was the best song on the album), Paul McCartney (who called it Harrison's best song ever) and even producer George Martin, who made sure the song was released as the A side of the only single from Abbey Road. Commercially, Something was a major success as well, going to the top of the US charts and placing in the top 5 in the UK. Perhaps more tellingly, Something is the second most covered song in the entire Beatles catalog (behind Paul McCartney's Yesterday), with over 150 artists recording the tune over the years, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and even James Brown.

Artist:    Stealer's Wheel
Title:    Star
Source:    45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Joe Egan
Label:    A&M
Year:    1973
    Formed in 1972 in Paisley, Scotland by Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, Stealer's Wheel scored a huge international hit with Stuck in the Middle With You that same year. Their followup album, 1973's Ferguslie Park, did not have any hits to match Stuck's success, although two of the songs from the album made the top 40 charts on both sides of the Atlantic. The second of these was Star, a Joe Egan composition that hit the top 30 in 1974. After the duo split Rafferty went on to international fame for his 1978 hit Baker Street.

Artist:     Uriah Heep
Title:     Blind Eye
Source:     British import CD: The Magician's Birthday
Writer:     Ken Hensley
Label:     Sanctuary (original US label: Mercury)
Year:     1972
     This week's closing number is from Uriah Heep. The single Easy Livin' from the album Demons and Wizards was a top 40 hit, giving the band some momentum for their follow up album, The Magician's Birthday. Both albums were certified gold. Blind Eye, the second single from The Magician's Birthday, barely made a dent in the charts, but by 1972 album sales were considered a more important measure of success anyway. Both albums were notable for their cover art by Roger Dean, who also did cover art for Yes during their most popular period.

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