Sunday, July 26, 2020

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2031 (starts 7/27/20)

    This week's show is solid rock (well, except for the fourth chapter in the Firesign Theatre's Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra), with some more progressive stuff toward the end of the hour, highlighted by The Battle Of Epping Forest from the 1973 Genesis album Selling England By The Pound.
Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Down On The Corner
Source:    LP: Willy and the Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    By mid-1969 Creedence Clearwater Revival was one of the hottest acts in the country. Their three most recent singles had all just barely missed hitting the top of the charts, each peaking at the # 2 spot and just about everyone was looking forward to hearing their next record. That record was the Willy And The Poor Boys album, which included the band's first double A sided single, Down On The Corner and Fortunate Son. Both songs ended up near the top of the charts, peaking guessed it: number two.

Artist:      Bloodrock
Title:    Lucky In the Morning
Source:      CD: Bloodrock 2
Writer(s):    John Nitzinger
Label:    One Way/Cema Special Products (original label: Capitol)
Year:     1970
     In the early 1970s the Dallas-Fort Worth area was known mostly as the home of guys with names like Landry and Staubach. For a short time in 1971, however, even their fame was rivalled by a band called Bloodrock, whose D.O.A., a first-person account of the aftermath of a plane crash as seen by one of the victims, is considered one of the goriest songs in rock history. Bloodrock rise to fame began when they signed on as the second band to be produced and managed by Terry Knight, touring as Grand Funk Railroad's opening act in 1970. Their first two LPs both came out in 1970, with D.O.A. being released in edited form as a single in early 1971. The opening track of Bloodrock 2 was a tune called Lucky In The Morning, written for the band by a local guitarist named John Nitzinger. Nitzenger wrote several songs for Bloodrock over the course of four LPs and eventually released a couple albums of his own as well. As an aside, Lucky In The Morning is actually a bit of an oxymoron, due to a phenomena known as "morning breath".

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Country Road
Source:    CD: Survival
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1971
    The desire for simplicity in a complicated world was the inspiration for Country Road, a Mark Farner composition that opened the 1971 Grand Funk Railroad album Survival. The album itself has a bit of a different sound from the band's three previous studio LPs. In part this was due to Cleveland Recording having to relocate a few blocks from their original location shortly after the band's previous album, Closer To Home, was recorded. Although Cleveland's engineer did his best to recreate the atmosphere of the original studio, the acoustics were not quite the same. Country Road, however, comes closer to recreating the classic Grand Funk sound than any other song on the album.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Tumbling Dice
Source:    Mono 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1972
    The lead single from what is sometimes cited as the Rolling Stones' greatest album, Exile On Main Street, Tumbling Dice was a top 10 single on both sides of the Atlantic, hitting #5 in the UK and #7 in the US. The song started off as a piece called Good Time Woman, but was reworked on August 4, 1971, with a new intro riff and a bass track played by Mick Taylor (Bill Wyman being away from the studio at the time the track was recorded).

Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Orly
Source:    45 RPM promo single       
Writer(s):    Burton Cummings
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1973
    By 1973 the Guess Who had gone through several personnel changes, with only vocalist/keyboardist Burton Cummings and drummer Garry Peterson left from the band that had hit it big with songs like These Eyes and American Woman. The rest of the band included lead guitarist Kurt Winter, rhythm guitarist Donnie McDougall and bassist Bill Wallace. Orly is pretty much a straight 50s style rock 'n' roll song that takes advantage of more modern recording technology.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Part Two: Chicago; Chapter 4: Where Did Jonas Go When The Lights Went Out
Source:    LP: The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra
Writer(s):    Procter/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1974
    The second half of the Firesign Theatre's Sherlock Holmes parody, The Tale Of The Giant Rat Of Sumatra, takes place in Chicago rather than London, and introduces several new characters, including the foul-tempered Chicago PD Chief O'Moriartyo and radio reporter Joe Beets (a name previously used on the album Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers). It opens with Jonas Acme expressing his displeasure over having his plans disrupted by the theft of his rod.

Artist:    Ted Nugent
Title:    Snakeskin Cowboys
Source:    LP: Ted Nugent
Writer(s):    Ted Nugent
Label:    Epic
Year:    1975
    Citing a lack of discipline among band members, Ted Nugent left the Amboy Dukes in 1975 and spent a few months away from the music business. Upon his return he formed a new band consisting of himself on lead guitar, Derek St. Holmes on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Rob Grange on bass and Cliff Davies on drums. Nugent's first solo LP was an instant hit, going into the top 30 on the album charts and eventually going triple platinum. With one exception, all of the songs on the album, including Snakeskin Cowboys, are credited solely to Nugent, although St. Holmes later claimed that all the tracks were actually written by the entire band and that Nugent had taken solo credit to avoid paying the other band members royalties. St. Holmes would end up leaving the band the following year midway through the recording of Nugent's second solo LP, Free-For-All.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Battle Of Epping Forest
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Although sometimes criticized for making their music overly complicated at times (such as on The Battle Of Epping Forest), there is no doubting the thought and effort (not to mention outstanding musicianship) put forth by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins on the album Selling England By The Pound. Released in 1973, the LP focuses on the loss of traditional English culture and the increasing "Americanization" of the United Kingdom in the last half of the 20th century. The Battle Of Epping Forest was actually inspired by a newspaper article about gang violence in London's East end that Gabriel had read several years earlier. When Gabriel was unable to locate a copy of the article he created new characters to populate the song (and of course the band's legendary stage show).

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Conquistador (live)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Although Conquistador was originally recorded for the first Procol Harum album in 1967, it was the 1972 live version with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra that became one of the band's biggest hits, second only to A Whiter Shade Of Pale.

Artist:      Uriah Heep
Title:     Tales
Source:      European import CD: The Magician's Birthday
Writer:    Ken Hensley
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Mercury)
Year:     1972
     Uriah Heep is generally remembered for two albums that appeared in 1972: Demons and Wizards and The Magicians's Birthday. Although Demons and Wizards had a great title track, and included the hit single Easy Livin', The Magician's Birthday overall had a stronger lineup of songs, including Tales, written by keyboardist Ken Hensley.

Artist:    Premiata Forneria Marconi
Title:    Mr. 9 'Till 5
Source:    European import CD: Photos Of Ghosts
Writer(s):    Mussida/Premoli/Sinfield
Label:    RCA (original label: Manticore)
Year:    1973
    Premiata Forneria Marconi was already popular in their native Italy when Greg Lake, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, got them signed to Manticore Records, a label created by ELP. Their first English language album was Photos Of Ghosts, which featured songs from their most recent LP, Per Un Amico, with new English lyrics. Mr. 9 'Till 5 was originally an instrumental called Generale that ended up being one of the most popular songs on Photos of Ghosts and a concert staple for the band.

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