Sunday, February 28, 2021

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2110 (starts 3/1/21)

    This time around we have several tunes that were "borrowed" from our companion show, Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, including some rather tasty blues-rock from Savoy Brown and the Allman Brothers band. We also have a "new" acquisition from the hard-to-find first Stray Dog album. And of course, everything on the show is over 30 years old, and you know that, in the early 1970s, everything over 30 was considered ancient.

Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Fat Man In The Bathtub
Source:    CD: Dixie Chicken
Writer(s):    Lowell George
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Lowell George, founder of Little Feat, came into his own as a songwriter with the 1973 album Dixie Chicken. Among the classic tunes on the LP was Fat Man In The Bathtub. There are many theories as to what the song is actually about, but most agree that somebody wasn't getting something he wanted.

Artist:    Wet Willie
Title:    Keep On Smilin'
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hall/Hall/Hirsch/Anthony/Ross
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1974
    Formed as Fox in Mobile, Alabama in 1969, Wet Willie was one of the first Southern Rock bands to score a top 10 single with Keep On Smilin' in 1974. The band, consisting of the Hall brothers Jimmy (vocals, saxophone, harmonica) and Jack (bass), John David Anthony (keyboards), Ricky Hirsch (guitar) and Lesis Ross (drums), relocated from Mobile to Macon, Georgia in 1971 where they signed with Phil Walden's Capricorn label, releasing several single and albums over the next few years. The group still performs occasionally as either Wet Willie or the Wet Willie Band, depending on whether Jimmy Hall is onstage.

Artist:    Stray Dog
Title:    Slave
Source:    LP: Stray Dog
Writer(s):    Alan Roberts
Label:    Manticore
Year:    1973
    Aphrodite was formed in Texas in 1968 by guitarist/lead vocalist Snuffy Walden, bassist Alan Roberts and drummer Randy Reeder, but soon relocated to Denver, where they built up a following in eastern Colorado and the plains states over the next few years. In 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer had just formed Manticore Records and were looking for artists to sign to the new label. An associate of ELP saw Aphrodite playing at a Denver club and recommended them to Greg Lake, who signed them on the condition that they would immediately relocate to London to record their first LP. Reeder decided to stay in the US, returning to Texas and replacing Rick Cobb in Bloodrock. His replacement was Leslie Sampson, who had previously been Noel Redding's bandmate in a group called Road. At the same time the band recruited Sampson they changed their name to Stray Dog and got to work recording their self-titled debut LP. As was to be expected in 1973, some of the tracks, such as Slave, rock out pretty hard, with Walden laying down some pretty solid leads and gritty vocals. Walden's role in the band was significantly diminished with the band's second LP, While Your're Down There, which was dominated by new lead vocalist Tim Dulaine, who wrote over half the songs on the album. After the group split up, Walden did a lot of support work for other bands, including filling in for Paul Kossoff on a couple of Free albums, before trying his hand at composing music for TV shows. After being nominated for several Emmy awards for such varied projects as the score for the 1994 miniseries adaption of Stephen King's The Stand and the theme from Thirtysomething, he at last won one for The West Wing in 2000. In 2018 a documentary film about Walden's career called Up To Snuff won the competition at the Pasadena International Film Festival.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smoke On The Water (live version)
Source:    CD: Made In Japan
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Rhino/Purple (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1972
    Based on what is quite possibly the most recognizable riff in the history of hard rock, Smoke On The Water was released in December of 1972 on Deep Purple's Machine Head album. The song became a huge hit the following year when a live version of the tune appeared on the album Made In Japan, released in December of 1972.  

Artist:    Gypsy
Title:    Tomorrow Is The Last To Be Heard
Source:    LP: Gypsy
Writer(s):    Enrico Rosenbaum
Label:    Metromedia
Year:    1971
    Formed in Minneapolis by members of a band called the Underbeats, Gypsy came to national prominence when they became the house band at Los Angeles's famed Whisky-A-Go-Go club from September 1969 to April 1971. During that period they released their debut album, a two-LP set for the price of a single disc on the Metromedia label in 1970. The album did reasonably well on the charts, going to the #44 spot on the Billboard Pop Albums chart. Most of the songs on the album, including the final track, Tomorrow Is The Last To Be Heard, were written by guitarist Enrico Rosenbaum, who also provided lead vocals on the piece.

Artist:     Stephen Stills
Title:     Love the One You're With
Source:     Promo CD: Carry On sampler (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic
Year:    1971
     Depending on your point of view Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Young) have either split up several times over the years or have never actually split up at all. It was during one of these maybe split-ups that Stills recorded Love the One You're With, one of his most popular tunes. Presumably he and singer Judy Collins were no longer an item at that point.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience (with Lee Michaels)
Title:     Electric Church Red House
Source:     CD: Blues
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     Legacy
Year:     1968
     The "Electric Church" version of Jimi Hendrix's signature blues tune Red House features all the members of the Experience plus guest organist Lee Michaels. Unlike the version of Red House included on the Are You Experienced album, this track features Noel Redding playing an actual bass guitar and runs a full six minutes.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Don't Know Why aka Don't Know Why I Love You
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wonder/Riser/Hunter/Hardaway
Label:    Abkco
Year:    1969
    In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. My Cherie Amour soon became the biggest hit of Wonder's career up to that point, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) on the night they learned of the death of founding member Brian Jones, who had been fired from the band less than a month before. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the song was released (in 1975, on the LP Metamorphosis), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' 1960s recordings. The Stones themselves never authorized the recording to be released, which of course did not stop Klein from releasing it anyway, both as an album track and as a single on Klein's own Abkco label.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Looking In
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Simmonds/Peverett
Label:    Deram (original US label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
    In mid-1970 lead vocalist Chris Youlden and the rest of Savoy Brown parted company, leaving Dave Peverett to double up as vocalist and guitarist for the band. The remaining four members (Peverett, bassist Tone Stevens, drummer Roger Earl and guitarist/founder Kim Simmonds) immediately went to work on what would be Savoy Brown's sixth LP. Looking In, when released, ended up being the most successful album in the band's entire run, and the only one to make the British charts (Savoy Brown had always done better with US audiences than in their native UK). Among the many listenable tunes on Looking In is the title track, written by Peverett and Simmonds. Unfortunately, this particular Savoy Brown lineup was not to last, as Simmonds summarily dismissed the rest of the group shortly after Looking In was released, citing musical differences. Simmonds set about putting together a new lineup, while the other three erstwhile members formed their own band, Foghat, a band that would ironically have far more commercial success than Savoy Brown ever achieved. 

Artist:    Cheech And Chong
Title:    Blind Melon Chitlin'
Source:    LP: Cheech & Chong
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Ode
Year:    1971
    Seriously, does anyone need to be told who Cheech and Chong are? Blind Melon Chitlin' is the first track from their first LP. It's also one of their most famous bits. 'Nuff said.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Hoochie Coochie Man
Source:    CD: Beginnings (originally released on LP: Idlewild South)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    The second Allman Brothers Band, Idlewild South, generally got better reviews than the group's debut LP, mostly because of shorter tracks and tighter arrangements, both of which appealed to the rock press. Their version of Willie Dixon's Hoochie Coochie Man, for instance, actually comes in at less than five minutes. The band's next album, Live At The Fillmore East, proved to be the Allman's commercial breakthrough, however; the fact that the album is made up almost entirely of extended versions of the same songs that were on their first two studio LPs only goes to show that sometimes what the public wants is not the same thing as what the critics think they should.

Artist:    Full Tilt Boogie Band
Title:    Buried Alive In The Blues
Source:    LP: Pearl (Janis Joplin album)
Writer(s):    Nick Gravenites
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    The Full Tillt Boogie Band was formed in the late 60s as a side project by New York studio guitarist John Till. All the members, including Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson were Canadian citizens, mostly hailing from the province of Ontario. In 1969, Till, along with several other studio musicians, were tapped to become Janis Joplin's Kozmic Blues Band, backing up the vocalist on her solo debut album. Joplin, however, was not entirely comfortable with all the members of this new band, and after the album itself got mostly negative reviews from critics and fans alike, Joplin decided to disband the group, keeping only Till. Till then convinced her to use the Full Tilt Boogie Band (dropped the second "L" in Tillt) for her next album, Pearl. The new combo started touring in the spring of 1970, beginning work on the album itself that September. At the time of Joplin's sudden death on October 4, 1970, the band had completed all the basic tracks for the album; only one song, Buried Alive In The Blues, lacked a usable vocal track. Although Nick Gravenites, the Electric Flag veteran who had written the tune, offered to provide vocals for the track, the band decided to keep it an instrumental instead.

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