Sunday, July 18, 2021

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2130 (starts 7/19/21)

    This week's show starts off as an orderly progression of tunes, but soon devolves into utter chaos...and it's an improvement!

Artist:    Crow
Title:    Gonna Leave A Mark
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Larry Weigand
Label:    Amaret
Year:    1969
    Crow was formed in 1967 as South 40, using that name in their native Minneapolis until signing a contract with Amaret Records in 1969.   
Although it was a hit in 1970, Crow's most famous song, Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me), was actually released in 1969 on the band's debut LP, Crow Music. Like many of the band's tunes, the B side of that single, Gonna Leave A Mark, was written by bassist Larry Weigand. Other members of the band included Weigand's brother Dick on guitar, David Wagner on vocals, Kink Middlemist on keyboards and Denny Craswell on drums.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cinnamon Girl
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    My favorite Neil Young song has always been Cinnamon Girl. I suspect this is because the band I was in the summer after I graduated from high school used an amped-up version of the song as our show opener (imagine Cinnamon Girl played like I Can See For Miles and you get a general idea of how it sounded). If we had ever recorded an album, we probably would have used that arrangement as our first single. I finally got to see Neil Young perform the song live (from the 16th row even) with Booker T. and the MGs as his stage band in the mid-1990s. It was worth the wait.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    LP: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with bassist Dallas Taylor and drummer Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was Country Girl, a medley of three uncompleted Neil Young songs that would not have been out of place on a Young solo album.

Artist:    Leon Russell and friends
Title:    Medley: Jumpin' Jack Flash/Youngblood
Source:    CD: The Concert For Bangla Desh
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richard/Lieber/Stoller/Pomus
Label:    Capitol/Apple
Year:    1971
    Leon Russell's portion of The Concert For Bangla Desh is unique in a couple of ways. First off, the Oklahoma-born singer/songwriter/arranger/producer chose to do a medley of two cover songs, the Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash and the Coasters' Youngblood. These were the only non-original tunes performed at the concert. Additionally, Russell brought in veteran guitarist Don Preston, a longtime associate of Russell who career also dates back to the 1950s, and bassist Carl Radle, who, like Russell, had recently participated in Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour, album and movie. Although some critics found fault with Russell's performance, calling in incongruous with the rest of the proceedings, audience members, record buyers and filmgoers all considered it a high point of the entire concert.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Honky Cat
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    Uni
Year:    1972
    Elton John hit the top of the US charts with his fifth LP, Honky Chateau, in 1972. It was the first of seven consecutive #1 albums for the singer/songwriter and included two major hit singles. The second of these was the album's opening track, Honky Cat, which made the top 10 that same year, despite having a length of over five minutes at a time when most radio stations still observed the three and a half minute standard for top 40 singles.

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:    David Bowie
Title:    Ziggy Stardust
Source:    CD: The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Ryko (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    Although never released as a single, Ziggy Stardust, the centerpiece of The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, is in many ways the most important song in David Bowie's career. It transformed Bowie from an eccentric English artist whose music vacillated between folk and rock (with other things thrown in) to one of the biggest superstars in the history of popular music. The song itself manages to tell the entire life story of the title character in just a little over three minutes, and has appeared on several "best of" lists in the nearly 50 years since it was originally released in 1972.

Artist:    Beck, Bogert & Appice
Title:    I'm So Proud
Source:    LP: Beck, Bogert & Appice
Writer(s):    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Epic
Year:    1973
    In July of 1969, guitarist Jeff Beck jammed with two members of Vanilla Fudge, bassist Tim Bogert and drummer Carmine Appice. He immediately decided that he wanted them both as members of his own band, but, due to them being under contract, he was not able to publicly announce his decision. That November, however, Beck was involved in a car accident that put all of his plans on hold for a year. The following year Bogert and Appice started another band, Cactus, that lasted until 1972. Meanwhile Beck, who by early 1971 was ready to resume his career, formed a new version of the Jeff Beck Group with entirely different members. This group also lasted until 1972, when Beck, Bogert & Appice finally got together officially as a band. They released one self-titled LP in 1973 to mixed reviews and split up soon afterward. Although some tracks on the album, such as Beck's version of Stevie Wonder's Superstition, were well-received, most, such as the cover of Curtis Mayfield's I'm So Proud, suffered from weak lead vocals from Appice, despite having some nice Beck guitar work.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Spoonful
Source:    European import CD: Undead (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    The late 1960s saw the rise of a British blues-rock scene that brought fame to Peter Green, Dave Edmunds and other talented guitarists. One of the first bands to release an album in this sub-genre was Ten Years After, led by Alvin Lee. Their debut LP, released in 1967, included several cover tunes, including Spoonful, which had been recorded the previous year by Cream (in studio form). Ten Years After also recorded a live version of the song for their second LP, Undead, but decided not include it on the album, possibly because Cream's Wheels Of Fire had recently been released, with their live version of Spoonful getting a lot of publicity, as well as airplay on progressive rock radio stations in the US.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Who Scared You
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Morrison/Krieger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Recorded during sessions for the Doors' fourth album, The Soft Parade, Who Scared You was issued as the B side of a Jim Morrison/Robby Krieger collaboration called Wishful Sinful in March of 1969. Wishful Sinful, however, performed poorly on the charts and was quickly taken out of circulation. When The Soft Parade was finally released in July of that year, Wishful Sinful was included on the album. Who Scared You, on the other hand, was nowhere to be found, at least until 1972, when it appeared on the double-LP compilation Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine. Given its unique history, it's no wonder that Who Scared You is often considered the most obscure Doors track released during Morrison's tenure with the group.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Night By Night
Source:    LP: Pretzel Logic
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1974
    Night By Night, the second track on the third Steely Dan LP, Pretzel Logic, was written to be the album's lead single. Instead, they went with Rikki Don't Lose That Number. It was obviously a better choice, as Rikki ended up being Steely Dan's biggest hit. Still, Night By Night is a solid song that too often gets overlooked in favor of the band's many outstanding tracks.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    New Dope In Town
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Clear)
Writer(s):    Andes/California/Cassidy/Ferguson/Locke
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    The third Spirit album, Clear, is generally considered the weakest of the four albums released by the band's original lineup. The main reason for this is fatigue. The group had released two albums in 1968, along with providing the soundtrack for the film Model Shop in early 1969 and constantly touring throughout the entire period. This left them little time to develop the material that would be included on Clear. There are a few strong tracks on the LP, however, among them New Dope In Town, which closes out the original LP. Like Elijah, from their debut album, New Dope In Town is credited to the entire band, and was included on a CBS Records sampler album called Underground '70 that was released in Germany (on purple vinyl that glows under a black light, even) around Christmastime.

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