Sunday, September 11, 2022

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2238 (starts 9/12/22) 

    This week Rockin' in the Days of Confusion presents, in its entirety, Emerson, Lake & Palmer's most famous work, Karn Evil 9, along with half a dozen other tracks, including a song from a band called Lighthouse and a song called Lighthouse from an entirely different band.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Truckin'
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh/Weir
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    The nearest thing the Grateful Dead had to a hit single before 1986 was Truckin', a feelgood tune sung by Bob Weir from the American Beauty album. I actually have a video clip on DVD of the band doing the song live on some TV show. It is neither long nor strange.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Iron Butterfly Theme
Source:    LP: Evolution-The Best Of Iron Butterfly (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Although much of the material on the first Iron Butterfly album, Heavy, has a somewhat generic L.A. club sound to it, the final track, the Iron Butterfly Theme, sounds more in line with the style the band would become known for on their In-A-Gadda-Vida album a few months later.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    I Can't Quit You Baby
Source:    CD: Led Zeppelin
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1969
    Led Zeppelin has come under fire for occassionally "borrowing" lyrics and even guitar riffs from old blues songs (never mind the fact that such "borrowing" was a common practice among the old bluesmen themselves) but at least in the case of the first Zeppelin album, full songwriting credit was given to Willie Dixon for a pair of songs, one of which was I Can't Quit You Baby. The tune was originally written for and recorded by Otis Rush in 1956 and served as the debut single of both Rush and the label it appeared on, Dixon's own Cobra Records. Rush re-recorded I Can't Quit You Baby in 1966, using a new arrangement that served as the basis for Led Zeppelin's 1969 version of the song.

Artist:    Flock
Title:    Lighthouse
Source:    British import CD: The Flock/Dinosaur Swamps (originally released in US on LP: Dinosaur Swamps)
Writer(s):    The Flock
Label:    BGO (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    The second Flock album was even more experimental than their first with tunes like Lighthouse being a sort of twisted hybrid of hard rock and even harder blues, with the band's horn section adding to the chaos.

Artist:    Lighthouse
Title:    One Fine Morning
Source:    Canadian import LP: The Best Of Lighthouse (originally released on LP: One Fine Morning)
Writer(s):    Skip Prokop
Label:    GRT
Year:    1971
    After being dropped by RCA Victor in 1970 after releasing three LPs, the Canadian band Lighthouse signed with GRT Records of Canada, also releasing their records in the US on the Evolution label, a subsidiary of Longines Symphonette. Their first album for their new label was One Fine Morning, with an edited version of the title track hitting the #2 spot on the Canadian charts and #24 in the US. Recorded in Toronto, the album was the first to feature new lead vocalist Bob McBride.

Artist:    Captain Beyond
Title:    Mesmerization Eclipse
Source:    LP: Captain Beyond
Writer(s):    Evans/Caldwell
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1972
    In the early 1970s it was normal for three bands to be on the playbill at a rock concert. Generally the headliner was someone with a hit record currently on the charts, while the middle act was someone on the way up. The opening act was either a popular local band or, in some cases, a brand new group that had just released their first album. It was not entirely uncommon for the second act to actually get a better audience response than the headliner, especially if the headliner turned out to be a one-hit wonder with no staying power. It was extremely rare, however, for the opening act to blow both of the other two bands out of the water. In fact, I can think of only one time that happened when I was in the audience. It was 1972, and I don't even remember who the headliner was. The middle band was Jo Jo Gunne, featuring front man Jay Ferguson, formerly of Spirit. They weren't bad, although the only songs I remember them performing were Run Run Run and 99 Days. The opening act, however, totally blew me away with their outstanding musicianship and strong material. That band was Captain Beyond, formed by former members of Iron Butterfly (bassist Lee Dorman and guitarist Larry "Rhino" Reinhardt), Deep Purple (vocalist Rod Evans) and drummer Bobby Caldwell, who would eventually go on to have a moderately successful solo career. I was so impressed with their set that I went to the record store the very next day and bought their album (which has this really cool 3D cover, by the way). Mesmerization Eclipse, from that debut LP, was written by the entire band, although only Evans and Caldwell got official writing credits on the album, due to Rhino and Dorman still being under contract to Iron Butterfly at the time.
Artist:    Emerson, Lake And Palmer
Title:    Karn Evil 9
Source:    CD: Brain Salad Surgery
Writer(s):    Emerson/Lake/Sinfield
Label:    Rhino (original label: Manticore)
Year:    1973
    When Emerson, Lake And Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery was released on vinyl the fifth track on side one, Karn Evil 9: First Impression, was faded out at the end of side one of the album and faded back in at the beginning of side two. I always thought this was unnecessary, as they could have just as easily moved one or two of the earlier tracks on side one to the end of the album and put the entire thirteen-minute long First Impression on one side of the album and the other two Impressions on side two (especially since there is a break in the audio between the 1st and 2nd Impressions already). The result of this strange bit of mastering is that most classic rock stations only play the last four and a half minutes of Karn Evil 9: 1st Impression, despite the fact that CD versions of the album have restored the recording to one continuous piece, making it possible to play the entire nearly 30-minute long suite in its entirety. This week we do exactly that.

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