Sunday, October 9, 2022

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2241 (starts 10/10/22)

    Last week, in preparation for our all-British rock show, a lot of music got pulled from the shelf; far more, in fact, that could fit into one hour-long show. So this week we have more tracks from British artists. We also have American bands (one doing a tune from a songwriter who was a member of one of the British bands featured on last week's show), an Irish solo artist, a Canadian band, and a band with both American and British members.

Artist:      Grand Funk Railroad
Title:     Feelin' Alright (unedited original version)
Source:      CD: Survival
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:     Capitol
Year:     1971
     The first three Grand Funk Railroad albums had a total of one cover song between them (the Animals' Inside Looking Out on Grand Funk). The band's fourth studio effort, Survival, had two.  One of those was Feelin' Alright, a Dave Mason song that had appeared on the second Traffic album. Grand Funk Railroad's version ended up being released as a single in late 1971. Mason himself released his own solo version of the tune later in the decade. Heard here is a longer, earlier take of the song, including a third verse that was edited out of the album and single versions of the song.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Axis: Bold As Love)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Jeff Beck Group
Title:    Beck's Bolero
Source:    Simulated stereo CD: Truth
Writer(s):    Jimmy Page
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    The number of recordings made by Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page when they were both members of the Yardbirds can be counted on one hand, and one of those songs wasn't even released as a Yardbirds record! Bolero (later to be known as Beck's Bolero) was recorded in mid-1966, and featured, in addition to Beck and Page, Nicky Hopkins on piano, John Paul Jones on bass and an incognito Keith Moon on drums. It was first released (and credited to Beck as the songwriter) as the B side of Beck's first single as a solo artist in early 1967. The following year the same recording was electronically rechanneled for stereo and included on the album Truth, with the backwards guitar at the end of the song removed altogether. Beck's own liner notes on the album state that "we couldn't improve on" the original recording.

Artist:    Leslie West
Title:    Blood Of The Sun
Source:    45 RPM single B side (also released on LP: Mountain)
Writer:    West/Pappaliardi/Collins
Label:    Windfall
Year:    1969
    After the Long Island band The Vagrants disbanded guitarist Leslie Weinstein changed his last name to West and recorded a solo album called Mountain. Helping him with the project was producer Felix Pappaliardi, who had previously worked with Cream on their Disraeli Gears and Wheels Of Fire albums. Among the better tracks on the album was a tune called Blood Of The Sun, which the two of them wrote (along with Pappaliardi's wife Janet Collins). The pair of them meshed so well that they decided to form a band with drummer Corky Laing, using the name Mountain. One of the first gigs by the new band was the Woodstock festival, where they played Blood Of The Sun to an enthusiastic crowd.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Queen Of Torture
Source:    CD: Wishbone Ash
Writer:    Upton/Turner/Turner/Powell
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1970
    One of the first bands to use dual lead guitars was Wishbone Ash. When Glen Turner, the band's original guitarist, had to leave, auditions were held, but the remaining members and their manager couldn't decide between the two finalists, Andy Powell and Ted Turner, so they kept both of them. Queen Of Torture, from their 1969 debut album, shows just how well the two guitars meshed.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Batuka/No One To Depend On
Source:    LP: Santana (III)
Writer(s):    Santana/Carabella/Escobida/Rolie
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Santana's third LP (which like their debut LP was called simply Santana), was the last by the band's original lineup. Among the better-known tracks on the LP was No One To Depend On, featuring a guitar solo by teen phenom Neal Schon (who would go on to co-found Journey). It's preceded on the album by the instrumental Batuka, composed by Carlos Santana.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Good Rockin'
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Roy Brown
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1972
    Good Rockin' Tonight was a hit single for Wynonie Harris in 1948, going all the way to the top of the R&B charts and remaining on those charts for six months, far surpassing Roy Brown's original 1947 version of the song, which peaked at #13. The next notable version of the song was released in 1954, as Elvis Presley's second single for the Sun label. It stiffed. Although the song has been recorded literally dozens of times since in a variety of styles, the Doors' version, from their 1972 LP Full Circle, parallels Elvis's version the most closely, even to the point of adding heavy reverb to the recording. The song, whose title was shortened to Good Rockin' for the album, is the only cover song on the LP, and was also released as a B side.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Pure And Easy
Source:    LP: Odds And Sods
Writer(s):    Peter Townshend
Label:    Track/MCA
Year:    Recorded 1971, released 1974
    When the Who released the album Who's Next they included several songs that were originally intended for Peter Townshend's Life House multi-media project that had been scrapped. In his notes for the Odds And Sods album, Townshend implies that Pure And Easy, which ended up being released on the 1974 Odds And Sods album, should have been included on Who's Next "because in the context of stuff like Song Is Over, Getting In Tune and Baba O'Reilly, it explains more about the general concept behind the Life House idea than any amount of rap." An edited demo version of Pure And Easy appeared on Townshend's solo album Who Came First in 1972.

Artist:    Peter Frampton
Title:    Show Me The Way
Source:    CD Classics Vol. 12 (originally released on LP: Frampton Comes Alive!)
Writer(s):    Peter Frampton
Label:    A&M
Year:    1976
    Although it was originally released as a studio track in 1975, Peter Frampton's Show Me The Way became a huge hit the following year when it was released as the lead single from the album Frampton Comes Alive! The song features a "talk box" effect that was used to even greater effect on the nearly fifteen minute long Do You Feel Like We Do.

Artist:    Van Morrison
Title:    Moondance
Source:    LP: Moondance
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Van Morrison's first album for Warner Brothers, Astral Weeks, received good reviews from critics, but his folk-jazz stylings were not commercially viable and the album sold poorly. After recording the album Morrison and his wife moved to the Catskills in upstate New York, where he began working on a set of more structured songs that would be more appealing to the general public. The result was the 1970 album Moondance. Several songs from the album soon became staples of progressive FM rock radio stations, including the title track, which had actually been written when Morrison was living in Cambridge, Mass. Oddly enough, the song, despite its popularity, was not released as a single until 1977, and then barely made it into the top 100.

Artist:    Frank Zappa/Mothers Of Invention
Title:    Evelyn, A Modified Dog
Source:    LP: One Size Fits All
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Discreet
Year:    1975
    Feel free to write and tell me what Frank Zappa's Evelyn, A Modified Dog, is about. The track, which is barely a minute long, is the shortest piece on the 10th and final Mothers Of Invention studio album, One Size Fits All.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Cat Food
Source:    LP: In The Wake Of Poseidon
Writer(s):    Fripp/McDonald/Sinfield   
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Following the release of the 1969 album In The Court Of The Crimson King all the members of King Crimson except for guitarist Robert Fripp and lyricist Peter Sinfield left the band for various reasons. Most of them, however, including keyboardist Ian McDonald, drummer Michael Giles and lead vocalist Greg Lake, ended up contributing the the second Crimson LP, In The Wake Of Poseidon in the role of session musicians, along with Giles's brother Peter, who provided bass parts on the album. The most popular song on the album was Cat Food, which was released as a single in 1970 (and was the featured song on the band's only TV appearance until 1981).

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     American Woman
Source:     European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: American Woman)
Writer:     Bachman/Cummings/Peterson/Kale
Label:     Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     American Woman is undoubtably the most political song ever recorded by the Guess Who, a generally non-political Canadian band. My family was living on Ramstein AFB, which was and is a huge base in Germany with enough Canadian personnel stationed there to justify their own on-base school. From early 1969 until mid-1970 (when we moved back to the States) I found myself hanging out with the Canadian kids most of the time and I gotta tell you, they absolutely loved this song. They also loved to throw it in my face as often as possible. I guess that's what I got for being the "token American" member of my peer group.

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