Saturday, January 7, 2023

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2302 (starts 1/9/23)

    One of the most iconic live performances in the history of rock came on the morning of August 19, 1969, when Jimi Hendrix and the group he called Gypsy Sun and Rainbows broke into a feedback-laden rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in front of the remaining crowd of stragglers who had attended the Woodstock Music and Art Fair over the previous three days. This performance was actually part of a medley of tunes that together ran nearly half an hour without a break, with an editied version of that performance featured in D.A. Pennebacker's film Woodstock and on its accompanying soundtrack album. This week, Rockin' in the Days of Confusion presents the entire medley, along with another live performance from the previous year by Ten Years After that was deemed, at the time, to be too long to be included on their 1968 album Undead. First, though, a couple of rockers to get things going...

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    Nothing Is The Same
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    Grand Funk Railroad's fans continued to defy the rock press by buying copies of the band's albums throughout 1970, despite universally negative reviews. In fact, the band was awarded no less than three gold records that year, including their third studio LP, Closer To Home. The album includes some of their best recordings, including Nothing Is The Same, a hard rocker that includes both tempo and key changes, as well as some of Mark Farner's best lead vocals.

Artist:    Coloured Balls
Title:    Love You Babe
Source:    Australian import CD: Heavy Metal Kid (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lobby Lloyd
Label:    Aztec (original label: EMI)
Year:    1974
    Lobby Loyde, although a guitar legend in Australia, is virtually unknown in the US. This is a shame, since he, in the words of former bandmate Angry Anderson, "helped create the Australian guitar sound, long before Angus [Young]. Lobby inspired Australian bands to step forward and play as loud and aggressively as they could." Born in 1941, Loyde had hit singles in Australia as a member of Purple Hearts and later Wild Cherries, and was a major force on the Australian pub rock scene in the 1970s. Loyde released two albums as a member of Coloured Balls, which also featured Andrew Fordham on guitar and vocals, Janis Miglans on bass guitar and Trevor Young on drums. In addition, the band released several non-LP single tracks that have been included as bonus tracks on the CD reissue of their second album, Heavy Metal Kid. The most popular of these was Love You Babe, released in 1974.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Gypsy Sun And Rainbows
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    CD: Live At Woodstock
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Jimi Hendrix's new ensemble, Gypsy Sun And Rainbows, had only had time for a couple of rehearsals when they took the stage at Woodstock on the morning of August 18,1969, and had spent that time trying to develop new material rather than work on songs that had already been previously recorded by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. After performing a mixture of new material and some rather sloppy renditions of older classics such as Foxy Lady, the group launched into a nearly 30-minute long medley of tunes that began with a thirteen minute long version of Voodoo Child (Slight Return) and ended with the relatively quiet instrumental piece that is now known as Villanova Junction. In between, Hendrix broke into the wildest version of the Star Spangled Banner ever recorded, as well as a credible performance of Purple Haze and a four minute long untitled guitar solo. Joining Hendrix onstage were his old friend Billy Cox, whom he had known from the early 60s while playing as a backup musician on the "Chitlin' Circuit", on bass, and Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell. The rest of Gypsy Sun and Roses was made up of guitarist Larry Lee and percussionists Juma Sultan and Jerry Velez, but due as much to technical issues as anything else, their parts are mostly inaudible on the recording.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes/Extension On One Chord/I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes Medley
Source:    CD: Undead (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Johnson/Lee/Lyons/Churchill/Lee
Label:    Deram
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 2002
    Although not a major hit in the US, the first Ten Years After album, released in 1967, was heard and liked by at least one highly influential person: Bill Graham, owner of the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. Graham was so impressed, in fact, that he invited the band to come play at his soon-to-be-opened Fillmore East in New York. The problem was that the band wanted to have a new record to promote when they made their US debut, and there wasn't enough time to record a proper studio LP (although attempts were made). Finally, in order to meet the deadline, it was decided that the band's second LP would be a live album, something generally not done by bands in 1968 (although it had been more common earlier in the decade). Not all of the live material was used on the new album, however. One notable track was a live extended version of the Blind Willie Johnson tune I Can't Keep From Crying Sometime. The reasons this track was not included on the Undead album probably were a combination of the track's length (17 minutes) and the fact that a studio version of the song had been included on the first Ten Years After LP (erroneously credited to Al Kooper, who had arranged the song for his own solo recording heard on the 1966 multi-artist LP What's Shakin').

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