Sunday, March 12, 2023

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2311 (starts 3/13/23

    This week we feature back to back Peter Gabriel tracks, one with and one without Genesis. Also on the bill what is acknowledged as one of Jimi Hendrix's greatest live performances and a half dozen other tunes from the early to mid 1970s.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
Source:    LP: Living In The Material World
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1973
    Of all the former members of the Beatles, guitarist George Harrison had the hottest start as a solo artist. His first album following the band's breakup, 1970's All Things Must Pass, was a critical and commercial blockbuster. He followed it up with the multi-artist benefit Concert For Bangla Desh in 1971, but was reportedly exhausted from his efforts to see that the money raised went where it was intended to. For the next year and a half he struggled to maintain a growing adherence to the spiritual path he had first entered when the Beatles went to India while participating in such worldly activities as producing singles for former bandmate Ringo Starr and others, sitting in on friends' studio recordings (including Nilsson's infamous You're Breaking My Heart), losing his driver's license for wreckless driving (he crashed his Mercedes into a roundabout at 90MPH) and doing a lot of cocaine. It was this constant inner conflict that fueled his next album, 1973's Living In The Material World. The album's lead single, Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth), topped the US charts, the last time a Harrison song would do so until 1981, and became a staple of his concert performances for the rest of his life.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:    Hear My Train A Comin'
Source:    CD: Blues (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1971
    Jimi Hendrix first came up with the song known as Hear My Train A Comin' (although he usually introduced it as Get My Heart Back Together) in 1967, but was never able to get a studio version of the tune recorded to his satisfaction. Nonetheless, he did play the song live on several occasions, including at Woodstock. What is generally agreed to be the definitive version of the song was recorded on May 30, 1970 at the Berkeley Community Theatre, with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, a trio billed as the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The recording of that performance was first released on the Rainbow Bridge album in 1971, and later included on the 1994 compilation album Blues.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer:    Osborne/Iommi/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers/Rhino
Year:    1970
    Often cited as the first true heavy metal album, Black Sabbath's debut LP features one of my all-time favorite album covers (check out the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page's Classic Album Covers section) as well as several outstanding tracks. One of the best of these is The Wizard, which was reportedly inspired by the Gandalf character from J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Artist:    Argent
Title:    Hold Your Head Up
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: All Together Now)
Writer(s):    Argent/White
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1972
    Following the dissolution of the Zombies, keyboardist Rod Argent went about forming a new band called, appropriately enough, Argent. The new group had its greatest success in 1972 with the song Hold Your Head Up, which went to the #5 spot on the charts in both the US and UK. The song originally appeared on the album All Together Now, with a running time of over six minutes. The first single version of the tune ran less than three minutes, but was quickly replaced with a longer edit that made the song three minutes and fifteen seconds long. In the years since, the longer LP version has come to be the most familiar one to most radio listeners.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    The Battle Of Epping Forest
Source:    CD: Selling England By The Pound
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1973
    Although sometimes criticized for making their music overly complicated at times (such as on The Battle Of Epping Forest), there is no doubting the thought and effort (not to mention outstanding musicianship) put forth by Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett and Phil Collins on the album Selling England By The Pound. Released in 1973, the LP focuses on the loss of traditional English culture and the increasing "Americanization" of the United Kingdom in the last half of the 20th century. The Battle Of Epping Forest was actually inspired by a newspaper article about gang violence in London's East end that Gabriel had read several years earlier. When Gabriel was unable to locate a copy of the article he created new characters to populate the song (and of course the band's legendary stage show).

Artist:    Peter Gabriel
Title:    Solsbury Hill
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Peter Gabriel
Label:    Atco
Year:    1977
    Vocalist Peter Gabriel's first single after leaving Genesis was Solsbury Hill, a song inspired by a spiritual experience Gabriel had atop Little Solsbury Hill in Somerset, England. Gabriel said of the song:  "It's about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get ... It's about letting go." The song hit the top 20 in the UK and shows up from time to time in various TV and movie soundtracks.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    A Little Game/The Hill Dwellers/Spanish Caravan
Source:    CD: Live At Hollywood Bowl
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1987
    The shortest (by far) Doors album ever released was Live At Hollywood Bowl. Released in 1987 on both LP and CD, the album clocks in at 19:09 and 22:43 respectively. To put it into perspective, side one of the 1973 Genesis LP clocks in at 25:07...and that's the short side of the album. Part of the reason is technical; Jim Morrison's vocal mike was badly distorted at the beginning of the concert, making several songs unuseable. Another factor was that the album itself was the soundtrack to a filmed concert that was simultaneously released on VHS tape, although the video is actually longer than either audio version. Some of the pieces that did make the album, such as A Little Game and The Hill Dwellers, were part of the Celebration Of The Lizard, a massive work that the band was never able to get a satisfactory recording of in the studio. In this case the two bits run together and lead into a short section of Spanish Caravan.
Artist:    Jean-Luc Ponty
Title:    Between You And Me
Source:    LP: Aurora
Writer(s):    Jean-Luc Ponty
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1976
    Originally trained as a classical violinist, and playing in an orchestra sponsored by Concerts Lamoureux, Jean-Luc Ponty took a side job playing clarinet in a college jazz band. Becoming a fan of John Coltrane, Ponty learned to play the saxophone as well. One night, after an orchestral concert, he showed up at a local jazz club with only his violin and proceeded to play it in a be-bop style. Within four years he was considered the world's foremost "jazz fiddler". An invitation from John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet to play the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1967 led to a recording contract with Liberty's World Pacific label, which culminated in the 1970 album King Kong: Jean-Luc Ponty Plays the Music of Frank Zappa. This in turn led to Ponty emigrating to the United States and touring as a member of the Mothers Of Invention. In 1975 he signed with Atlantic, releasing a dozen consecutive top five jazz albums over the next ten years. The second of these was Aurora, released in 1976. Between You And Me, like the rest of the LP, was composed by Ponty himself.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     Abbey Road Medley #2
Source:     CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:     1969
     The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys. The second one consists of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End, with Her Majesty (not included on this week's show) tossed in as a kind of "hidden" track at the end of the album. The End is somewhat unique in that it features solos by all three guitar-playing members of the band, as well as the only Ringo Starr drum solo to appear on a Beatles album.


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