Sunday, July 23, 2023

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2330 (starts 7/24/23) 

    This week's show is made up mostly of instrumentals that have never been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before. In fact, except for some backup singers wordlessly singing a tune lifted from yet another instrumental (on the Cozy Powell track) there are no vocals whatsoever after the first two songs. Enjoy!

Artist:    Wet Willie
Title:    Keep On Smilin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hall/Hall/Hirsch/Anthony/Ross
Label:    Capricorn
Year:    1974
    Formed as Fox in Mobile, Alabama in 1969, Wet Willie was one of the first Southern Rock bands to score a top 10 single with Keep On Smilin' in 1974. The band, consisting of the Hall brothers Jimmy (vocals, saxophone, harmonica) and Jack (bass), John David Anthony (keyboards), Ricky Hirsch (guitar) and Lesis Ross (drums), relocated to Macon, Georgia in 1971 where they signed with Phil Walden's Capricorn label, releasing several single and albums over the next few years. The group still performs occasionally as either Wet Willie or the Wet Willie Band, depending on whether Jimmy Hall is onstage.

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:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Is That So
Source:    LP: Raw Sienna
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1970
    Savoy Brown's fifth LP, Raw Sienna, is often cited as the band's best album. It was also the last to feature vocalist Chris Youlden, who left the group for a less than stellar solo career following its release. The longest track on the album, however, did not feature Youlden at all. Bandleader Kim Simmonds provided the group with Is That So, with Simmonds on lead guitar, "Lonesome" Dave Peverett on rhythm guitar, Tone Stevens on bass and Roger Earl on drums.

Artist:    Allman Brother Band
Title:    Mountain Jam
Source:    CD: Fillmore East, February 1970
Writer(s):    Lietch/Allman/Allman/Betts/Oakley/Jaimoe/Trucks
Label:    Bear's Sonic Journals (original label: Grateful Dead)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1996
    In 1970 digital technology was only found in science fiction novels. In real life, virtually all professional recording was done on analog tapes with running times of maybe 20 minutes each. As a general rule there was only one tape machine in use on live recordings, which meant that portions of a performance would not get recorded due to tapes being changed. With a band like the Allman Brothers, who favored long jams, this changing of the tapes would sometimes happen in the middle of a song. Such was the case with Mountain Jam on both February 13th and 14th, 1970 at the Fillmore East. In 1996,  Owsley ("Bear") Stanley, who had engineered the original recordings, and the Grateful Dead's 90s recording engineer Jeffrey Norman, were able to create a 30 minute long track combining the two fragments for an album called Fillmore East, February 1970. In 2018 the CD was remastered and re-released by the Owsley Stanley Foundation as part of the Bear's Sonic Journals series.

Artist:    Cozy Powell
Title:    Dance With The Devil
Source:    45 RPM promo single (released in UK commercially)
Writer(s):    Dennys/Haye
Label:    Chrysalis (UK label: RAK)
Year:    1973
    British drummer Cozy Powell (born Colin Flooks in Cirencester, Gloucestershire in 1947) was already well-known among British rock royalty when he was invited to join the Jeff Beck Group in 1970. After that particular iteration of the group fell apart after two albums, Powell formed a band called Bedlam while also doing session work for RAK Records. This led to solo work, including Dance With The Devil, an instrumental that made it into the British top 5 in 1973 while becoming his only single to chart in the US at #49. Basically a drum solo, the track features backup vocalists singing the melody to Jimi Hendrix's 3rd Stone From The Sun. Playing bass on the track (albeit somewhat obscured in the mix) is Suzy Quatro.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Flute Thing
Source:    LP: Watch
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    By 1973, Seatrain was approaching the end of the line. At this point the band consisted of Julio Coronado (drums, percussion), Bill Elliot (keyboards) Lloyd Baskin (keyboards, vocals) Andy Kulberg (bass, flute, vocals) and Peter Walsh (guitar), with only Kulberg remaining from the band's original lineup. Prior to beginning sessions for their final album, Watch, Seatrain lost two key members, Peter Rowan and Richard Greene, who left to form a band called Muleskinner. This led to an increased use of studio musicians on Watch, which in retrospect was not the best idea, considering that the early 70s were a time when album buyers prized the musicianship of individual band members above all other considerations. The one track that did focus on musicianship was actually a cover song. Al Kooper had originally written the Flute Thing as a showcase for the talents of Andy Kulberg when they were both members of the Blues Project. This updated version of the song has a faster tempo, giving it more of a bop jazz feel.

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