Sunday, September 3, 2023

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2336 (starts 9/4/23) 

    Although it wasn't originally part of the plan, over two-thirds of this week's show consists of tracks that have never been played on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion before, including an entire album side from Focus. Enjoy!

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Race With The Devil
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Gun)
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    One of the most popular songs on the jukebox at the teen club on Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany in 1969 was a song called Race With The Devil by a band called Gun. The song was so popular, in fact, that at least two local bands covered it (including the one I was in). Nobody seemed to know much about Gun at the time, but it turns out that the group was fronted by the Gurvitz brothers, Adrian and Paul (who at the time were using the last name Curtis); the two would later be members of the Baker-Gurvitz Army with drummer Ginger Baker. I've also learned recently that Gun spent much of its time touring in Europe, particularly in Germany, where Race With The Devil hit its peak in January of 1969 (it had made the top 10 in the UK in 1968, the year it was released).

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1969
    With the exception of John Lennon's 1968 audio collage Revolution 9, the longest Beatle track ever recorded was I Want You (She's So Heavy), from the Abbey Road album. The track alternates between two distinct sections: the jazz-like I Want You, which contains most of the song's lyrical content, and the primal-scream based She's So Heavy, which repeats the same phrase endlessly in 6/8 time while an increasingly loud wall of white noise eventually leads to an abrupt cut-off at 7:35.

Artist:     Ten Years After
Title:     50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain
Source:     CD: Cricklewood Green
Writer:     Alvin Lee
Label:     Chrysalis (original label: Deram)
Year:     1970
    Alvin Lee travels to every planet in the solar system in the nearly eight-minute long 50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain. The tune appeared on the 1970 LP Cricklewood Green, generally considered by critics to be the band's best album.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    Stand Back
Source:    CD: Eat A Peach
Writer(s):    Allman/Oakley
Label:    Mercury (original label: Capricorn)
Year:    Recorded 1971, released 1972
    Guitarist Duane Allman had only completed three studio tracks for what would become the double LP Eat A Peach when he died in a motorcycle crash on October 29, 1971. One of these, Stand Back, is the only Allman Brothers Band track to carry a writing credit for bassist Berry Oakley, who never got over his friend's death and ended up crashing his own motorcycle a year later just three blocks from where Duane had been killed.

Artist:    Gary Glitter
Title:    Rock And Roll-Part 1
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Glitter/Leander
Label:    Bell
Year:    1972
    Paul Francis Glad began his recording career as Paul Raven, doing a mixture of slow ballads and early rock 'n' roll standards. By 1964 it was clear that his career was going nowhere, and by 1970 he was calling himself Paul Monday. In the late 1960s he began working with arranger/producer Mike Leander, and in 1971 the two of them created the persona of Gary Glitter, after considering other names including Terry Tinsel, Stanley Sparkle and Vicky Vomit. In early 1972 he led a jam session that, after extensive editing, became Rock And Roll, Parts 1 & 2. The song eventually became a worldwide hit and made Glitter one of the leading figures of the glam movement. After the glam movement had run its course, Gary Glitter's career took a downward turn, but his continuing popularity among the post-punk crowd kept his performing until the end of the decade, when a series of sex offences eventually led to him currently serving time in prison.

Artist:    Steely Dan
Title:    Show Biz Kids
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Becker/Fagen
Label:    ABC
Year:    1973
    Steely Dan's second LP, 1973's Countdown To Ecstasy, did not sell as well as their 1972 debut LP. The reason usually cited for this dropoff in sales is the lack of a hit single, although at least two singles were released from the album. The second of these was Show Biz Kids, a song that sums up the Los Angeles lifestyle, a theme that the group would continue to explore for the rest of the decade.

Artist:    Focus
Title:    Eruption
Source:    LP: Moving Waves
Writer(s):    van Leer/Barlage/Akkerman/Nobel/van der Linden
Label:    Sire
Year:    1971
    After the release of the first Focus album, guitarist Jan Akkerman threatened to leave the band unless bandleader Thijs van Leer replaced the original bass player and drummer, whom Akkerman felt were not strong enough musicians to hold their place in the group. Van Leer was reluctant to do so, but finally gave in, replacing Hans Cleuver with Pierre van der Linden, who had been Akkerman's bandmate in a previous group, and bassist Martin Dresden with Cyril Havermans, a veteran of several Dutch bands. This version of Focus recorded the album Focus II in 1971, which was later released as Moving Waves worldwide. In addition to the hit song Hocus Pocus, Moving Waves includes Eruption, a 22 1/2 minute-long suite by van Leer inspired by the opera Eurodice, which in turn was inspired by the ancient tale of Orpheus and Euridice. The suite has several different sections, some of which are repeated more than once, and includes sections written by Akkerman (The Bridge), van der Linden (a drum solo called Endless Road) and Tom Barlage of the Dutch band Fusion, who wrote and named the section called Tommy. In order, the sections are: Orfeus, Answer, Orfeus, Answer, Pupilla, Tommy, Pupilla, Answer, The Bridge, Euridice, Dayglow, Endless Road, Answer, Orfeus, and Euridice.

Artist:    Lighthouse
Title:    Sunny Days
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Skip Prokop
Label:    Evolution
Year:    1972
    After three albums for RCA Victor, the Toronto based Lighthouse changed labels, at the same time undergoing personnel changes that resulted in the band having a new front man, Bob McBride. Five of the original members, including drummer Skip Prokop, remained with the band, which had its greatest success on the Evolution label with the hits One Fine Morning and Sunny Days, both written by Prokop. Not long after the release of Sunny Days in 1972 Prokop decided to retire from live performing, although he did stay on as executive producer. When sessions began in New York for the 1973 album Can You Feel It, McBride was nowhere to be found and was subsequently fired from the band. Although Lighthouse continues as a working band to this day, they've never been able to equal the success of their Evolution years.

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