Saturday, December 9, 2023

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2350 (starts 12/11/23) 

    Although this week's edition of Rockin' in the Days of Confusion starts out sounding like another trip through the years beginning in the late 1960s, it doesn't take long to move into free-form rock mode, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns along the way. The highlight of the show is a 13-minute long piece from Carpe Diem, a French band that managed to combine rock, jazz and classical in a way that had never been done before (or since, for that matter). We also have the return of an old favorite from Uriah Heep, John Lennon's last onstage performance (with the Elton John Band) and the first appearance on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion of the band of Geordies known as Lindisfarne. It all wraps up with a nice instrumental piece from El Chicano's Revolución LP.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Break On Through (To The Other Side)
Source:    LP: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    The first Doors song to be released as a single was not, as usually assumed, Light My Fire. Rather, it was Break On Through (To The Other Side), the opening track from the band's debut LP, that was chosen to do introduce the band to top 40 radio. Although the single was not an immediate hit, it did eventually catch on with progressive FM radio listeners and still is heard on classic rock stations from time to time.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Rat Salad
Source:    CD: Paranoid
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    Rat Salad, the only instrumental on Black Sabbath's second album, Paranoid, has to be, with one exception, the track with the shortest drum solo on record. Ironically, the song was written specifically for drummer Bill Ward to do a 45 minute long solo when the band was playing eight and three-quarter hour long gigs in Europe in their early days. Nobody knows for sure where the title Rat Salad came from, but it may have been in reference to the state of Ward's hair at the end of one of those solos.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source:    British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Polydor (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1968
     The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band. It's also a pretty good way to end this week's show.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smoke On The Water (edited studio version)
Source:    Mono 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1972 (edited version released 1973)
    Based on what is quite possibly the most recognizable riff in the history of rock, Smoke On The Water was released in March of 1972 on Deep Purple's Machine Head album. The song became a huge hit after a live version of the tune appeared on the December 1972 album Made In Japan. For the US single release, Warner Brothers chose to pair up edited versions of both the live and studio renditions of the tune on either side of a 45 RPM record in May of 1973. Although most WB singles were being released in stereo by 1973, this one uses mono mixes on both sides.

Artist:    Lindisfarne
Title:    Lady Eleanor
Source:    LP: Nicely Out Of Tune
Writer(s):    Alan Hull
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971
    Originally formed by  Alan Hull (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Ray Jackson (vocals, mandolin, harmonica), Simon Cowe (guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards), Rod Clements (bass guitar, violin) and Ray Laidlaw (drums) in Newcastle upon Tyne as Brethren, Lindisfarne released their first album, Nicely Out Of Tune, in late 1970. Both the album and it's first single, Lady Eleanor stiffed when originally released, however both made the British top 10 following the release of the band's second LP, Fog on the Tyne. The song's lyrics, written by Hull, were inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Fall of the House of Usher.

Artist:    Pavlov's Dog
Title:    Julia
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Pampered Menial)
Writer(s):    Davic Surkamp
Label:    Sony Music (original label: ABC)
Year:    1975
    During my first couple of years living in Albuquerque, NM, I met quite an assortment of strange and unusual people. Among them were a guy who would eventually come to be known as Carlos the Ragman and his roommate, Clint. Clint was, as near as I can tell, possessed of a genius IQ, enhanced by far too many acid trips. He seemed to be in possession of some sort of telepathic powers as well, as was made apparent on more than one occasion. In addition to (or maybe because of) all these things, Clint had somewhat unusual tastes in music. I remember him showing up one evening with an album he had just bought called Pampered Menial, by a band from St. Louis, Mo. called Pavlov's Dog. The opening track, Julia, was truly like nothing I had ever heard before, probably due to the unique vocals of David Surkamp, the writer of Julia. In addition to Surkamp, the band included Steve Scorfina, Mike Safron, Rick Stockton, David Hamilton, Doug Rayburn and Siegfried Carver.

Artist:    Carpe Diem
Title:    Réincarnation
Source:    French import LP: En Regardant Passer Le Temps (also released in Canada as Way Out-As Time Goes By)
Writer(s):    Yeu/Truchy
Label:    Crypto (original label: Arcane)
Year:    1976
    The mid-1970s saw the rise of several bands that combined elements of rock, jazz and classical music with the latest electronic technology to create something entirely new. In Germany it came to be called Kraut-rock, while in other countries it went by names like art-rock, prog-rock or space-rock. The French Riviera was home to Carpe Diem (originally called Deis Corpus), who released two LPs. The first, En Regardant Passer Le Temps, was also released in Canada under the title Way Out-As Time Goes By. The longest track on the album is Réincarnation, which runs nearly thirteen minutes. Although the album went largely unnoticed when originally released in 1976, it has since come to be regarded as one of the lost classics of progressive rock.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    July Morning
Source:    European import CD: Look At Yourself
Writer:    Hensley/Byron
Label:    Sanctuary/BMG (original US label: Mercury)
Year:    1971
    Fans of the British rock group Uriah Heep have an ongoing argument over which is the best Heep album; Demons And Wizards, featuring the band's biggest hit single, Easy Livin', or its immediate predecessor, Look At Yourself, which includes the 10 and a half minute long classic July Morning. Both albums feature strong vocals by David Byron and songwriting by keyboardist Ken Hensley, as well as tasty guitar licks from Mick Box. Rather than take sides on this one, I'm just going to keep on playing tracks from all six early Uriah Heep albums.

Artist:    Cheech & Chong
Title:    Wink Dinkerson
Source:    CD: Cheech And Chong
Writer(s):    Marin/Chong
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Ode)
Year:    1971
    Following up on their chronicling of the first studio sessions of Blind Melon Chitlin', Cheech & Chong present the stage debut of the legendary blues artist. But first, he has to be introduced to the crowd, and who better than Wink Dinkerson of KRUT Radio to do it? Well, probably all kinds of people, but for some reason the master of ceremonies has a bit of trouble remembering the guy's name. Or anything else, for that matter.

Artist:    John Lennon with the Elton John Band
Title:    I Saw Her Standing There
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    MCA
Year:    1975
    John Lennon made his final concert appearance on November 28, 1974, performing three songs backed up by the Elton John Band at New York's Madison Square Garden. The last of the three songs was also the first to be released, as the B side of the Elton John single Philadelphia Freedom in 1975. Lennon's introduction to the song made clear his feelings about the Beatles, and bandmate Paul McCartney in particular.

Artist:    Family
Title:    Second Generation Woman
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: Family Entertainment)
Writer(s):    Rick Grech
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Family's original lineup of Roger Chapman, Rick Grech, Jim King, Rob Townsend and John Whitney was still intact for the recording of the band's second LP, Family Entertainment, although Grech soon left to join Blind Faith. Their debut LP had been well-received, but they had already dropped much of their early material from their live sets in favor of newer composition even before Family Entertainment was released. As a result, many of the songs on the new album, including Grech's Second Generation Woman, were already familiar to the band's fans by the time the LP was made available to the public. Grech's departure, though, was only the first in a series of personnel changes throughout Family's existence, and by 1973, when the group officially disbanded, only Chapman, Townsend and Whitney remained from the lineup that had recorded the first two LPs.

Artist:    El Chicano
Title:    Keep On Moving
Source:    LP: Revolución
Writer(s):    El Chicano
Label:    MCA (original label: Kapp)
Year:    1971
    Inspired by the success of Carlos Santana's San Francisco-based band, El Chicano was formed in East L.A. by bassist Freddie Sanchez, organist Bobby Espinosa, guitarist Mickey Lespron, , and drummer John De Luna and conga player Andre Baeza, with Ersi Arvisu as lead singer. The band embraced a variety of music genres, including rock, funk, soul, blues, jazz, and salsa, as can be heard on Keep On Moving, the opening track from their 1971 LP Revolución.

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