Sunday, March 10, 2024

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2411 (starts 3/11/24) 

    This week we take a trip to 1969, followed by a short jaunt to 1972.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Roadhouse Blues (live)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1978
    Roadhouse Blues is one of the most instantly recognizable songs in the entire Doors catalog. Indeed, most people can identify it from the first guitar riff, long before Jim Morrison's vocals come in. The original studio version of the song was released on the album Morrison Hotel in 1970, and was also issued as the B side of one of the band's lesser-known singles. That same year the Doors undertook what became known as their Roadhouse Blues tour; many of the performances from that tour were recorded, but not released at the time. In 1978 the three remaining members of the band, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore, decided to put music to some recordings of Morrison reciting his own poetry made before his death in 1971. The resulting album, An American Prayer, also included a live version of Roadhouse Blues made from two separate concert tapes from their 1970 tour. An edited version of the album track was released as a 1978 single as well.

Artist:     Led Zeppelin
Title:     Heartbreaker/Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman)
Source:     German import LP: Led Zeppelin II
Writer:     Page/Plant/Bonham/Jones
Label:     Atlantic
Year:     1969
     For years album (now called classic) rock radio stations have been playing Led Zeppelin's Heartbreaker and letting the album play through to the next song, Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman). Back when Stuck in the Psychedelic Era was a local show being played live I occassionally made it a point to play Heartbreaker and follow it with something else entirely. These days I tend to waffle a bit on the whole thing; currently I'm in favor of just playing the two songs together as they appear on the album. Next time, who knows?

Artist:    Blind Faith
Title:    Sea Of Joy
Source:    CD: Blind Faith
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    At the time Blind Faith was formed there is no question that the biggest names in the band were guitarist Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, having just come off a successful three-year run with Cream. Yet the true architect of the Blind Faith sound was actually Steve Winwood, formerly of the Spencer Davis Group and, more recently, Traffic. Not only did Winwood handle most of the lead vocals for the group, he also wrote more songs on the band's only album than any other member. Among the Winwood tunes on that album is Sea Of Joy, which opens side two of the original LP.

Artist:     Crosby, Stills and Nash
Title:     Marrakesh Express
Source:     CD: Woodstock Two
Writer:     Graham Nash
Label:     Atlantic (original label: Cotillion)
Year:     1969
     The Woodstock festival was a turning point in the careers of several artists, not the least of which were Crosby, Stills and Nash. Although it was only their second live performance, all the members were known to a majority of concertgoers through their previous associations with the Byrds (David Crosby), Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills) and the Hollies (Graham Nash). Marrakesh itself had already been released as a single, but had received limited airplay in the US. In the UK, on the other hand, the song was Radio Luxembourg's pick hit of the week when it was first released and within two weeks had gone to the top of the influential station's playlist.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cowgirl In The Sand
Source:    CD: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    It has been said that adverse conditions are conducive to good art. Certainly that truism applies to Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand, written while Young was running a 102 degree fever. Almost makes me wish I could be that sick sometime.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    Be Careful With A Fool
Source:    German import CD: Johnny Winter
Writer(s):    King/Josea
Label:    Repertoire (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Johnny Winter's first album for Columbia (his second overall) is nothing less than a blues masterpiece. Accompanied by bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Uncle John Turner, Winter pours his soul into classics like B.B. King's Be Careful With A Fool, maybe even improving on the original (if such a thing is possible).

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    In Need
Source:    CD: Grand Funk
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1969
    Anyone who wants to know just what made Grand Funk Railroad the most popular arena rock band of the early 1970s needs only listen to GFR's second album, Grand Funk (usually just referred to as the Red Album). The 1969 album is pure...well, pure Grand Funk Railroad. It's loud, it's messy and, most importantly, it rocks. Hard. Case in point: In Need.

Artist:    Genesis
Title:    Get 'em Out By Friday
Source:    CD: Foxtrot
Writer(s):    Banks/Collins/Gabriel/Hackett/Rutherford
Label:    Rhino/Atlantic (original label: Charisma)
Year:    1972
    Although Genesis is rightfully acknowledged as one of the pioneer bands of the art-rock movement of the early 1970s, they were also the inheritors of a musical form pioneered by (of all people) the Who: the rock mini-opera. One excellent example of this approach is the track Get 'em Out By Friday, from their 1972 LP Foxtrot. The piece, sung entirely by Peter Gabriel, includes sections sung from the point of view of a variety of colorful characters, including John Pebble of Styx Enterprises, Mark Hall (aka The Winkler), Mrs. Barrow (a tenant) and even Joe Ordinary, a local pub denizen.

Artist:    Wishbone Ash
Title:    Blowin' Free
Source:    CD: Argus
Writer(s):    Upton/Turner/Turner/Powell
Label:    MCA/Decca
Year:    1972
    Known to the band's fans as the "Ash Anthem", Blowin' Free is probably the single most popular song Wishbone Ash ever recorded. The song, with lyrics written by bassist Martin Turner before Wishbone Ash even formed, is about Turner's Swedish ex-girlfriend.

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