Sunday, May 5, 2024

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2419 (starts 5/6/24)

    It's another week of free-form rock, with some long instrumentals competing with some well-known  tunes with vocals (with a short instrumental and a longer track with vocals thrown in to confuse things).

Artist:      Blues Image
Title:     Pay My Dues
Source:      CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:     1970
     When I first heard Blues Image's Ride Captain Ride on the radio I wasn't all that impressed with it. Then the local club I hung out at got it on the jukebox and people started playing the B side, a song called Pay My Dues. Then I went out and bought the album, Open. Yes, Pay My Dues is that good. As it turns out, so is the rest of the album. Even Ride Captain Ride sounds better now. Shows the latent power of a B side, doesn't it?

Artist:    Neil Young
Title:    Walk On
Source:    CD: On The Beach
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1974
    In 1972 Neil Young released his most successful album, Harvest. The following year he released no albums at all. Finally, in January of 1974, On The Beach was released. It was so different than Young's previous work that his fans did not know what to make of it. As a result, by the early 1980s the album was no longer available in any form, and did not appear on a CD until 2003. A few of the songs from the album were included on Young's 1977 triple-LP retrospective Decade however, including Walk On, probably the strongest track on the original album.    

Artist:    Bad Company
Title:    Good Lovin' Gone Bad
Source:    LP: Straight Shooter
Writer(s):    Mick Ralphs
Label:    Swan Song
Year:    1975
    It's been pointed out that Rockin' in the Days of Confusion doesn't feature a whole lot of tunes from the mid to late 1970s, so here is the first single from Bad Company's second LP, Straight Shooter. Good Lovin' Gone Bad was a moderate success as a single in 1975, making it to #36 on the US charts. It fared slightly better in the UK, hitting the #31 spot.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Immigrant Song
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1971
    Although the third Led Zeppelin album is known mostly for its surprising turn toward a more acoustic sound than its predecessors, the first single from that album actually rocked out as hard, if not harder, than any previous Zeppelin track. In fact, it could be argued that Immigrant Song rocks out harder than anything on top 40 radio before or since. Starting with a tape echo deliberately feeding on itself the song breaks into a basic riff built on two notes an octave apart, with Robert Plant's wailing vocals sounding almost like a siren call. Guitarist Jimmy Page soon breaks into a series of power chords that continue to build in intensity for the next two minutes, until the song abruptly stops cold. The lyrics of Immigrant Song were inspired by the band's trip to Iceland in 1970.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    One For John Gee
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Mick Abrahams
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1968
    Ian Anderson, in his liner notes to the remastered version of Jethro Tull's 1968 debut album, This Was, credits BBC disc jockey John Peel and Marquee Club manager John Gee for their help in gaining an audience for the band in their early days. While making This Was the band recorded a tribute track, One For John Gee, that was not included on the original LP but is now available as a CD bonus track. The short instrumental was written by the band's original guitarist, Mick Abrahams, who left the group shortly after the release of This Was to form his own band, Blodwyn Pig.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Liberation
Source:    CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    James Pankow
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Liberation, the last track on the Chicago Transit Authority album, was recorded live in the studio in a single take. Stop and think about that for a minute. It was the first time they had ever, as a band, set foot in a recording studio.

Artist:    Delaney & Bonnie
Title:    Only You Know And I Know
Source:    British import LP: The New Age Of Atlantic (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Atlantic (original US label: Atco)
Year:    1971
    Dave Mason released Only You Know And I Know as the first single from his debut LP, Alone Together, in July of 1970. A live version of the song, however, had already appeared on the album On Tour With Eric Clapton by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends two months earlier, and it turned out that Delaney & Bonnie had recorded a studio version of the tune in 1969. That studio version of Only You Know And I Know was released as a single in 1971 and ended being a bigger hit for the husband and wife duo than it had for Mason himself. The song was included on their 1972 LP Country Life, but problems between the Bramletts led to Atlantic's Jerry Wexler recalling the album, terminating their contract and selling the master tapes to Columbia, which changed the song order and renamed the album D&B Together (ironic, considering they were in the process of breaking up). Atlantic did, however, include Only You Know And I Know on a British sampler LP called The New Age Of Atlantic in November of 1972, eight months after D&B Together was released in the US.

Artist:    Pentangle
Title:    Pentangling
Source:    LP: The Pentangle
Writer(s):    Cos/Jansch/McShea/Renbourne/Thompson
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Once in a while an album comes along that is so consistently good that it's impossible to single out one specific track for airplay. Such is the case with the debut Pentangle album from 1968. The group combined the talents of guitarists John Renbourne and Bert Jansch, who were both already well-established among the British coffee-house crowd, as was vocalist Jacqui McShea. They were joined by bassist Terry Cox and drummer Danny Thompson, both of whom came from a jazz background. As a group, the Pentangle had more talent than nearly any band in history from any genre, yet never succumbed to the clash of egos that characterize most supergroups. Enjoy all seven minutes of Pentangling from their 1968 debut LP.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Thelonius/Freeway Jam/Diamond Dust
Source:    CD: Blow By Blow
Writer(s):    Wonder/Middleton/Holland
Label:    Epic
Year:    1975
    Following the dissolution of Beck, Bogert And Appice in 1974, guitarist Jeff Beck, after doing session work for various bands, decided to work on his first entirely instrumental solo album. To help with the project he recruited keyboardist Max Middleton from the second Jeff Beck Group and hired George Martin to produce the album. Filling out the group instrumentally were bassist Phil Chen and drummer Richard Bailey. The songs on Blow By Blow have a tendency to run together, including the sequence of three tunes that end the album. The first of those three, Thelonius, is a tribute song written by Stevie Wonder (who also played clavinet on the track), while Freeway Jam is an easily recognizable tune from Middleton. The trilogy of tunes winds up with Diamond Dust, written (but not recorded) by Brian Holland, who had been Beck's backup guitarist in the second incarnation of the Jeff Beck Group and had gone on to become a founding member of a group called Hummingbird.


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