Sunday, May 12, 2024

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2420 (starts 5/13/24) 

    This time around, after a quick introductory tune from Spirit, we work our way back through the years, starting with a track from Patti Smith's 1975 debut LP and ending up with one of Black Sabbath's quieter tunes from their 1971 Master Of Reality album. The highlight of the musical journey is the inclusion of the entire first side of Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells (and it's not even Halloween). As an added bonus we toss in a mid-70s Rolling Stones classic to finish out the show.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    CD: Spirit
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Ode/Epic/Legacy
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a fairly hard rocker and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.
Artist:    Patti Smith
Title:    Birdland
Source:    LP: Horses
Writer(s):    Smith/Sohl/Kaye/Krol
Label:    Arista
Year:    1975
    In spring of 1975 Patti Smith and her band shared a two-month residency at New York's CBGB club with the band Television, led by Tom Verlaine. Around that same time Clive Davis was looking for acts to sign to his new record label, Arista, and he offered Smith a record deal, with work to begin on her debut LP that summer. After early plans to record the album in Florida with producer Tom Dowd fell through, the sessions began in August at New York's Electric Ladyland studios, with the Velvet Underground's John Cale serving as producer. Most of the material on the album was written by Smith, usually in collaboration with one or more of her band members, which included Jay Dee Daugherty on drums, Lenny Kaye on lead guitar, Ivan Král on bass and Richard Sohl on piano. All but Daugherty are credited with the creation of Birdland, which at over nine minutes clocks in as the longest single piece on the LP.

Artist:    Mahogany Rush
Title:    Child Of The Novelty
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Frank Marino
Label:    20th Century
Year:    1974
    The second Mahogany Rush album, Child Of The Novelty, saw the addition of keyboardist Phil Bech (who had played on one track on the band's first LP) as an official member. Although they were not a top 40 kind of band, they did release a song from the album called A New Rock And Roll as a single, with the album's title track on the B side. Although the single was released commercially in stereo, promotional copies were monoraul on both sides.

Artist:    Mike Oldfield
Title:    Tubular Bells
Source:    LP: Tubular Bells
Writer(s):    Mike Oldfield
Label:    Virgin
Year:    1973
    So you probably immediately recognize this piece as the theme from The Exorcist. But have you ever heard the entire album-length version of the piece, entitled Tubular Bells? Well, you're hearing the first half of it now. A bit of trivia: Tubular Bells was the first album ever released by Virgin Records. Several sequels have been recorded in the years since the album's original 1973 release, including Tubular Bells II and III and The Millenium Bell (released in 1999).

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Salty Dog
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (taken from LP: Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1972
    Originally released on Procol Harum's 1969 album of the same name, A Salty Dog is better known to US audiences for its performance on the LP Live In Concert With The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which went to the #5 spot on the Billboard LP charts in 1972. The song itself has been cited by lyricist Keith Reid as one of his personal favorite Procol Harum songs and was released as a single twice; the studio version in 1969 and the aforementioned live performance in 1972. Radio stations ended up flipping the record over, however, making its B side, Conquistador, a surprise hit, becoming the band's second-highest charting single.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Solitude
Source:    LP: Master Of Reality
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osborne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    I have to admit I'm a sucker for the slow, moody songs that appear as a change of pace on Black Sabbath's early albums. One of my favorites is Solitude, from the band's third LP, Master Of Reality. The song sets a mood that is in sharp contrast with the early heavy metal sound of the rest of the album. Guitarist Tony Iommi also plays piano and flute on the track.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It)
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single (promo)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Rolling Stones
Year:    1974
    You'd think that after writing such legendary classics as (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Jumpin' Jack Flash and Honky Tonk Women, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would be pretty much tapped out for the rest of their lives. But, nope. They had to come up yet another iconic song in 1974, It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It). Hell, the title alone probably should be inscribed over the entrance of the Rock 'N' Roll Hall Of Fame. The song itself was reportedly written in response to critics who seemed to think that the Stones, and Mick and Keith in particular, somehow had a responsibility to be role models, and were not living up to those critics' expectations of how they should be conducting themselves.

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