Sunday, September 30, 2012

40 Year Itch: Those We Missed Sep '72


Joe Walsh leaves The James Gang and that band's hard rock sound behind for acoustic guitars, harmony vocals and even some experiments with an ARP Odyssey synthesizer on his first solo album Barnstorm.  "Comin' Down" is the final track on the album. This one's a grower and the best of the bunch in today's post.


"Dinah Flo" was the single on Boz Scaggs's fifth album My Time, recorded with the mighty Muscle Shoals backing band. Surprising that it would take four more years for Boz to make what seems to my ears a small leap from "Dinah Flo" to Silk Degrees.


For their second album of 1972, Manfred Mann's Earth Band get heavier  and more experimental than on their magnificent debut. Then they close the whole thing out with a Dylan cover that ranks among the best ever.

[Purchase a Styx Anthology]

Chicago based prog rockers showed off their classical training on their Wooden Nickel eponymous debut which featured a 13 minute suited called  "Movement for the Common Man", the third section of which is Aaron Copeland's "Fanfare for the Common Man". Styx could also get heavy handed. Witness  "After You Leave Me", the final cut on the album.These were probably not the best of times.


Founders of World Music, the African and Caribbean expats who recorded as Osibisa in London may sound stale compared to the more authentic high life recordings we can all hear in this digital age. But they were the shit in the 1970's.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

40 Year Itch : The Moonshadow Tour

After 12 months of virtual silence. 12 months without any new music. Or Shows. Or interviews. The Cat came back.
   Cat Stevens ,with an 11 piece orchestra, opened his 31 date Moonshadow American tour on September 29, 1972 before a sold-out crowd of 6,500 at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium. Ramblin' Jack Elliot opened the show, followed by Cat's own cartoon short, Teaser and the Firecat.


 Cat's album Catch Bull At Four had been released two days earlier. Despite it's lack of a major single ("Sitting" peaked at #16 in the US), it would be Cat's most successful US album--topping the Billboard album charts for three weeks. Some of that success may be related to his soundtrack for the 1971 cult film Harold and Maude.

 Cat's 1972 setlist went something like this.
 This one's from an October gig in Columbus OH.

1. Wild World

2. Trouble
3. On the Road To Find Out
4. Can't Keep It In.*
5. Maybe You're Right

6. Sitting*
7. 18th Avenue*
8. Hard Headed Woman
9. Time
10. Fill My Eyes
11. Lady D'Arbanville
12. Peace Train
13. Sad Lisa

14. Father and Son
15. Ruins
16. Angelsea*
17.King of Trees
18.Morning Has Broken
* denotes songs from Catch Bull At Four.

A New York Daily News reviewer wrote "He sings with quiet intensity; his lyrics are literate and evocative and he accompanies himself on guitar, piano, organ and in all, holds forth for a consistently entertaining 90 minutes on stage. He puts on a fine show. It's nice to have him back. It's also fun to watch him ducking his head from side to side, his black curls flying wildly, almost as if he kept time with his head."

Friday, September 28, 2012

40 Year Itch: Bowie Arrives in the US of A

"When David Bowie made his Carnegie Hall debut last fall everybody from Albert Goldman to Andy Warhol was there plus a gaggle of weirdo's expecting some kind of a British Alice Cooper. That's not what they got. The concert opened as Bowie, in clockwork orange hair, came onstage amid flashing strobe lights, to the Mooged up strains of Beethoven's Ninth. From there, except for a simulated sex act with silver haired guitarist Mick Ronson, it was a matter of music, ranging from hard rock laid down by Bowie's band, the Spiders From Mars, to a Jacques Brel song with guitar accompaniment..." - Playboy (1973)

 David Bowie arrived in America on September 27, 1972. That's the night he played a sold out show at Carnegie Hall in front of Andy Warhol, Tony Perkins, Truman Capote, Alan Bates, Todd Rundgren, The New York Dolls, men who spray painted their faces silver and women with see through clothes.

"Sound. Its swells like the booming of surf on a deserted shore. Ziggy and the Spiders. And there's Ronno, on his knees in front of the idol whose fame Bowie covets. The sexual movements are explicit and everybody is happy because it is happening just as it was reported by NME. Carnegie Hall is for a moment Wolverhampton. You can't fault the music. Or the group. They play hard, muscular chords, sharp and choppy, the tempo a futuristic quick-step that induces the adrenaline to flow. And Bowie as Ziggy cries to the crowd, head back, sweat running in glistening rivulets down the creases of his thin neck, staining his uniform. Put Your Space Face Close To Mine, Luv. Ronno rips off the chords. It's the first Bowie show with real power..." - Eric Van Lustbader (1976)

    Bowie performed for 90 minutes. The set list consisted of songs mostly culled from Ziggy Stadust. But Bowie also performed "Andy Warhol" from 1971's Hunky Dory and covers of the Velvet Underground's "Waiting For The Man" and "White Light/White Heat" which he introduced with the line "This is like bringing coals to Newcastle". A month earlier Bowie and guitarist Mick Ronson had been producing Lou Reed's break through album Transformer. There was also a cover of Jacques Brel's "My Death" which was recorded and later appeared on RarestOneBowie in 1995.
 The entire Setlist:
 "Hang Onto Yourself"
 "Lady Stardust"
"Moonage Daydream"
 "Five Years"
 "Suffragette City"
 "Life on Mars?"
 "Queen Bitch"
 "Andy Warhol"
 "My Death"
 "Space Oddity"
 "Width of A Circle"
 "Waiting for the Man"
 "White Light - White Heat"
 "Round and Round"


Bowie had the flu that night and retired to his room instead of hosting an after concert party.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

40 Year Itch: The Death of Rory Storm

On September 27 Rory Storme, the leader of one of Liverpool's earliest beat groups, mixed alcohol and sleeping pills and never woke up. His grief stricken mother killed herself shortly after finding the body.

His sisters said Rory was happy to be "the king of Liverpool" and didn't like to tour much. He didn't write many songs either which is one of the reasons his most famous drummer, Ringo Starr, decided to part ways with Rory Storm and The Hurricanes to beat the skins for The Beatles. The other reason was that John and Paul were offering more money.

  In his autobiography, Brian Epstein wrote that Storm was "one of the liveliest and most likeable young men on the scene 9 and0 was very annoyed when Ringo left and he complained to me. I apologised and Rory, with immense good humour said, "Ok, Forget it. The best of luck to the lot of you."

But there are other reports that Rory Storm was depressed at the time of his death. He had recently lost his father and he was haunted by his lack of success when all around him were bands that had made it big.

At his funeral, mourners sang his favorite song "You'll Never Walk Alone". Ringo did not attend which he dismissed by pointing out "I wasn't there when he was born either."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

40 Year Itch : Full House

[Purchase $7.99]

Jive talking bad ass Peter "Gotta Get It Crazy Can't Get It Lazy" Wolf's stage persona must have - I mean MUST HAVE - taught both Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen a thing or two about crowd manipulation. Recorded over two nights at Detroit's Cinderella Ballroom, Peter Wolf keeps the party going on this short, just 33 minute album Full House ( released September 26, 1972)  All but "Hard Drivin Man" are covers. Mostly obscure rhythm and blues and 50's rock and roll. There's only one extended jam , a 9:32 cover of John Lee Hooker's "Serves You Right To Suffer".

This was a different J Geils Band from the one that gave us angels in a centerfold. This was a band that was constantly on the road with the "soul" intent of making audiences feel like they were the seeing the greatest rock band in the world...and proving white boys could play the blues. Be prepared to be blown away.

 Here below is another 1972 performance by the J Geils Band. This time in Boston. The video may be a little crunchy but the sound is excellent. Check out Magic Dick on his lickin stick and the keyboards of Seth Justman. This is how it's done.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

40 Year Itch : Snowblind

[Buy Vol 4 for $4.99]

"Yeah, the cocaine had set in. We went out to L.A. and got into a totally different lifestyle. Half the budget went on the coke and the other half went to seeing how long we could stay in the studio... We rented a house in Bel-Air and the debauchery up there was just unbelievable." -Geezer Butler, bassist, Guitar World, 2001

      After three years on the road, the members of Black Sabbath needed a break so they rented a mansion in Bel-Air and set about snorting mounds and mounds of cocaine. Cocaine has become such a central part of their lives, they decided to name their fourth album Snowblind. That is, until their US label Warner Brothers said no. Still, if you listen to the album Ozzy Osbourne promises you will hear all kinds of references to cocaine.

"The album cost around $65,000 to make and we'd spent $75,000 on coke" -Geezer Butler

 "If you listen to the track 'Snowblind' itself you can hear the word 'cocaine' being whispered in those quite bits." Ozzy told Mojo Magazine. " don't know why they didn't object to that. Maybe they didn't bother listening to it."


Maybe not. But Vol 4 was Sabbath's fourth straight album to sell a million copies in the US. It was also another nail in the coffin for the excess drove a wedge between band members.In another seven years, Black Sabbath would be history.

Monday, September 24, 2012

40 Year Itch: Sandy


"Sandy (was) my favourite singer of all the British girls that ever were" -Robert Plant

 The most curious thing about this beautiful album is why it didn't make Sandy Denny a star, especially as it came on the heels of start making singer-songwriter debuts from the likes of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King. The first reason may be that it took Sandy Denny too long to get around to making Sandy, which came out in September of 1972. Nearly three years after she left Fairport Convention. Along the way, there was Fotheringay, another British folk band she fronted. Duller than Fairport, they broke up after one album. Then there was her first solo album The Northstar Grassman and the Ravens. An Uneven effort. There was her guest vocal appearance on Led Zeppelin's "Battle Of Evermore" and her appearance on the orchestral version of the rock opera Tommy. Melody Maker readers were patient. The voted her Best British Female Singer in 1970 and 1971.

Their patience was rewarded with Sandy. And, going against the grain, I'll say the reason this album didn't sell is the choice of the very pretty "Listen, Listen" as the single. Yes I know it was chosen as single of the week by Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn. But the B-side, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Tomorrow Is a Long Time", would have introduced Sandy to a far wider audience than the British folkies who already worshiped her. New fans, who already knew Rod Stewart's cover on Every Picture Tells A Story, would have perked up, especially in the US. It would have also anticipated the country/pop crossover singles of Linda Ronstadt and Donna Fargo.

      That said, my favorite song is "For Nobody To Hear", with its Allen Toussaint horn arrangement. The entire album benefits from Sandy's dreamy vocals and Richard Thompson's understated guitar lines. They make a good team.  By 1974, Sandy was back with Fairport Convention. She died in 1978 after a few years troubled by substance abuse, a broken marriage and some unfortunate falls.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

40 Year Itch: Mary Had A Little Lamb


Depending on which Paul McCartney you believe, "Mary Had A Little Lamb" was either a smart-ass response to the BBC's banning his "Give Ireland Back To The Irish" or a sincere attempt to write a children's song ( as The Beatles had with "Yellow Submarine" and "All Together Now") In any case it remains one of the most annoying songs Macca ever recorded.


 The song peaked at #9 on the UK charts while in America, radio stations preferred to play the B-Side "Little Woman Love". Thank God!

Both can be found on Wildlife.


Friday, September 21, 2012

40 Year Itch: Save The Children

Some time between Save The Planet and Save The Whales, Jesse Jackson and his civil rights organization Operation PUSH ( People United To Serve Humanity)decided to save the children. The September 1972 concert event, named after one of Marvin Gaye's songs on his classic 1971 album What's Going On, featured a who's who of the year's biggest jazz and rhythm and blues performers: Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Bill Withers, Roberta Flack, Quincy Jones and of course The Jackson 5 who performed Michael's most recent hit "I Wanna Be Where You Are" as well as a medley of their greatest hits.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

40 Year Itch : 1972 in Soundtracks Part 2

A continuation of Tuesday's post celebrating the best soundtracks of 1972.


With its depiction of man-raping hillbillies, the 1972 thriller Deliverance didn't do the Deep South any favors. There are people in Rabun County Georgia still hurting from the movie 40 years later. On the other hand, bluegrass music got a nice shot in the arm...even if the soundtrack's most famous tune was recorded without permission. Had it not been for Roberta Flack, raised within half a day's drive from the Northeast corner of Georgia in Black Mountain, NC "Dueling Banjos" would have hit #1 in 1973.


Ennio Morricone composed the soundtracks for more famous spaghetti westerns (A Fistful of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More,  and of course The Good The Bad and The Ugly) but his masterpiece may very well have been Giu La Testa ( which roughly translates into "Duck Your Head" or "Duck, You Sucker!" or "A Fistful of Dynamite").

Before a lush orchestra you'll hear a whistler, a chant of "Sean Sean Sean" and then the heartbreaking soprano of Edda Dell'Orso who sang on a number of Morricone soundtracks. The movie may be uneven but the soundtrack is hypnotizing.



There are other soundtracks to Cabaret (most notably the original Broadway cast recording from 1966 with Joel Grey as Emcee and the 1998 revival with Alan Cummings)  but if you've got the 40 year itch you've got to have the one with Liza Minnelli. Directed by Bob Fosse, she won an Oscar for her performance as Sally Bowles.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

40 Year Itch : 1972 in Soundtracks Part 1

1972 was a monster year in film and movie soundtracks. Just look at some of the movies that came out that year: The Godfather,  Deliverance, Cabaret, Solaris and Aguirre Wrath of God. Porn went mainstream with both Deep Throat and Behind The Green Door among the top ten grossing films. 1972 also saw the best of the blaxploitation soundtracks Superfly as well as Marvin Gaye's Trouble Man and Bobby Womack's Across 110th Street. And who can forget The Harder They Come ? Here are some of 1972's most memorable soundtracks.


   It says a lot about the power of a film that after just 137 minutes nobody will hear Beethoven's most famous symphony in the same way.
   Though the movie came out in 1971, the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange wasn't released until 1972. Along with some straight,  though mostly truncated,  orchestral performances of classical numbers like various movements from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and Rossini's "William Tell Overture", there are the standout synthesizer performances by Walter "Switched-On_Bach" Carlos ( She would undergo sex reassignment surgery in 1972 and become Wendy Carlos). All of the music --even "Gene Kelly's "Singin In The Rain" --will forever be haunted by the brutal imagery of the film.
    Check out the opening track :  Carlos's performance of Henry Purcell's "Music For The Funeral for Queen Mary". Listen closely and you can hear the sounds that inspired the entire Goth music movement.


Wendy Carlos also did the soundtrack music to Kubrick's The Shining.


Roam the halls of the dark, well guarded Coreleone family mansion in this soundtrack by the great Italian composer Nino Rota ( who did the soundtrack work on all The Godfather movies as well as films by Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti) The American Film Institute ranks The Godfather #5 on their list of  all time great film scores. As with most film scores, you're going to hear a theme repeated over and over.
"The Halls Of Fear" is as dark as it gets. I would say if you have bad news to give at an office meeting, it might really set the stage by playing this first. I'll try it this week and let you know.


The love theme, "Speak Softly Love" was covered by all kinds of artists. Andy Williams had the big hit but I prefer this reggae version by Ken Boothe (  But then I seem to prefer Ken Boothe's reggae versions of just about everything).


Improvisation. That's what Marlon Brando was doing throughout the sexually charged, originally X-Rated story of an American widower and his attempt to have an anonymous affair with a younger woman. ( Actually Brando was reading cue cards placed all over the set...including the ceiling). But in any case, improvisation is part of what jazz is all about and Argentine sax player Gato Barbieri does with the main theme, now a jazz standard. At once sexy sunny and cheesy, the Last Tango In Paris soundtrack deserves its place among 1972's best soundtracks.

Look for more soundtracks from 1972 later this week.

Monday, September 17, 2012

40 Year Itch: Ray Charles Gets Political

1972 was an interesting year for Ray Charles. He was profiled in a New Musical Express article with the headlines "The Man Who Beat Drug Addiction And Blindness To Become A Legend". He recorded "America The Beautiful" and met with President Richard Nixon. But also, following the lead of Marvin Gaye and Curtis Mayfield, Ray got political with the funky Quincy Jones produced single "Hey Mister". Written as a letter to a Congressman, Ray points out "we're the richest country in the world and I just can't understand why we got so many hungry people."

Hey legislation why don't you try a new route
Listen to the people and hear what they're talking about
You see the poor people know they can't impeach you 
They just hoping that they cries will reach you

The song peaked at #47 on the R and B charts. On shows like Dick Cavett, Carol Burnett and even Bill Cosby, Ray performed his standard hits like the five year old "Eleanor Rigby" cover. Both "Hey Mister" and "America The Beautiful" can be found on the album Message From The People, which also features a minor hit in "Look What They've Done To My Song Ma" and opens with a stirring version of the black national anthem "Lift Every Voice And Sing".

Sunday, September 16, 2012

40 Year Itch Roxy Music In Concert

On September 16, the BBC broadcast a Roxy Music concert the Paris Theatre in London  featuring, in order, the songs "The Bob (Medley)", "The Bogus Man Pt 2", "Sea Breezes", "Virginia Plain"( a new single released a month earlier that would peak at #4), "Chance Meeting" and "Re-Make/Re-Model". "Whispering Bob" Harris is the announcer between each track.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

40 Year Itch: Rocky Mountain High


True story. My dad and stepmother were friends with John Denver. I grew up with Rocky Mountain High so it is with some self-enforced detachment that I have to say this is probably not his best album. I'd give the nod to 1971's Poems, Prayers and Promises.

Rocky Mountain High, released September 15, 1972, was Denver's first Top Ten album. And though it contains the title track,  a Top Ten hit that has become his most famous song and one of the state songs of Colorado, there isn't much else to recommend. "Goodbye Again" is a re-write of "Leaving On a Jet Plane" and the Season Suite just doesn't do much for me.

That said, I thought this might be a great place to share my dad's 1974 letter to Denver, shortly after we all saw him at the New Haven Coliseum. My stepmother went backstage that year. We'd gone the year before and saw the ping pong table Denver liked to play on relax before a show. There was the smell of herb in the air and a whole lot of cheers every time Denver shouted "Far Out!"

Anyway, here's the letter

Dear John: Your concert in New Haven was stupendous! My God, when you came on stage that first moment and the Coliseum must be an extraordinary sensation, rather frightening, rather pleasing, rather contemptible even. I mean how is it possible not to react with something approaching scorn at the animal that gets unleashed. There is that crowd aura, that same frenzied grip that politicians strive for, that Hitler achieved ( he, too, had at Nuremberg that astonishingly staged and managed show which created a crowd frenzy). I don't mean to compare you to Hitler, my friend, all I mean is you have achieved that same quality of having crowds react to you but that, unlike Hitler, of course you deserve it.

John Denver visiting us in 1967.

You gave the impression of being perfectly at ease, in control and professional all of which you are, but it came across. And I think your music--that is, the songs you write, are getting more and more beautiful and lyrical. I think "Sunshine on My Shoulder" (sic) is one of the loveliest songs I've heard in years. Very simple, very true like all good writing must be. And "Goodbye Again" is lovely too. Of course "Rocky Mountain High"--the title suddenly for the first time struck me as perfect for a high school in Denver. Wonderful idea, the little girl saying "I'm at Rocky Mountain High" and the other responding "I'll say..."--anyway , Rocky Mountain High is such a pleasing song and a nice thought.

I remember once being on acid at Vale (sic) and suddenly thinking I'd been dropped into a Nazi pre World War II training camp, getting nervous about it, knowing I was on acid, thinking if only I could piss it out of me I'd be all right. But every time I'd head for the can, I'd have to pass the wooden beamed staircase and all the ski boots clomping up and down would make me think I'd fallen into Gestapo Headquarters and I'd flee in a panic for the outside, terrified that someone would speak to me and find out I couldn't speak German. Which, of course, 50% of the people around me were speaking. It was German week or something. It was funny in retrospect and scary at the time.

Still, back to the concert, the children loved it. Little Amanda bobbed up and down, boogaloo'd, my 9 year old daughter, Lansing, ( who somehow managed to pass the word to her school that you were spending the weekend with us) is starstruck, smarmy with love for you and my 10 year old son thinks you sing okay.

 Thank you for your kindness and especially for calling. As the man who led Sam back out to meet us said, "He's a star now." You earned it.

I think Denver sings better than ok. And he could really play the guitar. I wish he'd recorded an album by himself. Just his voice and his guitar the way Johnny Cash did. We might be remembering him in a different way now.

Friday, September 14, 2012

All Time Top 10 : Les Nemes of Haircut 100


Bass Player Les Nemes of British popsters Haircut One Hundred ( "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl), "Love Plus One") gave this list to Smash Hits Magazine at about the time they were scoring their 4th Top 10 UK hit in a row "Nobody's Fool". You can hear that Caribbean flavor Haircut 100 adopted from the Hi Tension track. The list comes courtesy of Brian at Like Punk Never Happened.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

40 Year Itch : A Moment's Answer To The Dream

When I was writing "Close to the Edge" With Steve (Howe), I was reading a lot about spirituality and how it stretches across the entire world. There's a connection, like all rivers lead to the same ocean, so I thought, you know, "close to the edge, down by the river". And it's like people say "Close to the Edge" is about  disaster, but no , it's about realization! We're on this journey and the only reason we live is to find the divine. To find God from within 
   -Jon Anderson
interviewed by Sea Of Tranquility

   As previously stated just this week,  there was a time when people would set the needle down and really listen to side long symphonic rock tracks like "Close to the Edge" . To me it  sounds for the first few minutes like every idea these stellar musicians ever had got tossed into a blender. Ah! But that's just one half of one movement. Things get funky, then ethereal, then churchy and then the whole thing drives down the autobahn in a tank before crashing into a tree full of birds.

    "For You And I" is lovely. The second of its four movements, "Eclipse" was released as a single in the US and just missed cracking the Top 40. Finally there's 9 minutes of the vigorous "Siberian Khatru". I listen in awe to the bass lines of Chris Squire. ( But sometimes I get the feeling that's the whole point of Yes: "Be in awe of  us!").

This would be the last album to feature Bruford who quit Yes to join King Crimson just days before a US tour. Enter Alan White to the rescue ( see interview) who had to learn how to play these oddly tempo'd tunes. Yes would spend years trying to top Close To The Edge. The band has their moments but this, The Yes Album and Fragile are still the highlights in my opinion.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

40 Year Itch: Long Live Rock 1972 ( Part 2)

                                                  DONNY HATHAWAY LIVE


No it's not rock but this 1972 soul release from Donny Hathaway is my favorite live album of 1972.    Recorded live at The Troubador in Hollywood and at the Bitter End in New York, Hathaway and his band ( which includes bassist Willie Weeks) find the groove every single time and on tracks from Hathaway's 1970 solo debut, Everything Is Everything, stretch out. "The Ghetto" runs more than 12 minutes. "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)" runs nearly 14 minutes...including a remarkably funky three minute bass solo from Weeks. In the blogosphere , it's Hathaway's version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" that has turned audiences onto Donny Hathway Live but the entire album is great.


At the height of their popularity the Dutch band Shocking Blue were knocking out three albums a year as well as touring the world. Live In Japan finds the band doing a pretty decent job of overcoming sleep deprivation and jet lag. As fans will already know "Hot Sand" was the B-Side to "Venus" which, for some reason, gets played twice on the album. Good stuff but Attila, released in November of 1972,  would contain a most amazing single: "Rock In The Sea".


                                                            SLADE ALIVE!


Though packed with cover versions from the likes of Lovin' Spoonful, Ten Years After and Steppenwolf, Slade's live album Alive! sold big numbers peaking at #1 in Australia and #2 in the UK. The album rocks all the way through and is meant to be played loudly and often. Plus there is a true "punk rock" moment halfway through "Darling Be Home Soon" when singer Noddy Holder belches into the microphone. You put something like that on a record and teenage boys will help launch your career into the stratosphere! The 2006 version has 33 tracks.


                                             THE BAND ROCK OF AGES


On the last four nights of 1971, The Band booked the Academy of Music in NYC and played their ever loving asses off with a horn section arranged by New Orleans maestro Allen Toussaint. The result is a classic album that had only gotten better with part because we keep getting more music. The most recent incarnation of Rock of Ages is two CDs , 45 minutes longer than the original two disc set, including four songs with Bob Dylan. So sometimes the horns are overbearing. This is still a better live document of The Band at its best than The Last Waltz.


Yeah, we'll deal with Full House, Made In Japan and a few others in the weeks and months to come.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

40 Year Itch Long Live Rock 1972 ( Part 1 )

In this era of 140 character Twitter messages, on-demand television and internet porn, it may be hard to believe people used to sit back in chairs, pop a beer can and listen to an entire albums filled with nothing but long-haired musicians jamming live to appreciative crowds. The live "Head Album", so called because in addition to beer you'd probably be feeding your head, probably peaked in 1972.

Here are few notable examples.


 Recorded by former Paul Revere and the Raiders guitarist Drake Levin ( who also played on Ananka Shankar's trippy 1970 eponymous album and with Emitt Rhodes)and LA session musicians before a crowd of 55,000, this acid rock ult fave was limited to 1000 copies in 1972. The Gear Fab label is releasing the album on CD in February of 2013. Listen to the entire album below. Turn on the lava lamp and listen to the entire album below.


                                     CARLOS SANTANA AND BUDDY MILES!LIVE!


 Clearly Carlos Santana is doing Buddy Miles a "solid" by appearing on this one time live album recorded in Hawaii. It sold a million copies and even went Top Ten. the album starts off promisingly enough with a cover of John Mclaughlin's "Marbles" and Buddy's "Lava". Then comes a version of "Evil Ways" that starts off groovy before jazz saxophonist Hadley Caliman begins blowing weird atonal notes halfway in. There's also a sidelong jam called "Free Form Funkafide Filth" that goes nowhere and then , 17 minutes in, has the musical balls to pull of a "false ending" before going for seven minutes more. Can't imagine listening to this one all the way through more than once.



Popular German prog rockers Frumpy, led by the mesmerizing vocalist Inga Rumpf, recorded a double live album of soulful hard rock with some of the best organ playing this side of Deep Purple. Unfortunately Frumpy Live came out after the band had broken up. After the break-up three members of the band, including Inga,  formed Atlantis which eventually supported both Aerosmith and Lynyrd Skynyrd on tour. Despite limited US success, Inga is still gigging around German. Heil Inga!


                                            JOHN MAYALL JAZZ BLUES FUSION

[Purchase for $5.99]

Well, Dean of all Rock Critics Robert Christgau wasn't impressed. "Old blues guys plus old jazz guys? I always though fusion was something new" he wrote in his C- review. No, it's not really something new. But Brit John Mayall cooks on his harmonica and interweaves solos with Stanley Turrentine's favorite trumpeter Blue Mitchell and sax player Clifford Solomon while Freddy Robinson lays clean jazz-blues lines. No wonder for some Mayall fans, this one stands out as the favorite.


TOMORROW: Live albums from rock and soul acts like Donny Hathaway, Slade, The Band  and Shocking Blue

Monday, September 10, 2012

40 Year Itch: Surrender To The Rhythm

It's refreshing to know that as the 1970's introduced an era of side-long progressive rock symphonies and  self pitying singer songwriters, there were still bands that just wanted to make feel good three minute rock'n'roll songs about girls, girlfriends and ex girlfriends. In the UK, Brinsley Schwarz was arguably the best of the pub rockers. Led by Nick Lowe and Brinsley Schwarz, the band's second 1972 studio album Nervous On The Road didn't make much of an impact on the charts but its 40 minutes of country-flavored rock earned the band a UK tour opening for Paul McCartney and Wings.

After a sixth album that would be produced by Dave Edmunds and feature "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace Love And Understanding", the members of Brinsley Schwarz would play a big role in the New Wave movement. Nick Lowe scored some solo hits ("I Love The Sound of Breaking Glass", "Cruel To Be Kind") and produced Elvis Costello, Graham Parker and The Damned among others. Ian Gomm hit the Top 20 in 1979 with "Hold On". Brinsley Schwarz and Bob Andrews joined former Brinsley Schwarz roadie Martin Belmont and  recorded as The Rumour with and without Graham Parker.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

All Time Top 10: David Jaymes of Modern Romance

New romantic pin up popsters Modern Romance scored their biggest selling single with "Best Years Of Our Lives" which was released shortly after bass guitarist Jaymes gave this list to Smash Hits Magazine. The list comes courtesy of Brian at Like Punk Never Happened.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

40 Year Itch All The Young Dudes


Mott The Hoople had practically thrown in the towel for reasons previously discussed when bassist Pete Overend got a call from David Bowie offering Mott  "Suffragette City". Hours after Overend idiotically declined, Bowie called back with a new song he had written, a glam rock anthem that would revive Mott.  The single "All The Young Dudes" was released in July of 1972 and  peaked at #3 in the UK and #37 in the US.

On September 8, 1972 the Bowie produced album All The Young Dudes, one of my favorite albums of all time, was released. I knew nothing of Bowie swooping in to save the band. I just heard greatness.I found a cassette copy of the album in a Reno pawn shop. There was no case. No cover. I made my own cover using the bubblegum card photo of Elvis sailing.

Well, it is better than the album cover Mott used.And surprisingly, not that different from the originally planned cover photo -shot by Mick Rock. It might have been one of the seminal rock n roll photos of all time had it been used. No one from Mick to Ian Hunter can remember why it wasn't.

All The Young Dudes has one of the greatest A sides in rock history. It's also extremely sexual with sadists, evil mothers, schoolgirls in need of "reincelibation", a black man's balls and a singer who's been wanting to do "this" for years.

    It kicks off with a cover of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" written by Lou Reed who was also in the process of getting a make-over from Bowie. The result would be Transformer and  the single "Walk On The Wild Side".

Love the second cut, "Momma's Little Jewel", with its false beginning ( that's Bowie supposedly saying "Don't stop ...No...Carry on" and playing the dissonant sax at the end) and made up word: "Don't know why but I'm gonna try/ to reincelibate you ".

That's followed by the glorious title track and then another favorite of mine, "Sucker" , with its opening line " Hi there, your friendly neighborhood sadist want to take you for a ride".

The great "A" side ends with "Jerkin' Crocus", the Sticky Fingered tale of an aggressive "nads puller". There's the oft quoted line "I know what you want, just a lick from an ice cream cone." Jesus the riffs on this one!

It's a shame Side Two can't keep up the momentum. It's probably mostly noted for the single "One Of The Boys" and the first appearance of "Ready For Love" which Mick Ralphs would take with him when he joined Bad Company after 1973's classic Mott. Yes, a lot of fans say the best was yet to come for Mott The Hoople but All The Young Dudes will always be my favorite.

Friday, September 7, 2012

40 Year Itch: Give It Up


For more than 40 years Bonnie Raitt has been making soulful blues albums. Most people know the nine-time Grammy winner from her 1989 album Nick Of Time, which sold five million copies thanks to heavy airplay for singles like "Nick Of Time", "Have A Heart" and "Thing Called Love".

But where do you go from there?

Well, rock critics and longtime fans have made a strong argument for Bonnie's second album, Give It Up, released in September of 1972.

The album cover gives absolutely no indication of what's inside. (I doubt any other major recording artist has ever had such a string of awful album covers).

Just 22 years old, Bonnie and her fellow musicians confidently play bar band blues ("Give It Up Or Let It Go"), New Orleans-style blues ("You Got To Know How") , West Coast folk (the Jackson Browne cover "Under The Falling Sky") , some stunning originals and finally, if you haven't yet been convinced, a heart-shattering cover of Eric Kaz's "Love Has No Pride".

Here's the album you need for that Indian Summer, golden hour backyard bar-b-que. There are great pleasures to be found in every cut. While "Love Has No Pride" may be the obvious track to highlight, I'm calling an audible and offering up Bonnie's funky "You Told Me Baby" which contains everything we loved about California pop back then. I could listen to this one all day.