Tuesday, December 31, 2013

40 Year Itch : Goodbye 1973

In 1973 The James Last Orchestra performs a medley of Hawkwind's Silver Machine, T. Rex's Children of the Revolution and Alice Cooper's School's Out.

40 Year Itch : Fave Nuggets of 1973

Some of our favorite tunes from 1973 are the ones we didn't really know until we immersed ourselves in the music of that year.

Buckingham Nicks "Long Distance Winner"

Elliot Murphy "Hangin' Out"

Fanny "All Mine"

Judee Sill "The Kiss"

Neu "Fur Immer"

Yoko Ono "Move On Fast"

T. Rex "Electric Slim and the Factory Hen"

Jane Birkin "Help Camionneur!"

Al Green "Beware"

Marcos Valle "Nao Tem Nada Nao"

Terry Reid "River"

Cockney Rebel "Muriel The Actor"

Golden Earring "Just Like Vince Taylor"

Deodato "Super Strut"

Hall and Oates "Las Vegas Turnaround"

Kim Jung Mi "Wind in the Trees"

Neil Sedaka and 10cc "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"

The O'Jays "Ship Ahoy"

Syl Johnson "Back for a Taste of Your Love"

Roxy Music "The Bogus Man"

Procol Harum "Grand Hotel"

Electric Light Orchestra "Momma"

Secos e Molhados "Sangue Latino"

Bachman Turner Overdrive "Blue Collar"

Willie Nelson "Devil in a Sleeping Bag"

Pescado Rabioso "Cementerio Club"

Rory Gallagher "A Million Miles Away"

Can "Moonshake"

Earth Wind and Fire "Evil"

Monday, December 30, 2013

40 Year Itch: Top 40 Albums of 1973

My list of fave 1973 albums is a good mixture of records I've loved all my life and some I've discovered just this year. Yes, all year, while most people were paying attention to Miley and Beyonce, I listened almost exclusively to the music of 1973. Next year I'll be scratching the 40 year itch by listening and reviewing the records and events of 1974. Hope you'll join me.

Stevie Wonder Innervisions
Brian Eno Here Come the Warm Jets
Paul Simon There Goes Rhymin Simon
Elliot Murphy Aquashow
Cockney Rebel Human Menagerie
Roxy Music Stranded

Paul McCartney and Wings Band on the Run
Mott the Hoople Mott
David Bowie Aladdin Sane
Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon
Sly and the Family Stone Fresh
Al Green Call Me

The Who Quadrophenia
Genesis Selling England By the Pound
Iggy and the Stooges Raw Power
Isley Brothers 3 + 3
The New York Dolls
Roxy Music For Your Pleasure

Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Roy Wood Boulders
The Wailers Burnin
Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
Can Future Days
Hall and Oates Abandoned Luncheonette

Terry Reid River
John Martyn Solid Air
Pescado Rabioso Artaud
King Crimson Lark's Tongue in Aspic

John Cale Paris 1919
Marvin Gaye Let's Get it On
The Wailers Catch a Fire
Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
Dan Penn Nobody's Fool
Lynyrd Skynyrd Pronounced

Secos e Molhados
Allman Brothers Brothers and Sisters
Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall
Judee Sill Heart Food
Alice Cooper Billion Dollar Babies

Sunday, December 29, 2013

40 Year Itch: Top 40 Singles of 1973

My fave singles from 1973.

1 Stories "Brother Louie"
2 Isley Brothers "That Lady, Pt 1 and 2"
3  Dobie Gray "Drift Away"
4 Ringo Starr "Photograph"
5 Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes "The Love I Lost"

6 Jose Feliciano and Bill Withers "Compartments"
7 ELO "Showdown"
8 Elton John "Daniel"
9 Beach Boys "Sail On Sailor"
10 Bob Dylan "Knockin on Heaven's Door"

11 Sensational Alex Harvey Band " Faith Healer"
12 Roxy Music "Pyjamarama"
13 Spinners "I'll Be Around"
14 Can "Moonshake"
15 Ann Peebles "I Can't Stand the Rain"

16 Judee Sill "The Kiss"
17  Edgar Winter Group Frankenstein
18 Al Green Here I Am ( Take Me)
19 Bobby Womack "Across 110th Street"
20 Stevie Wonder "Living for the City"

21 BB King "To Know You is To Love You"
22 Marvin Gaye "Let's Get It On"
23 Sweet "Ballroom Blitz"
24 The Who "5:15"
25 Sly and the Family Stone "If You Want Me To Stay"

26 Aaron Neville "Hercules"
27 Bloodstone "Natural High"
28 Genesis "I Know What I Like In Your Wardrobe"
29 Sylvia "Pillow Talk"
30 Steely Dan "My Old School"

31 Temptations "Masterpiece"
32 Timmy Thomas "Why Can't We Live Together"
33  Paul McCartney and Wings "Live and Let Die"
34 Aerosmith "Dream On"
35 Paul Simon "Kodachrome"

36 Detroit Emeralds "Feel the Need In Me"
37 Stevie Wonder "Higher Ground"
38 The Pointer Sisters "Yes We Can Can"
39 Dr John  "Right Place, Wrong Time"
40 Aretha Franklin "Master of Eyes"

Saturday, December 28, 2013

More 1973 Albums We Missed

[Out of Print]

Harper (the subject of Led Zep's "Hats off to (Roy) Harper" and the vocalist on Pink Floyd's "Have a Cigar")   follows the now legendary Stormcock with an album of songs recorded when he was ill and facing the possibility of dying. Jimmy Page plays on several of the tunes including "Bank of the Dead". Side Two is one ambitious 23-minute track, "The Lord's Prayer", which begins with a long monologue and is made up of at least 5 movements. Harper would recover from what ailed him and follow this with another masterpiece in 1974, Valentine.

John Martyn's follow-up to his masterpiece Solid Air. Recorded with members of Traffic, Inside Out is jazzier than Solid Air and highlighted by tunes "Fine Line" and "Make No Mistake". Some of the singing is too over-the-top for these ears.

  1973's best live album? ( Bill Withers, Yes and Focus fans might disagree.) That's right, kids, people once had time to play four sides of a live album for their friends. Especially one recorded this well. Alvin Lee and his band raise the game from their legendary Woodstock appearance. Plenty of boogie. Plenty of blues. Most CDs don't contain the epic drum solo in "The Hobbit". 

Cobbled together from a variety of session, Roadmaster still offers great tunes. Gene Clark recorded "Full Circle Song" again for the Byrds 1973 reunion album. Clark would top this effort in 1973 with the more complex No Other.

With Uriah Heep near the peak of its success, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ken Hensley took Heep bassist Gary Thain and Heep drummer Kerslake into the studio to record this solo album. Mellower than what the Heep was putting out but great stuff.

Milton Nascimento's backing band has made the transition from psychedelic rock to jazz fusion

[Out of Print]

Mexican garage rock. Ole!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some 1973 Albums We Missed

Tainted by scatalogical songs about pissing , farting and Pamela's popo, Serge Gainsbourg's follow up to Histoire de Melody Nelson is saved by the title cut and his devastating goodbye song, "Je Suis Venu Te Dire Que Je M'en Vais" which translates into English as "I've Come to Tell You I'm Leaving" and features the real life sobbing of actress Jane Birkin.

Recorded with CSN and Y's touring band as well as members of Neil Young's band ( and Neil himself on piano credited as Joe Yankee), Graham Nash's Wild Tales is darker material than his fans might expect. But it rocks as fine as anything he's ever done. One of the year's great surprises for me!

Vibe master Roy Ayers knocked out one of the best blaxploitation soundtracks of all time on this 1973 effort, highlighted by the funky "Coffy is the Color".

With the hit title track, which was also featured on the soundtrack to Cleopatra Jones, Millie Jackson hits her stride. She gets super funky on "Hypocrisy". She'd follow It Hurts So Good with Caught Up, which will be in the running for my fave soul album of 1974

Late of Lindisfarne, Alan Hull released his first solo album, the very tasteful Pipedream, in 1973. File between Duncan Browne and John Martyn.

Henry Cow set out to be avant rock and anti commercial. Signed to Virgin, Fred Frith and company  challenge listeners with dissonance,  moments of beauty and  on "Nine Funerals of the Citizen King", a political statement. Robert Wyatt would soon proclaim Henry Cow his favorite group.

[Out of Print]

Is Lightnin' Rod's Hustlers Convention the birth of rap? With Kool and the Gang providing back tracking,  Last Poets member Jalal "Lightnin' Rod" Uridin ( Alafia Pudim) rhymes the story of two hustlers, Sport and Spoon, in the drug and crime infested inner city streets.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

40 Year Itch : Those We Missed December '73

Big ass riffs and stadium-quality power chords made Bachman Turner Overdrive's second album one of the biggest of 1974. It ain't anywhere near as sophisticated as what Bachman had pulled off with The Guess Who, but with hits "Let It Ride" and  "Takin' Care of Business", BTO found the formula to success.

Producer Andrew Loog Oldham told reporters "If you hated Cosmic Wheels, you'll love this one." Whereas the former was Donovan's entry into the Glam Rock fashion styles, Essence to Essence is a quiter more spiritual album with Donovan whispering cosmic lyrics over acoustic guitars.

By most accounts recorded on acid in a French castle, Gong's follow up to Flying Teapot

Live Dates is a double live album featuring the double lead guitar attack of Andy Powell and Ted Turner. It should make fans of Wishbone Ash's masterpiece, Argus, happy. Turner would leave after this album and many fans would follwo his example.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

40 Year Itch: 1973 in Christmas Songs

Merry Crimbo to the dearest readers in all the land!

While Slade and Wizzard were battling it out for greatest glam rock Christmas single ever in the UK, in the States it was an apathetic Christmas musically. There were a few country singles, a novelty tune or two and a late entry from The O'Jays that couldn't even hit the two minute mark.

1. Red Sovine never wrote a song that wasn't about a truck. "Trucking Trees For Christmas" came out Oct 31st.

2. With the return to the charts of "Monster Mash", Bobby "Boris" Pickett knocked out "Monster's Holiday" which was released November 7th

3. Commander Cody's "Daddy Drinkin' Up Our Christmas" came out November 14th.

4. November 14th is also the same day John Denver released Please Daddy ( Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)" from his current album Farewell Andromeda

5. The Canadian Beatles, Edward Bear, shipped out this dull effort, "Coming Home Christmas", November 28th.

6. Elton John also shipped his dashed off "Step Into Christmas" single that date, considered by many in the industry too late to be a hit.

7. Finally, the O'Jays gave us "Christmas Ain't Christmas New Years Ain't New Years Without the Ones You Love" which, despite the long title, ran 1:59.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Memories of The Natural 92

   I just spent the evening making a Christmas CD for my sister who grew up with me in Guilford, CT where our Dad's favorite radio station in the late 70's was WWYZ-FM ("YZ the Natural 92") out of Waterbury. The format was mellow rock. Sure, there was some of that easy listening crap but, more often, deep mellow cuts from rock albums. And tracks from albums other radios stations weren't touching. 

     Apparently Program Director Bob Craig picked songs that would hit "The Three L's": life, love and loneliness. I just know they provided one of the key soundtracks to my childhood. 

The format didn't last more than a few years. WWYZ-FM is now a Clear Channel Hot Country station. And so it goes...

Here are the CD tracks based on my memories of 'YZ playlist.

1. Michael Franks "Popsicle Toes"
2. Fleetwood Mac "Never Going Back Again"
3. Van Morrison "Moondance"
5. Mark-Almond "One Way Sunday"

6. Dobie Gray "Drift Away"
7. Joni Mitchell "In France They Kiss On Main Street"
8. Stephen Bishop "On and On"
9. Judee Sill "The Kiss" 

10. John Denver "Sunshine on My Shoulders"
11. Cat Stevens "Wild World"
12. Todd Rundgren " Hello It's Me"
13. Nick Drake "Thoughts of Mary Jane"
14. Elton John "Come Down in Time"

15. Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway "Where is the Love"
16. Tim Hardin "Misty Roses"
17. Maria Muldaur "Midnight at the Oasis"
18. George Harrison "Dark Sweet Lady"

19. Eagles " Best of My Love"
20. Judy Collins "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
21. CSN " Just a Song Before I Go"


Monday, December 23, 2013

Top 5 Albums of 2013

5. David Bowie The Next Day

2013 began with the year's biggest surprise: a new album from David Bowie, his first of new material in ten years. Every song on The Next Day seems to be inspired by one of the pop chameleon's former phases. Give it a few years and we may look back upon The Next Day as the best album of the year. It certainly is the best of the many come back albums to spring up ( beating out Prefab Sprout, Wire, Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine among others)

4. Janelle Monae Electric Lady Suites IV and V

The modern pop album is a cinematic effort and Janelle Monae is the most inventive of the mainstream pop stars I'm hearing these days. She's making the kind of music you'd hope Prince would be releasing. 

3, Bob Dylan Another Self Portrait ( 1969-1971)

1970's mellow and family-oriented New Morning is one of my all time favorite Dylan albums and you get a half dozen alternate takes on those tunes, including two versions of "Went to See the Gypsy" about meeting Elvis Presley. There's an immediacy to the Self Portrait recordings which somehow failed to impress many in its released form back in the day. Glad I got this one!

2 Vampire Weekend Modern Vampires of the City

It doesn't matter how fine your prep school was, at some point even the most precious prepster has to grow up and that's what Vampire Weekend has done of their third and most accomplished album.

1. Parquet Courts in Light Up Gold

This generation's Pink Flag. If I didn't live--musically--in 1973, I'd be listening to this all the time. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 Albums of 2013 : 10-6

As my readers will know, I spent most of 2013 listening to the music of 1973. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate some of this past year's releases. It just means my standards are higher than those who fetishize new music just because it's new. That said, my heart belongs to the artists among whom I've grown up.

10.  Mark Mulcahy Dear Mark J Mulcahy, I Love You

Branford Connecticut's Mark Mulcahy first got my attention as the leader of Miracle Legion whose debut EP wore its REM influences a bit heavily before becoming one of the East Coast's most thoughtful bands. Mulcahy's 2013 album , his first since the death of his wife,  is an exuberant return to form.

   9. Lloyd Cole Standards

  On the crowd-funded Standards, Lloyd Cole brings out the rocking side that made his 1990 debut so great. Matthew Sweet, Fred Mahar and Commotions keyboardist Blair Cowan, who all played on the '90 album, join Cole on this expertly crafted effort

8. Neil Finn and Paul Kelly- Goin' Your Way

These two master craftsmen from Down Under shared the stage and reinvented their songs in one of the must-see concert tours of the year. Goin' Your Way is a live document of the duo's achievement and it's packed with pleasurable tunes.

7. Kacey Musgraves Same Trailer Different Park

  My wife listened to this in the car a lot this Summer. Insightful Kacey Musgraves and her songwriting partners write about life in fly over country with plenty of humor while withholding judgement. Filed next to our Miranda Lambert and Kelly Willis albums.

6. Allen Toussaint, Songbook

Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Allen Toussaint took up a residency at the NYC piano bar Joe's Pub. The lucky people who wandered in got to see the New Orleans legend revisit his most famous songs. Now, with Songbook, the rest of us can at least pretend we were smart enough to be among those in attendance.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

40 Year Itch : Comic Book Heroes

       Eight years before "Jessie's Girl", handsome Rick Springfield is, in his own words, "famous for nothing other than being famous. Kind of a 70's version of Paris Hilton". Signed to Capitol Records, he records an album full of  pop tunes that should appeal to his Teen Beat fans. He even comes up with the album design concept, having a real comic book artist draw him and illustrate the songs in the gate fold. Rolling Stone gives Comic Book Heroes a good review and then the shit hits the fan: Capitol gets busted for payola and rumors fly around that the label paid kids to buy the album. Comic Book Heroes dies a quick death. But those who do pick it up are the lucky ones. Recorded in London, it's full of well crafted pop gems that span the bridge between bubblegum and power pop.

Friday, December 20, 2013

40 Year Itch : Top of the Pops Dec 20, 1973

    From inside a Womble, Jimmy Savile hosted the December 20, 1973 episode of Top of the Pops featuring the two glam rocking heavyweights, Wizzard and Slade, battling it for the Christmas Song of 1973. Slade would win with "Merry Xmas Everybody".

     After the countdown, The Faces played their last Top 10 hit "Pool Hall Richard" with Ronnie Lane's replacement, Tetsu Yamauchi , on bass. The New Seekers play their eventual #1 hit "You Won't Find Another Fool Like Me".The 12 year old Dutch band, Golden Earring, then perform their raunchy Top 10 hit "Radar Love". 

    The hardest working rocker of 1973, Roy Wood,  performs his Beach Boys tribute "Forever", a UK #8 hit. The delightful Pan's People dance to Robert "Everlasting Love" Knight's "Love on a Mountaintop". 

    Wood returns with his band Wizzard to sing " I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday", looking just a but dispirited by never climbing higher than #4 on the UK charts with the tune. English songwriter Clifford T Ward performs his Top 40 hit "Scullery". Slade plays the smash "Merry Xmas Everybody", while Wood stands fuming backstage. 

    Finally the kids try to dance to Leo Sayer's "The Show Must Go On", a future hit for Three Dog Night.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

40 Year Itch : Some Late Season Soul

   On December 6, 1973 Al Green released his second Gold album of the year with Livin' For Your Love. Though not as indispensable as Call Me or I'm Still in Love With You, Livin' For Your Love does contain the #1 Soul single in its title cut, "Let's Get Married" ( Soul #3) and , best of all, an 8-minute improvisation called "Beware" which must be heard.

                                                                     {out of print}

  The last Norman Whitfield production for the Temptations is a rarely heralded psychedelic soul classic.  A clash of egos can rarely be good for art and The Temps didn't appreciate being turned into studio instruments by Whitfield. That said, Motown really needs to put out a box set of the Whitfield years. Like Masterpiece, All Directions and Solid Rock, 1990 is another huge seller that is out of frickin print.

Some of the hardest drivin' funk of 1973 came from the home studio of Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Jones produced and arranged and played some down and dirty bass on Madeline Bell's first solo album in 5 years. ( She'd been singing with Blue Mink)  One listen to this puts Led Zep's Houses of the Holy, and especially "The Crunge", in a whole new light.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

40 Year Itch: Happy Xmas from the Pudgy Pop Star

    It has become one of the most legendary of the Peel Sessions. On December 18, 1973  Elton John, a serious artist reaching his peak of popularity, performs some rinky tinky pub style piano medleys surrounded by producers and managers drinking ales. He knocks out a Christmas medley first. Then a Dylan medley which is followed by one of classic pub tunes. Before the hour is up, Elton is impersonating the queen and launching boozy assaults on his own hits "Daniel" ( UK#4, 1973) and "Your Song" (UK#7,1971) while the small but clearly inebriated crowd sings along. 

If the whole thing seems rather out of the Christmas spirit well that may be because Peel didn't actually give a toss about Christmas, as he disclosed on his show in 1987:

 "I've been feeling sort of mildly fed up this evening, what with one thing and another. It's that kind of pre-Christmas 'triste'. Shopping was the main reason for it. I spent about five hours shopping this afternoon, achieved nothing, and you go round thinking, "Why am I doing this? Why am I feeling kind of social pressure to go round looking for stuff that people don't want, to give them on this particular day? Why not wait until they do want something and give it to them then?" Of course, quite clearly, this is not the way things go."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

40 Year Itch : Dave Marsh's Top 1973 Albums

   As rock critic for both CREEM and Rolling Stone,  Dave Marsh has enough influence in the 70's to have his day here at 1001Songs. Marsh championed his fair share of rock and soul acts but , 40 years later, this selection is just as notable for the bands that don't make the list. Anyone who bought the first Marsh-edited Rolling Stone Record Guide will recall all the two star ( or mediocre) grades for Genesis, Queen, 10cc, The Grateful Dead and  Black Sabbath.

1. "Wonder, Stevie" Innervisions 
 2. Mott The Hoople Mott 
 3. "Spinners, The" The Spinners 
 4. "Green, Al" Call Me 
 5. "Who, The" Quadrophenia 

6. "Gaye, Marvin" Let's Get It On 
7. "Dylan, Bob" Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid (Soundtrack)
8. Lynyrd Skynyrd Lynyrd Skynyrd (Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd) 
9. "Temptations, The" Masterpiece 
10. "Mccartney, Paul And Wings" Band OnThe Run 

 11. "Simon, Paul" There Goes Rhymin'Simon 
 12. "Hendrix, Jimi" "Sound Track Recordings From The Film ""Jimi Hendrix""" 
 13. Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy
 14. "Winter, Johnny" Still Alive And Well 
 15. Steely Dan Countdown To Ecstasy 

 16. Dr. John In The Right Place 
 17. "Stylistics, The" Rockin' Roll Baby
 18. "Lennon, John" Mind Games 
 19. "O'Jays, The" Ship Ahoy 
 20. "Rolling Stones, The" Goat's Head Soup 

21. "Allman Brothers Band, The" Brothers And Sisters 
22. "Geils, J. Band, The" Ladies Invited 
23. "Knight, Gladys And The Pips" Imagination 
24. "John, Elton" Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 
25. Pink Floyd The Dark Side Of The Moon

26. "Chi-Lites, The" A Letter To Myself 
27. "Franklin, Aretha" Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) 
28. "Green, Al" Livin' For You 
29. "Isley Brothers, The" 3 + 3 
30. Blue Ridge Rangers The Blues Ridge Rangers 

31. "Geils, J. Band, The" Bloodshot 
32. "Browne, Jackson" For Everyman 
33. "Gray, Dobie" Drift Away 
34. Various Artists American Graffiti (Soundtrack) 
35. "Young, Neil" Time Fades Away 

36. "Derringer, Rick" All American Boy 
37. "Knight, Gladys And The Pips" Neither One Of Us 
38. "J. B.'S, The" Doing It To Death 
39. "Dibango, Manu" Soul Makossa 
40. Deep Purple Made In Japan

The Rolling Stone Record Guide's Five Star ( or indispensable) Albums from 1973:

Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On
 Al Green - Call Me 
I Roy - Presenting 
 Leo Kottke - Greenhouse 
Leo Kottke - My Feet Are Smiling 
 Little Feat - Dixie Chicken 
 Paul Mccartney And Wings - Band On The Run 
 Bill Monroe - Bean Blossom
 Mott The Hoople - Mott 
Thunderclap Newman - Hollywood Dream (re-issue)
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon 
Jimmy Rushing - Every Day I Have The Blues 
 Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin' Simon 
 Spinners - Spinners
Ringo Starr - Ringo 
Stevie Wonder - Innervisions 

 American Graffiti (Soundtrack)
The Animals - Best Of The Animals
The Beatles - The Beatles/1962-1966
The Beatles - The Beatles 1967-1970
Chuck Berry - Chuck Berry's Golden Decade, Vol. 2
Bobby "Blue" Bland - The Best Of Bobby Bland
 Ray Charles - A Twenty-Fifth Anniversary In Show Business Salute To Ray Charles
 Ray Charles - Ray Charles Live
 Dion - Everything You Always Wanted To Hear By Dion And The Belmonts
 The Hollies - Greatest Hits
Son House - Son House
 Wilson Pickett - Wilson Pickett's Greatest Hits
 Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys - Bob Wills Anthology
Afghanistan (Music From The Crossroads Of Asia)
Tibetan Buddhism (Tantras Of Gyuto/Mahakala)
 Animals Of Africa (Sounds Of The Jungle, Plain And Bush)