Saturday, March 28, 2015

40 Year Itch: Man, It Was Mean

    Steve Harley's follow-up  to the UK smash "Make Me Smile ( Come Up And See Me)" is another great tune from The Best Years of Our Lives, the UK #13 hit "Mr Raffles (Man It Was Mean)". Harley says the title character refers to the gentleman jewel thief, A.J. Raffles,  in the E.W. Hornung novels ...with some Dylanesque allusions to the devil tossed in.

Friday, March 27, 2015

40 Year Itch : Lovers and Friends I Still Can Recall

Robin Williams  (right) as a mime, 1975

Keith Moon: In My Life


   Critics who have called Two Sides of the Moon an embarrassment or a total disaster may have missed the point. Moon gathered 60 his best friends in the music biz ( including Joe Walsh who was recording down the hall), and spent $200,000 of MCA's money on this huge rock n roll prank. Only his sober cover of the Beatles's "In My Life" doesn't belong in the party and it's hard not to think he had just four more years to live while listening to this.

John Lennon contributed guitar and vocals to "Move Over Mrs L", a song Lennon wrote for Yoko.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

40 Year Itch : Funky Kingston

  "Funky Kingston" is the title cut from a brilliant Toots and the Maytals collection that became a critical success ( #11 on the 1975 Village Voice poll and #378 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest albums of All Time) and minor US hit in 1975. 

  One of Kingston's funkiest moments happened on March 8, 1975. The Jackson 5 opened for Bob Marley and the Wailers at an epic six hour concert at Kingston's National Arena. While on their visit to Jamaica, Michael and his brothers hung out with Marley and his band.

Both were big stars of course. But they would become worldwide sensations in the years to come.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

40 Year Itch : Some Kind Of Gay Blade

   To take advantage of the shocking success of Sally Can't Dance, RCA Records released Lou Reed Live in March of 1975. Made up of left-overs from the same concert that makes Rock'n'Roll Animal one of the essential live albums in rock history, it's really just a footnote. More of the same.
      But RCA's gesture would be met with something truly terrifying come July: the tuneless--and truly vicious-- noise-a-thon Metal Machine Music.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

40 Year Itch: Be Mo' Funk

"They still call it the White House, but that's a temporary condition too. Can you dig it, CC?"

   George Clinton celebrates the demographic shift--chocolate cities/ vanilla suburbs--and predicts a day when an African American with an African sounding name will be President of the United States. No, not Barack Obama. Muhammed Ali ( with Reverend Ike as Secretary of Treasury, Richard Pryor as Minister of Education, Stevie Wonder as Secretary of Fine Arts and Aretha Franklin as First Lady).  By the end of the year, with Mothership Connection,  this band would convince fans to make their funk the P-funk.

Monday, March 23, 2015

40 Year Itch : Looking Like a Long-lost Sheep

Woody Allen, Love and Death, 1975

   When they harmonized together, childhood friends Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan sounded like two Lennons singing through clenched teeth. This is the title cut from their third and final album, as fine as anything else they recorded together. By the time it was released the duo had already broken up for good. This song could be heard as Rafferty's final farewell to Egan. ("I've got to save myself, right or wrong"). Three years later, Rafferty would break out with his City to City album.

Also on this date in 1975: The SNACK concert

   Bob Dylan joins Neil Young and The Band on stage at Kezar Stadium for a benefit concert Bill Graham organized to raise $200,000 for San Francisco public schools. Santana, Tower of Power , The Doobie Brothers, Jefferson Starship and Jerry Garcia and friends also performed.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

40 Year Itch : Sounds Magazine's 10 Fave Albums of 1975

Jack Nicholson, 1975. Photo by Julian Wasser

    For their year end list of the best albums of 1975,  Sounds Magazine critics made no mention of Springsteen's Born to Run, Patti Smith's Horses or Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. But all is forgiven because the Japanese glam poppers  Sadistic Mika Band made the list with their Chris Thomas produced third album Hot! Menu!. The band supported Roxy Music on a UK tour, including a show at Wembley Stadium. "Suki Suki Suki", performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test,  was just one winner from this album. Another one to watch for is "Hi Jack ( I'm Just Dying)" which is believed to be a tribute to Jack Nicholson.

 1. The Hissing Of Summer Lawns - Joni Mitchell
 2. Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan
 3. Natty Dread - Bob Marley And The Wailers
 4. The Who By Numbers - The Who
 5. Still Crazy After All These Years - Paul Simon
 6. Caught Up - Millie Jackson
 7. Back To The Night - Joan Armatrading
 8. Nils Lofgren - Nils Lofgren
 9. Visions Of The Emerald Beyond - Mahavishnu Orchestra
 10. Hot! Menu! - Sadistic Mika Band