Wednesday, October 31, 2012

40 Year Itch: Some We Missed from Oct '72

Mellow man David Gates takes center stage on Bread's follow up to Baby I'm A Want You, the final album before a 1977 reunion. Guitar Man hit #18 in the album charts thanks to the soft rock numbers like the #11 title track, "Aubrey" (#15) and "Sweet Surrender" (#15). The rest sounds like filler.

The second James Gang album after the departure of Joe Walsh is probably the low point. By the following album Tommy Bolin would be adding some guitar fire, raising the band's fortunes for a few years at least.

Vilified for an album cover that made Don Stevenson giving the finger on Moby Grape's debut seem gentlemanly in comparison, Mom's Apple Pie jams Chicago-style about as competently as Grand Funk Railroad used to rock.

Diana Ross earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of doomed jazz singer Billie Holiday and the soundtrack hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The album contains far too many snippets of dialogue from the movie but overall, Ross deserves all the plaudits she received. She's not "doing" Billie. Thank God.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

40 Year Itch: Bad Bad Dreams

I can't speak for the entire album, but the single "Run To Me" is one of my 5 all time favourite Bee Gees tunes. That's sibling harmony at work.( And to think I probably heard it first on my cassette copy of Here At Last...Bee Gees Live ) I 've also gained an awful lot of respect lately for the way Maurice Gibb played bass. Mo gets to work out his bass quite a bit on the album's sole rocker "Bad Bad Dreams". But I've also heard "Paper Mache, Cabbage and Kings", the fourth track on this album, and it's God awful. So you've been warned not to expect too much from To Whom It May Concern released in October of 1972.

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 Year Itch : Getting Fresh

So you want to be the American Beatles? Then you'd better put out two album a year like the Fab Four did. Fresh is the second Raspberries album and the second to be released in 1972. Led by singer Eric Carmen, the Cleveland quartet borrowed the best ideas from The Beatles ( tight pop songs), Beach Boys ( four part harmonies) and The Who ( wicked guitar lines like the ones featured in the Top 5 hit "Go All The Way"). There's a little less Who on Fresh than on the debut, but still some big winning songs like "I Wanna Be With You", "Let's Pretend" and "If You Change Your Mind".

Sunday, October 28, 2012

40 Year Itch : Heart's Blazing Like a 5 Alarm Fire

Here is my music. It is all I have to tell you how I feel. Know that your love keeps my love strong. 

Talking Book begins with one of the most generous gestures in music history. The first two voices you hear on Track One, the future #1 hit "You Are The Sunshine of My Life", belong to back up singers Jim Gilstrap and Gloria Barley.

For the most part, Talking Book is an album of lost love -- a reaction to Wonder's failing marriage to Syretta Wright. There's a song called "Tuesday Heartbreak" but heartbreak can be heard in half the songs ( "Blame It On The Sun", "Maybe Your Baby", "You And I" etc.)

Experimentation with the Moog and other synths isn't as heavy as on Wonder's early 1972 album, Music Of My Mind with the exception of "Maybe Your Baby". The funkiest song on the album, "Maybe Your Baby" could be the blueprint for Prince's entire career. Listen about 4:45 in, when Wonder's piling on the vocals --including some sped up--and you can't fail to hear his Purple Majesty. It has been suggested that Talking Book is a response to Sly and The Family Stone's There's A Riot Goin' On . Probably not. But "Maybe Your Baby" shares the same laid back funky groove as "Poet".

A week before Talking Book came out, Motown released the future #1"Superstition" as a single. There may have been some hurt feelings here as Wonder had originally offered the song to Jeff Beck who plays some sweet guitar lines on "Lookin' For Another Pure Love". ( Beck's version appears on the 1972 album Beck, Bogart and Appice) The song showcases Stevie's clavinet and his drum playing. His vocals earned him a Grammy. And those lyrics offer some insight to Wonder's personal woes as well:

Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin' strong
You don't wanna save me, sad is my song

As a whole the album's only weakness is that too many songs sounds a bit too middle of the road and mainstream. Stevie Wonder's follow-up, 1973's Innervisions, would offer a whole 'nother kind of ride.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

40 Year Itch : Italian Prog Rock In 1972 part 2

Don't be afraid of Italian Prog!

Fusing a little Bach ,Brahms or Corelli, violin player Don V. Lax of Quella Vecchia Locanda  literally fused classic rock with classical music. This is pleasant stuff for the ears. After the band's critically acclaimed career ended, Lax played on Camper Van Beethoven's 1989 album Key Lime Pie.

Though formed in Genoa in the mid 60's, by the early 70's Garybaldi wore their Jimi Hendrix influences proudly. So much of the credit goes to wah wah pedal mashing guitarist and vocalist  Bambi Fossati. "Maya Desnuda" even name checks  James Brown ( "e la sua Sex Machine").

Experimental, avant-garde, spacey prog , Pollution sounds like the soundtrack to an Italian Exploratorium ( a museum I visited often as a kid in San Francisco). Among Italian rock gods, Franco Battiato assumes a seat that would be equal to one shared by Peter Gabriel and Brian Eno in England. But this album isn't nearly as interesting as Battiato thinks it is...with the exception of "Areknames"

and one more for the road....

Friday, October 26, 2012

40 Year Itch: Italian Prog Rock in 1972 Part 1

                                                Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso hanging out

 When prog rock started taking over FM Radio and filling record store bins in the 1970's you had to expect the Italians would come knocking down the doors. Adding vocals to symphonic music with lots of tempo changes, key changes and lyrics? Shit! The Italians invented opera. At the end of the 16th century. And not just opera. They also invented waterbeds.  And condoms. Anyway, 1972 was a big year for Italians prog rockers.


We've already discussed the first Premiate Forneria Macaroni album--the chart topping Storia Di Un Minuto--which came out in January of 1972. Recorded on 16 tracks,  Per Un Amico is another symphonic rock album of great beauty ( especially the title track) and great complexity, and the last to feature only Italian lyrics. A few too many flourishes for my ears but a hell of a lot easier to listen to than Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso.


We have also already discussed the first Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso album. Darwin, released later in 1972, is said to be the band's masterpiece. To these ears, Banco can sound too clever for its own good. But I would never sit down with a Gentle Giant album either. Even alone in my car. In traffic. "Miserere Alla Storia" means "Wretched Story" which might explain the devilish over-the-top vocals half way through.

Here's the winner out of this bunch. Le Orme ( The Footprints) topped the charts with their 1972 album Uomo Di Pezza. (Rag Doll Man). Keyboardist Tony Pagliuca got introduced to synthesizers and yet the band plays a comparatively restrained form of prog rock. And Aldo Tagliapietra has the best, most soulful voice of the the bands featured in this post. And the album cover is pretty cool too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

40 Year Itch : Frankenstein

In 1972 French ye ye stinger France Gall records "Frankenstein", her last Serge Gainsbourg written song. It was Gainsbourg who had written many of her 1960's hits like the Eurovision Grand Prix winner  "Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son", "Laisse Tomber Les Filles " and "Les Sucettes". In 1971 she firmly turned down the lead role in Last Tango In Paris.

France Gall - Frankenstein by antonychris

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

All Time Top 10 : Peter Gabriel

To help promote his recently released fourth album, best known as Security, Peter Gabriel made this Top 10 List for Smash Hits Magazine. NPR All Music Considered host Bob Boilen must have seen this list before he recently asked Peter Gabriel to guest DJ because the first two songs got played..This comes to 1001Songs courtesy of Brian at Like Punk Never Happened

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

40 Year Itch: Al Green Is Still In Love With You

Al Green already had everything in place on his earlier 1972 album Let's Stay Together: his smooth singing "Lover Man" persona, Willie Mitchell in the producer's seat and a hot Memphis band featuring former MG's drummer Al Jackson Jr and guitarist "Teenie" Hodges. I'm Still In Love With You, released October 23, 1972,  is more of the same...just better.

The album kicks off with the Top 5 title track, and includes another Top 5 hit, "Look What You've Done For Me" which strikes me as a bit of a re-write of "Let's Stay Together" .

There's a future single here too. Hi Records waited five years before releasing "Love And Happiness" as a single. Not that it did much in the charts. I'm Still In Love With You also has cover songs by Kris Kristoffersen  ("For The Good Times") and Roy Orbison ("Pretty Woman") .The most recent release has two bonus cuts including "Up Above My Head". 

Is this the best Al Green album? The album hit the Top 5 on the Billboard album charts and ranks 285 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums. Robert Christgau called it "Easily the most consistent soft-soul LP of the year". But I'm still going with 1973's Call Me or 1974's Al Green Explores Your Mind.

Monday, October 22, 2012

40 Year Itch : My Ding A Ling Hits #1

Chuck Berry's right. It's a fourth grade song. Dumb and Silly. And yet, "My Ding A Ling" did something "Sweet Little Sixteen", "Maybelline" and "School Day" never did. "My Ding a Ling" is the only Chuck Berry single to hit #1. The song was originally recorded on 1968's From St Louie to Frisco  as "My Tambourine\" Two future members of Average White Band play on the single : Onnie McIntyre on guitar and Robbie McIntosh on drums.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

40 Year Itch: A Binder Full of Women

We just realized we didn't have enough great music here from the women of 1972 so we went to a number of women's groups and said: ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.


Some women sing soft. Others sing hard. And then there are those who can do both. Though best known for the softer 1973 Top 40 hit "I Can't Stand The Rain", Ann Peebles could sing up a storm. Her 1972 Hi Records album Straight From The Heart is full of gritty vocals over smooth Willie Mitchell production. "Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love" only made it to #42 on the R and B charts but the album scored an A- for its "pre-ideological feminist rage" from the dean of rock critics, Robert Christgau.



In October of 1972 Rita Coolidge released her third album,  the laid-back and charming This Lady's Not For Sale. The following year she married Kris Kristofferson who wrote the title track.In a move far more progressive than you'd ever expect,  Rita streams all of her albums on her website.

Nicknamed "the female preacher", Lyn Collins was part of the James Brown revue in 1972. The Godfather of Soul produced her album Think ( About It) with the JB's playing back up. The album features the oft sampled hit title track. We dig a little deeper for "Wheels of Life".


Feel Good is gaining momentum as a cult fave but I found listening to the whole thing in one sitting a little tiresome. Tina sings in her full blown funky style all the way through. That's All. The. Way. Through. Check out "The Chopper"


The "Queen of Swedish Hammond Folk Groove" (at least that's the title of one of her albums), Merit Hemmingson interprets old Swedish folk tunes by scatting them over jazzy arrangements featuring -what else?-a Hammond organ.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Going Over The Cutting Edge (1986)

Over  Mardi Gras weekend of 1986, MTV's "The Cutting Edge" came to New Orleans to videotape various musical acts for their Mardi Gras special which aired March 30th. Producers from IRS Records called college radio station WTUL to find someone who would work for free on the production crew. Since I was writing a fanzine ( The Now Zounds) to promote my band's tune "Jefferson Avenue", I agreed to help out. And that's how I wound up buddy-buddying with the modern hipsters of the musical world.

We videotaped Alex Chilton playing his acoustic guitar in a cemetery. After performing "Lost My Job" twice, a Bach piece and two Box Tops tunes including the 1967 smash "The Letter" and "Neon Rainbow", Chilton obliged The Cutting Edge with a rare interview. After a health food lunch consisting of vegeburgers, I chatted with Alex over a glass of carrot juice.

ME: Have you heard any cover versions of your songs that you've liked?
ALEX: No, to tell the truth I haven't. But I haven't heard the Bangles song yet ("September Gurls")
ME: What new bands and new records do you like?
ALEX: I don't know. When I want to hear some music I play my guitar. I did some stuff with the Replacements.
ME: Were you surprised when "The Letter" became a hit?
ALEX: No. I think everyone thinks their song's gonna be a big hit.
ME: Yeah, I think "Jefferson Avenue" will be a smash hit, don't you?
ALEX: This carrot juice sucks.

It had been a long time since Mitch and I had gotten together and Let's Active had a completely new line-up. "I choose the members of my band by making sure they're all shorter than I am " joked the four and a half tall producer/performer. I told Mitch that while Cypress was the most overproduced band without Todd Rundgren's name on it, I enjoyed the live show and their cover of the MC5's "Shakin Street". Easter gave me his card which I tore up immediately.

I was getting sauced with dB's guitarist and vocalist Peter Holsapple:

ME: The dB's: one of the three hardest working bands in America.
PETER: We're definitely the hardest working band without a label. I was thinking we should end our shows with our roadies coming out and packing us up in crates.
ME: Any labels looking at you? IRS for instance?
PETER: Yeah but the whole band has to agree with the label choice. I'd like to sign with IRS.
ME: Did you ever read Spy In The House of Love by Anais Nin?
PETER: No but I meant to. I had it rolled up in my back pocket for a while but I never got to it. We had a dance for the song ( "Spy In The House of Love") but Ready For The World stole it.

I reintroduced myself to Fleshtone/ Cutting Edge host Peter Zaremba and we recalled our on-the- air argument two years ago. Although no fists were thrown, I could never convince Peter that the vocalist gave a shout out to The Osmonds in the Fleshtones classic "American Beat '84".

    At Jim Russell's Records, I recommended Dyke and the Blazers "We Got More Soul" to an apparently unfamiliar Zaremba. Then I bough Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose's "Treat Her Like A Lady". Z was psyched. "We do a mean version of that song," he said. "We're definitely gonna do that song Sunday night man".
   And they did.

"The Cutting Edge" had a major impact on a lot of musical tastes by introducing all kinds of artists to audiences who otherwise would have only heard what was playing on the radio. Sadly, at the time, none of these artist were getting radio play outside college stations like the mighty 'TUL

Thursday, October 18, 2012

40 Year Itch : Psychedelic Hangovers

By 1972, the psychedelic buzz was starting to fade away. Especially the "incense and peppermints" kind of free love, free acid style of psychedelia. But in that haze of a hangover, there was some righteous music being made. Here are some of our favorites from 1972.

Two California friends, Bill Cooley and Alan Munson, printed up just 500 copies of their bedroom acid folk album In Debt. It is now a cult classic full of tasteful, somewhat Beatlesque tunes. The original vinyl has recently sold for as high as $800.

Malaysian trio Truck may have released this album of  easily approachable psychedelia in 1974, not 1972. But it's too good a surprise, surprise to wait for two more years before posting.

Acid folk from German duo with the memorable line "Don't Sit On The Grass/It's Too Cold For Your Ass" accompanied by a mellotron and a very nipply vocalist named Dolly Holmes.

Touring with Rory Gallagher at the time they released their debut, this British psychedelic band also offers a sonic bridge to the high production/phasing sounds of Be Bop Deluxe. Future Blockhead Chaz Jankel plays guitar and that clean crisp production comes courtesy of Roy Thomas Baker ( who would engineer Be Bop Deluxe, Queen, Journey and The Cars)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

40 Year Itch : Can't Buy A Thrill

                                                           [Purchase for $4.99]

The greatest debut album of 1972, Can't Buy A Thrill , released in October of 1972, introduces Steely Dan as a fully formed, sophisticated, complex and cynical rock band. Best of all, they knew how to write and play catchy radio-friendly hits like "Do It Again" (US#6) and "Reelin' In The Years" ( US#11). They may have been a mystery to many, but Steely Dan founders Walter Becker and Donald Fagen were already well known by one music legend: Barbra Streisand. That's right! Barbra recorded the Becker-Fagen tune "I Mean To Shine" on her 1971 album Barbra Joan Streisand.


They've since disowned the song blaming Streisand's arranger for screwing it up.

So we move on.

In 1998 Becker and Fagen wrote new liners notes for Can't Buy A Thrill, explaining how most of the album was written in L.A.

As for material, we had touched down in California with a fat notebook crammed with what we called "the dyno". It was our opinion that this collection of songs, our life's work to date, would morph effortlessly into classic albums, swank long-running careers, juicy bank accounts, houses with swimming pools, powerful mid-engine sports cars, happiness, security, girls, girls, girls, in short, everything we needed to get by. In fact, it turned out later that only half the songs on the first Steely Dan album were already in the book; the rest were written in California, in a style which had been adjusted and refined to take into account the new musical environment in which we found ourselves operating and also to reflect our belated understanding of the aesthetic shortcomings of some of our less-than-accessible, more doggedly surrealist efforts.

While recording the album, the duo discovered--surprise, surprise--that the label expected their band to tour the album.

The surprise was not a good surprise, especially for Donald, who had reluctantly agreed to be the band's lead vocalist for the purposes of recording but who was essentially terrified of singing in public and thus somewhat reluctant to be pressed into service as the frontman for a touring rock band. That's when the Skunk ( Jeff "Skunk" Baxter) called his chum David Palmer, and Dave came out from New Jersey to try out for the job. Luckily, the tracks for "Dirty Work" and "Brooklyn" were in his key, more or less.

This would be David Palmer's only appearance singing on record with the Dan.

And finally a note on one of the year's greatest solos.

For the occasion of Denny's solo on "Do It Again" we hired in a Coral Electric Sitar. This novel instrument, replete with dual lipstick tube pickups and sympathetic strings and a special bridge that produced the sitar-like buzzing sound, added that extra something that the tune called for. Similarly, Donald rented for himself a strange Yamaha organ that had, amongst other things, a felt strip for producing glisses that were heretofore unheard of on a keyboard instrument.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

40 Year Itch: Who Came First

Like Odds And Sods, that 1974 multi-dimensional Who compilation that would also contain "Pure And Easy", Pete Townshend's Who Came First, released in October of 1972,  shows many sides of the guitar smasher. While it may sound preachy at times, it's never a dull album.

  There are two massive Who-style rockers: "Pure And Easy"  and "Let's See Action" ( which had both been recorded for the Lifehouse project that became 1971's Who's Next). There are philosophical tunes reflecting the teachings of  his avatar , Meher Baba ( who died in 1969) , including the Baba prayer "Parvadigar", "Content" and "Time Is Passing" .

     There's a nice little acoustic number called "Sheraton Gibson" and Baba's favorite song, "There's a Heartache Following Me", a country cover made famous by Jim Reeves ( foreshadowing the Don Gibson cover "Til The Rivers All Run Dry" on 1977's Rough Mix).

   Like Rough Mix, there's a Ronnie Lane tune. This one's called "Evolution". Townshend also brings in Billy Nicholls who sings his own "Forever's No Time At All" sounding very much like Thunderclap Newman's Speedy Keen.

The album, featuring a cover photo of Pete Townshend literally standing on eggshells,  peaked at #30 in the UK and #69 in the UK and originally came with the poster seen below. Subsequent reissues have featured extra cuts.

What were other members of The Who doing in 1972? Well, first of all,  The Who spent most August and September on a massive European tour. Keith Moon spent a few days acting in That'll Be The Day and probably exploded a few toilets. Roger Daltry was hopefully resting his voice and John Entwhistle released his second and most successful album Whistle Rhymes with Peter Frampton and Jimmy McCullough.

Monday, October 15, 2012

40 Year Itch: GET OUT COCKER

NOTE : Written October 15, 2012, on the 40th Anniversary of this colorful moment in the life of the tremendously talented Joe Cocker:

 "If I had my way Joe Cocker and his drugged up group would be airlifted straight back across the Pacific.
    --John Sorell, ATV News

    On October 14, 1972 Adelaide police arrested Joe Cocker after claiming to find "indian hemp" in his motel room.
 In an editorial  ATV's John Sorell says "I'd make sure their passports are marked, never to return. We don't want this type here, they are as welcome as a load of Argentine fruit fly!"
     Cocker is released on bail and performs that night. Five days later, Cocker arrives in Melbourne where a newspaper headline screams "GET OUT COCKER". Cocker tells the crowd that night: "In five years marijuana will be legalized in Australia, and the same cat who is trying to throw us out now will be smoking it himself ."
 That night Cocker and his girlfriend get into a fight at their hotel. Police arrest Cocker again and this time Immigration Minister Jim Forbes gave Cocker four hours to leave the country. Concerts in Brisbane and Perth are cancelled.

    Marijuana is still not legal, but Cocker has toured Australia another 10 times.
  His 1972 album Something To Say is so awful I'm not willing to post anything from it.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

40 Year Itch: "Mouldy Old Dough" Hits #1


It took seven months for this messy honky tonk instrumental to hit #1 but when it finally topped the charts on October 14, 1972 it held on for four weeks, becoming the UK's second biggest hit of 1972, after the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards' "Amazing Grace". The song won the Novello Award that year.

Mrs Hilda Woodward is one of the piano players. Her son Rob started the band.

In 2005, Jarvis Cocker put this song among his Desert Island Discs on the BBC radio show

Saturday, October 13, 2012

40 Year Itch: Spread the A Capella Word


Brooklyn ,NY a capella quintet The Persuasions didn't get the doo wop is dead memo and released a series of strong and sensitive albums in the 1970's including Street Corner Symphony, Spread the Word and Chirpin' which received a rare 5 Star rating from The Rolling Stone Record Guide. I certainly did not want to spend a year scratchin that 40 year itch without a shout out to The Persuasions.

Friday, October 12, 2012

40 Year Itch: Stealers Wheel

  When they harmonized together, childhood friends Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan sounded like two Lennons singing through clenched teeth. With Beatlesque melodies, producing by songwriting legends Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and the Fab Four's fave engineer Geoff Emerick at the controls, Stealers Wheel's debut album, released in October of 1972, hits that sweet spot for fans of well made pop. One problem. Rafferty had already left the band by the time album came out.Then, in 1973, the band's first single, "Stuck In The Middle With You", sold a million copies and  hit the Top Ten in the US and UK. Suddenly the band was in demand and Rafferty had to be convinced to rejoin the Wheel--which he described as "a fucking shambles" -- for another album.

The debut opens with "Late Again" which showcases their harmonies.

The video for "Stuck In The Middle With You" was shot after Rafferty returned to the band. The Dylanesque voices were kind of an inside joke. The song itself is about Rafferty and Egan getting caught at a table with managers ( Clowns to the left of me) and record company execs ( Jokers to the Right)

Our deep cut is "Outside Looking In", another cut that appeared on a Stealers Wheel hit compilation I bought in 1978 after Rafferty's City to City hit the top of the charts.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

40 Year Itch: Carlos Goes Soul Searching

Rarely has an artist or a group made such a dramatic turn in the span of just one record. After three classic albums of Afro Cuban blues rock ( the last two hitting #1 on US charts), Carlos Santana apparently needed to stretch out both musically and spiritually. 
   Musically Carlos was getting into the fusion sounds of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra .He also began following the teachings of McLaughlin's Indian guru Sri Chimnoy (who dubbed Carlos "Devadip" meaning "light of the lamp of the Supreme"). 

Despite warnings from CBS executive Clive Davis that he would sabotage the band's Top 40 potential, on Caravanserai Carlos led the band through a new set exploring jazz fusion with mixed results.

 The instrumentals still contain the trademark crystal clear guitar lines fronting the heavy rhythm sections and many Santana fans heap praise on songs like "Waves Within" and "Song of the Wind". However some of the singing sounds not just dated in 2012 but like "Gillette Commercial vocals" to Robert Christgau's ear way back in '72.

Caravanserai went platinum but the revolving door that was Santana began spitting out band members. Seattle keyboardist Greg Rolie and teenage guitar wunderkind Neal Schon both left but they landed on their feet. They founded a band called Journey.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

40 Year Itch: Round 2


What a run Philly's Stylistics went on in the early 1970's! 12 straight Top Ten R and B singles. Nobody could refuse the syrupy falsetto of Russell Thompkins Jr belting his way through those great Thom Bell/Linda Creed tunes.

     The sophomore album Round 2, released in October of 1972, contains more big hits: the #5 Pop hit (#5 R and B) "Break Up to Make Up", the Top Ten ( R and B #4) "I'm Stone in Love with You", the #23 ( R and B #8)"You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)" and a sweet cover of Carole King's "It's Too Late".

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

40 Year Itch : 8 Days On The Road

Howard Tate could effortlessly shift from a dirty Macon, Georgia soul singer ( the same city that gave us Otis Redding, Little Richard and the Allman Brothers) to an angelic grief stricken wailer in not just the same song. Or the same breath. But in the same word. His immaculate Jerry Ragavoy produced singles for Verve in the 1960's are among the classics of that era.  In October of 1972, now a part-time cab driver, he teamed up with Ragavoy again and  released a funky non-charting single called "8 Days on The Road".

       In his A- review of the eponymous album that contained the single, Robert Christgau wrote "This does almost as much for Tate's amazing vocal and emotional range--as cocksure as Wilson Pickett one moment, as sweet and hurting as B.B. King the next, and as corny as Joe Tex to top it off--as his Verve stuff with Ragovoy".  

Monday, October 8, 2012

All Time Top 10: Alan Wilder of Depeche Mode

To promote the second Depeche Mode album A Broken Frame and the most recent single "Leave In Silence" (UK#18) the newest member of the band, keyboardist Alan Wilder offered this list to Smash Hits which comes courtesy of Brian at Like Punk Never Happened

Saturday, October 6, 2012

40 Year Itch: Foxtrot

The first time I really sat down to listen to Genesis, I was a kid in boarding school. I'd borrowed A Trick Of The Tail from one of the smartest Seniors on my floor. An eccentric honors student who specialized in French, Latin and wearing his hair in the style some of us called "cumulo-nimbus". Somehow he got one of the prettiest girls in the school to fall for him. What was his secret? That strange music he listened to while he studied?

Apparently not. I was bored by the borrowed cassette. And what a shame I started my discovery of Genesis with the first post-Peter Gabriel album. Because I didn't bother to try to learn more for decades.

I'd argue today the album to start with is their fourth: Foxtrot. Released October 6, 1972, Foxtrot reveals a confident band, jamming together, performing together and composing together. Some of the songs actually rock, including the dark sci fi opener "Watcher of the Skies", featuring Tony Banks on mellotron.

"I look back on 'Watcher of the Sky', it's got a fantastic intro. The rhythm's great. I think the words are a bit suspect. They're kind of OK." says Mike Rutherford " Tony and I wrote them. But looking back it's a little too busy. But I think that rhythm "bumpetee bum bum bum bum was a nice rhythm under those chords"

An inventive rhythm Phil Collins chalks up to the influence of Yes, a band he saw play as often as he could.

Peter Gabriel added some darkness to the tune by dressing in a cap and glow in the dark makeup.

Foxtrot ends with "Supper's Ready" a dreamy 23 minute, seven part epic Gabriel has described as "a  personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the bible". It has also been said that the song was inspired by a supernatural encounter Gabriel and his wife shared. Like most of the album, all members contributed ideas, riffs, lyrics and arrangements.

"I think we were writing better as a group" says Tony Banks who had written section VII "As Sure As Eggs is Eggs" on guitar as a university student.

"So you had these quite specific bits like "Willow Farm" (section V) was Peter's and then we had these big chunks that were all written by people, kind of put them all in the same song, and then it was kind of  the filling out stuff that almost ended up being the strongest stuff there like the Apocalypse part (section VI) which really was Mike, Phil and I just wrote together. When the group can all feel they're involved in the composition it tends to produce a better result."

The group dynamic would not last forever. Gabriel appeared on the front page of Melody Maker wearing a red dress and a fox mask, without running it by the band leading to a ton of arguments. " I thought 'fuck it. I'm just going to do it', laughs Gabriel. "Because there was always this band democracy stuff and actually it wasn't a real democracy 'cuz some people were more powerful than others. And the more bloody minded of us tended to get their way more often as it is in every band the world over."

Friday, October 5, 2012

40 Year Itch : Feel The Need

[Buy The Greatest Hits]

If you want proof that the British have better taste than their American counterpoints, consider the Detroit Emeralds of 1972 and the powerhouse single "Feel The Need In Me" which was released in October of 1972. On the US pop charts the song peaked at an abysmal #110 in 1973. In the UK the song hit #4.

"Feel The Need" instantly sounds like the great lost Al Green hit. That's because the Detroit Emeralds had made it a practice to record down home rough cuts in Willie Mitchell's famous Memphis studio. Then they'd take the cuts back home and sweeten them up with smooth vocals.  That worked on the #5 R and B hit "You Want It You Got It", the #4 R and B hit "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" (Check out that opening guitar line) and here on a song so catchy the band revisited "Feel The Need" in the pre-Disco era.