Friday, January 31, 2014

40 Year Itch : Searchin' Everywhere

For his funky smash hit of 1974, Bobby Womack revamped a Top 10 R and B oldie he originally recorded with The Valentinos ten years earlier. He even recruited the Valentinos ( made up of Womack brothers) to back him up. Nothing's changed but the groove. 

 Even the Women's Lib movement couldn't convince the now 27-year old Womack to switch any lyrics around so he sings of his search for a woman "to fix my breakfast/And bring it to my bed /Someone to do a little housework And pamper me again"  No worries. The song hit #1 on the Soul charts and was Womack's only Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Unfortunately, one of Bobby's brothers was stabbed by a girlfriend and died the week before "Lookin' For a Love" topped the Soul charts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

40 Year Itch: Those We Missed Jan '74


   Italian symphonic prog rockers Quella Vecchia Locanda, follow up their beautiful 1972 debut with Il Tempo Della Giora ( A Time for Joy). While a lot of Italian prog strikes these ears as enthusiastically over-the-top, QVL produced warm and refined recordings with only a few splashes of heavy synthesizer.

   Before drummer Neil "The Professor" Peart joined the band, bringing tricky time signatures and a sci-fi lyrical approach , Rush sounded more like a bluesy power trio that on its best night might even give Led Zeppelin a run for the money.

Allen Toussaint produced the soulful, smokey-voiced Frankie Miller's sophomore album, High Life. ( His debut had been recorded with Brinsley Schwarz.) Miller was known as the white Otis Redding and one listen to this album will tell you why. Chrysalis did nothing to promote the album which is a shame because three Toussaint-penned tunes became hits for others: "Brickyard Blues" for Three Dog Night; "Shoo-Rah" for Betty Wright and 'I'll Take a Melody' for Hues Corporation. Four years later his "Darlin'" would be a Top 10 hit in the UK.

When Neu! guitarist Michael Rother joined Cluster duo Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius to form Harmonia, the result was one of the most influential of Krautrock bands. The hypnotic debut album Musik Von Harmonia inspired Brian Eno to pronounce Harmonia "the most important rock band in the world". It is not a giant leap from "Watussi" or "Dino" to the Bowie/Eno Berlin Trilogy.

We're still two years before this incessantly touring boogie band released a hit single ( the 1976 #20 "Slow Ride"). Energized lives up to its name even earning this recommendation from Rolling Stone : "This is one of the most satisfying fast-paced albums since Deep Purple's classic Machine Head."

With backing from the Grateful Dead  ( on the Dead side) and "The Hold Up", written with George Harrison, David Bromberg's Wanted Dead or Alive might be a good place to meet this amusing, nasally voiced folk and blues singer. Be warned, he can sound like a certain famous, green muppet.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

40 Year Itch: Fist Strike

On January 29, 1974 Can recorded a 14 and a half minute instrumental version of  "Tony Wanna Go" in a session for BBC 1 Radio DJ John Peel. The experimental German rock band was still reeling from the loss of vocalist Damo Suzuki who had recently married a German girl , become a Jehovah's Witness and quit music until 1983.
Can bassist Holger Czukay summarizes the band's reaction to its new line-up:

   For the rest of the group it was the feeling of a powerful fist strike into one's stomach. We tried out many other singers,but nobody suited to us anymore. So guitarist Michael Karoli and space organist Irmin Schmidt and sometimes me filled the gap. SOON OVER BABALUMA(Released in November, 1974) was the last album which was recorded straight onto stereo without a multi-tracking machine. An era came to an end..

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

40 Year Itch: Like an Atomic Bomb

On January 28, 1974 the hard-touring New York Dolls entered A and R Media Sound Studios on New York City's 57th Street to record their follow-up to the self-titled Todd Rundgren produced debut album. Shadow Morton, best known for his work with The Shangri-La's, was hired to produce the album. The New York Dolls has been performing Morton's "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" on the recently completed six month tour of the US and Europe. 

Shadow Morton in 1979 (Ralph M. Newman)
Morton's influential sound comes through the most on the first single, a cover of The Cadets' "Stranded in the Jungle". You hear sound effects like bird calls and the backing vocals from a girl group.The Dolls recorded four covers on this ten song album.

Other memorable tunes include "Babylon", "Chatterbox" and "Puss N' Boots" the latter two had also been played on the tour.

The New York Dolls with Shadow Morton in the center

When Too Much Too Soon was released in the Summer, it would win critical praise that didn't translate into record sales. Mercury dropped the Dolls in April of 1975.

Monday, January 27, 2014

40 Year Itch: Step Right Up...

On January 22, 1974 "Mr Country Music", George Jones recorded one of the saddest divorce songs of all time: "The Grand Tour". The song , produced by Billy Sherrill, would top the country charts in August. The following year his seven year marriage to "Mrs Country Music", Tammy Wynette, would be over

You can take a grand tour of the Lakeland, Florida home Jones and Wynette owned in the early 70's. With a swimming pool shaped like a guitar and a stable for horses, the property is now for sale with a price tag of  $1,950,000.

According to the listing website:

   Shortly after marrying in 1969, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, Mr. and Mrs. Country Music, called this their home when they moved to Lakeland in 1970

In an interview with The Tampa Tribune , Ms. Wynette was quoted as saying, "This is home for us. We're cutting down our traveling to about ten days a month and plan to spend most of the rest of our time right here. It's the only place we want to be."  

The couple truly loved the spacious, rural surroundings.

They began entertaining on the property and it was appropriately named Old Plantation Music Park.

They drew some top names in country music including Porter Wagner, Charlie Pride and Johnny Cash. Unfortunately, the rural neighbors, who also loved their peace and quiet, didn't love all the noise.

As any country music fan knows from their song lyrics, this Two Story Home, wasn't always a happy home. At the end of 1972, the couple decided it was time to move on. The home inspired the hit songs "The Grand Tour" and "Two Story House":

There's chandeliers in every room
 Imported silks and satin all about
 We filled the house with everything
 But somehow left love out.
 Lyrics from George and Tammy 's hit single "Two Story House".

Sunday, January 26, 2014

40 Year Itch: Flash Your Warning Lights

On January 26, 1974 Glam rockers Mud climbed all the way to the top of the pops with "Tiger Feet", the biggest UK single of the year. The tune was written by producers Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman who also wrote and produced  Glam rock hits for Sweet ("Little Willy, "Blockbuster", "Ballroom Blitz", "Teenage Rampage") and Suzi Quatro ( "Can the Can", "48 Crash", "Devil Gate Drive"). Emphasis on the good time party beat. De-emphasis on meaningful lyrics. So you get instead:

Alright, that's right, that's right, that's right
That's right I really love your tiger light
That's neat, that's neat, that's neat, that's neat
 I really love your tiger feet,
 I really love your tiger feet

Mud sold a million copies of "Tiger Feet" around the world. In the US, the song did no business. Whatsoever.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

40 Year Itch: The Midnight Toker


On the January 25th episode of The Midnight Special Steve Miller  performed his #1 hit "The Joker", which had just peaked a week earlier before being overtaken by Ringo Starr's "You're Sixteen". Miller followed up his smash hit with an early, psychedelic seven-minute version of his future 1976 hit "Fly Like An Eagle".

His final tune was "Sugar Babe", another tune from The Joker. Miller introduces the band, including the late James "Curley" Cooke who would go on to found Pacific Northwest Blues in the Schools, a musical outreach program for troubled kids.

Also performing on the show: Cub Koda's Brownsville Station whose "Smokin In The Boy's Room" peaked at #3 on the Hot 100.

Friday, January 24, 2014

40 Year Itch : The Other Big Star

As we anticipate the February 1974 release of Big Star's Radio City, let's take a moment to listen to one of the Ardent label's other great power pop band, The Hot Dogs. Formed by Memphis rockers Bill Rennie and Greg Redding, The Hot Dogs ( like Cargoe)  share their label mate's love of 60's pop, Beatlesque harmonies and stinging guitar solos. Lead guitarist Terry Manning also produced Alex Chilton's 1970 sessions. Drummer Richard Rosebrough also played the skins on Chris Bell's I Am The Cosmos.

Ardent, an offshoot of Stax Records,  was by no means the kind of label that could turn any band into big stars. Their distribution was awful. Even if you'd read something about the band, you couldn't find the records in the stores. And Say What You Mean did get some press including a review in an April '74 issue of Rolling Stone:

Bill Rennie's writing , arranging and vocal work on "Another Smile" and "Way to Get You" are so like (Pete) Townshend the could fit on Who Came First. Say What You Mean shows the Hot Dogs to be yet another you group that may become exceptional once they dig an identity out of their inspirations. In the meantime, they are making polished, listenable music.

But The Hot Dogs had even worse luck. They reportedly lost all their equipment in a club fire.

Rennie and Redding made another album Hot Dogs album in the late 70's before joining Jim "Dandy" Mangrum, of all people in Black Oak ( formerly Black Oak Arkansas) for two albums.
Say What You Mean is no Radio City but it's worth hearing. And you can listen to it, track by track, on this Ardent website .

Thursday, January 23, 2014

40 Year Itch : A Rhapsody Divine

  On January 23, 1974 Roxy Music performed on the West German music program Musikladen.  Brian Eno was gone, replaced by multi-instrumentalist Eddie Jobson. An American named Sal Maida played bass on the touring version of Roxy Music. With Ferry dressed for a cocktail party and Phil Manzanera seated on a bar stool, they band played four songs from their latest album, Stranded, and the 1973 Top 10 single "Pyjamarama".

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

40 Year Itch : Spot the Starman


On January 22,1974  Cockney Rebel previewed songs from the forthcoming album , The Psychomondo, in a Peel Session recorded for BBC Radio 1 which was broadcast later in June. The band had not broken though on their superb 1973 debut, The Human Menagerie, but rather than get more accessible, Steve Harley and his band just got stranger. The result: a Top Ten album in the UK.

The tracks below are:
1. Bed in the Corner/ Sling It at ( :07)
2. Mr Soft ( at 6:15)
3. Sweet Dreams/ Psychomondo ( at 9:30)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

40 Year Itch : One Little Wave


On January 21st, Slade announced its new album, Old, New Borrowed and Blue had gone gold...18 days before it was even released. Advanced orders for copies had earned the band $375,000. It had been nearly two years since Slayed?, the band's last studio effort,  and the first single from the album,  "My Friend Stan",  had already peaked in the UK at #2 , so anticipation was at a boiling point among fans of Glam's loudest rock band. At least those who hadn't tired of the ominipresent "Merry Xmas Everybody".

There were plenty of loud stadium-worthy anthem rockers on the album but the UK chart topping Old, New Borrowed and Blue also showed a few other sides of Slade. There's a honky tonk piano in "Find Yourself a Rainbow", some acoustic guitars in a country rock vein on "How Can It Be" , and a  remarkable piano ballad called "Everyday", which would be released as a single at the end of March and peak at #3 on the UK singles chart.

Retitled Stomp Your Hands, Clap Your Feet, the album did little business in the US. Later in the year Slade would begin production on a movie called  Slade In Flame. Then the band would move to the US and nearly vanish from the public eye as quickly as they had captured it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

40 Year Itch: Passport Smiles

"The first truly great pop album of 1974" 
-Jon Landau, Rolling Stone

 On January 17, 1974 Joni Mitchell released her sixth, and arguably best, studio album, Court and Spark, to widespread critical acclaim and the best sales of her career. The double platinum album would be voted the best of the year by the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll edging out Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic for the honor.

    At the time, critics didn't make such a big deal of Joni pairing up her amazing voice with jazz instrumentation. Robert Christgau goes so far as to say:

The first album she's ever made that doesn't sound like a musical departure -- it's almost standard rock.

   That's because anyone who had heard her criminally underrated 1972 album, For the Roses, already knew where she was heading. (Just listen to "Let The Wind Carry Me"). On Court and Spark Tom Scott, who played woodwinds and reeds on Roses, returnsed with his studio band The L.A. Express. The band included a good looking jazz drummer named John Guerin.

The hit single, "Help Me",  is the story of Joni and John's instant infatuation with each other.

  In Girls Like Us Sheila Weller quotes Guerin:

"Joan was a different kind of animal," he said. She created. "A lot of " what he fell in love with " had to do with her out-and-out-talent . I was amazed at her talent for most of our relationship. She didn't have patience for repetition or rules. I never paid attention to lyrics before ; I listed to a singer's timbre or phrasing or the quality of her voice. Boy, she changed that for me! She opened up my ears to words."

There's a pretty simple reason why this is the best selling and most critically acclaimed album in the Joni Mitchell catalogue: it's her most appealing. The pop songs are straight-forward; the love songs touching; and Joni even reveals her sense of humor on the first single "Raised on Robbery" and, with the help of Cheech and Chong,  her cover of the Lambert-Hendricks-Ross novelty tune "Twisted".

The only critic who didn't love Court And Spark was label mate Bob Dylan who pretended to fall asleep when she played it for him. It may have been a joke since their boss David Geffen was in the room but it's something for which Joni has never forgiven Dylan.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

40 Year Itch: Forming Magic Chandeliers

  On August 18, 1974 off and on Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman recorded the best selling album of his solo career, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, live in concert with the London Symphony Orchestra and The English Chamber Choir. Based on the Jules Verne novel, the concept album topped the UK charts and peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200. It has since sold 14 million copies. The narrator on the album is actor David Hemmings. He is replaced in the 1975 performance below by Terry Taplin.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

40 Year Itch: A Folk Waif Rocks Out

  On January 18, 1974, a day after the release of Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell hit the road for the first time in a couple of years, opening her nine month tour of the US and London at Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. The show began with some jazzy instrumentals from Tom Scott and the LA Express, the session men who played on Court and Spark.   

     Then Joni came out in a low cut dress. After accepting a bouquet of roses which she placed in a vase onstage, Joni explained they nearly missed the show because of the weather. "There was this strange fog formation, and when we got about ten feet above the ground, we saw it was a highway we were about to land on and not the runway. So we flew back to Cincinnati."

      Yes, the pilot actually turned the crazy bird around.

       So naturally, she opened with "This Flight Tonight". Then they went into the basic concert set. They played "Free Man in Paris", "You Turn Me On I'm A Radio", "Woodstock",  and "Raised On Robbery" among others. 

Among those at the show was Concert Magazine reporter Don Ross:

Vocal communication between the audience and the artist continued all night (Joni encouraged it) and, when the band returned, one person expressed his disapproval - "play without the band!" To some Joni Mitchell freaks, the backup, electric sound came across too heavy for the delicate emotions that flowed through her songs and their souls. And sometimes the arrangements differed on the older material and this displeased them; the last tune before the break was "Woodstock" and it had already been rearranged once by Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. Tom Scott and the L.A. Express set it to a jazzy beat and, while Joni Mitchell felt at home within the flow, it left some people with a feeling of alienation during the intermission. But once the band was given a chance again, "play with the band" issued froth from another part of the audience.

    After an intermission, Joni came out by herself to play "Cactus Tree" , "Big Yellow Taxi" and the Court and Spark cut "The Same Situation". Then she sat down with her dulcimer for two Blue cuts : "A Case of You" and "All I Want". Back at the piano she played "Blue" and "For Free" before the band returned for the latest single, "Raised on Robbery", "Trouble Child", "Both Sides Now" and the encore, "Twisted".

   It was too soon to know this would be Joni's year. By year's end, she'd have her first Top 10 hit ( "Help Me" ( US#7) and be featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Also, strangely, The New York Times would do a concert review titled "Rock and Roll's Ethel Merman".


Friday, January 17, 2014

40 Year Itch : How Geffen Signed Dylan

   On January 17, 1974 David Geffen's Asylum Records released two of the year's biggest albums on the same day: Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark and Bob Dylan's Planet Waves. While the albums got the lion's share of the publicity, it was also a coming out party of sorts for the 30 year old millionaire record exec. Not his official "coming out", of course, as he was dating Cher. 

  "I was the first person to share his bed and to share his life," she says in Tom King's book about Geffen, The Operator. "People don't believe that, or they don't want to believe it, or they don't understand how it could be. But we were really crazy about each other."

  They dated for two years. Geffen's contract with Dylan, perhaps his greatest achievement as a record exec,  lasted just about a year. The only year Dylan hasn't been associated with Columbia Records in more than 40 years of recording. So how did Geffen lure Dylan away?

   He began by approaching Robbie Robertson of The Band, a group in such desperate need of inspiration they had just released an album of cover songs ( the poor selling Moondog Matinee). Waving a recording contract in front of Robertson's face, Geffen suggested he get The Band back together with Dylan and hit the road like they did in '66. It would be the biggest concert tour of the year!

   With no manager to play interference,  Dylan met with Geffen whose talk about the tour soon veered to talk about an album. After all , you don't go on tour unless you have an album to sell. And because Geffen was putting together the tour, why shouldn't Dylan, whose contract was up for renewal with CBS/Columbia at the time,  leave his old label and record  for Asylum? Geffen sealed the deal with a huge promise: he'd make sure Dylan's next album sold a million copies, would hit #1,  and return Dylan to superstar status. He also threw Dylan a bone: Bob could sign artists to his own Asylum imprint, Ashes and Sands.

   With the contract signed, Dylan and The Band went to work recording the next album ,  in three November days. They had to rush the album, to be called Ceremonies of the Horsemen, to meet the deadline for the January tour. So rushed was the effort, Dylan could never choose which version of "Forever Young" he wanted: the slow, preachy five minute version or the jaunty, tossed off three minute version. So they pressed both on the album that was retitled Planet Waves.

  A word about Planet Waves: half of it's great. "On a Night Like This", "Tough Mama", "Something There Is About You" and "You Angel You" are my favorite tunes and rank right up there with the best of New Morning and Blood On The Tracks. Dylan and The Band sound great together. But I could never stand "Forever Young". "Dirge" and "Wedding Song" are tiresome to these ears.

    As Geffen had promised, sales were brisk right out of the gate.  Planet Waves was shipped Gold and debuted on Billboard's  February 9, 1974 Top LP's and Tapes Chart at #19, 16 spots ahead of Court and Spark. The following week, Planet Waves would top the album charts. Such was the euphoria surrounding Dylan and The Band's 40-date, 21-city tour of the US. And yet the album only sold a disappointing 600,000 copies. Part of the blame belongs to Dylan himself, who decided not to play many if any of his new songs on the tour. By the end, only "Forever Young" remained. 

     Asylum would release the live album that followed the tour, Before the Flood, but Dylan raced back to Columbia. Planet Waves had come out strong but by year's end both Asylum albums Court and Spark and Carly Simon's Hotcakes had outsold it.
     Also Dylan simply didn't like Geffen.
     "He thought Geffen was just interested in being a celebrity," a source told Rolling Stone.Plus Dylan signed a deal with Columbia that  reportedly paid him sixty cents a record more than Asylum and gave him a new, improved royalty on his back catalog.  

Footnote: 13 year later Robbie Robertson released a critically acclaimed eponymous album on Geffen records.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

40 Year Itch : Dark Lady Played Back Magic

On January 16, 1974 Cher performed "Dark Lady: on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. After "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves " ( #1,1971)  and " Half Breed" (#1, 1973) ,  "Dark Lady" would be the last of her trio of #1 smash hits. Written by Venture keyboardist  John  Durrill, "Dark Lady" sold more than a million copies in the US and proved to be Cher"s last Top 40 hit in the UK for ten years.

On Febuary 13, 1974, The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour showed an animated version of Cher's "Dark Lady".

   Was it too many short jokes? Now romantically involved with millionaire rock exec David Geffen, Cher decided to call it quits on  The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. In his book The Operator, Tom King relates a tense rehearsal in January of 1974:

A skit in one of their final shows had Cher playing Mother Nature standing atop a mountain. Sonny played a seeker of truth, struggling to climb to the peak. "Mother Nature, what is the secret of life?" Sonny asked. 

 "Go fuck yourself," Cher snarled, not missing a beat. 

 Nobody laughed. "Can we try it again?" the director asked. 

 "Not without lawyers," Bono muttered. 

  Things would only get uglier. In her divorce papers, Cher charged Sonny with "involuntary servitude" and "unlawfully" dominating and controlling her business interests and career. Bono countersued Cher for $14 million for damages in future revenue. Bono then sued Geffen for $13 million in papers that charged him with interfering in a contractual relationship Cher Enterprises, the company he owned, and  his wife. Bono also sought a temporary restraining order against Geffen. These were heady times for Geffen, as we'll see when we scratch the 40 year itch of January 17, 1974.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

40 Year Itch: Stevie Wonder's 12 Fave Songs

Five months after the car accident that nearly killed him Stevie Wonder and his band Wonderlove played two shows in a single night at the Rainbow Theatre in London. Among those in the audience: Paul and Linda McCartney, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Pete Townshend and The Staple Singers. Radio Luxembourg recorded the second show for broadcast.

    Asked to make a Sophie's Choice between Innervisions and Talking Book, Wonder said he preferred Innervisions ,  telling Rolling Stone 
As far as tunes, I like several from Talking Book: "Looking For Another Pure Love", "Superstition" "You've Got It Bad, Girl"  and "Sunshine of My Life". 
             With Innervisions I was going through a lot of changes . Although I didn't know we were going to have an accident, I knew I was undergoing changes." Higher Ground" is the only time I've ever done a whole track in one hour, and the words just came out. That's the only time, and that's very heavy.  

He also gave BBC radio producers a list of his 12 favorite songs:

1. Thurston Harris "Little Bitty Pretty One.

2. Bread "Diary"
3. Don McLean "Vincent"
4. Jackie Wilson "That Is Why"

5. Ray Charles "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying"
6. Johnnie Taylor "I Believe In You"
7. Donny Hathaway "The Ghetto"

8. The Beatles "Something"
9. B.B. King "Stormy Monday"
10. Aretha Franklin "Angel"

11. Marvin Gaye "What's Going On"
12. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles "Tears of a Clown"

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

40 Year Itch : Fakewood Mac

The Real Fleetwood Mac

           Every fan and record executive who thought Fleetwood Mac consisted of Bob Weston, Christine McVie, Bob Welch, John McVie and Mick Fleetwood must have been very surprised by the Fleetwood Mac touring the US at the start of 1974. Sure, they billed themselves as Fleetwood Mac, but not a single member of that band ever played in the real Mac.The source of the confusion: Mac manager Clifford Davis who told Rolling Stone he, not Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, owned the Fleetwood Mac name.
      "I want to get this out of the public's mind as far as the band being Mick Fleetwood's band. This is my band . This band has always been my band.". 

     Davis said he always chose who was in the band and who was out and when the current members refused to tour, he simply hired new musicians. The lawsuits that followed put the real Fleetwood Mac out of commission for most of the year. Eventually, in September, they released Heroes Are Hard to Find, the last album to feature Bob Welch.

As for the fakes, they were often greeted by hostile audiences who jeered the band playing old Mac blues tunes like "Showbiz Blues" and "The Green Manalishi". Fake Mac-er Dave "Elmer Gantry" Terry would later perform with Alan Parsons Project and Jon Lord. But first, as Stretch,  the band would record one of 1975's greatest singles, "Why Did You Do It?" Why indeed.

Monday, January 13, 2014

40 Year Itch: Love Is Like A Cloud

Four months after ex Byrds and former Flying Burrito Brother Gram Parsons was found dead at the age of 26 of an overdose in a Joshua Tree,CA motel, his second solo album, Grievous Angel, was released to critical acclaim and little interest from record buyers. They were still buying albums from the singer who died the day after Parsons, Jim Croce. 

      What did they miss? Well. Grievous Angel sounds like a hodgepodge of  tracks from various sessions. It's padded with cover versions. There are a couple of tunes Parsons quickly tossed together and, in "Ooh Las Vegas", there's a reject from the first solo album, GP

      And yet, here lies the best of the solo albums, full of soulful country rock,  highlighted by the slower tunes: "Brass Buttons", "Hearts On Fire", "Love Hurts" and "In My Hour of Darkness". 

  With the exception of "Brass Buttons", written when Parson was still a Harvard undergrad, all the slower ones feature a then unknown Emmylou Harris on harmonizing vocals. 

   The mix is about 50-50 and when you pan the speakers on some of the tunes, like "Love Hurts", Grievous Angel sounds like it could be her album. Her enduring career is part of his legacy as are those he influenced, including everyone from The Eagles to Wilco. GP and Grievous Angel are now purchased together on the same CD.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

40 Year Itch : Energy Crisis '74

In early 1974 comedic sampler Dickie Goodman hit the Top 40 with  "Energy Crisis '74" . Not that many Americans found anything amusing about odd-even gas rationing or how one out of five gas stations had run out of gas.
Goodman used the same tactic of inter-cutting fake interviews with songs when he recorded his biggest seller would the #4 1975 hit "Mr. Jaws".

The songs that were sampled are:

 Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) by Helen Reddy
Smokin' In the Boys Room by Brownsville Station
Living for the City by Stevie Wonder
Helen Wheels by Paul McCartney and Wings
Mind Games by John Lennon
The Joker by Steve Miller Band
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
Hello It's Me by Todd Rundgren
You're Sixteen by Ringo Starr
The Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich
Top of the World by The Carpenters