Thursday, April 30, 2015

40 Year Itch : Those We Missed April 1975

The Playlist [no longer available]

     I've tried something different for this downloadable zipfile. I've recorded brief introductions to most of the songs to give you some 1001Songs style background stories. Don't panic. This isn't a podcast. You can keep the tracks you want and discard the rest--even my introductions. But the first time you dump this into your mp3 player or wherever you play your music, try listening to the playlist in order --with the introductions--and then let me know what you think in the comments


Also on this date in 1975: The fall of Saigon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

40 Year Itch : Bad Boys Don't Get No Toys

Sensational Alex Harvey Band: Give My Complements to the Chef

    Cracked cabaret and glam rock collide on this fan favorite from Tomorrow Belongs to Me, the last of the must-hear albums from Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Harvey himself seems pretty demented. Live, this band would transfix audiences to the point that they earned a reputation for low bar sales. Nobody wanted to leave their seats for liquor. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

40 Year Itch: John Lennon's Last TV Interview Airs

John Lennon : Be Bop a Lula

   This Tomorrow Show interview with Tom Snyder, which first aired on April 28, 1975,  is as close as we will ever get to hanging out with the smartest of the Beatles. No breakthrough information here  just Lennon in a good, talkative mood.

Monday, April 27, 2015

40 Year Itch : Your Light Shines Through

Nazareth : Beggar's Day/Rose in the Heather

Play this wicked Nils Lofgren cover as loud as your speakers can take it.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

40 Year Itch : UK Top 10 April 28 1975

Susan Cadogan : Hurts  So Good

    Four out of the top five UK singles this week are covers. The most interesting is the Lee "Scratch" Perry produced cover of Millie Jackson's "Hurts So Good", which didn't do much business in Jamaica, but topped the UK reggae charts and went Top 5 on the pop charts. The airy voiced Susan Cadogan would have one more minor hit before eventually returning to her job as a librarian.

1. Mud Oh Boy
 2. Minnie Riperton Lovin' You
3. Bobby Goldsboro Honey (1975)

4. Susan Cadogan : Hurt So Good
5. Bay City Roller: Bye Bye Baby
6. Peter Shelley Love Me Love My Dog

7. 10cc: Life is a Minestrone

8. Glitter Band : The Tears I Cried
9. The Three Degrees : Take Good Care of Yourself
10.The Sweet : Fox on the Run

For the entire Top 50 click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

40 Year Itch : He's a Razzamatazz Man

10cc : Flying Junk

Another weird gem from 10cc's uneven The Original Soundtrack.

Friday, April 24, 2015

40 Year Itch: The Death of Pete Ham

Pete Ham : Lay Me Down (demo)

Badfinger : Lay Me Down

    The music industry doesn't realize that musicians in its care must be treated with gentleness and sincerity, only then will the music grow and flourish. Musicians are special, sensitive people who give much, and many, like Badfinger, are adrift within a hostile so-called "industry" that seems based solely on money and self-interest
-Tony Beresford-Cooke, friend

On April 24, 1975 a despondent Pete Ham hanged himself in his garage studio. He left behind a note for his pregnant girlfriend Anne who discovered his body.

That last line again:

"Stan Polley is a souless bastard. I will take him with me"

   Stan Polley is the business manager who signed Badfinger to a deal with Warner Brothers which came with a huge multi million dollar advance that the members of Badfinger would never see. In return the band had to produce two albums and an additional two singles every year. 
   Noting $100,000 in missing funds, the publishing division of Warner Brothers spent a year trying to contact Polley. They got no response.  So WB Records pulled the band's excellent comeback album, Wish You Were Here, off the shelves. Polley still wasn't taking or returning calls. Now, as Badfinger began recording their next album, to be titled Head First ( and featuring bitter songs like "Hey Mr Manager" and " Rock'n'Roll Contract") lawyers got involved. They stopped payment on Warner Brothers checks to Badfinger and convinced record execs to turn down the new album. To top it off Apple was suspending royalty payments to avoid getting swept up into the lawsuit. And still no word from Stan Polley.
  By April of 1975 Pete Ham had a pregnant girlfriend ( for whom he had written "Lay Me Down"), new house payments, no money and no way to earn any money. He told his bandmate Tom Evans he knew a way out. He died at the age of 27.
   Head First was released 26 years after it was recorded.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

40 Year Itch : Chugging Like a Choo Choo Train

Charles Bronson on the set of 1975's Breakheart Pass
Allen Toussaint: Last Train

  Glen Campbell's cover version of the title track was a #1 country/ pop/ adult contemporary crossover smash but when you dig a little deeper into Southern Nights, you find some funky New Orleans soul thanks to Allen Toussaint's decision to team up with his house band, The Meters.

   On "Last Train",  I wonder of Toussaint is huffing and puffing to keep up with a young lover or whether he's suffering from Alvin Toffler's Future Shock, fearing the speed of rapid change that could mean the end of the railroad.

Full page ad in Rolling Stone

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

40 Year Itch: Hollow and Naked

AC/DC: Soul Stripper

   First of all there are two AC/DC albums called High Voltage. The ballsy six minute groove fest "Soul Stripper" comes from the first one, the uneven 1975 Australia-only release. A sign of great things to come! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

40 Year Itch : That Sweet 60's Harmony

The Beau Brummels : You Tell Me Why

The Hollies : 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

   With the popularity of so many soft rocks acts on the charts ( America, David Gates, Dan Fogelberg, Pure Prairie League, Seals and Crofts), it seemed like a good time for The Beau Brummels to give it another go. With Ted Templeman and Lenny Waronker at the helm, the San Francisco band recorded a surprisingly good album that didn't sell. "You Tell Me Why" is the only tune they had updated from their earlier catalog. The original 1965 single was produced by Sly Stone.

  The Hollies enjoyed moderate success with their Bruce Springsteen cover, "Sandy", which peaked at #85 in the US but went Top 10 in The Netherlands.  Manfred Mann's Earth Band would also release a Springsteen cover in 1975, "Spirits in the Night" and then again in 1977, the #1 hit  "Blinded By the Light" .

Monday, April 20, 2015

40 Year Itch : Sh*t! Goddamn!

Funkadelic : Get Off Your Ass and Jam

   For decades we've all assumed the blistering guitar solo on this track was cut by phenoms Eddie Hazel or Michael Hampton, but in George Clinton's autobiography, Brothers Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?, we learn that it is an unnamed, strung out white guy who wandered into the studio and agreed to play on the song for $25.

"We set him up, started the track and he just started to play like he was possessed. He did all the rock and roll that hadn't been heard for a few years, and he did it for the entirety of the track. Even when the song ended, he didn't stop."

Clinton gave the man $50 but never gave him a credit on the album . To this day, nobody knows who he is.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Top Ten By Courtney Love

  Courtney Love made a grunge heavy list of her top ten favorite albums for Spin Magazine's Alternate Record Guide, published in 1995, a year after her husband's suicide. That's the same year Hole's second album, Live Through This, went platinum and Barbara Walters named Love one of the year's 10 Most Fascinating People. There are two Nirvana albums, but equally interesting is the Echo and the Bunnymen album which I can imagine her listening to on a walkman as she travelled around Ireland and England in 1982.

1. Echo and the Bunnymen : Heaven Up Here
2. Nirvana : Nevermind

3. Gun Club : Fire of Love
4. Pixies : Surfer Rosa

5. Mudhoney : Superfuzz Bigmuff EP

6. Leonard Cohen : Songs From a Room
7. P J Harvey : Dry

8. Husker Du : New Day Rising

9. Nirvana: In Utero
10. Nine Inch Nails : The Downward Spiral

Fun fact : Courtney played "The Bride" in a 1988 Ramones video for "I Wanna Be Sedated".

Saturday, April 18, 2015

40 Year Itch : An Ungulate Takes Flight

Camel : Rhayader Goes to Town 

The record company freaked out when they first heard the record because it was just one piece of instrumental music. They were saying "Hey, how can we sell this shit? How can DJs play it on the radio?" There weren't even any grooves between the tracks.
-Andrew Latimer

   While Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here is the most commonly praised prog rock album of 1975, Camel's criminally overlooked all-instrumental The Snow Goose is finally enjoying a revival. In 2014, readers of Prog Magazine voted it  #31 in the Top 100 Prog Albums of All Time.
     It is actually entitled Music Inspired By The Snow Goose.
    The 1941 Paul Gallico novella, The Snow Goose, is about a young girl who finds a wounded goose and enlists the town's outcast hunchback, Rhayader, to help nurse it back to health. For the follow-up to Mirage, Camel wanted to record a concept album inspired by the book. 
   One problem. 
  The 82 year old author wasn't interested in having his story sung by a bunch of long haired hippies. So Camel recorded its third album as an instrumental. The Snow Goose is one of the year's great "growers". It leaps from mood to mood, sometimes in the same song with beautiful instrumentation flawlessly played.


    The third track, "Rhayader Goes to Town", gives you a good sense of the album. It begins with Emerson Lake and Palmer grandeur, then shifts into the kind of Giorgio Moroder synth disco that could have appeared on the American Gigolo soundtrack, before slipping into some trippy sounds that would have sounded just fine on Dark Side of the Moon.
    The album peaked at #22 in the UK Charts and Melody Maker declared Camel "Britain's Brightest Hope". They would be for at least one more album...


   John Lennon's final performance before a live audience takes place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on April 18, 1975, to perform on "A Salute to Sir Lew Grade", supported by Dog Soldier.

Friday, April 17, 2015

40 Year Itch : Wishing

Carlton Fisk waves a ball fair in 1975 World Series

Richard and Linda Thompson : Wishing ( BBC session)


    It may be unfair that Hokey Pokey isn't considered as strong as the other early Richard and Linda Thompson albums or that the track I've fallen for is a previously unreleased Buddy Holly cover from a John Peel Session.

   I make no apologies. 

  The Thompsons recorded Hokey Pokey during their conversion to Islam. It's a bit schizoid, leaping from the silliness of "Smiffy's Glass Eye" to the sheer torment of "Never Again", about the death of Richard's girlfriend in a 1969 car accident that also killed Fairport Convention drummer Martin Lamble. The album also contains one of the couple's best recordings: "A Heart Needs a Home".

Thursday, April 16, 2015

40 Year Itch : Walk This Way

   We were rehearsing that riff, and I don't even think Steven was around that day as we practiced it and arranged it. And that night we went with [producer]  Jack Douglas to the movies and saw Young Frankenstein. There's that part in the movie where Igor says "Walk this way", and the other guy walks the same way with the hump and everything . We thought it was the funniest thing we'd ever seen in our lives. So we told Steven the name of the song has got to be " Walk This Way" and he took it from there.
-Tom Hamilton, Aerosmith

A drummer who considered himself better than Aerosmith's Joey Kramer,  The Demon of Screamin' Steven Tyler came up with the percussive, sexually suggestive lyrics the night before he recorded them, but left them back at the hotel. He grabbed some pencils and a cassette player and tried to remember them by writing on the walls of the Record Plant stairway.

Backstroke lover always hidin' 'neath the cover
'Till I talked to my daddy he say
He said, "You ain't seen nothing
'Till you're down on a muffin
Then you're sure to be a-changin' your ways"

    Tyler's wild man, rapping lyrics sound great in three or four minute increments. ( He does something similar on the other big hit from Toys, "Sweet Emotion") However his autobiography, Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?, is virtually impossible to read.

   The Toys in the Attic single did nothing upon its first release in 1975. But at the end of 1976 it was re-released. By early '77, "Walk This Way" was a Top 10 hit. The Run-DMC rap version would go Top 5 in 1986.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

40 Year Itch: Humming to the Music

The Blackbyrds : Walking in Rhythm

Inescapable 1975 hit from Howard University students studying under crossover jazz great Donald Byrd. The guys in the band managed to maintain a B average even as they played on the Dinah Shore Show and appeared in the film Cornbread, Earl and Me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

40 Year Itch : Ever Chasing Echoes in the Air

Susan Sarandon in The Great Waldo Pepper, 1975

Brian Protheroe : Enjoy It

Superb melodic pop from the singer-songwriter who had a Top 40 UK hit the year before with "Pinball". This one's better. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

40 Year Itch: Love Me or Leave Me

The Clintons in 1975

Abba: I Do I Do I Do

    It seemed like every 1975 song had a saxophone. But none sounded quite as cheesy as the repetitive mid-chart hit, "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do", by Abba. Melody Maker's reviewers said "This single is so bad, it hurts."
    Naturally it went #1 in Switzerland.

  "I Do I Do I Do I Do"  would eventually become a top karaoke choice by drunk sorority girls everywhere. And Muriel's Wedding made sure we'd never be able to buy an Abba collection without its inclusion.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Top Ten by Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo

   Yo La Tengo drummer/vocalist/somgwriter Georgia Hubley made my favorite Top Ten list in Spin Magazine's Alternate Record Guide, published in 1995. She helped me discover the classic Pretty Things album Parachute while giving a very nice nod to Christmas, a band made up of two brothers I befriended in elementary school. Pretty sure I was one of the first college radio djs to put Yo La Tengo's debut album, Ride the Tiger, on heavy rotation ( in 1985) so it has all evened out quite nicely.  

1. Syd Barrett : The Madcap Laughs/Barrett
2. Various Artists : The Beat of the Traps

3. Christmas : Ultraprophets of Thee Psykick Revolution

4. The Clean : Compilation
5. Roky Erickson and the Aliens [st]

6. Various Artists: Michigan Brand Nuggets
7. The Modern Lovers [st]

8. The Pretty Things : Parachute

9. Tall Dwarfs : Hello Cruel World
10. Them : featuring Van Morrison