Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Retro Favorite Albums: 1970

1970 was a pretty remarkable year in music. For one, it saw the deaths of Jimi Hendrix on September 17 and Janis Joplin on October 4th. Eerie so close, and of course Jim Morrison would go the next Summer.

But from a musical standpoint, a lot of favorites did come out this year, namely in October with Genesis, Pink Floyd and Zeppelin. Also the great Black Sabbath albums, my favorite Soft Machine record, and a wonderful Crimson album early in the year.

Bridge Over Troubled Water.jpg
Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water
rel January 26, 1970

Many consider this their best record. It does have the title track, "The Boxer" and "Cecilia"  and "Bye Bye Love" which all were standards.

I recall enjoying this as-a-whole when I saw Collective Unconscious play it in full. Although I recall like most albums at this time, it's kind of short, so it almost ends up leaving you wanting more.

Chicago - Chicago II
rel January 26, 1970

This is an edit as I missed this record in my research. And I of course don't know it, but probably more now after looking it over a bit, wish I did. A double album (which I guess Chicago got known for), with a couple of suite/epics of sorts.

It also includes maybe their biggest hit from all of their early albums with "25 or 6 to 4."

Black Sabbath debut album.jpg
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
rel February 13, 1970

Some say, this is the 1st Heavy Metal album, and Sabbath's debut record of course. While I prefer Paranoid that was released later in 1970, this does have some of their best tunes. From the Self-titled /title track which goes for over 6 minutes, to stuff like "N.I.B." and "The Wizard."

The who live at leeds.jpg
The Who - Live at Leeds
rel February 14, 1970

One of the rare classic live albums felt worth including. I sadly do not own the Deluxe Edition, but have heard it and it adds a lot to an already great live album (although the original is only 6 songs, but that includes a 14+ minute version of "My Generation").

I know on the Deluxe edition, the complete Tommy is included. But I recall the version I bought back in the 90's didn't have that, but did include an amazing version of "Happy Jack" and "Sparks" (possibly back-2- back).

Van Morrison - Moondance
rel February 28, 1970

This album includes some of the better Van Morrison tunes, which of course the title track, "And it Stoned Me" and "Into the Mystic."

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu.jpg
Crosby Stills Nash and Young - Dejavu
rel March 11, 1970

While I enjoy the CSN debut album from '69, this record seems to have a bit more consistency and depth. "Carry On," "Helpless," "Woodstock" the title track, "Our House." Maybe Neil Young's presence made this an even better follow-up, or maybe they just were able to write that many more gems the 2nd time around.

A great record, that sadly they never were able to reproduce again as this was their only record with Neil Young until '88, and more or less the only record CSN ended up making again that had that magic.

Jethro Tull - Benefit
rel April 20, 1970

Another slept-on Tull album, that they still hadn't really started going into progressive rock yet, but I know many of the big fans dig this one. I did pickup the Record Store Day edition a couple of years ago on 180g Vinyl, but still haven't played it. But per a friend on rym, 2 of the better tracks are "For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and Me" and "Nothing to Say."

Could be one to enjoy down the road.

Bitches brew.jpg
Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
rel April 1970

Many praise this album as innovative/inventive and pioneering. I guess in the limited time I have listened to it, which was maybe 14 or 15 years ago, I found it spotty. It meanders per it is "Free Jazz" in many ways. And despite all those awesome players like McLaughlin and Corea, etc it never blew me away, the way that some of their bands later did, or even the previous record In a Silent Way has.

That being said, I may give it another go, like A Love Supreme, to see if time and a fresh new set of ears may change my feeling about it.

In the Wake of Poseidon - Original Album Cover.jpeg
King Crimson - In the Wake of Poseidon
rel May 5, 1970

I probably never would consider this better than Crimson King from '69, but I remember really loving a lot of this record when I checked it out many years back. "Cadence and Cascade" the title track "The Devil's Triangle" and the frequent live piece "Cat Food" among the best pieces.

It does include Greg Lake, which I think a lot of fans don't think of this album for, as they usually only assume he was on ITTCOTCK.

Great atmosphere, soothing, clean, clear production. I remember almost being mesmerized by a lot of it, namely the drums.

Definitely a record I enjoy and within 1970, I likely would put it in my top 5 at least.


The Beatles - Let It Be
rel May 8, 1970

"Across the Universe" "Get Back" "The Long and Winding Road" and the title track are the tracks I think of this album for. This album was released after they had already broke up, although as I came to learn, the music was recorded long before even Abbey Road. I imagine much of it didn't get released on The White Album or it was written and recorded shortly after that.

I remember checking it out from the library, mainly for "Across the Universe" namely from knowing that tune from Pleasantville and Fiona Apple's cover. But the criticism I found valid from memory, but that was quite a long time ago, and I may want to revisit it and see if the rest of it I may be selling short.

Deep Purple in Rock.jpg
Deep Purple - Deep Purple in Rock
rel June 3, 1970

One of Purple's better early albums, that includes both "Speed King" and "Child in Time" which also were even better live.

Soft Machine Third.jpg
Soft Machine - Third
rel June 6, 1970

An album that consists of 4 songs/pieces, much like a classical record. It predates Tales From Topographic Oceans by a few years, but the percentage of the audience that looks at Tales as the quintessential all-epics album, and the 1st in rock, probably don't know or think of this one.

I grew to love this album, much like Tales (and close to as much I suppose), but specifics, having not put it on in a couple of years, I can just say each of the 4 pieces stands out on its own, yet they do flow well.

One I recall reminded me a lot of the Pink Floyd from around the same era or even Piper a bit. "Moon in June" may be the most well known of the 4 pieces, which has it's canterbury or jazz moments.

While Bitches Brew has failed to impress me greatly, this record does. Maybe that is per the timing of when I heard each, or just this record does the epics better.

For 1970, this is certainly one of my loved albums.

Yes - Time and a Word - UK front cover.jpg
Yes - Time and a Word
rel July 24, 1970

The title track I've always loved, and was one of the 1st Yes songs that drew me to them (along with "Roundabout"). "Astral Traveler" I always associate with a radio show on KFAI I did with my friend John playing an extended live version of, I think it may have been from that BBC Sessions release. I almost think of it with "Starship Trooper"..almost a precursor, except Peter Banks was the guitarist at this point, not Steve Howe.

"Sweet Dreams" is another tune I know, but mainly live. And "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed' also is notable as a tune John once played on KFAI.

The rest of this album I'm a little gray about, but I usually associate with the early Psych/Pop Yes sound. I see this record about on par with the Self-Titled debut album, nice, but not amazing. But what they did after this of course was not quite just that way.

Michael Nesmith and the First National Band - Magnetic South
rel July 1970

Michael Nesmith's 1st album after leaving The Monkees. The deal was, he had a ton of music that never was recorded and released by The Monkees, and so once he left The Monkees, he had a large list of tunes to record, and many of them came out on the albums he released in 1970.

This album, also I think referred to as the "Blue" album, features tracks like "Calico Girlfriend" and "Joanne" which I think may have come out as a single as well.

Nesmith's early albums include the pedal steel work from Red Rhodes who I think at times is my favorite part of his music.

A blurred photograph of a man wearing a helmet and sash and brandishing a sword with the title of the album and artist written in the background
Black Sabbath - Paranoid
rel September 18, 1970

This is a classic, which I purchased on cassette tape I want to say in High School, or maybe a year or 2 after. "War Pigs" the title track,"Iron Man," "Planet Caravan" "Fairies in Boots" and "Electric Funeral" are all Sabbath staples for me and many others. I guess my familiarity with Black Sabbath's history is not the best, but I'm not sure they ever made a better record track-2-track really, at least among the Ozzy period.

Santana - Abraxas
rel September 1970

Santana's 2nd record, that includes both "Black Magic Woman" and "Oye como va."

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother
rel October 2, 1970

One of the most under-appreciated Floyd records, that I have grown to adore. From the opening 23-minute instrumental symphonic title piece, to the wonderful and pretty Rick Wright led "Summer of '68," "If," and "Fat Old Sun" are also charming and fit the vibe so well on here.

And even "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" I always enjoy, namely for its atmosphere. It along with the whole record I have often enjoyed in the morning at work.

I also think when this record came out seemed so fitting in early October. 1 of 3 standout albums this month in 1970.

A collage of butterflies, teeth, zeppelins, and assorted imagery on a white background
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III
rel October 5, 1970

The acoustic and middle-eastern influenced Zeppelin record. A little odd how they made 2 albums in '69, yet only this one in '70, lol. I suppose part of that was to do with their touring schedule.

I really enjoy every track on this album, although i suppose at the same time, there aren't any top 5 or even top 10 Zep tracks for me. But going down the track list, "Immigrant Song" is a rocker that classic rock radio always plays, and many bands cover.  "Celebration Day" is a fun bluesy tune.

"Since I've Been Loving You" is a fan favorite blues ballad, that is one of their best.

The 2nd side run from "Gallows Pole" through "That's the Way" I always look forward to. Very nature-y and almost mystical in many ways.

And "Out on the Tiles" which is also a rocker, I've always found to be under-mentioned.

"Bron-y-aur Stomp" and "Hats Off to Roy Harper" I both didn't like at 1st, but definitely grew on me and fit the overall vibe/tone/style of LZ III.

Another great Zeppelin record and certainly one the Fall of 1970 I would have given a lot of time to.

Genesis - Trespass
rel October 23, 1970

Genesis 2nd record, and sadly the last with guitarist Anthony Phillips. This was the last of the Gabriel records I checked out, and it has become one I have grown to love more and more.

Its style, largely per Phillips writing and guitar work, was quite folky, but still with some heavy moments.

I guess breaking it down, "Stagnation" is incredible. I fucking adore it, really, especially the synth solo and some of Gabriel's vocal lines towards the end. The ole

I said I want to sit down 
I said I want to sit down 
I want a drink - I want a drink, 
To take all the dust and the dirt from my throat, 
I want a drink - I want a drink,
To wash out the filth that is deep in my guts.
I want a drink

I always get HUGE goosebumps from it.

Other favorites include the dark, riffy "The Knife"..
some of you are going to die, the others Martyrs of course to the freedom that I shall provide

"White Mountain" and it's great, fast crescendo, namely from the keys/organ work from Tony Banks.

"Looking for Someone," "Visions of Angels," and even "Dusk" I enjoy as well, as the acoustic and almost spiritual element add to how pastoral and inspiring this record is. Even the artwork, which I often think could be from the story of a traveler, in the mountains, perhaps during biblical times, etc.

I love this album a ton, and sometimes think it is my favorite Genesis album. Certainly for 1970, it would be among the top. And to imagine it came out the same month of Atom Heart and Zeppelin III is pretty surreal.

Derek and the Dominoes - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
rel November 9, 1970

This is the lone record from Clapton's post-Blind Faith band, and of course it includes the classic rock staple "Layla." The cover is inspired or supposed to be a visualization for "Little Wing" from Jimi Hendrix, and Clapton's tribute I recall to him after his untimely death during the Summer of 1970. And the album also includes a cover of the Hendrix piece.

The guitar solo on Layla I didn't realize until years after hearing it, was done by Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers.

From a track list standpoint, "Bell Bottom Blues" and the blues cover "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" also come to mind. The rest, really I recall liking as I purchased an anniversary edition like 12 years ago, but I also recall liking Blind Faith more (even beyond the jams).

But it seems after this band (and the 3 others he'd been in notably, Cream, Blind Faith and The Yardbirds), Slowhand more or less concluded he would do his best stuff solo, which I don't fault him for. A little like Steven Wilson in that sense.

Emerson Lake and Palmer - Emerson Lake and Palmer
rel November 20, 1970

The ELP debut record, while is hardly my favorite, compared to some of the other classic progressive rock bands debuts (Yes, Genesis, Tull among others), it definitely came out better.

Stuff like "Knife-Edge" "The Barbarian" "The Three Fates" the epic "Take a Pebble" and even maybe their biggest radio hit, in the "Lucky Man" and its moody mini-moog solo.outro from Emerson.

A good record for the year, and among their discography; and not overly excessive at all really.

Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant
rel November 27, 1970

One week after ELP's debut, another UK prog band released their debut album, in this Self-Titled record from Gentle Giant. It's funny though, as when I 1st checked out GG over 15 years ago, I remember how much this album reminded me of ELP. Likely a coincidence, but who knows.

The opening cut "Giant" I usually associate this album for. It's catchy and layered at the same time.
My memory of the rest of it has escaped me in terms of specifics, but I know I often would cite this as the record I looked to 1st with GG, until checking out Octopus many years later.

All Things Must Pass 1970 cover.jpg
George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
rel November 30, 1970

I'm including this as I know it's a classic and it includes a lot of music that was intended as Beatles songs, but didn't make it for whatever reason.

And especially in recent years, I've meant to check it out, as it's an obvious one for Beatles fans, and I feel I've slept on it. Hopefully in due time. It could be one of if not my favorite non-Beatles, Beatles members records (although I'll confess not to have invested all that much into any of their careers in-depth save for some of the well known singles).

Nesmith Loose Salute.jpg
Michael Nesmith and the First National Band - Loose Salute
rel November 1970

I have on vinyl, a bunch of Nesmith's solo records, largely per my fiancee's interest (she has them too of course). From brief experience with them, I enjoy them and his style of somewhat experimental country-rock.

This album, also referred to as the "Red" album, includes a fan favorite "Listen to the Band" which was an unreleased Monkees track I recall. It also includes "Silver Moon" and "Lady of the Valley."

And per Wikipedia, "Bye Bye Bye" was a song that a great amount of time and perfecting took place before Nez was happy with it.

One I probably could get more into soon as well.

Lizard - Original Vinyl Cover.jpg
King Crumson - Lizard
rel December 11, 1970

This album, honestly I have only checked out maybe a couple of times, and my memory is not all that good about. Greg Lake had left the band and it does not include much if any vocals sans for an appearance of Jon Anderson of Yes on the Lizard suite.

I honestly have very little appreciation for this album from the limited amount of time I've spent with it, which maybe that could change with time. And it is the early Crimson, but it's maybe more *out there* in some ways compared to many of their others. Although I suppose Islands, which came out in '71 I can't say any more about as well.

Despite Steven Wilson's remasterings of late, etc.

Gypsy debut album.jpg
Gypsy - Gypsy
rel 1970

Minnesota jazz-rock+folky? band, maybe the 1st band from Minnesota doing something remotely/related to prog. As I wrote about them recently HERE, I've known about them and they likely would appeal to me. And I see their vinyls frequently at Cheapo and other stores, but they usually are pretty pricey. I may bite the bullet at some point and pick some of them up, and this I guess is as good of a place to start.,

There's no release date or month as far as I can tell, online. Some Minnesota music historians might know I suppose. But if I was around in 1970 and with my taste, I gotta believe this band and album would have been one I'd have championed.

"Gypsy Queen" per Wikipedia, did chart as a single.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Subterranean Masquerade - Blanket of Longing [Official Live Video]

Live at Tmuna Theater this month.

Very nice. Damn, I would love to see them live.

Retro Favorite Albums: 1969

1969 was quite the year for music. Of course you had Woodstock that Summer. But also it seemed a ton of debut albums that varied from nice impressions, to some of the most unusual, experimental music that had ever been made, to even some of those artists finest works.

Among the years in the 60's, I'm not sure if '69 isn't my favorite given it's depth. Zeppelin and The Beatles both released albums this year. Zeppelin 2 actually. And the Crimson debut which stands out of course.

A black-and-white photograph of a the Hindenburg exploding
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
rel January 12, 1969

Led Zeppelin were my 1st favorite band really (I don't exactly count Huey Lewis and the News), and this is their debut album, and album that I have more less loved since I 1st heard it. From the great driving riff on "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" to the groove and incredible crescendo on "How Many More Times." To classic rock staples like "Communication Breakdown" and "Good Times Bad Times." To possibly the overlooked great opener "Your Time is Gonna Come."

And "Dazed and Confused" which ultimately may have been the heaviest track Zeppelin ever recorded, and then they later recorded/filmed 1 the 32-minute live version on Song Remains the Same.

I waiver as to where this album ranks in the Zeppelin catalog, but I also consider most of their albums equal. But at 1 time i concluded it was my favorite. And within this year, it wouldn't have been my album of the year, but it definitely is in my top 5.

Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation
rel March 7, 1969

Genesis debut record, that I have put off listening to for nearly the whole time I've been a fan. I did give in and pick it up on Vinyl on Record Store Day earlier this year. But from the little I have heard of it, it is vastly different than even their 2nd record Trespass.

CTA album.jpg
Chicago - The Chicago Transit Authority
rel April 28, 1969

Chicago's debut record that I also have yet to listen to, but will confess to picking up on Vinyl like 2 years ago at a Half Price Books for like 50 cents. I know some folks swear by the early records and even say this is their best, per why I picked it up. Chicago are another band I may just want to try binge-ing on soon, maybe per cassette tapes in my car. Namely their early records when they were kind of a Horn-driven prog band of a sort (or "Big-band rock"?)

The Who - Tommy
rel May 23, 1969

Widely recognized as the 1st and in some ways, definitive Rock Opera. I prefer Quadrophenia, but will not deny I enjoy a lot of this record. Radio staples "I'm Free" and "Pinball Wizard" I have always liked. "Sparks" and "We're Not Gonna Take It" are 2 others that are among the highlights. And "1921" while I can't say a lot of specifics about as I haven't listened to this whole record in quite some time, I remember enjoying The same I suppose I recall about "The Acid Queen."

But I suppose the story/theatrical element to this has not lent it more interest.

Crosby, Stills and Nash - Crosby, Stills and Nash
rel May 29, 1969

The debut record from CSN (or CSN and Y). It includes many of my favorites from these guys. "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" I've always loved. "Guinevere" "Helplessly Hoping" and "Wooden Ships."
Love the layers and vocal harmonies especially.

Pink Floyd - More
rel June 13, 1969

Floyd's 1st soundtrack (and to a film of the same name I recall) that I have always liked but never grown attached to. But it does have a few notable songs like "The Nile Song" which I recall some have thought of as 1 of the 1st Metal songs ever, and "Cymabline" which I'll fully admit when Shadow Gallery did their amazing 25-minute "Floydian Memories" I gained a new appreciation for.

1 of the few Floyd records I still need on Vinyl.

Trout Mask Replica.png
Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band - Trout Mask Repica
rel June 16, 1969

I picked this up from seeing its praise in that 67-87 Rolling Stone issue. From that and I recall the member's relationship with Frank Zappa, I found some value from this album. It could be cited as having some of the earliest remnants of Rap on it.

It's mostly for novelty and an album I purchased over 20 years ago, but never found the interest on going back to since. Although I might be up for a revisiting soon just for curiosity sake.

Yes - Yes.jpg
Yes - Yes
rel July 25, 1969

Like Genesis, Yes release their debut album this year, that comprised of songs that were quite different from the albums that followed (although Time and a Word I suppose is similar in a lot of ways).

I have always liked this album, but still have not spent a ton of time with it. I really know best from other sources like live versions. "Sweetness" for example, I will always associate with the end credits of Buffalo '66.  "Survival" with the Yes Highlights compilation compact disc I was given by my Aunt when I was in High School, which from memory, was the 1st Yes release I ever got.

"Every Little Thing" (not to be confused with The Police song released many years later, "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" of course). "Beyond and Before" also the title of an BBC Sessions recording.

Miles Davis - In a Silent Way
rel July 30, 1969

A lot of people consider Bitches Brew the birth of Jazz-Rock, and in some ways, I would agree. But I actually prefer this album. I think a lot of that is the fact seeing Dean Magraw cover various parts of it live over the years. It includes that future of jazz-rock allstar lineup like on BB from John McLaughlin to Chick Corea. Joseph Zawinul and Tony Williams.

The epic title track alone makes this a favorite.

Blind Faith - Blind Faith
rel August 1969

Like Miles band, or more so Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) (and ELP or UK many years later) this was kind of a supergroup with members from Cream, Traffic and Family.  The 1 track I recall that received some airplay was "Can't Find My Way Home."

The 15-minute closing piece "Do What You Like" has it's moments certainly. But for me, the genius behind this group finally came out in the Deluxe Edition I picked up in the early 2000's. The Bonus disc that includes 4 amazing jams, are some of the best blues rock I've ever heard (progressive really). There's a passage in 1 of them that basically used an interval pattern that were both later used by Yes ("Heart of the Sunrise") and Rush ("The Necromancer").

Not an album of the year, but considering the nearly 1 hour of brilliance on those bonus disc jams, this may have my favorite material recorded from this year.

The cover of Abbey Road has no printed words. It is a photo of the Beatles, in side view, crossing the street in single file.
The Beatles - Abbey Road
rel September 26, 1969

This is my favorite Beatles album, or at least if I had to pick 1 (Sgt Pepper's I also consider 5-stars). I would say largely due getting into it after hearing Transatlantic cover the Side 2 Suite live, and also seeing local Minnesota band Collective Unconscious faithfully reproduce it live (twice, once in 2001 and again in 2009).

The suite is amazing and I wouldn't change anything about it.From the uplifting "Here Comes the Sun" to "Polythene Pam," 'She Came In Through the Bathroom Window," "Golden Slumbers," and "Carry That Weight" (which also I owe initially to loving after seeing/hearing Dream Theater play that with Charlie Dominici on a live video).

"Come Together," "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," "Octopus's Garden," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."

I guess given this is the final Beatles album (they made, not released), I kind of see it as them putting anything and everything into this as a last hurrah. If I recall, they made this album having knowing they were going to split after it, so i.e. they made the most of it. Their last or final stand, etc. And it seems to show it seems like the culmination or accumulation of what their previous albums had lead to.

Soft Machine-Volume Two-Cover.jpg
Soft Machine - Volume Two
rel September 1969

I have this per a reissue, on Vinyl and I forget, but I think I did give it a go per YouTube once and enjoyed much of it. Soft Machine are an untapped group for me as I love their 3rd album a ton, and know that their early records are all highly regarded.

In '69 tho, I can imagine their 1st album and this one might have been hard to find info about or even access. But I often think of them with Crimson, so perhaps this album would have been comparable to the Crimson debut back then even.

Wikipedia mentions both Hendrix and Zappa in terms of inspiration.

At some point, I may look at this album among the 5 best from this year.

Jethro Tull - Stand Up
rel September 1969

Another Tull record, more Blues rock. This is was notable for the fact it was the 1st album with guitarist Martin Barre, and also per Wikipedia, the 1st with Ian Anderson writing all of the music and lyrics. "Bouree" is probably the track I know this album best for as I recall they have played it live frequently throughout the years.

In the Court of the Crimson King - 40th Anniversary Box Set - Front cover.jpeg
King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King
rel October 10, 1969

Considered by many as the 1st progressive rock album ever, and I can't really argue against that. I just think it's reputation and quality is justified. Is it my favorite Crimson album? I guess I might lean towards Lark's Tongue, but I would go with this over that and their others for different reasons.

For one, it has Greg Lake. And also the fact the songs do see incredibly well thought-out. The flow and consistency really add to how much I appreciate this record.

The title track, "Epitaph," "Moonchild," "21st Century Schizoid Man," and "I Talk to the Wind" are all enjoyable for different reasons. I love the use of mellotron and sax among other things.

I think this is one of those albums that'll be highly thought-of in 100 years, it has stood the test of time since '69. A bit like Sgt Pepper's and some others.  In '69, I dunno if it would have been my Aoty given it was so different, but looking at this year, it would have been a good battle between this and Abbey Road especially.

Also the fact Hot Rats was released the very same day is a cool factoid.
Hot Rats (Frank Zappa album - cover art).jpg
Frank Zappa - Hot Rats
rel October 10,1969

"Peaches in Regalia" I know quite well from this album per my friend Angie's show "In Your Ear" on KFAI, using it as her intro/theme.

Very fusiony or Jazz-rock like. And this album I have meant to listen to since I first knew her show, and come to think of it, I recall listening to once or twice, likely per a download many years ago.

What I recall is it was jazz-fusion of the Zappa-ilk, but compared to many other Zappa records, it may emphasize the fusion element the most, at least up until this point.

But I'd be lying if I claimed to be totally familiar enough with it to know well. "Willie the Pimp" I recall seeing Zappa Plays Zappa do and the 12+-minute "The Gumbo Variations" I think made it onto one of the KFAI shows I filled-in or did back in the day as I recall some others on the air with me, namely my friend Creighton or on another show like Georgia's "Sonic Pleasure" may have played, as I know she has done Zappa tribute shows on air in the past.

A composite sepia photograph of the band kneeling down with members of the Jasta 11 Division of the Luftstreitkräfte, in front of a expanding hydrogen cloud from an outline of LZ 129 Hindenburg exploding.
Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II
rel October 22, 1969

As I wrote above, the Zeppelin catalog I see as more or less all equally good, sans for Coda I suppose. So while I love a ton about the debut LP that came out in January of '69, I also love a ton about this record. From maybe their most memorable and accessible tune "Ramble On" to a track classic rock has played, but far less than others in "What Is and What Should Never Be."

And "Bring it on Home" a song I slept on for many months back in '91 and '92 when I 1st got into them. I used to stop the album after hearing the slow intro, not being aware of the amazingly heavy and groovin' bridge..

"Thank You" has always been a favorite ballad of mine.

"Living Lovin' Maid" is a nice blues rocker that they always play back-2-back with "Heartbreaker" on the radio. And Heartbreaker I at one point adored, but I think wore out on a bit. I also at 1 point assumed it was a cover tune ("Heartbreak Hotel" from Elvis?), but I guess not. Maybe given their rep with so many songs that were covers (renamed or not), it seemed like it was. Because it has a familiar blues riff, but also includes the heavy Jimmy Page spin to it.

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma
rel October 25, 1969

Half Live and half incredibly experimental. I guess I usually think of the this record 1st for "Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict" which is an outrageous song title, and the song itself almost tops that. Animal noises and what not, that also may include some field recordings.

"The Sysphus" and "Narrow Way" parts/suites I recall had their moments but also never held a ton with me when I initially checked this out back in the 90's. And a few years back when Syd and then Richard Wright passed, I recall going back to this and many of the other lesser known Floyd records, and from memory, this one just didn't add as much as some of those others. Although I might go with it overall over Saucer from the year before, it's amazing how much more I have got from the records that followed.

Fairport Convention-Liege & Lief (album cover).jpg
Fairport Convention - Liege and Lief
rel December 1969

A classic Folk-Rock record and considered by many Fairport's finest work. I recall checking this out from the library, probably 10 or more years ago and liking it. Somewhat agreeing with its praise/acclaim. But sadly, since, I don't have a ton of specific memories about it. Sandy Denny of course is/was an amazing singer with a gorgeous voice that suits Fairport's sound perfectly.

Renaissance - Renaissance
rel 1969

The Renaissance debut album, which 2 of the members, Keith Relf and Jim McCarty came from the end of The Yardbirds. I'm not sure if they worked with Jimmy Page, but it seems likely. I suppose interesting enough that it came out around the same time as Fairport's most popular record (although I can't find anything that tells what day or even what month).

I love Renaissance, and do own a copy on Vinyl, but can't claim to have spent a ton of time with this yet. I know it's of the folk-rock variety though. But my love for this band at this point, is largely with the Annie Haslam-led work which came a couple of albums later.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Painted in Exile - Return of Singer/Demo Clip/New Album in 2016

7/26/15 10:39PM

As that says, their new singer is actually their original singer now returned. and the debut album is coming in 2016.


Everyone, please welcome our original vocalist Rob Richards back into Painted In Exile! We are finally in a place where we feel the six of us couldn't possibly make this band a reality without one another and our bond is stronger than ever. Everyone, show Rob a warm welcome and enjoy this demo clip of one of our new tracks. The new album is coming in 2016!

12/17/14 5:12AM

This is pretty sweet, so given how long it's been since anything came from these guys, in some ways, it was worth that wait. 2009's Revitalized EP to be specific.

They don't have a permanent singer I guess still, which has a lot to do with how long it has taken. They also lost their keyboardist and found a new one if I recall.

At any case. It's available at whatever price you want on their Bandcamp linked below.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Family Crest - "Sparks"

They mentioned this track for Songs For Tibet benefit at the show I saw a few weeks ago.

Anyway, awesome song, I wonder if it'll be on their upcoming record.

10-Years Ago: The Receiving End of Sirens - Between the Heart and the Synapse PODCAST

7/23/15 6:38AM
Part 3. A lot of stuff about tours and Casey.

6/12/15 6:38AM

Part 2!

5/15/15 2:38PM

Part 1 of "The Lost Tape" documentary. Unclear if "The Lost Tape" refers to just this documentary, or some music that may eventually come out as well.

4/17/15 2:30PM

This is a new episode of a podcast titled Voice and Verse, and in this episode, it has the host chatting with Brendan Brown and Nate Patterson of The Receiving End of Sirens for over an hour about TREOS landmark debut album Between the Heart and the Synapse, which next week marks the 10-year anniversary of its release.

An album, I don't know how much of my backstory I've ever shared in detail in this blog, although I know TREOS were 1 of the bands I mentioned in 1 of my 1st posts.

And of course, no time at the moment to do that, but if/;when hopefully I find that time, I would like to as this is an all-time favorite of mine. And it also introduced me to Casey Crescenzo who was doing and of course later went on to do full-time, his project The Dear Hunter.

But as far as the podcast, it does have Brendan and Nate talk about the history of TREOS, this album, the making/recording with Panic at the Disco and a lot of other good info and nostalgia.

I guess the only thing I wish had happened, was the host asked them about TREOS now, any chance of a reunion album/ or more shows (they have done a few here and there over the years), or that live DVD that was supposed to happen that as far as I know, has not unfortunately.

That and I'll bring up, the fact as much as I adore this album, the cymbals do still clip,  but that is ,me. The question about things they'd change, I would love to ask any of them about that, but then again, it frequently seems to be me MY EARS and my issue, more than most others.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

David Gilmour - Rattle That Lock (2014-2015)

7/21/15 10:50PM

I know this news is a few days old, I just never got around to posting it and streaming the new, title track below.

The song? it's not bad, nothing breathtaking, but decent enough I suppose. His vocals sound a little different than I expected I suppose. Maybe I'm used to him using more of a deeper tone/register.

I mean as far as David Gilmour's solo music, I'm lukewarm about it at best. I did check out On an Island, after not doing so for years, finally last year, and found it good but not great. It's by some people's take, a sequel to The Division Bell. Vaguely I guess, but it doesn't have the consistency I guess that TDB has.

Anyway, I guess anything from him is more or less gravy as The Endless River has been kind of under my and others radar since about the 1st week of the year. But maybe not having any vocals impacted that? I dunno.

I guess given this album is coming out, it's something to check out certainly, and at this stage in his life/career, it's nice to hear anything new, however good it actually is. I wish someone like Peter Gabriel would find some inspiration from this.

And the tour? no Minnesota date, but 2 shows are in Chicago April 4th and 8th of 2016.

I guess he's never played a solo show in Minnesota, so to expect one might be a stretch. I guess my 2016 calendar is unclear still, but it might be something to think about if he does not in fact come here.

​​The new David Gilmour solo album "Rattle That Lock" will be released on September 18 2015. The album will be available as a CD edition with clothbound, foil-blocked cover, including a 22-page booklet. Also available will be a heavyweight vinyl, digital download and a deluxe box edition, which will include 4 Barn Jam films, 4 non-album audio tracks, 4 documentaries, and 2 promo clips. Available on CD+DVD or Blu-Ray will include 2 hardback books, a double-sided poster, a postcard and a David Gilmour plectrum. A complete album tracklisting and vendor guide can be found on the David Gilmour Rattle That Lock portal here. 

​1. 5 A.M.
2. Rattle That Lock
3. Faces Of Stone
4. A Boat Lies Waiting
5. Dancing Right In Front Of Me
6. In Any Tongue
7. Beauty
8. The Girl In The Yellow Dress
9. Today
10. And Then...

Retro Favorite Albums: 1968

1968 was a decent year, although compared to '67 and many subsequent years, it was somewhat thin. A year with a lot of debut and sophomore albums from bands who went on to great things in later years.

Electric Ladyland stands out though as probably the 1 landmark record for me from '68 as it's always been a favorite of mine, and Hendrix at his peak in my mind.

Tomorrow - Tomorrow
rel February 1968

Steve Howe's 1st? band lone record. Truth is, i picked it up on Record Store Day back in April, but have not gotten around to it.

The Nice - The Thoughts of Emerlist Davjack
rel March 1969

Keith Emerson's of ELP's 1st band debut record. I'll fully admit to having slept on The Nice for years.

Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends.png
Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends
rel April 3, 1968

Another one of their LPs I recall enjoying many years ago before that Bridge Over Troubled Water tribute my friend John and I saw. The 2 hits on this being "Mrs. Robinson" and "America" which Yes went on later to cover.

Odessey and Oracle.jpg
The Zombies - Odyssey & Oracle
rel April 19, 1968

This to many is a classic, favorite, etc. My take: I recall checking it out like 4 years ago and enjoying a lot of it. Biggest problem though, I heard their singer constantly swallow into the mic.

I probably should check it out again, as I can at least claim to find the songwriting rather good. Psych/Pop.

"Time of the Season" of course is the big hit from this, and I probably 1st heard that song when I was about 9 on the Oldies station 630AM. But I suppose if there is an album I may someday love a lot more from this year, this is it.

The Birds, the Bees & the Monkees - The Monkees.jpg
The Monkees - The Bird, The Bees and The Monkees
rel April 22, 1968

This record of course includes arguably The Monkees biggest hit, "Daydream Believer" which even as much as my fiancee is sick of it, I still find a well written pop tune. Others like "Tapioca Tundra" "Valleri" and "Zor and Zam" are some of the other notable tracks on this one.

Quicksilver Messenger Service (album).jpg
Quicksilver Messenger Service - Quicksilver Messenger Service
rel May 1968

Another classic Psych band's debut album.

Ravi Shankar - Live at Monterrey Pop Festival
rel June 18, 1968

One of Ravi Shankar's most well known/regarded albums. And a live one of course. I'll admit, some live albums are great, but even the best one's I don't listen to ahead of a studio record.

But Ravi's music is best experienced live, and this is a great example of that. 3 mystical jams that clock-in for a little under an hour.

Saucerful of secrets2.jpg
Pink Floyd - A Saucerful of Secrets
rel June 29, 1968

Floyd's 2nd record. While I can't say it compares all that favorably to most of their other LPs, but it does have one of my favorites in "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun."

Fairport Convention - Fairport Convention
rel June 1968

Debut album from one of the most highly regarded folk-rock bands.

In search of the lost chord.jpg
The Moody Blues - In Search of the Lost Chord
rel July 26, 1968

The Moodies 2nd album, and another concept album at that. "Ride My See-Saw" is the song that got on the radio, but others like "Legend of a Mind" and "Om" also stand out.

Shades UK.jpg
Deep Purple - Shades
rel July 1968

Deep Purple's debut record that features the Billy Joe Royal cover "Hush" and "Hey Joe" which was best known from the Jimi Hendrix version.

Giles, Giles and Fripp - The Cheerful Insanity of Giles Giles and Fripp
rel September 1968

Member's of the early King Crimson (minus Greg Lake of course) 1st album, before they went by the name.

Cream - Wheels of Fire
rel August 9, 1968

Cream's final album which features 'White Room" and various versions included "Crossroads" which became a staple for Eric Clapton live.

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland.jpg
The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland
rel October 16, 1968

I consider this my favorite Jimi Hendrix album. I will always remember a passage in that Rolling Stone 1967-87 top 100 albums issue about Hendrix wanting the music to sound like it was being heard under water. I think it was "1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be." Which is a tune, may be Jimi's most progressive and maybe my favorite Hendrix tune ("Are You Experienced" maybe a co-favorite?).

But beyond that piece, tracks like "Crosstown Traffic" "Burning of the Midnight Lamp" "Rainy Day Dream Away" "Voodoo Child Slight Return" "Voodoo Chile" and of course his famous cover of "All Along the Watchtower" (and it's god-like guitar solo).

"And the Gods Made Love" "Have You Ever Been to Electric Ladyland" and the lyric about the "magic-carpet" always is a trip.

A concept album certainly, and one I always have enjoyed. Trippy, mystical, bluesy, melodic and jammy.

If I was around in '68, I can't fathom another record being my album of the year actually.

Jethro Tull - This Was fron cover.jpg
Jethro Tull - This Was
rel October 25, 1968

Tull's debut record, which is mostly blues-rock, which is pretty different from what they evolved to just a few years later.

Caravan - Caravan
rel October 1968

Psych/Prog band's debut record. Proto-prog. One to hear at some point.

The Beatles - The Beatles [The White Album]
rel November 22, 1968

I have a love/hate/overrated relationship with The White Album. On on one hand, it has some of their best tunes like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (incl Eric Clapton's solo) "Happiness is a Warm Gun."

Some fun/harmless tracks like "Rocky Raccoon" "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" and "Piggies"

Some decent radio tunes like "Back in the USSR" "Birthday" "Blackbird""Helter Skelter" "Revolution 1"

"Dear Prudence""Glass Onion" are also 2 of the better tracks on here.

The other stuff varies from a bit out there, to not as strong, to filler really.

This album is a little like Tales From Topographic Oceans from Yes, while it has some wonderful content, I find it to be less replay-able as most other Beatles albums, all-at-once. But there's still a lot of it worth enjoying, but more with the songs on their own.

And of course it was controversial among fans given how it was made, Yoko Ono's role, etc.

Van Morrison - Astral Weeks
rel November 1968

I remember seeing this in that Rolling Stone 1967-87 top 100 Albums issue among some of his others  (Moondance and maybe Into the Mystic ?) and always meant to check it out. Then in getting into Jeff Buckley about 11 years ago, Jeff mentioned it being one of his favorites, and I then did check it out and really enjoyed it.

I think that was from my local library, and sadly, I don't know if I've listened to it since. But I know I considered it my favorite Van Morrison record. The title track and "The Way Young Lovers Do" are probably from memory, what stand out.

Also it's interesting for someone who wrote a lot of shorter pop tunes, there being a number of tracks that clock in over 7 minutes.

The Monkees - Head
rel December 1, 1968

My favorite The Monkees album, which is a soundtrack to the film. My favorites or at least the 3 tracks I think of it most for being "Circle Sky" (Nesmith) "Can You Dig It?" (Tork) and "Porpoise Song" which Carole King wrote. I love the trippy psych element on that one. Very epic.

I suppose it sounds weird with all the experiments on The White Album I found them less addictive, whereas a lot of the rest of Head has some similar experiments with field recording, samples, tape loops, etc, but I actually find it works listening to as a whole pretty well.

This is The Monkees doing psych and using the studio to their advantage.

The Soft Machine-album.jpg
The Soft Machine - The Soft Machine
rel December 1, 1968
Soft Machine's debut album, and one I recall purchasing but haven't spent time with.