70’s music

What’s Stuck In My Head – 25 March

I awoke this morning to the news that Jackson Browne has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.  I guess that’s why several of his songs have been playing in my head since yesterday evening.  It was tough to pick just which song to highlight.  I choose this one on the strength of the lyrics alone.

Keep a fire burning in your eye
Pay attention to the open sky
You never know what will be coming down
I don't remember losing track of you
You were always dancing in and out of view
I must've thought you'd always be around
Always keeping things real by playing the clown
Now you're nowhere to be found
I don't know what happens when people die
Can't seem to grasp it as hard as I try
It's like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
But I can't sing
I can't help listening
I can't help feeling stupid standing 'round
Crying is they ease you down
'Cause I know that you'd rather we were dancing
Dancing our sorrow away
(Right on Dancing)
No matter what fate chooses to play
(There's nothing you can do about it anyway)
Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone
Keep a fire for the human race
Let your prayers go drifting into space
You never know what will be coming down
Perhaps a better world is drawing near
Just as easily it could all disappear
Along with whatever meaning you might have found
Don't let the uncertainty turn you around
(The world keeps turning around and around)
Go on and make a joyful sound
Into a dancer you have grown
From a seed somebody else has thrown
Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
And somewhere between the time you arrive
And the time you go
May lie a reason you were alive
That you'll never know
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Jackson Browne
For A Dancer lyrics © Swallow Turn Music, Wb Music Corp

If my memory is correct (and it just may not be), my brother introduced me to Jackson’s music about 1975 or so.  I remember we were working on the roof of the house I grew up in and my parents and I were living in. I had a small radio (this was before the days of “Boom Boxes”) and Redneck Friend was playing.  I started laughing at the chorus;

Honey, you shake, I'll rattle, we'll roll on down the line
See if we can't get in touch with a very close friend of mine
But let me clue you in, it ain't like him to argue or pretend
Well, honey let me introduce you to my redneck friend

Naturally that started my brother (always the teacher) to give me an hour-long lecture, I mean history of Mr. Browne and his music.  I was hooked.  And I wasn’t the only one.

In 2004, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and given an honorary doctorate of music by Occidental College in Los Angeles, California. In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked him as 37th in its list of the “100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time“.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Browne

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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Happy Birthday George!

Guitar hero #2 (listed chronologically) would have turned 77 today. Instead we lost George Harrison in 2001, just 6 days after my mother passed. He was only 58 when he died from cancer.

But let’s not dwell on the loss. George has always been my favorite Beatle. It was my just older sister that fostered this view. She was a big George fan, and since she was the closest in age to me (but still 8 years older), I adopted her choice, and George has always remained my favorite.

I do appreciate George’s sitar playing, but it can be very overpowering at times.  I currently have SiriusXM’s Beatles channel playing. Naturally they have specials featuring George’s music all day long.  Within You Without You is playing as I type this.  As I told my brother just earlier today, the sitar works so beautifully in this piece. My brother doesn’t care for any sitar.  He’d rather George stay with his guitar.  I can’t really blame him.

My brother and I also talked about how George’s playing changed over the years. George may not have started as the most innovated guitarist but is definitely one of the most copied guitarists.

The song I picked for today comes from George’s first solo album released after the breakup of The Beatles. And what an album it is, a triple album. George had so much material that never made it on to a Beatles release it took three discs to contain it all. This track was recorded, but not used, for The Beatles Let It Be album. It was also recorded by keyboardist Billy Preston.

All Things Must Pass is a triple album by English rock musician George Harrison. Recorded and released in 1970, it was Harrison’s first solo work after the break-up of the Beatles in April that year, and his third solo album overall. It includes the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life“, as well as songs such as “Isn’t It a Pity” and the title track that had been turned down for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison’s musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylanthe BandDelaney & Bonnie and Friends and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartneyAll Things Must Pass introduced Harrison’s signature slide guitar sound and the spiritual themes present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein‘s album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.

Production began at London’s Abbey Road Studios in May 1970, with extensive overdubbing and mixing continuing through October. Among the large cast of backing musicians were Eric Clapton and members of Delaney & Bonnie’s Friends band – three of whom formed Derek and the Dominos with Clapton during the recording – as well as Ringo StarrGary Wright, Preston, Klaus VoormannJohn BarhamBadfinger and Pete Drake. The sessions produced a double album’s worth of extra material, most of which remains unissued.

All Things Must Pass was critically and commercially successful on release, with long stays at number one on charts worldwide. Co-producer Phil Spector employed his Wall of Sound production technique to notable effect; Ben Gerson of Rolling Stone described the sound as “WagnerianBrucknerian, the music of mountain tops and vast horizons”. Reflecting the widespread surprise at the assuredness of Harrison’s post-Beatles debut, Melody Maker‘s Richard Williams likened the album to Greta Garbo‘s first role in a talking picture and declared: “Garbo talks! – Harrison is free!” According to Colin Larkin, writing in the 2011 edition of his Encyclopedia of Popular MusicAll Things Must Pass is “generally rated” as the best of all the former Beatles’ solo albums.

During the final year of his life, Harrison oversaw a successful reissue campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of the album’s release. After this reissue, the Recording Industry Association of America certified the album six-times platinum. Among its appearances on critics’ best-album lists, All Things Must Pass was ranked 79th on The Times‘ “The 100 Best Albums of All Time” in 1993, while Rolling Stone placed it 433rd on the magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time“. In 2014, All Things Must Pass was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Things_Must_Pass_(song)

The musicians who performed on Harrison’s All Things Must Pass version of the song are believed to be as follows:

Here is the title track from the All Things Must Pass triple album.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 21 February

As I’m sure you know be now, most days I have no idea why a particular song is stuck in my head. And today is no different.

This song has been a favorite of mine even before I understood what the title meant.  I like the rhythm to the song, and at around 12 years of age when it was released, the repetitive lyrics of the chorus were very catchy.

The track was recorded at Trident Studios, London, and the piano on the record was performed by either Rick Wakeman or Blue Weaver. Mark Paytress notes that both pianists may have played separate parts on the song, with Wakeman contributing only the piano glissandos that feature several times throughout the song. Wakeman, who was desperate for work at the time to pay his rent, had bumped into Bolan in Oxford Street, who offered him the session. Wakeman pointed out to Tony Visconti that the record did not actually need a piano player. Visconti suggested that he could add a gliss. Wakeman said that Visconti could do that, to which Bolan replied, “You want your rent, don’t you?” Wakeman did, and earned £9 for his efforts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get_It_On_(T._Rex_song)

This video is from a 1971 broadcast on the British TV show, Top of the Pops.  Playing the piano on this video is the one and only Elton John (long before they added the “Sir” to his name.

T. Rex will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year. Just in case you are up night worring about things like that.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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So, This Is Christmas?

Faithful readers (I do have a couple of faithful readers, right? RIGHT??), will remember that I do not start the “Christmas Season” until two things happen. First, I have to hear John Lennon’s, Happy XMas (War Is Over) and we’ve seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

We can control when we watch the movie, but hearing the song has a more strict requirement. I have to hear it while out of the house, and it can’t be played at my request. It just has to be on a random playlist, usually while shopping. But this year, I’ve only been to the mall once, and even then I never left the little pub. I still can’t walk long distances, so I sat and had a few beers while Wifey and son-the-younger did the shopping.

As usual, I do most of my shopping, holiday or not, on-line. Since Amazon doesn’t have background music like the mall stores do, the chance of hearing Happy X-Mas is slim to none. And Slim just walked out the door.

We did go to Wifey’s office Christmas party last night and they had Christmas music playing in the background. The song may have played, but luckily they had the volume low enough that I could only catch brief bits of the music hear and there. So I don’t know if it played or not. They didn’t have the old standards playing so it may have, but I didn’t hear it.

If you haven’t caught on by now, I really, really, really don’t like the usual Christmas music. Granddaughter-the-elder had her class Christmas program earlier this week. It was quite enjoyable. Other than the hand bell part, which was the old standards, the rest of the program was new music. They even did We Will Jingle, set to the tune of Queen’s We Will Rock You complete with foot stomps and hand claps. That was cool. And even better my wee bonnie lass had a small speaking part and she nailed it!

I’m thinking we will probably watch the movie this weekend. I’m sure it’s available on one of the streaming services I pay for. If not, Pay For View is always an option. As long as I can find it without commercial interruption. I absolutely despise commercials.

Today is also the Army Navy football game. This is probably the only football game I care about. And even then, not that much. I won’t watch the game since son-the-elder is currently overseas with his Army unit. But as an Army retiree, I have to say #GoArmyBeatNavy.

What are your holiday requirements and/or traditions? Get the conversation started by leaving a comment!

Peace,
B

P.S. Wifey has the old The Monkee’s TV show playing while I’m writing this, so here’s a totally unrelated video…

My favorite Michael Nesmith song!

P.P.S. The Monkees have ended and the old Partridge Family show has come on. Wifey said she didn’t remember how ugly the clothes were back then!

P.P.P.S. This is, what day 14 of the “official” Christmas season and not a single bit of the craptastic music has been played. ‘Nuff said.

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What’s Stuck In (Wifey’s) Head – 26 October

Yes! This is a wifey post! Well, she’s not really doing the post, but she did give me the song. And that counts. So there!

From the Wiki page:

The song is about two boys (“Me and Julio”) who have broken a law, although the exact law that has been broken is not stated in the song. When “the mama pajama” finds out what they have done, she goes to the police station to report the crime. The individuals are later arrested, but released when a “radical priest” intervenes.

The meaning and references in the song have long provoked debate. In a July 20, 1972 interview for Rolling Stone, Jon Landau asked Simon: “What is it that the mama saw? The whole world wants to know.” Simon replied “I have no idea what it is… Something sexual is what I imagine, but when I say ‘something’, I never bothered to figure out what it was. Didn’t make any difference to me.”

More recently, in October 2010, Simon described the song as “a bit of inscrutable doggerel“, while the “radical priest” has been interpreted as a reference to Daniel Berrigan, who was featured on the cover of Time on January 25, 1971, near when the song was written.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_and_Julio_Down_by_the_Schoolyard

The song is from Paul Simon’s 1972 self-titled studio album. Which had another of my favorite Paul Simon tracks, Mother And Child Reunion. Wifey says the lines; And it’s against the law, it was against the law
What mama saw, it was against the law
“, are what’s stuck in her mind.

I’ve always thought it was a political act that got those two in trouble, hence the line about being released by a radical priest. Wifey says “It’s drugs. Pure and simple.” But as the quote above from Paul says, even he doesn’t know. It doesn’t take a complete story to make a good song. Just a great concept and you’re off to the bank! The song topped out at #7.

Personally, I just love the rhythms throughout the song. Enjoy!

Peace,
B (and Wifey)

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 20 October

I was saddened to hear of the death of George “Pops” Chambers earlier this week. George was of course, part of the late 60’s and 70’s “soul” band, The Chambers Brothers. The news immediately brought this song to mind, and it’s been in and out of consciousness ever since.

Originally from Carthage, Mississippi,[1] the Chambers Brothers first honed their skills as members of the choir in their Baptist church. This set up ended in 1952 when the eldest brother George was drafted into the Army. George relocated to Los Angeles after his discharge, and his brothers soon settled there as well. As a foursome, they began performing gospel and folk throughout the Southern California region in 1954, but they more or less remained unknown until appearing in New York City in 1965.[2]

Consisting of George (September 26, 1931 – October 12, 2019) on washtub bass (later on Danelectro bass guitar), Lester (b. April 13, 1940) on harmonica, and Willie (b. March 3, 1938) and Joe (b. August 22, 1942) on guitar, the group started to venture outside the gospel circuit, playing at coffeehouses that booked folk acts. They played at places like The Ash Grove, a very popular Los Angeles folk club. It became one of their favorite haunts and brought them into contact with Hoyt Axton, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Reverend Gary Davis, and Barbara Dane. Dane became a great supporter, performing and recording with the brothers. With the addition of Brian Keenan (January 28, 1943 – October 5, 1985) on drums, Dane took them on tour with her and introduced them to Pete Seeger, who helped put the Chambers Brothers on the bill of the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. One of the songs they performed, “I Got It”, appeared on the Newport Folk Festival 1965 compilation LP, which was issued on the Vanguard label.

They were becoming more accepted in the folk community, but, like many on the folk circuit, were looking to electrify their music and develop a more rock and roll sound. Joe Chambers recalled in a May 1994 Goldmine article that people at the Newport Folk Festival were breaking down fences and rushing to the stage. “Newport had never seen or heard anything like that.” After the group finished and the crowd finally settled down, the MC came up and said “Whether you know it or not, that was rock ‘n’ roll.” That night they played at a post-concert party for festival performers and went to a recording session of the newly electrified Bob Dylan. Shortly after appearing at Newport, the group released its debut album, People Get Ready.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chambers_Brothers

The (radio) edit version of this track reached #11 in the fall of 1968 (I was all of 10 years old then!), spending a total of five weeks at that spot. There were actually two edited versions of the song produced, one runs 3:05 and the other 4:45. The original clocks in at over 11 minutes.

The song has been described as psychedelic rock, psychedelic soul and acid rock, and features a fuzz guitar twinned with a clean one. Various other effects were employed in its recording and production, including the alternate striking of two cow bells producing a “tick-tock” sound, warped throughout most of the song by reverb, echo and changes in tempo. It quotes several bars from “The Little Drummer Boy” at 5:40 in the long version.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Has_Come_Today

So here’s an almost 15 minute live version for you. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 18 October

I heard this song yesterday on the way into work and it’s been stuck ever since. This may be a new one for some folks as it only reached #111 in 1971, it’s from one of my favorite named albums, Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus. Their biggest hit was I Got A Line On You, which peaked at #25 in 1968.

An interesting note about this group, Spirit, is during several shows in 1968 and 1969 their opening act was none other than Led Zeppelin. I bring this up only because I posted about this connection in November of last year. As I understand it, the copyright infringement lawsuit is once again in the courts. I won’t post the quote again here, it’s available at the link above or at the Wiki page for the band.

I’m not going to get into any discussion about climate change, but this song was released in 1971. And it’s still valid today, some 48 years later. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 12 October

First: I absolutely love this song. Second: These guys had so many other cool songs it sad this is the only one that really received any air play. It did make it #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #8 on Cashbox.

I’m talking about Brewer & Shipley. You were expecting another Beatles song, right? Sorry, not today. Although Here Come The Sun is currently playing. But that’ll be another post, another day. George deserves his own day to shine.

Other than this track Brewer & Shipley had two other singles chart;

Brewer & Shipley are an Americanfolk rock duo who enjoyed their peak success in the late 1960s through the 1970s, consisting of singer-songwritersMike Brewer (born in 1944) and Tom Shipley (born in 1941). They were known for their intricate guitar work, vocal harmonies, and socially conscious lyrics which reflected the concerns of their generation — especially the Vietnam War, and the struggles for personal and political freedom. Their greatest commercial success was the song “One Toke Over the Line” from their 1970 album Tarkio. They had two other singles on the Billboard charts: “Tarkio Road” (1970) and “Shake Off The Demon” (1971). They continue to perform, both separately and together, usually in the Midwest of the USA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brewer_%26_Shipley

Tarkio Road is another great track, but again, that’s not what I’m here to tell you about (you were waiting for that line, right?)

Funny story about this song, although I have to admit that I can’t remember where I heard or read this story. But some unknown guy used to drive his grandmother around town, and she loved this song. She would sing right along with the song every time it came on. She just loved that it mentioned Jesus, so she thought it was a religious song. It broke his heart to tell her what the song was really about.

Mike Brewer gives this account of the origin of the song, “One day we were pretty much stoned and all and Tom says, “Man, I’m one toke over the line tonight.” I liked the way that sounded and so I wrote a song around it.”[1]

The song gained popular acclaim while the band was touring as an opening act for Melanie, after they received an encore but had run out of other songs to play. Spiro Agnew said the song with its reference to marijuana use was “blatant drug-culture propaganda” that “threatens to sap our national strength,” pressuring the FCC to include the song on its list of music banned from the airwaves because of drug references.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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What’s Stuck In My Head – 20 September

So maybe I’ve been getting all nostalgic. Sue me.

And yes, I’ve been posting a lot about Ms. Linda lately. Not surprising at all. As I’ve mentioned before, her posters adorned my walls while in high school.

This was one of the posters I had up.

This track is from 1970. Wow, that was some time ago. I knew I was old, but geez. I didn’t have to walk uphill through the snow both way to get to school. No, I’m older than that, we rode dinosaurs to school. Plus, I went to school in (very) south Floriduh, no hills to speak of and definitely no snow. But I digress (as usual).

In 1970, Linda Ronstadt released the song as a single and on the album Silk Purse. The single spent 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 25, while reaching No. 15 on Canada‘s “RPM 100″, No. 8 on Canada’s CHUM 30 chart, and No. 20 on Billboard‘s Easy Listening chart.

In 1971, Linda Ronstadt was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Female Vocal Performance for her rendition of “Long, Long Time”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long%2C_Long_Time

I’m still trying to figure out why this song is stuck in my head. Not that I ever have any idea why most things are there, my psyche is anything but stable. But that beautiful voice and that soaring chorus just keeps echoing over and over. But it’s there, and it’s not bothering me.

My mother always told me to share, so I’m sharing this compulsion video with you. Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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The Week That Was, Or Is, Or…

This last weekend was a bit tough, physically and mentally. Both Wifey and I had trouble sleeping which carried over into just being plain grouchy. Not to mention whatever the problem is with my back and/or legs was extremely bothersome all weekend. I have had 3 of the 4 tests ordered by the neurologist done, with the last one, an EMG, scheduled for tomorrow morning. I had an EMG before, and it’s not all that fun. It’s not painful, but not it’s not exactly comfortable either. Hopefully I’ll know more by the follow up appointment early next month.

Ont the plus side, the hole in the kitchen wall has been patched. So hopefully, no more froggies under the sink.

But I woke up feeling better this morning, so I thought I’d post a fun little video. I went looking for something by The Monkees first. The Monkees were my favorite band when I was a youngin’. I still listen to their CDs when I get tired of the radio. (Check out this post from some Monkees fun!) Instead of using a (silly) Monkees video, and I went slightly off-course. Which, of course, is par for the course for me. (Let’s see how many more time I use “course” in this post!)

I recently finished an older book by one of my favorite Florida authors, Dave Barry. For those that don’t know who Dave is (@RayAdverb on Twitter), he is a long time humor columnist. I grew up reading his column in The Miami Herald. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1988.

The book I just finished, Dave Barry’s Book of Bad Songs made me wonder about the musical tastes of his readers. The basic premise is that Dave wrote a column about a particular artist, which I won’t mention so you can buy the book and read it for yourself. This opened a floodgate of responses, that went on for several columns. The book is the result.

Not surprisingly, there are songs listed that I totally agree with (see the chapter on Barry Manilow), some that I’ve never heard of, and some that I disagree with. It’s one of the latter that I want to talk about.

Gee.. I wonder what song he’s talking about??

I will admit that the fact that the horse is not named at any time during the song (they do spend many days in the desert, and don’t let the horse go until after day 9), so there was plenty of time to name the horse. Even “Jim” would be a good name.. Obviously I’m talking about A Horse With No Name.

The band America has always been a favorite. A simple little acoustic group with good harmonies and simple lyrics. Well, may not simple lyrics. While Daisy Jane, Sister Golden Hair and Lonely People are straight forward, Ventura Highway is any thing but. And I won’t even get into Muskrat Love.

(Song writer Dewey) Bunnell has explained that “A Horse with No Name” was “a metaphor for a vehicle to get away from life’s confusion into a quiet, peaceful place”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Horse_with_No_Name

I can dig that.

Enjoy!

Peace,
B

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