1970


Wow, been too long. So sorry. So I’ll give ya a 2-fer-1. Of course, they’re segued together on the record, but still it IS a value, right?

Title: Behind The Wall Of Sleep / N. I. B.

Artist: Black Sabbath

Album: Black Sabbath

Year Released: 1970 (yet again!)

What It Is: Two crunch-tastic songs linked together by Geezer Butler’s bass solo. First time I heard these I was totally blown away, and that’s hard to do from a cheapo cassette played in the tape deck of a Ford Escort. (If I recall, I bought the tape at Target and it was in the $3.99 bin along with all of the Historia De La Musica tapes. The tape had “Evil Woman” instead of “Wicked World” to kick off side 2, so I think it was a bunch of cheap tapes from Spain.)

Riffage / Hookage: You’re a silly silly person if you think there ain’t no riffs here! Both of these song feature Tony Iommi at his best – heavy riffs and no annoying wankery in the solos.

Cowbell?: No, but I’ve always loved the way Bill Ward’s cymbals were miked. It’s a very crisp sound on the cymbals. He’s rather underrated, I think.

Words Of Wisdom: “Feel your spirit rise with the breeze
See your body falling to it’s knees
Sleeping wall of remorse
Turns your body to a corpse “

I was unsure about these lyrics, since they really do a weird thing with Ozzy’s voice and the stereo effects in this song. It seems to move between channels every syllable.

“Now I have you with me, under my power
Our love grows stronger now with every hour
Look into my eyes, you will see who I am
My name is Lucifer, please take my hand”

You know, a band can’t role play anymore without being called Satanist…

Mixology Report: Don’t mix it for the weenies!

Top Five Genius Results: Sabbath is way too powerful for Genius!

For The Good Of The Order: The birth of sludge! Yes, while Blue Cheer may have ‘invented’ the heavy metal sound, they weren’t sludgy, and by 1970 were pseudo-folky anyway. This, my friend, is 100% UK Choice sludge. Eat it up, yum!

Here you go, vids for BOTH! You can even understand when Ozzy speaks! Both from the same show!

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Title: Paranoid (No, it’s not a cover!)

Artist: Grand Funk Railroad

Album: Grand Funk (also on Live Album) (note GFR’s clever album titles!)

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: Prototypical Grand Funk. Featuring “The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner, the bong-rattling bass of Mel Schacher and the competent drum work of Don Brewer”. Oh, and Farner’s wah-wah. And the fact there may be one overdub (Farner’s wah-wah) except for the sound affects, and Brewer seems to have forgotten that he has another drum besides his snare drum most of the time, and Schacher’s bass sounds like a out-of-tune rubber band at times, and the song may have been recorded in about 8 minutes, flat.

Riffage / Hookage: Farner’s wah-wah and guitar is fierce, and Schacher’s bass is bong-rattling for sure!

Cowbell?: As I said, Brewer hardly hits his toms, so why mess with cowbell here?

Words Of Wisdom: “Did you ever think it could be you, that’s just outside the door?
There’s just one way to find out if it’s true. so, what you waiting for?
Oh, get yourself together now, my friend, and step outside the pad.
If there’s no one waiting for you there, my friend, I think you should be glad.

Shirtless lyrics, indeed! The pot can make you paranoid…or sleepy…

Mixology Report: I prefer the live version. More wah-wah, less pointless sound effects! And you know, it’s all about the wah-wah for me!

Top Five Genius Results: The Pack – Got This Thing On The Move (early Grand Funk…)
Mountain – Never In My Life
James Gang – Stop
Uriah Heep – Circle Of Hands
Johnny Winter – Good Morning Little Schoolgirl

For The Good Of The Order: GFR was my brother’s fave band in high school. The critics hated them, but they hit my brother’s demo right on the money. Though I don’t think Rick was shirtless much of the 70’s. He, like me, wasn’t blessed with the best physique in the world.

Here’s some live audio from 1971!

Title: Tighter, Tighter

Artist: Alive & Kicking

Album: Alive ‘N Kickin’

Year Released: 1970 (yes, again!)

What It Is: Great, breezy pop music penned by Tommy James (doesn’t it sound like a Shondells song, in a way?) with a great fuzzed out guitar solo.

Riffage / Hookage: Yeah, a pretty darn good hook in the intro AND in the chorus. So it is a Tommy James type tune. Mega-hooks, mega-hooks everywhere!

Cowbell?: Nope.

Words Of Wisdom: “Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby
I love you so much and I can’t let go no, no, no
Hold on a-just a little bit tighter now baby”

Don’t need more than that with the hooks.

Mixology Report: Yeah! It crosses generations and isn’t all schmaltzy.

Top Five Genius Results: Wildflower – Skylark
Hold Your Head Up – Argent (?)
Lay A Little Lovin’ On Me – Robin McNamara
Montego Bay – Bobby Bloom
If You Leave Me Now – Chicago

For The Good Of The Order: They’re still at it! And they’re celebrating their 40th anniversary by slashing prices! I wonder if they have a Ca$h For Clunker$ program as well? I mean, I have this copy of “Tin Machine” that I need to get rid of….STILL!

Here’s a nifty video tribute / ad for them backed by their hit, of course.

Title: Fancy Colours

Artist: Chicago (Yes, SHUT UP!)

Album: Chicago II

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A great sample of their jazz-ish demi-fusionistic rock before they devolved into brain-dead adult contemporary hacks of the worst kind. It’s hard to fathom that a band that actually put “The whole world’s watching” chant from the 1968 Convention on an album as part of a track went out and made “You’re The Inspiration” and “If She Would Have Been Faithful”. I mean, really.

Riffage / Hookage: Good hookage in the chorus and some dandy horn charts. Some pretty darn good wah-wah from Terry Kath (who was a most underrated guitarist, and the band really lost it’s rock-n-roll heart when he died, not that they had much rock left by then).

Cowbell?: The song opens with tinkly chimes and bells, but after that it’s standard drumming until the requisite (yet brief) drum solo.

Words Of Wisdom: “Going where the orange sun has never died
And your swirling marble eyes shine
Laughing
Burning through the light
Bittersweet the drops of life
Memories only fading”

Mixology Report: Heck, yeah. In a mystery mix people will know its Chicago, but probably not the song (unless their local FM rock station has a deep cut play list). Else, it may cause people to reconsider early 70’s Chicago (the later stuff is irreconcilable…)

Top Five Genius Results: Power Failure – Procol Harum
Cold Morning Light – Todd Rundgren
You Know It Doesn’t Matter Anymore – Hall & Oates
Smiling Phases – Blood, Sweat & Tears
It’s Wonderful – The Rascals

For The Good Of The Order: I do have a lot of songs from 1970 posted thus far. It’s not that I have special memories of 1970. It was before I started kindergarten (I was born 18 days past the deadline) and really didn’t listen to much except the singles or albums I already had acquired from my sister and brother, or if I could sneak down and hear what my brother was playing the basement (most likely Grand Funk Railroad, Steppenwolf, or Iron Butterfly). This wasn’t a single, either. The first time I heard this was on the Wabash College radio station about 1978 or so. Some music major, I guess, was talking about how the ending is unresolved (I think that’s the proper term) since it doesn’t end on the root note of the key. Which, of course you kind of miss in the video, since the effect is pretty dramatic as the song fades after that same note is blasted out time and again.

Speaking of a video, I did find one from a Japanese TV broadcast in 1972. The video fidelity is, well, rotten. I’ve seen daguerreotypes with more color fidelity. However, the sound is fine and that’s what’s important.

Title: Now Be Thankful

Artist: Fairport Convention

Album: Single only – can be found on several Fairport compilations.

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A fine representative piece of Fairport Convention, albiet one without either Sandy Denny or Judy Dyble. It was Richard Thompson’s last work with Fairport before moving on to a solo act. This was written by Thompson and Dave Swarbrick, who takes lead with a strong English tenor (I am guessing).

Riffage / Hookage: No, this is pleasant, placid, powerful English folk. No need for riffs. It DOES have a good hook though.

Cowbell?: No. Spare yet effective percussion.

Words Of Wisdom: “When the stone is grown too cold to kneel
In crystal waters I’ll be bound
Cold as stone, weary to the sounds upon the wheel

Now be thankful for good things below
Now be thankful to your maker
For the rose, the red rose blooms for all to know

When the fire is grown too fierce to breathe
In burning embers I’ll be bound
Fierce as fire, weary to the sounds upon the wheel

Now be thankful for good things below
Now be thankful to your maker
For the rose, the red rose blooms for all to know”

It’s good enough to put the whole thing on there.
Mixology Report: Yes…very good closing song.

Top Five Genius Results: “Cruel Sister” – Pentangle
“Blackleg Miner” – Richard Thompson (of course)
“The Bells Of Rhymney” – Pete Seeger
“If I Were A Carpenter” – Tim Hardin

For The Good Of The Order: The B-side of the single was “Sir B. McKenzie’s Daughter’s Lament for the 77th Mounted Lancers Retreat from the Straits of Loch Knombe, In the Year of Our Lord 1727, On the Occasion of the Announcement of Her Marriage to the Laird of Kinleakie”. You can get that as a bonus track on “Full House”.

How about this…the 1970 lineup live!

Title: Whisky Train

Artist: Procol Harum

Album: Home

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: About as far away from “A Whiter Shade Of Pale” as you can get. It showcases Robin Trower (one of the best relatively unknown guitarists in rock history – he made a lot of excellent solo records in the mid 70’s)

Riffage / Hookage: Oh, man. What A riff! You don’t need to be ‘heavy’ to have great riffs. This is a great demonstration of Procol Harum’s blues based tunes, as they moved farther away from the straight progressive rock (just as it was really going to take off).

Cowbell?: Is there cowbell? Is there cowbell? Just listen, man! My man Moose thinks this is the most cowbelliest song ever – though I hold out for “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey”. He claims foul on that because the bell may or may not be a cowbell. Ah, well. This song definitely supplies your RDA for cowbell!

Words Of Wisdom:“I’m gonna find a girl to make me choose
Between lovin’ her and drinking booze
I’m gonna lose these drinking blues

Obviously they don’t listen to country music, because women are the reason men drink, at least according to Nashville.

Mixology Report: Surprisingly, yes, unless someone doesn’t want to rock out!

Top Five Genius Results: “One Of The Boys” – Mott The Hoople
“Too Young To Know” – UFO
“Action” – Sweet
“Rocka Rolla” – Judas Priest
“California Man” – Cheap Trick (studio)

For The Good Of The Order: As I said, you need to check out Robin Trower’s solo albums, especially “Bridge Of Sighs” and “Twice Removed From Yesterday”.

Here’s a basic audio clip, but you get the jist of the cowbelly goodness!

(Is it really classic rock if they don’t play it on the radio?? If not, then I’m breakin’ out of that mold!)

Title: The Bomber

Artist: James Gang

Album: Rides Again

Year Released: 1970

What It Is: A multi-part tour de force that highlights all of Joe Walsh’s strengths (ok, not the talk box, but still). He does a great job on slide in the early middle of the song (after the first few verses) and then works through ‘Bolero’ and ‘Cast Your Fate To The Wind’ before going back to the main thrust of the song (called ‘Closet Queen’).

Riffage / Hookage: Oh yeah, there’s some great riffage from Walsh, of course.

Cowbell?: Nah. Jim Fox is an OK drummer, but the consensus was that he and bassist Dale Peters was holding Walsh back. (That really wasn’t the case, since Walsh’s pre-Eagles solo records could’ve easily been James Gang albums.)

Words Of Wisdom:“A closet queen, the bus stop’s dream, she wants to shake my hand
I don’t want to be there, she decides she can
It’s Apple Dan, he’s just the man to pick fruit off your branches
I can’t sleep, and we can’t keep this cattle on my ranches”

Joe’s young protagonist isn’t quite ready for the real world. Well, at least the real bus-stop world.

Mixology Report: Especially for the rockists and those who enjoy multi-part semi-epics. Oh, and guitars!

Top Five Genius Results: Time Out – Joe Walsh (no, really!)
Whisky Train – Procol Harum (coming soon, if I can find a good clip)
Never In My Life – Mountain
Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother – Grand Funk (the lyrics are, um, interesting…and yes Mark Farner is trying to be serious.)
Sookie Sookie – Steppenwolf

For The Good Of The Order: Fox really, really wanted this band to hold together. As I said in an earlier post, Glenn Schwartz was the original guitarist, and when he left, Walsh came on board. Then the original bassists (Tom Kriss) left right before this album was recorded and Peters took his place. When Walsh left a year later, Dominic Troiano jumped on board before moving to The Guess Who to replace one of the guys who replaced Randy Bachmann. So Fox, Peters and new vocalist Roy Kenner added Tommy Bolin for a couple of records before Bolin left to replace Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. Still Fox didn’t give up, hiring more and more folks for two more records that no one listened to, bought, or cared about. Finally, in 1976, they quit. And no, this isn’t an Eric Idle Monty Python sketch…

Here’s a live one of Walsh & Co doing this tune for French TV, followed by an interview which unfortunately is dubbed over in French.

I do realize that the song starts shambly and Walsh has mike problems (but you can see his guitar wizardry), so here’s a still clip with the tune…

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