Title: The Musical Box

Artist: Genesis

Album: Nursery Cryme

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: Well, it’s not Genesis’ debut, and it’s not the first incarnation of what many remember as GENESIS (Gabriel edition) (that would be The Knife) but it’s the first cut of the first album with Phil Collins and Steve Hackett. And it started a string of successful prog albums that were usually dominated by one or two epic songs. This is the best of those epics (though “Watcher Of The Skies” is right there too), I feel. There’s definitely some pop elements here that Gabriel and Collins would investigate later in their careers.

Riffage / Hookage: It’s a prog-rock epic, so there be riffs and hooks flying around. The problem is that since it’s an epic, you catch one and it’s gone. Sort of like a firefly. Well, it’s sort of like a firefly if you forget to put holes in the top of the jar.

Cowbell?: Collins hasn’t perfected his echo BOOOOOM sound yet, and concentrates on his basic kit.

Words Of Wisdom: Oh, there are words. Plenty of words. Heck, they need to fill 10 minutes! But here’s the climax:

“I’ve been waiting here for so long
And all this time has passed me by
It doesnt’t’t seem to matter now
You stand there with your fixed expression
Casting doubt on all I have to say.
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Why don’t you touch me, touch me,
Touch me now, now, now, now, now..”

Well, OK then Peter!

Mixology Report: The length hampers it, but the unwashed may appreciate the Genesis lesson.

Top Five Genius Results: Yes – Siberian Khatru
Peter Gabriel – No Self Control
ELP – Jerusalem
Jethro Tull – Cheap Day Return
Pink Floyd – Dogs

For The Good Of The Order: Oh, if I could have seen a Genesis concert circa-1973 or so, with Gabriel’s costume changes and the epic songs making true theater. But really, it may have best seen on some illicit substances. And just remember, you can become an insufferable balladeer by starting as a drummer of a band that played 15-minute songs and had an audience of 90% engineering students and Dr. Who fans from the UK.

Here’s a TV version, from Belgium I believe, without costumery, and a very hirsute Collins!

Here’s a 1973 concert. Phil shaved and Peter cut his hair in an interesting fashion! And that consummate showman, Steve Hackett, sits and looks at his guitar with great fervor! (Oh, and there’s some of that costume thing deal bit, too…)


Title: Danger Zone

Artist: Stone The Crows

Album: Ode To John Law

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: British heavy blues rock featuring a fantastic vocalist in Maggie Bell. Some would say she’s aping Janis Joplin but those pipes don’t come from imitation.

Riffage / Hookage: Good blues licks and a nice Hammond Organ underpinning.

Cowbell?: Solid blues drumming, unobtrusive yet powerful.

Words Of Wisdom: “Just read your paper
Read your paper and you’ll see
Just what exactly has been
bothering me
The world is in an uproar
The danger zone everywhere
It is everywhere”

I guess now it could be, “log on to your computer…”

Mixology Report: It’s blues, so it may not play nice with everything. A song like this just kind of stops the listener, and makes them jump for the rewind button to hear it again.

Top Five Genius Results: Fotheringay – Fairport Convention
Lady Eleanor – Lindisfarne
Slow Train – Bob Dylan
Coming Into Los Angeles – Arlo Guthrie
Here Comes The Sun – Richie Havens

For The Good Of The Order: Les Harvey, the guitarist, sadly lost his life onstage in 1972, as he electrocuted himself touching an ungrounded cord on a wet stage. The band, incredibly, finished the album they were working on and toured, with future Wings (and ex-Thunderclap Newman) guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, but they soon gave up. Bell later had some UK solo success. Critics loved this band, and they COULD have made it, or at least had a long career. Sad.

Here’s a live cut from that wonderful “Beat Club” show. There’s a great live album released by them “Live In Montreux” that showcases some of their extended blues workouts.

Title: Yours Is No Disgrace

Artist: Yes

Album: The Yes Album (How original…)

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: The beginning of Yes as we know and love (loathe?) them. Long multi-part songs, Steve Howe wanking soloing everywhere he can (and then some), Jon Anderson singing about something mystical or other, and long multi-part songs. Oh, I already said that. Well…that’s the truth. It’s the first cut on their third album – their first with Howe. Next album they introduced Rick Wakeman…

Riffage / Hookage: Howe has some nice riffs (I love the intro and some of the interlude riffs – with a song this long it’s hard to name a riff at a particular juncture – they don’t have bridges, they have causeways.)

Cowbell?: Bill Bruford restrained himself, here.

Words Of Wisdom: “Death defying, mutilated armies scatter the earth,
Crawling out of dirty holes, their morals, their morals disappear.”

Well, that’s chipper, ain’t it?

Mixology Report: I like to mix it once in a while, but it’s a L-O-N-G song, so be prepared. Also, it doesn’t transition well to other genres – you need to use other songs to transition to something else. (Note: the original on here, for five minutes or so, was horrible awful rotten nasty writing that made no sense. I’m tired.)

Top Five Genius Results: Still…You Turn Me On – ELP
The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway – Genesis
Cross-Eyed Mary – Jethro Tull
Xanadu – Rush
Empty Pages – Traffic

For The Good Of The Order: The original Yes was Anderson, Squire, Bruford, Kaye and Banks. The only one to be in Yes for each incarnation? Chris Squire. Other bands Yes alums founded: Flash, Badger, Asia, Detective, and the immortal GTR. When the heart rules the mind…

Here’s Yes live on the tee-vee, with lots of hair and some creepy doll thing.

Title: I Am Your Singer

Artist: Wings

Album: Wild Life

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: So bad it’s good? So bad it’s…bad? Off of the first Wings album (you know, where Paul really wanted a ‘band’ again), this has a typical singable McCartney melody (he must have about 210 of these tunes just lying around at any given time) with excruciating lyrics and a big dose of Linda. On the studio version, it’s almost a Linda lead vocal. Be warned.

Riffage / Hookage: Oh, hell, you can sing it in the shower. But why would you?

Cowbell?: Not as such.

Words Of Wisdom:“You are my love, you are my song, linger on,
You are my song, I am your singer.
You are my one, you are my own melody,
You are my song, I am your singer.

Someday when were singing
We will fly away, going winging.

Sing, singing my love song to you.

My song is sung,
When day is done harmonies willinger on,
I am your singer,
I am your singer,
Singing my love song to you.”

Oh, dear God! It’s worse than “My Love”

Mixology Report: Only to fill time? Yeah, probably. But I am both repulsed and attracted to this tune, so some other bozo may dig it!

Top Five Genius Results: Promise To You Girl – Paul McCartney
Here Comes The Night – Beach Boys
Beaucoups Of Blues – Ringo Starr
Message From The Country – The Move
Just A Season – The Byrds

For The Good Of The Order: Wild Life was a mess of an album (not to be confused with the B-side by Wings, “The Mess” was the flip of “My Love” and 6.02 X 10 to the 23rd power better), but better than Paul’s first solo album (with about 3 1/2 good songs) but not as good as Ram. Then he (er…Wings) released Red Rose Speedway. Oh, dear Lord that one was dreadful. Now, I can see why John wanted to record with Yoko. She was an artist (unconventional, yes, and very strange, but an artist with credentials and her stuff wasn’t as out there as some Beefheart stuff). But Linda? Linda was a good photographer. Notice George and Ringo kept their spouses out of the recording studio. I know Linda was the love of Paul’s life, but, really, Paul needed a foil to produce his best work (and Linda wasn’t it – neither was Denny Laine, really). I’m going on and on, sure, but I just had to get this off my chest, again, for the first time.

Here’s a live audio clip. This had to be the European 1972 tour where they jaunted around the continent and played post-Beatles stuff (probably to the chagrin of many). I mean, opening up with “Bip Bop” and also playing “Mumbo”, which seemed to be two songs written off the cuff in the studio? Nice throwaways, but as 2 of the first 3 songs when trying to establish a band? Wow, I’m beating a long dead horse here, right? Anyway, now, the clip. You can really tell when Linda appears, eh?

Title: Hocus Pocus

Artist: Focus

Album: Moving Waves

Year Released: 1971 (Though not a hit until 1973)

What It Is: Deranged yodeling and flute playing, along with massive, massive guitar and drumming. This has one of the best riffs in rock music history, and of course it’s coupled with, well, whatever you want to call Thijs van Leer’s vocal stylings.

Riffage / Hookage: Jan Akkerman should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for this riff alone.

Cowbell?: No, but Pierre van der Linden (can you tell that they’re a Dutch band?) plays with great aplomb and shines almost as brightly as Akkerman.

Words Of Wisdom: Um….

Mixology Report:Some of us idiots love this stuff. Others shake their head and call you names.

For The Good Of The Order: By the time this song was a hit, Focus had released “Focus 3” and had a minor hit with “Sylvia”. Their normal modus operandi was longish suites mixing all kinds of good arty stuff. Then this hit, for goodness sakes.

I think this is from “The Midnight Special”. Gladys Knight introducing Focus as a “together” group. Right on, sistah!

Title: No No No

Artist: Deep Purple

Album: Fireball

Year Released: 1971

What It Is: The ‘classic’ Deep Purple lineup hitting its stride. After fooling around with the Royal Philharmonic early in 1970, they released three classic hard rock / proto metal records. This is from the second of those three. It’s a very powerful song with the usual indictments of the current political situation.

Riffage / Hookage: Well, it’s Ritchie Blackmore, so there’s going to be a riff that sticks here. And of course, it’s supported by Jon Lord’s organ underpinnings and a decent melody from Ian Gillan (he actually did try to sing, you know…)

Cowbell?:No, but Ian Pace is one of the best drummers in heavy rock. He certainly knows when to be flash and when to just let the beat take care of itself. During the video, notice him brushing his hair from his eyes with nonchalance during Lord’s organ solo.

Words Of Wisdom: “Really hate the running really hate the game
Looking at them all I wanna be unborn again
Their suit is getting tighter although they’re getting thin
The flies are crawling on their face and trying to get in”

Wow, I guess it’s a little more direct than the ‘usual indictment’.

Mixology Report:I don’t think the metal squeamish will mind this one. It’s got a riff, a message and some cool soloing by Blackmore.

For The Good Of The Order:During a show on VH-1 Classic about the making of Machine Head, it was said that the Fireball album was a point of contention with the group. Gillan loved it, because it was funky and eclectic. Blackmore didn’t like it as much for the same reasons. Gee, no wonder they broke up all of the time.

This is a vid from German TV, where it seems they had all of the ‘cool groups’ playing live during this time, and more than one song. If you have seen a video for “Highway Star”, the band are wearing the same clothes in this perfomrance, including Blackmore’s wizard’s hat. The video effects are the same cheesy early 70’s as well.