Hot Tuna – First Pull Up, Then Pull Down (1971)

FrontCover1First Pull Up, Then Pull Down is the second album by Hot Tuna, released in 1971 as RCA Victor LSP-4550. The album was recorded live with electric instruments, instead of the acoustic instruments used on the previous album, Hot Tuna. The album rose to #43 on the Billboard charts. In 1996, RCA released the CD box set Hot Tuna in a Can, which included a remastered version of this album, along with remasters of the albums Hot Tuna, Burgers, America’s Choice and Hoppkorv.Helmut Qualtinger (Remigius)First Pull Up, Then Pull Down is the second album by Hot Tuna, released in 1971 as RCA Victor LSP-4550. The album was recorded live with electric instruments, instead of the acoustic instruments used on the previous album, Hot Tuna. The album rose to #43 on the Billboard charts.  (by wikipedia)

While the first Hot Tuna album had comprised an acoustic trio featuring Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Will Scarlet, the second album added violinist Papa John Creach and drummer Sammy Piazza, and most significantly, it added electricity. Now the sound was closer to Kaukonen’s features in Jefferson Airplane. The highlight was the eight-minute “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning,” although “Candy Man” also became a concert favorite. (by William Ruhlmann)

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The name First Pull Up, Then Pull Down reminds me of uh, an aerobics class! I can totally see the instructor giving the students athletic lessons that require several up and down movements. I’m sure the album title means something else entirely though. This is a pretty good live album. Not as good as their self-titled live album where the songwriting was a little sharper, but still very very impressive. An authentic blues/country album. At least it’s more energetic compared to their debut with a greater variety of instruments. Sometimes these songs drag due to jamming a bit longer than necessary, but otherwise a pretty good album.

“John’s Other” is a great instrumental. At first it seems like the kind of instrumental that might drag or seem too obvious. By that I mean for example the violin playing in the beginning. The notes aren’t very impressive and it feels safe. You’ve heard violins like this a lot. However as the song moves forward the violin gradually gets more intense, a guitar solo comes in that’s even better and the harmonica part is probably my favorite aspect of the song. Still, I wish for more violin perhaps because it’s not a very popular instrument in the world of rock compared to guitars and harmonicas so I secretly desire more of it. An impressive song either way.

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“Come Back Baby” is plodding sloppy blues with more splendid guitar playing, but at 9 minutes it’s a bit much to take. It should’ve probably been shortened a few minutes. Not one of my favorite songs. The vocal melody is typical blues and nothing extraordinary. Even the violin and harmonica plays it safe and that’s just wrong! The guitar solo in the middle and again later on is really good however. “Candy Man” opens with a gentle series of country guitar notes before the steady rhythm comes in. The vocal melody is pretty good though nothing brilliant or anything, clearly influenced by the country genre. Enjoyable harmonica too. Of course the violin is the best part. Too bad that part doesn’t jam longer! Oh wow, the bass part at the end is pretty awesome too. The violin comes back in a subtle way which is unique.

“Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” is a familiar song. I probably heard it a bunch of times several years ago somewhere. I love the guitar intro that always reminded me of somewhere down south in the deep woods. The steady foot-tapping pace of the rhythm is really good as well. The vocals are kind of tucked in the back behind the guitar work and drumming so it’s hard to make out the lyrics, but otherwise a terrific song. The violin solo makes a wonderful appearance a few minutes in, and it’s my favorite part (especially when the pace picks up). Then again how cool is the violin/guitar jam occurring at the same time? VERY cool indeed! The song remains jamming the entire way through.

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“Want You to Know” opens with a nice guitar part. Really solid vocal melody too. This song blends country with blues in a really magnificent, stunning and authentic kind of way. One of the most underrated songs on the album. The violin even tears a hole wide open and explodes in all kinds of beauty when it makes an appearance. “Been So Long” is vocally sentimental but perhaps not quite as hard-hitting on an emotional level as the band is going for. Then again silly me! I’m still expecting Jefferson Airplane-level quality songwriting with psychedelic leanings. “Never Happen No More” is lazy day blues. Not bad but nothing that blows me away either. The song moves along at a pretty good pace at least. It does improve in a big way once the vocals come in however.

Overall First Pull Up, Then Pull Down is a mighty good Hot Tuna album. It’s not their best effort but even a weaker Hot Tuna album is enjoyable to some extent anyway right? (by Bryanam)

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Hot Tuna in 1972. Casady and Kaukonen are in front; Creach and Piazza are in back.

Personnel:
Jack Casady (bass)
Papa John Creach (violin)
Jorma Kaukonen – vocals, guitar)
Sammy Piazza (drums)
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Will Scarlett (harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. John’s Other (Creach)  8.22
02. Candy Man (Davis) 5.53
03. Been So Long (Kaukonen) 3.45
04. Want You To Know (Carter) 4.36
05. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning (Davis) 8.19
06. Never Happen No More (Blake) 3.54
07. Come Back Baby (Traditional) 9.39

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One thought on “Hot Tuna – First Pull Up, Then Pull Down (1971)

  1. Wunderbare Scheibe! Und die Burschen haben es auch heute noch drauf! Auf einer jüngeren Aufnahme des „Candyman“ legte dieser Jack Cassady ein Bass-Solo hin, unglaublich und grandios, da kommt niemand mehr auf die Idee zu sagen, der Bass wäre nur ein Begleitinstrument…

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