Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Glorified Magnified (1972)

LPFrontCover1The second album by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band to be released in 1972, Glorified Magnified is as solid a heavy rock album as you’re likely to find from that era, and it still holds up three decades later, mostly because these guys are smarter than the music they’re playing and don’t mind indulging their taste as well as their dexterity. They can romp and stomp through “Meat” or “I’m Gonna Have You All,” complete with a slashing guitar solo by Mick Rogers on the latter, or throw in a synthesizer interlude by Mann on “One Way Glass” that’s so quietly and carefully executed as to be worthy of a classical piece — and not skip a beat doing it. Between Rogers’ bold yet tasteful leads, Mann’s beautifully assertive yet virtuoso synthesizer and general keyboard work, and Colin Pattenden’s muscular bass playing, this is a consistently inspired group, even when their material isn’t as interesting as what they do with it, which is the case here.

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On “Look Around,” for example, Rogers’ playing on the break starts off as brief, fragmentary digressions off from a not too terribly diverting central riff that turn into longer progressions that eventually take the entire band with him — and just when you think you’ve got this band pegged in terms of what it’s about, along comes “Ashes to the Wind,” opening side two of the original LP, which includes room for an acoustic guitar amid the high-wattage excursions, all leading into a surprisingly effective synthesizer workout by Mann on “Wind,” before moving onto the acoustic guitar-driven “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” The latter, which adds instrumentation until it’s so totally removed from its opening section as to be a different song, is one of the best Dylan covers of its era, and is almost worth the price of admission by itself. And then there’s the title instrumental, a mix of rock and synthesizer sounds — with a choir in there somewhere — that sounds like mid-’70s King Crimson in rehearsal. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Manfred Mann (organ, synthesiser, background vocals)
Colin Pattenden (bass)
Mick Rogers (guitar, vocals)
Chris Slade (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Meat (Mann) 4.04
02. Look Around (Slade) 5.12
03. One Way Glass (Mann/Thomas) 4.15
04. I’m Gonna Have You All (Mann) 5.23
05. Down Home (Rogers) 3.19
06. Our Friend George (Mann) 3.04
07. Ashes To The Wind (Edmonds/Thompson) 2.15
08. Wind (Mann/Rogers/Pattenden/Slade) 2.02
09. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue (Dylan) 4.28
10. Glorified Magnified (Mann) 4.36

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Bonnie Raitt – The Lost Broadcast Philadelphia 1972 (2010)

CDFrontCover1When Bonnie Raitt got her big breakthrough album, Nick Of Time, in 1989, the general feeling was that her time had come. After all, she had released her debut album back in 1971 and spent the time in between gigging and honing her craft. The Nick Of Time and Luck Of The Draw (1991) albums showed a matured Raitt with a commanding presence.

But even in the early years, she had the ability to stop listeners in their tracks. Sarah, writing at sheplaysmusic.com, posted: “My love affair with blues and the legendary Bonnie Raitt began in 1977 when I was 13 years old. I was in my bedroom listening to a local top 40s station when the tuner on my antiquated clock radio became stuck between channels. In tuning it I landed WMMR in Philadelphia and heard the most amazing thing. Bonnie Raitt’s Blender Blues was playing. It was a live recording from Philly’s Sigma Sound Studions from, I believe, 1972 or so. Bonnie Raitt became my hero and I listened to the radio often to hear that song especially.”

While Raitt was still promoting her self-titled debut album at this show, she also snucked in Too Long At The Fair and Under The Falling Sky from her second album, Give It Up, which would only be released in September 1972.

Fans who heard this show have raved about it – both for Raitt’s performance (she was only 22) and for its very good audio quality. Thanks to tranbert for sharing the lossless tracks on the net and to dan@am-dig.com for the artwork.

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No idea who penned these notes that accompanied the tracks but they make fine reading.

“Like any story passed on with some music this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Here what was told to me and this is what I know.

“An intern at WMMR in the ’80s recorded this show to an analog source. Being such a tremendous recording this individual longed to re-record the master reel straight to a digital source as they became increasingly popular in the early ’90s. At this point the intern had moved on and no longer had this type of access. However, he remembered periodically that the studio or the station allowed access to the ‘records room’ for research activity. Posing as a university affiliate doing research on ’70s radio advertising, this individual gained access to the master reels with a portable Sony DAT deck. The room was laid out with shelves with tables on the far end with cassette decks, reel to reel and ‘cart’ type recorders. Unplugging the cart recorder and connecting the DAT deck, history was then digitized.

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“At this time I was working at a mail order facility selling DAT tapes. Which at the time were very expensive, US$12 or more per tape. The individual with this Bonnie recording told us the story above. Is it true? Who knows but he use to buy DAT tapes from us regularly. He made us a cassette of this famous recording and we bugged him to make us a DAT copy for months. He did not have the means to do DAT to DAT. On a visit to the ’store’ in Stamford in 1992 we finally were able to make one DAT clone. I subsequently cloned that DAT.”

Also, thanks to WMMR producer Dennis Wilen for the feedback.

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Personnel:
John Davis (harmonica)
Dan (Freebo) Freeberg (bass)
Bonnie Raitt (guitar, piano, vocals)
T.J. Tindle (guitar, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Mighty Tight Woman (Wallace) 4.03
02. Rollin & Tumblin (Morganfield) 4.23
03. Any Day Woman (Siebel) 3.39
04. Woman Be Wise (Wallace/Bench) 3.42
05. Thank You (Raitt) 2.58
06. Bluebird (Stills) 3.37
07. Finest Lovin Man (Raitt) 5.24
08. Big Road (Johnson) 4.42
09. Stayed Too Long At The Fair (Zoss) 2.50
10. Under The Falling Sky (Browne) 4.30
11. Walkin Blues (Johnson) 4.00
12. Can’t Find My Way Home (Winwood) 3.06
13. Richland Woman Blues (Hurt) 3.51
14. Blender Blues (Raitt) 3.32
15. Radio Jingle Promo 1.05
15. Since I Fell for You (Johnson) 2.50

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Dave Mason – Headkeeper (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgHeadkeeper is a 1972 album by Dave Mason. Originally released on Blue Thumb Records as Blue Thumb 34 (a subsidiary of Famous Music Group), Headkeeper was reissued by MCA Records as MCA 712, then reissued on CD in 1988 as MCAD-31326).

In late 1971, Mason began recording Headkeeper. He envisioned a double album with one disk containing new studio recordings and the other live recordings with his new band. The live tracks had been recorded at some highly regarded dates at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles.

Mason thought that since he was Blue Thumb’s most successful artist, they should renegotiate his contract. When they refused, he slipped into the studio and took the master tapes of the recordings made to date.

Producer Tommy LiPuma then assembled an album from two-track safety masters that Mason did not take which Blue Thumb released. Mason publicly denounced the release as a “bootleg”.

Mason eventually signed a deal with Columbia Records who bought out his Blue Thumb contract.

Blue Thumb issued Dave Mason Is Alive in 1973 with remaining tracks from the Troubadour set. (by wikipedia)

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Dave Mason’s solo career, which had started so promisingly with Alone Together in 1970 and taken an odd, but pleasant detour with Dave Mason & Cass Elliot in 1971, hit a speed bump in 1972, when he entered into a dispute with his record label, Blue Thumb during preparations for a new album. As a result, Blue Thumb put together the half-a-studio-album Mason had completed with half of a live album and issued the consumer-confusing Headkeeper, which Mason denounced publicly and asked fans not to buy! Heard today, it’s still a confusing album, though the first five tracks are enjoyable music in the manner of Alone Together and the last five are well-performed concert versions of such favorites as “Feelin’ Alright?” and “Pearly Queen.” (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Felix “Flaco” Falcon (percussion)
Rick Jaeger (drums)
Mark Jordan (keyboards)
Dave Mason (guitar, vocals)
Lonnie Turner (bass)
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background vocals:
Rita Coolidge – Spencer Davis – Kathi McDonald – Graham Nash

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Tracklist:

In the studio:
01. To Be Free (Mason) 3.17
02. In My Mind (Mason) 3.15
03. Here We Go Again” – 1:56
04. A Heartache, A Shadow, A Lifetime (Mason) 3.34
05. Headkeeper (Mason) 4.37

Live recordings:

06. Pearly Queen (Capaldi/Winwood) 3.35
07. Just A Song (Mason) 3.00
08. World In Changes (Mason) 4.47
09. Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving (Mason) 3.02
10. Feelin’ Alright (Mason) 5.44

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Hot Tuna – Burgers (1972)

LPFrontCover1Burgers is the third album by Hot Tuna, the Folk rock off-shoot of Jefferson Airplane members Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, and Papa John Creach. It was the band’s first studio album, the previous two being live recordings. “Water Song” and “Sunny Day Strut” are instrumentals composed for this album. (by wikipedia)

Burgers, Hot Tuna’s third album, marked a crucial transition for the group. Until now, Hot Tuna had been viewed as a busman’s holiday for Jefferson Airplane lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady. Their first album was an acoustic set of folk-blues standards recorded in a coffeehouse, their second an electric version of the same that added violinist Papa John Creach (who also joined the Airplane) and drummer Sammy Piazza. Then the Airplane launched Grunt, its own vanity label, which encouraged all bandmembers to increase their participation in side projects. Burgers, originally released as the fourth Grunt album, sounded more like a full-fledged work than a satellite effort. It was Hot Tuna’s first studio album, and Kaukonen wrote the bulk of the material, not all of it in the folk-blues style that had been the group’s métier. “Sea Child,” for example, employed his familiar acid rock sound and would have fit seamlessly onto an Airplane album.

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And “Water Song,” one of his most accomplished instrumentals, had a crystalline acoustic guitar part that really suggested the sound of rippling water. On the material that did recall the earlier albums, Hot Tuna split the difference between its acoustic and electric selves, sometimes, as on “True Religion,” beginning in folky fingerpicking style only to add a rock band sound after the introduction. The result was more restrained than the second album, but not as free as the first, with the drums imposing steady rhythms that often kept Casady from soloing as much, though Creach’s violin made for plenty of improvisation within the basic blues structures. All of which is to say that, not surprisingly, on its third album in as many years, Hot Tuna had evolved its own sound and music, and seemed less a diversion than its members’ new top priority. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Jack Casady (bass, vocals)
Papa John Creach (violin, vocals)
Jorma Kaukonen (vocals, guitar)
Sammy Piazza (drums, percussion, vocals)
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Nick Buck – organ, piano on “True Religion” and “Keep On Truckin'”
David Crosby (vocals on 02.)
Richmond Talbott (vocals, slide guitar on 03.)

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Tracklist:
01. True Religion (Traditional) 4.47
02. Highway Song (Kaukonen) 3.18
03. 99 Year Blues (Daniels) 4.00
04. Sea Child (Kaukonen) 5.03
05. Keep On Truckin’ (Carleton) 3.43
06. Water Song (Kaukonen) 5.19
07. Ode For Billy Dean Kaukonen 4.53
08. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here (Davis) 3-29
09. Sunny Day Strut (Kaukonen) 3.16

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Miles Davis – On The Corner (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgOn the Corner is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and July 1972 and released later that year by Columbia Records. The album continued Davis’s exploration of jazz fusion, bringing together funk rhythms with the influence of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.On the Corner is a studio album by American jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. It was recorded in June and July 1972 and released later that year by Columbia Records. The album continued Davis’s exploration of jazz fusion, bringing together funk rhythms with the influence of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman.
Recording sessions for the album featured a changing lineup of musicians including bassist Michael Henderson, guitarist John McLaughlin, and keyboardist Herbie Hancock, with Davis playing the electric organ more prominently than his trumpet. Various takes from the sessions were then spliced together using the tape editing techniques of producer Teo Macero. The album’s packaging did not credit any musicians, an attempt to make the instruments less discernible to critics. Its artwork features Corky McCoy’s cartoon designs of urban African-American characters.
On the Corner was in part an effort by Davis to reach a younger African American audience who had left jazz for funk and rock and roll. Instead, it became one of his worst-selling albums and was scorned by jazz critics at the time of its release. It would be Davis’s last studio album of the 1970s conceived as a complete work;

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subsequently, he recorded haphazardly and focused instead on live performance before temporarily retiring from music in 1975.
The critical standing of On the Corner has improved dramatically with the passage of time.[3] Many outside the jazz community later called it an innovative musical statement and forerunner to subsequent funk, jazz, post-punk, electronica, and hip hop. In 2007, On the Corner was reissued as part of the 6-disc box set The Complete On the Corner Sessions, joining previous multi-disc Davis reissues.

Following his turn to fusion in the late 1960s and the release of rock- and funk-influenced albums such as Bitches Brew (1970) and Jack Johnson (1970), Miles Davis received substantial criticism from the jazz community. Critics accused him of abandoning his talents and pandering to commercial trends, though his recent albums had been commercially unsuccessful by his standards. Other jazz contemporaries, such as Herbie Hancock, Cecil Taylor, and Gil Evans defended Davis; the latter stated that “jazz has always used the rhythm of the time, whatever people danced to”. In early 1972, Davis began conceiving On the Corner as an attempt to reconnect with the young African-American audience which had largely forsaken jazz for the groove-based music of Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown. In an interview with Melody Maker, Davis stated that
“I don’t care who buys the record so long as they get to the Black people so I will be remembered when I die. I’m not playing for any white people, man. I wanna hear a black guy say ‘Yeah, I dig Miles Davis.'”

Michael Henderson

Michael Henderson

Also cited as an influence by Davis was the work of experimental composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, in particular his forays into electronic music and tape manipulation. Davis was first introduced to Stockhausen’s work in 1972 by collaborator Paul Buckmaster, and the trumpeter reportedly kept a cassette recording of the 1966–67 Hymnen composition in his Lamborghini sports car. Some concepts from Stockhausen that appealed to Davis included the electronic sound processing found in Hymnen and the 1966 piece Telemusik, and the development of musical structures by expanding and minimizing processes based on preconceived principles—as featured in Plus-Minus and other Stockhausen works from the 1960s and early 1970s. Davis began to apply these ideas to his music by adding and taking away instrumentalists and other aural elements throughout a recording to create a progressively changing soundscape. Speaking about Stockhausen’s influence, Davis later wrote in his autobiography:

“I had always written in a circular way and through Stockhausen I could see that I didn’t want to ever play again from eight bars to eight bars, because I never end songs: they just keep going on. Through Stockhausen I understood music as a process of elimination and addition.”

The work of Buckmaster (who played electric cello on the album and contributed some arrangements) and the “harmolodics” of saxophonist Ornette Coleman would also be an influence on the album. In his biography, Davis later described On the Corner with the formula “Stockhausen plus funk plus Ornette Coleman.” Using this conceptual framework, Davis reconciled ideas from contemporary art music composition, jazz performance, and rhythm-based dance music.Recording and productionBassist Michael Henderson was a fixture throughout the recording sessions.
Recording sessions began in June 1972. Both sides of the record consisted of repetitive Miles Davis02drum and bass grooves based around a one-chord modal approach, with the final cut culled from hours of jams featuring changing personnel lineups underpinned by bassist Michael Henderson. Other musicians involved in the recording included guitarist John McLaughlin, drummers Jack DeJohnette and Billy Hart, and keyboardists Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea. On the Corner utilized three keyboardists like Bitches Brew while pairing Hart—who had played in Hancock’s Mwandishi-era band—with DeJohnette and two percussionists. Hancock’s reed player, Bennie Maupin, played bass clarinet and Dave Liebman was recruited as saxophonist. Jazz historian Robert Gluck later discussed the performance:
“The recording functions on two layers: a relatively static, dense thicket of rhythmic pulse provided by McLaughlin’s percussive guitar attack, the multiple percussionists, and Henderson’s funky bass lines, plus keyboard swirls on which the horn players solo. Segments of tabla and sitar provide a change of mood and pace. Aside from ‘Black Satin,’ most of the material consists of intense vamps and rhythmic layering.”

Compared to Davis’ previous recordings, On the Corner found the musician playing the trumpet scarcely, instead often playing keyboards. It also saw his producer, Teo Macero, employ cut-and-splice tape editing procedures (pioneered in the late 1960s on In a Silent Way) to combine various takes in creating a single cohesive work. which also allowed Macero and Davis to overdub and add effects. Some of the musicians expressed misgivings about the unconventional musical direction of the sessions: Liebman opined that “the music appeared to be pretty chaotic and disorganized,” while Buckmaster stated that “it was my least favorite Miles album.”Packaging and release
The album cover featured an illustration by cartoonist Corky McCoy depicting ghetto caricatures, including prostitutes, gays, activists, winos, and drug dealers. The packaging only featured one stylized photograph of Davis, and was originally released with no musician credits, leading to ongoing confusion about which musicians appeared on the album. Davis later admitted to doing this intentionally: “I didn’t put those names on On the Corner specially for that reason, so now the critics have to say, ‘What’s this instrument, and what’s this? … I’m not even gonna put my picture on albums anymore. Pictures are dead, man. You close your eyes and you’re there.”

Track Sheet

Track sheet

Upon its release, the album’s commercial success was as limited as that of Davis’s albums since Bitches Brew, topping the Billboard jazz chart but only peaking at #156 in the more heterogeneous Billboard 200. Paul Tingen wrote that “predictably, this impenetrable and almost tuneless concoction of avant-garde classical, free jazz, African, Indian and acid funk bombed spectacularly, leading to decades in the wilderness. As far as the jazzers were concerned, it completed Davis’s journey from icon to fallen idol.”[1]Reception and legacyInitial response
On the Corner was panned by most critics and contemporaries in jazz; according to Tingen, it became “the most vilified and controversial album in the history of jazz” only a few weeks after its release. Saxophonist Stan Getz proclaimed “that music is worthless. It means nothing; there is no form, no content, and it barely swings.” Jazz Journal critic Jon TShirtBrown wrote, “it sounds merely as if the band had selected a chord and decided to worry hell out of it for three-quarters of an hour,” concluding that “I’d like to think that nobody could be so easily pleased as to dig this record to any extent.” Eugene Chadbourne, writing for jazz magazine CODA, described it as “pure arrogance.” In his 1974 biography of Davis, critic Bill Coleman described the album as “an insult to the intellect of the people.” Rock journalist Robert Christgau later suggested that jazz critics were not receptive to On the Corner “because the improvisations are rhythmic rather than melodic” and Davis played the organ more than trumpet. Regarding the appeal its music had for rock critics, he praised “Black Satin” but expressed reservations about the absence of a “good” beat elsewhere on the album. In a positive review for Rolling Stone, Ralph J. Gleason found the music very “lyrical and rhythmic” while praising the dynamic stereo recording and calling Davis “a magician”. He concluded by saying “the impact of the whole is greater than the sum of any part.”

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Despite remaining outside the purview of the mainstream jazz community, On the Corner has undergone a critical rehabilitation in recent years, with many critics outside jazz characterizing it as “a visionary musical statement that was way ahead of its time”. In 2014, Stereogum hailed it as “one of the greatest records of the 20th Century, and easily one of Miles Davis’ most astonishing achievements,” noting the album’s mix of “funk guitars, Indian percussion, dub production techniques, loops that predict hip hop.” According to Alternative Press, the “essential masterpiece” envisioned much of modern popular music, “representing the high water mark of [Davis’] experiments in the fusion of rock, funk, electronica and jazz”. Fact characterized the album as “a frenetic and punky record, radical in its use of studio technology,” adding that “the debt that the modern dance floor owes the pounding abstractions of On the Corner has yet to be fully understood.”  Writing for The Vinyl Factory, Anton Spice described it as “the great great grandfather of hip-hop, IDM, jungle, post-rock and other styles drawing meaning from repetition.”

In a positive review for The Wire, critic Mark Fisher wrote that “the passing of time often neutralises and naturalises sounds that were once experimental, but retrospection has not made On the Corner ‘s roiling, febrile, bilious stew any easier to digest.”[16] Stylus Magazine’s Chris Smith wrote that the record’s music anticipated musical principles that abandoned a focus on a single soloist in favor of collective playing: “At times harshly minimal, at others expansive and dense, it upset quite a few people. You could call it punk.” On the Corner was cited by SF Weekly as prefiguring subsequent funk, jazz, post-punk, electronica, and hip hop. According to AllMusic’s Thom Jurek, “the music on the album itself influenced – either positively or negatively – every single thing that came after it in jazz, rock, soul, funk, hip-hop, electronic and dance music, ambient music, and even popular world music, directly or indirectly.” BBC Music reviewer Chris Jones expressed the view that the music and production techniques of On the Corner “prefigured and in some cases gave birth to nu-jazz, jazz funk, experimental jazz, ambient and even world music.” Pitchfork described the album as “longing, passion and rage milked from the primal source and heading into the dark beyond.”
Fact named On the Corner the 11th best album of the 1970s, while Pitchfork named the album the 30th best album of that decade. (by wikipedia)

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Personnel:
Don Alias (drums, percussion)
Khalil Balakrishna (sitar)
Chick Corea (keyboards)
Dave Creamer (guitar)
Miles Davis (trumpet)
Al Foster (drums)
Carlos Garnett (saxophone)
Herbie Hancock (keyboards)
Billy Hart (drums)
Michael Henderson (bass)
Jack DeJohnette (drums)
Cedric Lawson (organ)
Dave Liebman (saxophone)
Reggie Lucas (guitar)
Bennie Maupin (clarinet)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
James Mtume (percussion)
Badal Roy (tabla)
Collin Walcott (sitar)
Harold Ivory Williams (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. On The Corner/New York Girl/Thinkin’ One Thing And Doin’ Another/Vote For Miles 19.59
02. Black Satin 5.20
03. One And One 6.09
05. Helen Butte/Mr. Freedom X 23.18

All compositions written by Miles Davis

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Jackson Browne – Saturate Before Using (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgJackson Browne is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53.[1] Two singles were released with “Doctor My Eyes” peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and “Rock Me On the Water” reaching number 48.[2]Jackson Browne is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53. Two singles were released with “Doctor My Eyes” peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and “Rock Me On the Water” reaching number 48.
Browne had been having minor success as a songwriter but was still unable to obtain his own recording contract. He sent a demo of “Jamaica Say You Will” to David Geffen in early 1970 and Geffen began looking for a record deal for Browne. Geffen ended up founding his own label, Asylum Records, instead and signing Browne.
The album was certified as a Gold record in 1976 and Platinum in 1997 by the RIAA.

The album is often mistakenly called Saturate Before Using, because the words appear on the album cover, which was designed to look like a water bag that would require saturation in order to cool its contents by evaporation. For this very reason, Asylum Records executives suggested to no avail that the words be removed from the album Single1cover and nearly rejected the cover art outright. However, the initial pressings not only included the text, but the cover carried a burlap-like feel to further the water bag theme.
The confusion over the title returned when the album was converted to CD format, when the words appeared on the spine of the jewel case as the album title.
Browne told the story of the cover’s creation and spoke of the title’s confusion in an interview with the album designer Gary Burden for his 2002 DVD Under The Covers: “I remember being on the phone with Gary… talking about what the album cover should be, and I happened to be in a room that had a water bag on the wall. It was just one of the things that I collected driving around on trips and stuff. And I was looking at this bag as he was saying ‘what do you think it ought to be?’ I was thinking, ‘well, it could be a water bag.’ … it said ‘saturate before using’ on the front … ‘You know, Gary, on mine, it says this on the back.’ And you said, well, so?’ And ‘if you put it on the front, people are going to think that’s the title.’ And you said, ‘don’t be ridiculous. Who would think that was the title?’ I said, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ So, not only does everyone think that’s the title of that album, but my record company thinks that’s the title of the album.”

Publicity photo donated to the Rock Hall Archives
Jackson Browne received positive reviews from most critics. In his review for Allmusic William Ruhlmann praised the album as “An auspicious debut that doesn’t sound like a debut” and “the album has long since come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on still-difficult subjects…and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of language. Jackson Browne’s greater triumph is that, having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended them as well.” Rolling Stone rated the album 6 of 10 stars and stated “Browne’s debut lays the groundwork for future heart-and-soul excavations. ‘Doctor My Eyes,’ an early hit single, communicates the subdued, subtle power of his half-spoken melodies, while ‘Rock Me On the Water’ and ‘Song for Adam’ foreshadow the free-ranging contemplation to come.”

The original 1972 review in Rolling Stone stated “Jackson Browne’s sensibility is romantic in the best sense of the term: his songs are capable of generating a highly charged, compelling atmosphere throughout, and–just as important–of sustaining that Single2pitch in the listener’s mind long after they’ve ended.” Ed Kelleher wrote in Circus in 1972: “Though others have done him justice, Browne is his own best interpreter. He just eases back and lets the song come. He has the soul of a poet and the stance of a troubadour. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he has not fallen victim to the trap of over-production–the record has been crafted with care and purity.”
Music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a B grade, however, was ambivalent about the whole album, writing, “The voice is pleasant, present, and unpretentious, and when I listen assiduously I perceive lyrics crafted with as much intelligence and human decency as any reasonable person could expect. Unfortunately, only critical responsibility induces me to listen assiduously. It’s not just the blandness of the music, but of the ideas as well, each reinforcing the other.” (by wikipedia)

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One of the reasons that Jackson Browne’s first album is among the most auspicious debuts in pop music history is that it doesn’t sound like a debut. Although only 23, Browne had kicked around the music business for several years, writing and performing as a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and as Nico’s backup guitarist, among other gigs, while many artists recorded his material. So, if this doesn’t sound like someone’s first batch of songs, it’s not. Browne had developed an unusual use of language, studiedly casual yet full of striking imagery, and a post-apocalyptic viewpoint to go with it. He sang with a calm certainty over spare, discretely placed backup — piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, congas, violin, harmony vocals — that highlighted the songs and always seemed about to disappear. In song after song, Browne described the world as a desert in need of moisture, and this wet/dry dichotomy carried over into much of the imagery. In “Doctor My Eyes,” the album’s most propulsive song and a Top Ten hit, he sang, “Doctor, my JacksoneBrowne03eyes/Cannot see the sky/Is this the prize/For having learned how not to cry?” If Browne’s outlook was cautious, its expression was original. His conditional optimism seemed to reflect hard experience, and in the early ’70s, the aftermath of the ’60s, a lot of his listeners shared that perspective. Like any great artist, Browne articulated the tenor of his times. But the album has long since come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on still-difficult subjects — suicide (explicitly), depression and drug use (probably), spiritual uncertainty and desperate hope — all in calm, reasoned tones, and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of language. Jackson Browne’s greater triumph is that, having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended those times as well. (The album features a cover depicting Browne’s face on a water bag — an appropriate reference to its desert/water imagery — containing the words “saturate before using.” Inevitably, many people began to refer to the self-titled album by that phrase, and when it was released on CD, it nearly became official — both the disc and the spine of the jewel box read Saturate Before Using.) (by William Ruhlmann)

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Joni Mitchell + Jackson Browne

Personnel:
Jackson Browne (guitar, piano, vocals)
David Campbell (viola)
Jim Gordon (organ)
Leland Sklar (bass)

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Jesse Ed Davis (guitar on 04.)
Craig Doerge (piano on 05., 09. + 10.)
Jimmie Fadden (harmonica)
David Jackson (piano on 08.)
Sneaky Pete Kleinow (pedal steel-guitar on 08.)
Russ Kunkel (drums, congas on 04. + 07.)
Albert Lee (guitar on 02. + 07.)
Clarence White (guitar on 01.)
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background vocals:
David Crosby – Graham Nash

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Tracklist:
01. Jamaica Say You Will 3.26
02. A Child In These Hills 4.00
03. Song For Adam 5.23
04. Doctor My Eyes 3.17
05. From Silver Lake 3.52
06. Something Fine 3.49
07. Under The Falling Sky 4.10
08. Looking Into You 4.19
09. Rock Me On The Water 4.15
10. My Opening Farewell 4.45

All songs written by Jackson Browne
Leah Kunkel composed the vocal counter-melody on 05.

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Cat Stevens – Catch Bull At Four (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgCatch Bull at Four is the sixth studio album by Cat Stevens. In the United States it spent three weeks at number one on Billboard’s album chart. The title is taken from one of the Ten Bulls of Zen.

The song “Sitting” was released as a single in 1973, reaching 16 on the Hot 100 Charts. It’s a song about meditation, and the apprehensions that may result from the experiences involving self-realization.

 

Catch Bull at Four was well received both commercially and critically. Rolling Stone was satisfied with the “gorgeous melody and orchestration”, while simultaneously disappointed by the lack of a single track comparable to “Morning Has Broken” from Teaser and the Firecat. (by wikipedia)

Catch Bull at Four began with a statement of purpose, “Sitting,” in which Cat Stevens tried to talk himself into believing that he hadn’t stalled, beginning to worry that he might be falling behind schedule or even going in circles. It may be that Stevens’ recent experiences had contributed to his sense that he was running out of time. Though he was CatStevens01never a directly confessional writer, one got the sense that his disaffection with the life of a pop star was reasserting itself. And while he was touring unhappily around the world, the world was still going to hell in a handbasket. Yet Stevens was still motivated by his urge to help mankind mend its ways. Love provided some comfort, but for the most part, the singer who had seemed so excited on his last album now sounded apprehensive. Stevens set his reflections to a mixture of musical styles that included traces of old English folk songs, madrigals, and Greek folk music along with more typical rock stylings, all performed with the stop-and-start rhythms that added drama to his performances. Nevertheless, Catch Bull at Four was a more difficult listen than its three predecessors. Coming off the momentum of Teaser and the Firecat, it roared up the charts to number one, but stayed in the Top Ten fewer weeks than its predecessor. Fans who had been stirred by Stevens’ rhythmic tunes and charmed by his thoughtful lyrics were starting to lose interest in his quasi-religious yearnings, busy arrangements, and self-absorbed, melodramatic singing. His career still had a ways to go, but as of Catch Bull at Four, he had passed his peak. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Gerry Conway (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Alun Davies (guitar, background vocals)
Alan James (bass, background vocals)
Jean Roussel (keyboards)
Cat Stevens (vocals, guitar, keyboards, mandolin, synthesizer, pennywhistle, drums, percussion)
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C.S. Choir (background vocals on 06. + 07.)
Lauren Cooper (backgound vocals on 03.)
Linda Lewis (backgound vocals on 03.)
Jeremy Taylor (guitar on 07.)
Andreas Toumazis – bouzouki on 07.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Sitting (Stevens) 3.16
02. Boy with A Moon & Star On His Head (Stevens) 5.58
03. Angelsea (Stevens) 4.31
04. Silent Sunlight (Stevens) 3.01
04. Can’t Keep It In (Stevens) 3.00
05. 18th Avenue (Kansas City Nightmare) (Stevens) 4.24
06. Freezing Steel (Stevens) 3.39
07. O Caritas (Toumazis/Taylor/Stevens)
08. Sweet Scarlet (Stevens) 3.47
09. Ruins (Stevens) 4.17

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More Cat Stevens:

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And here you´ll find a rare Cat Stevens songbook from 1971

Songbook