Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – The Winterland Reunion (1973)

FrontCover1From the time they came together as a trio at the end of 1968, to the fall of 1973 when they turned in this impromptu set at Winterland, the three voices comprising Crosby, Stills and Nash had seen their share of changes: they triumphed with their 1969 self-titled debut, joined forces with Neil Young for the follow-up Déjà Vu in 1970, and took their show on the road; by the end of that run, they’d weathered the kind of wear and tear on their hearts and souls that could throw the average band off course for good. And yet, whether performing songs from those first two albums, Crosby’s If Only I Could Remember My Name, Nash’s Songs for Beginners, Crosby and Nash’s heralded duo album, or Stills’ solo albums and works with Manassas, when the original core CSN trio got together they still made sweet harmony, as they did on this night to remember.

In the Fall of 1973, Crosby, Stills and Nash were still slightly reeling from a busy period that followed recording in Hawaii with Young and the passing of CSN&Y roadie Bruce Berry (famously eulogized by Young on “Tonight’s the Night”). Stills had been on the road with Manassas, and Crosby and Nash were playing their own shows with an electric band. But when Manassas booked a couple of dates at Winterland on October 4 and 7 of 1973, it was family reunion time when Crosby and Nash pulled a walk-on and the trio appeared onstage together for the first time since 1970.

Informal, joking, and pleasingly loose, the three friends seemed to truly enjoy singing together, despite the occasional onstage bristling and ropy moments. Crosby sarcastically refers to “our usual slick Hollywood show,” explaining away the presentation’s unrehearsed nature as “more fun this way for us.” Stills answered his band mate’s quip drolly with, “Anything you say, David, anything you say.”

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Between the banter and tuning up, the three manage to turn in some prime vocal shots, from a version of the Beatle’s “Blackbird” to a handful of their group’s and solo works. Nash takes the lead on “Southbound Train” and retreats to piano for “Prison Song,” his protest of tough marijuana laws on the poor population. Stills sings Young’s “Human Highway,” which Crosby characterizes as a song by “our skinny friend;” the live version isn’t quite worked out the way we’ve come to know it, but that’s part of the excitement of this off-the-cuff set. “Wooden Ships” is dedicated to Crosby and Stills’ co-writer, the Jefferson Airplane/Starship’s Paul Kantner, before the evening is crowned with the vocal trio tour de force “Helplessly Hoping.”

The two sets from these Winterland shows foreshadowed a proper reunion on the horizon: a couple of months later, Young would join Nash and Crosby at an appearance at the San Francisco Civic and, the following year, CSN&Y would be on the road again, playing to their largest audiences ever. Marking a tentative step toward their mid-’70s triumph, as well as a throwback to their early days when the vocal giants were just a trio, this Winterland night is a historic footprint on CSN’s trail of rock & roll. Long may they continue to run its course. (by concertvault.com)

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Personnel:
David Crosby (guitar, vocals)
Graham Nash (guitar, vocals, piano)
Stephen Stills (guitar, vocals)
Neil Young (guitar, vocals, harmonica)

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Tracklist:
01. Helplessly Hoping (Stills) 4.00
02. Wooden Ships (Crosby/Kantner/Stills) 6.00
03. Blackbird (Lennon/McCartney) 2.56
04. As I Come Of Age (Stills) 5.56
05. Roll Another Number (Young) 4.37
06. Human Highway (Young) 4.07
07. Dreamland (Mitchell) 4.06
08. So It Goes (Nash) 6.40
09. The Prison Song (Nash) 4.18
10. Long Time Gone (Crosby) 7.27
11. Change Partners (Stills) 5.16
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12 Down By The River (ABC TV, 1969) (Young) 4.52

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Canned Heat – The New Age (1973)

FrontCover1The New Age is the ninth studio album by Canned Heat, released in 1973. It was the first album to feature the talents of James Shane and Ed Beyer. Clara Ward also appears on the album in her very last recording. Influential Rock Critic Lester Bangs was fired from Rolling Stone for writing a “disrespectful” review of this album upon its release:

Hey, kids and bluesbusterbrowns of all ages, guess who’s back? No, not the Plaster Casters Blues Band – it’s Canned Heat! The originators of Boogie in the flesh! And it sure is refreshing to see ’em too, what with all these jive-ass MOR pseud-dudes like John Lee Hooker ripping off their great primal riffs and milking ’em dry.
How did we love Canned Heat? Let’s count the ways. We loved ’em because they scooped out a whole new wrinkle in the monotone mazurka; it wasn’t their fault that a whole generation of ten zillion bands took it and ran it into the ground sans finesse after Canned Heat had run it into the ground so damned good themselves. We loved ’em because they’ve always held the record for Longest Single Boogie Preserved on Wax: “Refried Boogie” from Livin’ The Blues was 40-plus minutes of real raunch froth perfect for parties or car stereos, especially if they got ripped off – and a lot of it was even actually listenable. We loved ’em because Henry Vestine was an incredible, scorching motherfucker of a guitarist, knocking you through the wall. And we loved ’em because Bobby Bear was so damned weird you could abide his every excess.

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But Canned Heat disappeared from the sets for awhile there, just sorta flapped up and boogied into the zone and what was really sad was that nobody missed ’em. Even though they were always real fine journeymen, they never made a wholly and entirely good album, of course, but they’ve consistently had their moments. And The New Age, which of course is no new age at all, has just as many of ’em as any of the others. There’s “Keep It Clean”, a happy highho funk churn like unto their cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together”, which means it could very well be hitbound. There’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music”, Bear Hite’s obligattortilla in deference to the traditions, his utter lack of imagination, and all that. He’s been listening to some old New Orleans R&B this time, so it’s OK even if he does still sing like a scalped guppy.

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“Framed” is just a reprise in new drag of their classic about being busted in Denver that was on Boogie with Canned Heat, and that was just a new-drag on old Bo Diddley and “Jailbait” riffs. “Election Blues” is the required slow blues chest retch. “So Long Wrong” is one more low down blackboned gutgrok funk-lurking album-closer boogie just like lotsa their other yester highlights. Vestine still knows how to play so’s to make you feel like ringworms are St. Vitusing in your heartburn, and Hite scrapes your intestines widdat bass good as Mole Taylor ever did. “Lookin for My Rainbow” even has Clara Ward and her jive bombers just for a tintype taste of authenticity, but it’s boring as old View Master slides and most of the rest of the songs are just some kinda nondescript clinkletybonk tibia-rattling in pursuit of yeehah countryisms so let ’em dry rot in the grooves.
Buy this album if you’ve gotta lotta money or don’t care much what you blow your wad on, but don’t pass up any of the really cosmic stuff like the Stooges for it or the shadow of Blind Lemon Jefferson will come and blow his nose on your brow every night. (Lester Bangs – Rolling Stone # 136)

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Bob Hite proved fat was really where it’s at for good rocking white men who play blooze’n’boogie. Okay, all that bulk killed him in the end, but the output of Bob and the varied Canned Heat line-ups, particularly through 1966 to 1974, proved even more substantial than The Bear’s waistline.

New Age was a pretty ironic title even on its release in 1973. Don’t be fooled, even though this is a pretty mellow album by Heat standards, it’s not lift music for stressed-out executives.

Even if the Great White Blues Boom had already disappeared up its own bottleneck, New Age’s roots are very much 12-bar, though most of the tracks are self-penned and confident enough not to be imitative of the Chicago style that originally brought Canned Heat both fame and infamy.

Instead, New Age is framed by the opening whip-crack pace of “Keep It Clean”, and ends with “Election Blues”, all slide and bar-room keyboards. The former is a song of hope that Richard Nixon would get thrown out of power, the latter a bitterly laidback post-election blues. The boys knew then the New Age wasn’t gonna come, but even big Bob didn’t know just how bad it would get. (by Randy Bones)

Clara Ward

Personnel:
Ed Beyer (piano)
Bob Hite (vocals)
Richard Hite (bass)
Adolfo de la Parra (drums)
James Shane (guitar)
Henry Vestine (guitar)
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Clara Ward (vocals on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Keep It Clean (B,Hite) 2.46
02. Harley Davidson Blues (Shane) 2.38
03. Don’t Deceive Me (B.Hite) 3.12
04. You Can Run, But You Sure Can’t Hide (Beyer) 3.15
05. Lookin’ For My Rainbow (Shane) 5.24
06. Rock And Roll Music (B.Hite) 2.29
07. Framed (Leiber/Stoller) 5.07
08. Election Blues (Beyer) 6.04
09. So Long Wrong (Shane) 5.36

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Paul Simon – There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973)

FrontCover1AThere Goes Rhymin’ Simon is the third solo studio album by American musician Paul Simon rush-released on May 5, 1973. It contains songs covering several styles and genres, such as gospel (“Loves Me Like a Rock”) and Dixieland (“Take Me to the Mardi Gras”). It received two nominations at the Grammy Awards of 1974, including Best Male Pop Vocal performance and Album of the Year.

As foreshadowed by the feel-good lead single “Kodachrome” (which reached #2 on the Billboard charts, blocked by Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles”), There Goes Rhymin’ Simon proved to be a bigger hit than its predecessor, reaching #2 on the Billboard 200 chart (kept off the top spot by George Harrison’s Living in the Material World), and #1 on Cashbox Magazine for one week on June 30, 1973.[4] In the United Kingdom, the album peaked at #4. Subsequent singles were also the #2 single “Loves Me Like a Rock” (knocked off by Cher’s “Half-Breed”, but reaching #1 on Cashbox on September 29, 1973), and the Top 40 hit “American Tune”. Also “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” was released in the UK reaching the Top 20.

The song “Kodachrome” is named after the Kodak film of the same name. Kodak required the album to note that Kodachrome is a trademark of Kodak. The song was not released as a single in Britain, where it could not be played on BBC radio due to its trademarked name. The song “Was a Sunny Day” has an interesting reference to early rock and roll in the line “She called him Speedo but his Christian name was Mr. Earl” which echoes the chorus from the 1955 song “Speedo” by The Cadillacs: “They often call me Speedo but my real name is Mr. Earl,” referring to lead singer, Earl “Speedo” Carroll.

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Critical praise was practically universal for this album. The Denver Post’s Jared Johnson called it “a brilliantly executed masterpiece, and surely the finest album in three years,” citing such 1970 releases as Bridge Over Troubled Water and After the Gold Rush.

Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times said, “Combining a variety of musical textures (from a touch of gospel to an infectious trace of Jamaican rhythm to a hint of the old Simon and Garfunkel grandeur), Simon’s new album firmly establishes him as one of our most valuable and accessible artists.”

But Stereo Review’s Noel Coppage found much to complain about. Though he gave it an “excellent” rating, he added that it was “deficient in spontaneity, excitement, strain…I don’t know how it could sound so cut-and-dried, having been recorded in four different locations (New York, London, Muscle Shoals, and Jackson, Mississippi), but although the arrangements are clean and sensible, they are oddly predictable.” (by wikipedia)

In other words: Another classic album by Paul Simon,

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Personnel:
Paul Simon (vocals, guitar)
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Barry Beckett (piano 01., 06. + 09.,  organ on 03., vibraphone on 09.)
Pete Carr (guitar on 01. 03., 06. + 09.)
Bob Cranshaw (bass on 05., 06. + 07.)
Richard Davis (bass on 04.)
Cornell Dupree (guitar on 02.)
Gordon Edwards (bass on 02.)
Don Elliott (vibraphone on 04.)
Alexander Gafa (guitar on 04.)
Paul Griffin (piano on 02.)
Roger Hawkins (drums on 01., 03., 06., + 10., percussion on 09. + 10.)
David Hood (bass on 01., 03., 06., 09. +10.)
Bob James (piano on 04., keyboards on 06.)
Rev. Claude Jeter (vocals on 03.)
Jimmy Johnson (guitar on 01. + 03.)
Rick Marotta (drums on 02.)
Airto Moreira (percussion on 07.)
Jerry Puckett (guitar on 08.)
Vernie Robbins (bass on 08,)
Bobby Scott (piano on 04.)
David Spinozza (guitar on 04.)
James Stroud (drums on 08,)
Grady Tate (drums on 04. + 06.)
Carson Witsett (organ on 08.)
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The Onward Brass Band (horns on 03.)
The Dixie Hummingbirds (group vocals on 02. + 10.)
Maggie and Terre Roche (background vocals on 07.)
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Quincy Jones – string arrangements on 04.)
Del Newman (string arrangements on 06.)
Allen Toussaint (horn arrangements on 02.)

Booklet

Tracklist:
01. Kodachrome 3.32
02. Tenderness 2.53
03. Take Me To The Mardi Gras 3.27
04. Something So Right 4.33
06. One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor 3.44
06. American Tune 3.43
07. Was A Sunny Day 3.41
08. Learn How To Fall 2.44
09. St. Judy’s Comet 3.19
10. Loves Me Like A Rock 3.31

All songs were written by Paul Simon. The melody of “American Tune” was almost note-for-note written by Johann Sebastian Bach (St Matthew Passion), who was not credited on the album. In turn, Bach had imitated the melody of Mein G’mueth ist mir verwirret by Hans Leo Hassler.

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Chicken Shack – Unlucky Boy (1973)

LPFrontCover1Unlucky Boy is the sixth studio album by the blues band, Chicken Shack, released in 1973

Originally released in 1973, but reissued with two extra  in 1994, Chicken Shack’s Unlucky Boy finds guitarist/vocalist/songwriter and band founder Stan Webb in fine form. Only drummer Paul Hancox remains from the uneven Imagination Lady, and indeed the horn-oriented approach here is much different than the plodding Led Zeppelin-isms of the previous disc. Webb contributes six originals, and even though they are derivative of Savoy Brown (a band he joined for the Boogie Brothers album just a year later), his approach here is much more subtle and controlled than on his last effort.

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Very rare factory sample discs

Chris Mercer’s saxes, often double tracked to sound like a horn section, bring a tough R&B to the mix, and drummer Hancox is a controlled powerhouse. Webb also reigns in his impulse to overextend guitar solos so prevalent on Imagination Lady, whipping off tight, controlled leads instead.

Articel1973_02Producer Neil Slaven contributes honest, witty, and often self-deprecating liner notes that help explain why two of these songs suffer from poor mixes (basically, he had consumed various substances and couldn’t salvage the songs after the fact). Strings on “As Time Goes Passing By,” (also included in a shorter single version) are a nice touch and bring a bit of class to the proceedings while maintaining the R&B slant of the disc. Two unedited studio jams make the cut as “Stan the Man” and the seven-minute “Jammin’ with the Ash,” both featuring pianist Tony Ashton, who really lets loose on the latter.

Things get stripped down for an unusually delicate version of Lonnie Johnson’s “Too Late to Cry” with just strummed guitar and bass. The opening trio of Webb-penned tunes shows some of his best songwriting with the instrumental “Prudence’s Party” a terrific capsule of Webb’s stinging, gritty guitar style. The album sounds dated but harkens back to a particular time in British blues that is charming in its anything goes attitude. That helps make this one of Stan Webb’s more consistent and successful offerings. (by Hal Horowitz)

This is the Masterpiece of Rock and on e of the best Blues-Rock
Album of All Time. Stan Webb, British Halfgod on Guitar in exciting form. (by Dani Rocksaurier)

This album is quite good, nothing more nothing less:

Ah, the wonderful Chicken Shack re-mastered, good news for blues freaks (such as myself)  … Here´s Chicken Shack with their charismatic frontman and lead guitarist Stan Webb. Webb was famous for his live performance, running down the aisles (before the wireless) with a mega long guitar wire, going banana while playing electrifying guitar soli!

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This of course do not apply to the studio albums, which actually didn’t get nowhere near their live performances! This album is quite good, nothing more nothing less, good clean blues tracks! Get their first album or a live session, If you want the Shack on fire!!  (by Tonny Larsen)

Single

Personnel:
Bob Daisley (bass)
Paul Hancox (drums, percussion)
Stan Webb (guitar, vocals)
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Tony Ashton (piano)
Chris Mercer (saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. You Know You Could Be Right (Webb) 3.47
02. Revelation”(Webb) 5.13
03. Prudence’s Party (Webb) 3.13
04. Too Late To Cry (Johnson) 3.09
05. Stan The Man (Webb) 4.25
06. Unlucky Boy (Thornton/Dupree) 2.34
07. As Time Goes Passing By (Webb) 4.46
08. Jammin’ With Ash” (Webb) 7.04
09. He Knows The Rules (McCracklin) 4.05
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10. As Times Goes Passing By (single version) (Webb) 3.32
11. Doctor Brown (Brown) 3.05

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Bob Daisley & Stan Webb

Handwritten track list

A handwritten track list
and letter from Decca stating this was the first test pressing.

Eagles – Desperado (1973)

FrontCover1Desperado is the second studio album by the American band the Eagles. It was recorded at Island Studios in London, England and released in 1973. The songs on Desperado are based on the themes of the Old West. The band members are featured on the album’s cover dressed like an outlaw gang; Desperado remains the only Eagles album where the band members appear on the front cover.Desperado is the second studio album by the American band the Eagles. It was recorded at Island Studios in London, England and released in 1973. The songs on Desperado are based on the themes of the Old West. The band members are featured on the album’s cover dressed like an outlaw gang; Desperado remains the only Eagles album where the band members appear on the front cover.

Although the title track is one of the Eagles’ signature songs, it was never released as a single. The song “Desperado” was ranked number 494 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. The album did yield two singles, though: “Tequila Sunrise” and “Outlaw Man”. Those two singles reached number 64 and number 59 respectively. The album reached number 41 on the Billboard album chart and was certified gold by the RIAA on September 23, 1974, and double platinum on March 20, 2001.

Desperado was the last Asylum Records album to be distributed in North America by Atlantic Records (catalog no. SD 5068), prior to Asylum’s mid-1973 merger with Elektra Records by Asylum’s, Elektra’s and Atlantic’s parent company, Warner Communications.

Eagles

After a commercially successful first album, Frey wanted the second album to be one where they could be taken seriously as artists, and became interested in making a concept album. The original concept was for songs about anti-heroes; according to Glenn Frey, he was jamming together with Don Henley, Jackson Browne, and J. D. Souther after a Tim Hardin concert when they had the idea of doing an album about anti-heroes. One inspiration was a book on gunfighters of the Wild West given to Browne by Ned Doheny for his 21st birthday, and Browne showed them the book and suggested the theme. The book includes stories about Bill Dalton and Bill Doolin; from this came the song “Doolin-Dalton” about the Doolin-Dalton Gang. However, they ran out of ideas after writing “Doolin-Dalton” and “James Dean” about the eponymous actor. The idea for anti-heroes then become the Western-themed Desperado.

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Jackson Browne himself credited the song “Desperado” written by Frey and Henley as the origin of the outlaw theme of the album. Bernie Leadon said that Frey liked the idea of an analogy between outlaw gangs and rock-and-roll: “Glenn sat everybody down and mapped out which characters in the gang could have songs written about them, or encouraged us to write songs about this concept.” As Frey said of the album in an interview in 1973: “It has its moments where it definitely draws some parallels between rock-and-roll and being an outlaw. Outside the laws of normality, I guess. I mean, I feel like I’m breaking a law all the time. What we live and what we do is kind of a fantasy.” Henley also said that the album was to be their “big artistic commentary on the evils of fame and success, with a cowboy metaphor.” However, he admitted: “The metaphor was probably a little bullshit. We were in L.A. staying up all night, smoking dope, living the California life, and I suppose we thought it was as radical as cowboys in the old West. We were really rebelling against the music business, not society.” Part of the reasons for their dissatisfaction and cynicism with the music business was due to David Geffen selling his independent Asylum label to Warner Communications which then merged it with Elektra, and the band attributed this as the reason for the lack of interest in promoting the band internationally by EMI.

Eagles4The other songs in the album quickly came together after the theme had been decided. Even though Desperado is sometimes described as a concept album, it does not have a specific narrative, and the songs do not necessarily fit in with the theme explicitly. “Desperado” was the first song Frey and Henley wrote together, marking the beginning of their songwriting partnership. Henley noted: “That’s when we became a team.” “Tequila Sunrise” was written in the same week as “Desperado”; in all Frey and Henley were involved in writing 8 of the 11 songs in the album. The songwriting prowess of Frey and Henley in Desperado also marks the beginning of their dominance in the band. As Henley said; “That was a real crucial time for us. When we formed the band, it was supposed to be one of those ‘everybody’s equal’ affairs. We’d all sing and all write and so forth. But the fact is people aren’t all going to be able to do everything the same. It’s just like on a football team . . . . Some people quarterback and some people block. So we went through a lot of hassles for a while.”.

Leadon wrote two songs – “Twenty-One” and “Bitter Creek”, while Randy Meisner co-wrote “Certain Kind of Fool” and “Saturday Night”. “Twenty-One” refers to the age of Emmett Dalton, the youngest of the Dalton gang, when he was shot 23 times but survived during the raid on Coffeyville, Kansas in October 1892. Meisner came up with the idea for how someone became an outlaw in “Certain Kind of Fool”, wrote most of it, and said of his contribution: “I kinda started it. And that’s what usually happened – I’d get a verse or two, and I’m done, and they would help fill in the blanks” The only song on the album not written by the band members of Eagles is “Outlaw Man”, which was written by David Blue and chosen because it fit the theme.

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The album was recorded at the Island Studios in London, which took four weeks at a cost of £30,000. The producer Glyn Johns wanted to produce the album quickly and economically, each track was therefore limited to four or five takes, and requests to record more were refused.

Henley would later state that his greatest regret was that he did not sing as well as he could on the title track “Desperado”, and would have liked to redo the song.

According to the producer Johns, he and Leadon tried to come up with a few musical links in an attempt to tie up the story for an outlaw concept in the album, however, the concept itself dissipated. The band was very happy with the finished result; after Johns had played the album back to them as an entity for the first time, they carried him on their shoulders out of the control room.

However, the finished recording was received poorly by Jerry Greenberg, the president of Atlantic Records, who said: “Jeez, they’ve made a fucking cowboy album!”

The film director Sam Peckinpah had planned to use the album as the basis for a film, but the plan did not come to fruition.

The photograph on the back cover as a reenactment of the capture of the Dalton Gang. On the ground are Jackson Browne, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, J. D. Souther.

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The artwork for the album was done by artist Gary Burden with photos by Henry Diltz, both of whom were also responsible for Eagles’ first album. To illustrate the theme for the music in the album, the original concept was for a gatefold double album with the band dressed as outlaws on the front cover with images of gunfight and the Wild West inside. The centerfold idea however was scrapped by David Geffen.

On the back of the album is an image of all four members of the band together with Jackson Browne and J. D. Souther lying dead and bound on the ground, with a posse including the producer Glyn Johns (far right in a white hat), manager John Hartmann, road manager Tommy Nixon, artist Boyd Elder (later responsible for the skull artwork of Eagles’ later albums), roadies, and Gary Burden (far left) standing over them.

The photo is meant to be an reenactment of the historical image of the capture and death of the Dalton Gang. Jackson Browne said that the image on the back cover with the musicians lying dead is when the “whole thing really comes together”.

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The photo shoot took place at the Paramount Ranch, an old film set for Western movies in Malibu Canyon. It was however an expensive shoot, and to justify the cost, a promotional film for the album was also made at the same time. The film was shot on Super-8, then sepia-tinted, and transferred to videotape. In each process a little video quality is lost, which Frey described as a “nice accident” as it made the video appear aged and more realistic. Henley described the promotional film, like the album itself, as “a commentary on [their] loss of innocence with regard to how the music business really worked”]

Paul Gambaccini of Rolling Stone gave the album a positive review on its release in 1973. He wrote: “The beautiful thing about it is that although it is a unified set of songs, it is not a rock opera, a concept album, or anything pretending to be much more than a set of good tunes that just happen to fit together.” In conclusion, he wrote: “Desperado won’t cure your hangover or revalue the dollar, but it will give you many good times. With their second consecutive job well done, the Eagles are on a winning streak.”

Robert Christgau however took the view that “with its barstool-macho equation of gunslinger and guitarschlonger, its on-the-road misogyny, its playing-card metaphors, and its paucity of decent songs, this soundtrack to an imaginary Sam Peckinpah movie is “concept” at its most mindless.”[24] AllMusic editor William Ruhlmann praised that Henley had more involvement with the album, but wrote that it “was simultaneously more ambitious and serious-minded than its predecessor and also slighter and less consistent.”

The Eagles Dressed as Cowboys

The album is now considered by some critics to be the one of the significant albums of country rock. Music writer John Einarson argued in his book Desperados: The Roots of Country Rock that despite its weak initial sales, the album “would set the tone for all the later soft country rock sounds, and impact what would become the foundation of “new country”, in both image and music.”

Released in April of 1973, the album was not a commercial success initially. It debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at a lowly number 145 on its week of its release, rising to number 41 in its eighth week on the chart, It remains Eagles’ lowest charting album and it produced no hit song, as both singles released from the album, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Outlaw Man”, failed to reach top 50 on the main singles chart.

However, the success of their next album release, On the Border, as well as subsequent releases, spurred on the sales of the album. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 20, 2001, indicating shipment of 2 million copies in the United States. (by wikipedia)

Singles

Personnel:
Glenn Frey (guitar, vocals, keyboards, harmonica)
Don Henley (drums, vocals, guitar)
Bernie Leadon (guitar, vocals; banjo, mandolin, dobro)
Randy Meisner (bass, vocals)

BackCover

Tracklist:
01. Doolin-Dalton (Henley/Frey/Browne/Souther) 3.34
02. Twenty-One (Leadon) 2.10
03. Out Of Control (Henley/Frey/Nixon) 3.05
04. Tequila Sunrise (Henley/Frey) 2.54
05. Desperado (Henley/Frey) 3.37
06. Certain Kind Of Fool (Henley/Frey/Meisner) 3.02
07. Doolin-Dalton (Instrumental) (Henley/Frey/Browne/Souther) 0.48
08. Outlaw Man (Blue) 3.35
09. Saturday Night (Leadon/Henley/Frey/Meisner) 3.20
10. Bitter Creek (Leadon) 5.04
11. Doolin-Dalton/Desperado (Reprise) (Henley/Frey/Browne/Souther) 4.51

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The Eagles Dressed as Cowboys

 

Gong – Flying Teapot (1973)

FrontCover1Flying Teapot is the third studio album by the progressive rock band Gong, originally released by Virgin Records in May 1973. It was the second entry in the Virgin catalogue (V2002) and was released on the same day as the first, Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells (V2001). It was re-issued later in the year, with different cover art, by BYG Actuel in France and Japan. Recorded at Virgin’s Manor Studios, in Oxfordshire, England, it was produced by Giorgio Gomelsky and engineered by “Simon Sandwitch 2 aided by Tom Zen” (Simon Heyworth and Tom Newman).

Subtitled Radio Gnome Invisible, Part 1, it is the first of the Radio Gnome Invisible trilogy of albums, followed by Angel’s Egg in December and You the following October. This trilogy forms a central part of the Gong mythology. The Flying Teapot idea itself was influenced by Russell’s teapot. It was the first Gong album to feature English guitarist Steve Hillage, although he contributed relatively little as he arrived late in the recording process. According to Daevid Allen, “Steve Hillage arrived eventually, but there wasn’t a lot of space left. He played some rhythmick wa wa [sic], some jazzy chords and a spacey solo on ‘Flying Teapot’.” (by wikipedia)

DaevidAllen1974AProduced by Giorgio Gomelsky, notable for his work with the Yardbirds, Brian Auger, and Magma, this relatively early Gong project is a great representation of the Daevid Allen-era Gong. Though not as intricate as its follow-up companion piece, Angel’s Egg, The Flying Teapot is more of a true prog/space rock outing, where hippie-trippy lyrics and space whispering abound, as evidenced in the opening track, “Radio Gnome Invisible.” The following cut, “Flying Teapot,” is the sprawling highlight of the album. At times reminiscent of some early Weather Report jams, though not as jazzy, the tune features prominent bass, standout percussion/drums, and space whispering courtesy of Smyth. Improvisational groaning and percussion bring this jam to a close. “Pothead Pixies” is a fun pop (pot?) tune which probably received very little, if any, airplay due to the lyrics, followed by Blake’s brief synth interlude, “The Octave Doctors and the Crystal Machine.” “Zero the Hero and the Witch’s Spell,” another lengthy composition, features Malherbe’s sax playing, which, at this early point in the Gong evolution, is credited for most of the jazz sounds heard in the music (remember, Pierre Moerlen has yet to join the band). This cut becomes quite heavy near its end before making a clever transition into the final cut, “Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy.” Here you hear Smyth’s strange, sexually explicit lyrics, which she embellishes with ethereal voicings and cackling. This, combined with a jazzy sax from Malherbe and some very groovy musical lines near the closing, make for another fun tune. by David Ross Smith)

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Personnel:
Laurie Allan (drums)
Daevid Allen (vocals, guitar)
Tim Blake (synthesizer, vocals)
Steve Hillage (guitar)
Rachid Houari (percussion)
Didier Malherbe (saxophone, flute)
Francis Moze (bass, piano)
Christian Tritsch (guitar)
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Gilli Smyth (space whisper)

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Tracklist:
01. Radio Gnome Invisible (Allen) – 5:32
02. Flying Teapot (Allen/Moze) – 12:30
03. The Pot Head Pixies (Allen) – 3:00
04. The Octave Doctors And The Crystal Machine” (Blake) – 2:00
05. Zero The Hero And The Witch’s Spell (Allen/Blake/Tritsch) – 9:45
06. Witch’s Song/I Am Your Pussy (Smyth/Allen) – 5:10

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Van Morrison – It’s Too Late To Stop Now (1973)

FrontCover1It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.It’s Too Late to Stop Now is a 1974 live double album by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It features performances that were recorded in concerts at the Troubadour in Los Angeles, California; the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and the Rainbow in London, during Morrison’s three-month tour with his eleven-piece band, the Caledonia Soul Orchestra, from May to July 1973. Frequently named as one of the best live albums ever, It’s Too Late to Stop Now was recorded during what has often been said to be the singer’s greatest phase as a live performer.

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Noted for being a mercurial and temperamental live performer, during this short period of time in 1973, Morrison went on one of his most diligent tours in years. With his eleven-piece band, The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, which included a horn and string section, he has often been said to have been at his live performing peak.

Morrison said about touring during this period:
I am getting more into performing. It’s incredible. When I played Carnegie Hall in the fall something just happened. All of a sudden I felt like ‘you’re back into performing’ and it just happened like that…A lot of times in the past I’ve done gigs and it was rough to get through them. But now the combination seems to be right and it’s been clicking a lot.[9]
It’s like watching a tiger. The tiger isn’t thinking about where he’s going to put his paws or how he’s going to kill… and [it’s the] same thing with Van. He’s just so there that you’re completely drawn to it.“”-Jim Rothernel

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Evidence of his newly invigorated joy in performing was on display during the ending of the over-ten-minute-long dynamic performance of “Cyprus Avenue”. When an audience member shouts out, “Turn it on!”, Morrison good-naturedly replies, “It’s turned on already.” At the very end he finished the concert with a final heartfelt, “It’s too late to stop now!” giving the album its title (this line first appeared on the song “Into the Mystic”).
The concert performances were described by Erik Hage as “sequences of a young soul lion whipping the crowd into a frenzy and then stopping on a dime—teasing out anticipation, rushing, receding, and coaxing every drop out of his band.”

Guitarist John Platania says “He had a funeral for a lot of his old songs on stage. With Caledonia, he really got off on performing. There was definitely joy getting onstage at that point. That was a wonderful time for everybody. It was really like a family. Ordinarily, with rock ‘n’ rollers, jazzers and classical musicians in the band, you’d think it was a three-headed serpent but everybody got along famously.”

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The performances on the live album were from tapes made at the beginning of the tour in Los Angeles and also in Santa Monica and London. Marco Bario, who attended the opening night concert at The Troubadour, said in Playgirl: “he was exceptional. The mood was right, the audience was receptive, and the music left no comparisons to be made. It was the finest opening night performance by a consummate musician that I have ever witnessed.”A large cream-coloured and tiled building stands at the intersection of two roads. Dark grey clouds dominate an overcast sky. Two flags are flying from the fascia of the building, which is covered mostly by a large advertising hoarding.The Rainbow Theatre in London
The London concerts were the first time he had appeared in that city since performing with Them, six years earlier. The two concerts at the Rainbow Theatre in London were referred to as “the rock event of the year” by critics according to Ritchie Yorke in his biography. The 24 July 1973 London Rainbow concert was the first BBC simulcast broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2 television and Radio 2 stereo so that viewers with strategically sited loudspeakers could enjoy “stereo TV”. The broadcast took place on 27 May 1974.

VanMorrison03A mixture of songs that inspired his own musical development, together with some of his own compositions, allied to a backing band and orchestra (The Caledonia Soul Orchestra) and several performances (as noted in the album’s liner notes) that were recorded in concerts at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, California (24–27 May 1973), the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (29 June 1973) and The Rainbow (23–24 July 1973) in London.

These performance result in what Myles Palmer of the Times reviewed as demolishing “all barriers between the soul, blues, jazz and rock genres”. The songs chosen went back to his days with Them with versions of “Gloria” and “Here Comes the Night”. His first solo hit “Brown Eyed Girl” was performed but not included on the album until the reissue in 2008. M. Mark called the album “an intelligent selection of songs that draws on six of Morrison’s records and five of the musicians he learned from.” These musicians were Bobby Bland, (“Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”), Ray Charles, (“I Believe to My Soul”), Sam Cooke (“Bring It On Home to Me”), two songs by Sonny Boy Williamson II (“Help Me” and “Take Your Hands Out of My Pocket”) and a cover of a Willie Dixon song, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” that was popularized by Muddy Waters.

Unlike most live rock albums, there was no studio overdubbing allowed by Morrison, which resulted in the exclusion of “Moondance” from the album due to one wrong guitar note. Morrison strictly adhered to his concept of authenticity in presenting the live performance but his musical perfectionism prevented him from including “Moondance”.[15] “It’s common practice to go back and fix things, but not with Van,” bass player David Hayes said, “I think that’s what makes it one of the best ever.” It is thought to be one of the first live albums with no overdubs and the first live album to have string players.

Fellow biographer Johnny Rogan said that “Morrison was in the midst of what was arguably his greatest phase as a performer.”

It’s Too Late to Stop Now has been on lists of greatest live albums of all time. (by wikipedia)

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Named for the mighty Belfast singer’s exhortation at the close of his song, Into The Mystic, It’s Too Late…is oft-referred to as one of the greatest live albums ever recorded. Included in the first batch of remasters of the ‘Man”s back catalogue, now’s your chance to argue the toss again.

When Morrison hit the road in the Summer of 1973 -ITLTSN collects material from gigs in LA, Santa Monic and London – he’d not only notched up a run of six absolutely flawless collections of what would probably now be referred to as ‘soul jazz’, but he’d also assembled a team of players that were the equal of his own perfectionism. Such was this perfectionism that the original running order was shorn of his most widely-known tune, Moondance, due to one bum guitar note. In other words this is one of the few live albums you’ll ever hear with NO overdubs.

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When you hear ITLTSN you realise why this had to be the case: Morrison’s blend of his own classics along with a fair smattering of tracks that influenced him is delivered with such passion, and belief that any studio tinkering would be like throwing a tin of paint over the Mona Lisa. In a live setting all the hyperbole about Morrison’s blend of genres into one Celtic, mystic vision makes perfect sense. This is soul music in a very real sense.

It was also a sign of how Van had matured that he can deliver classics like Ray Charles’ I Believe To My Soul or Sonny Boy Williamson’s Help Me and make them his own. Not only this he improves on his own compositions. Cypress Avenue, complete with the strings of the Caledonian Soul orchestra may even be better than the original on Astral Weeks. Quite a feat. And just listen to how playful Morrison is on the improvised breaks (”You say in France!”): grunting, wailing, going beyond mere words in his striving to convey the heart of this music. This is a master live performer at work. And enjoying it.

With just one bonus track (a version of Brown Eyed Girl) this polished edition gives you the chance to hear one of the best bands and their genius of a singer deliver the goods one more time, 35 years on. It’s never too late… (Chris Jones, BBC, 2008)

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Personnel:
Teressa Adams (cello)
Bill Atwood (trumpet, background vocals)
Nancy Ellis (viola)
Tom Halpin (vocals)
David Hayes (bass, background vocals)
Tim Kovatch (violin)
Jef Labes (keyboards)
Van Morrison (vocals)
John Platania (guitar, background vocals)
Nathan Rubin (violin)
Dahaud Shaar (David Shaw) (drums, background vocals)
Jack Schroer (saxophone, tambourine, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do (MaloneScott) 3.48
02. Warm Love (Morrison) 3.05
03. Into The Mystic (Morrison) 4.31
04. These Dreams Of You (Morrison) 3.37
05. I Believe To My Soul (Charles) 4.09
06. I’ve Been Working (Morrison) 3.55
07. Help Me (Williamson/Bass/Dixon) 3.25
08. Wild Children (Morrison) 5.04
09. Domino (Morrison) 4.48
10. I Just Want To Make Love To You (Dixon) 5.16
11. Bring It On Home To Me (Cooke)4.43
12. Saint Dominic’s Preview (Morrison) 6.18
13. Take Your Hand Out Of My Pocket (Williamson) 4.05
14. Listen To The Lion (Morrison) 8.44
15. Here Comes The Night (Berns) 3.14
16. Gloria (Morrison) 4.15
17. Caravan (Morrison) 9.21
18. Cyprus Avenue (Morrison) 10.28
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19. Brown Eyed Girl (Morrison) 3.26

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