Beggars Opera – Get Your Dog Off Me (1973)

FrontCover1Get Your Dog off Me, the final real studio album of Scots prog band Beggars Opera, was a disappointment when it came out — and it remains one decades later. Indeed, they never captured the spirit of Act One in any of their further releases, and it’s easy to see why they called this the end of the road (although guitarist Ricky Gardiner and mellotronist Virginia Scott kept the band name going with two German albums later in the decade). The dramatics, which had been quite sly before, descend into melodrama here, and there’s a dearth of songwriting ideas (which was also true on the previous record, where the standout was a cover of “MacArthur Park”). They can still slip in a good hook here and there, and there’s no fault in the playing, with Gardiner in particular showing himself to be an excellent, thoughtful soloist. But on the evidence of the material and arrangements here, this was a band past its sell-by date. The newer harmony style — influenced by bands like the Eagles, is quite at odds with any kind of grandeur. This is really one just for the die-hard fans and obsessives. (by Chris Nickson)

And maybe I´m a die-hard fan, because this album is a pretty good one … listen to “Requiem” the titeltrack or to “Two Timing Woman”).

Beggars Opera

Personnel:
Colin Fairlie (drums, percussion, vocals)
Ricky Gardiner (guitar, vocals)
Alan Park (keyboards, harpsichord, synthesizer)
Linnie Paterson (vocals)
Gordon Sellar (bass, vocals)
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Raymond Wilson (drums, on 01., 02., 04. 07., 08. + 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Get Your Dog Off Me (Park/Ainsworth) 3.43
02. Freestyle Ladies (Scott) 4.20
03. Open Letter (Smith) 4.34
04. Morning Day (Scott) 4.34
05. Requiem (Gardiner) 2.17
06. Classical Gas (Williams) 4.30
07. Sweet Blossom Woman (Grabham) 4.09
08. Turn Your Money Green (Park/Ainsworth) 4.08
09. La Di-Da (Park/Fairlie/Sellar/Paterson/Gardiner) 2.53
10. Working Man (Ainsworth/Sellar) 4.34
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11. Two Timing Woman (Singe A-Side, 1973) (Fairley) 3.47
12. Lady Of Hell Fire (Singe B-Side, 1973) (Park/Fairlie/Sellar/Paterson/Gardiner) 3.43

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John McLaughlin & Carlos Santana – Live In Chicago (1973)

FrontCover1Recorded after their collaboration, this recording has appeared under different facets (as have many of Santana’s records) sometimes as a single disc, some others as a double, covering the entire concert. The major difference in the line-up is that Billy Cobham holds the drum stool instead of Shrieve on the studio album.

As you’d expect, such an improvisational studio album could only give out an even more improvised and extended version of those songs. Indeed extended wailing soaring & searing guitar solos, extended drums and percussion duos, and many more indulgent musical traits are all part of this album. Particularly enjoyable is the Coltrane track Naima that gets a brilliant interpretation, but does indeed stray a little away from the original. All four tracks are very interesting but not fundamentally different that on the studio album.

In general the sound quality is acceptable, although I’ve heard some different quality in different versions, you can bet that some non-legit ones are most likely least likely to be proper-sounding. The opening minutes of Live Divine are not always well recorded because of the extreme dynamics of the band on stage. The Jazz-Door label (German) version (JD 1250) has a satisfactory sound and should please many fans. (by Sean Trane)

This is the edition from the legendary “Oh Boy” Label (Luxembourg/Europe)

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Personnel:
Billy Cobham (drums)
John McLaughlin (guitar)
Armando Peraza (percussion)
Doug Rauch (bass)
Carlos Santana (guitar)
Larry Young (keyboards)

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Tracklist:
01. Flame Sky (McLaughlin/Rauch/Santana) 16.02
02. Let’s Us Go Into The House Of The Lord (Smith/Sanders/Traditional) 26.02
03. The Life Divine (McLaughlin) 17.16
04. A Love Supreme (Coltrane) 19.02
05. Follow Your Heart (McLauglin) 26.50
06. Naima (Coltrane) 5.41

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Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band – Same (1973)

FrontCover1Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band was a collaboration between the early music ensemble St. George’s Canzona, Derby-based folk group The Druids, and Trevor Crozier’s ‘Broken Consort’. They were backed by three jazz musicians: Jeff Clyne (bass guitar), Dave MacRae (electric piano) and Trevor Tomkins (drums).

The album title is a pun on the piece ‘Giles Farnabys Dreame’ by the renaissance composer Giles Farnaby.

The album largely consists of renaissance dance tunes played on a combination of early and modern instruments. This prefigures some of the work later undertaken by the Albion Band and Home Service. It is chiefly notable for its experimental nature, demonstrating some of the diverse attempts at fusion at the time which resulted in subgenres such as folk jazz and medieval folk rock. It is most similar in its sound to medieval folk and progressive rock bands like Gryphon and Gentle Giant. The rarity of the album has made it the subject of enthusiasm for some collectors.

The song ‘Newcastle Brown’ was subsequently released as a single (Argo, AFW112, 1973). (by Wikipedia)

“Giles Farnaby’s Dream Band make an entirely new medieval-electric sound. Formed by linking the medieval St George’s Canzona with the folk trio Broken Consort, the resulting band brings together early and present day instruments in imaginative and unique performances of some of the most tuneful and infectious music of all time.

The Dancing Master

“Most of the titles on this album are taken from ‘The English Dancing Master, published by John Playford, Britain’s first ever music publisher. The Tin Pan Alley of 1655 was situated near the Temple Church in London, and it was from a tiny shop near the church door that Playford’s publications were sold.

“The English Dancing Master or ‘Plaine and easie rules for the dancing of country dances, with the tune to each dance’ was first published in 1651, during the period of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan Commonwealth. It was an austere time, with most of the old customs forbidden: dancing, profane singing, wakes, revels, ringing of bells, maypoles were all banned as dangerous to the security of the nation, and it seems a curious time to publish a collection of dance music. Playford’s own explanation was simple…’I publish this book lest the tunes be forgot’…

“The volume was immediately successful and went into several editions over the next twenty years (in fact it is still in print today). A possible reason for its popularity might have been that although Parliament abolished most forms of merry making, the Lord Protector himself seems to have enjoyed the occasional revel and given dancing a subdued show of approval…

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“14th November 1657: ‘On Wednesday last was my Lord Protector’s daughter married to the Earl of Warwick’s grandson; and on Thursday was the wedding feast kept at Whitehall, where they had 48 violins, 50 trumpets and much mirthe with frolics, besides mixed dancing (a thing heretofore accounted profane) till five of the clock yesterday morning.’ (by Kevin Daly; taken from the original liner notes)

Oh yes … not only an extremely rare album, but an album, that is really wonderful … old renaissance tunes performed in a very gentle and warm sound and style …

A more than unique and brilliant album !

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Personnel:

St. George’s Canzona:
Frank Grubb (rebec, Recorder)
John Grubb (lute, harpsichord)
Derek Harrison (rebec)
John Lawes (crumhorn, Recorder)
Mike Oxenham (crumhorn, clarinet, curtal, Recorders)
John Sothcott (citole, crumhorn, rebec, recorders, whistle)
Leila Ward (crumhorn, Recorders)

The Druids (vocals):
Judi Longden – Keith Kendrick – John Adams – Mick Hennessy

Trevor Crozier’s Broken Consort:
Annie Crozier (concertina, bowed psaltery)
Trevor Crozier (vocals, banjo, cittern, guitar, harmonica, mandolin)
Vic Gammon (concertina, guitar)
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Jeff Clyne (bass)
Dave MacRae (piano)
Trevor Tomkins (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. The Hare’s Maggot 2.45
02. Rufty Tufty/Beau Stratagem/Appley House 1.45
03. Hole In The Wall/The Chirping Of The Nightingale 1.50
04. Pastime With Good Company 2.55
05. Daphne/Nonsuch/Jack’s Maggot/Childgrove 4.47
06. Shrewsbury Lasses 2.36
07. Newcastle Brown 2.54
08. Helston Furry Dance/Picking Of Sticks/The Butterfly 2.02
09. The Indian Queen 2.40
10. The Happy Clown 1.44
11. Ratcliffe Highway 2.42
12. The Twenty Ninth Of May 2.01
13. The Black Nag/Poor Robins’ Maggot/Greensleeves 1.59
14. Portabella 2.37
15. The Draper’s Maggot/Tower Hill 3.07
16. Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot/The British Toper/London’s Glory 4.11

All songs are traditionals except “Newcastle Brown” which was written by Sothcott/Daly

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Ten Years After – Recorded Live (1973)

FrontCover1Recorded Live is the third live album by British blues rock musicians Ten Years After, which was released as a double LP in 1973.

This album, containing no overdubs or additives, was recorded over four nights in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and Paris with the Rolling Stones’ mobile recording truck and later mixed from sixteen tracks to stereo at Olympic Studios in London. The album was rereleased as a CD in 2014, with seven previously unreleased tracks. (by wikipedia)

It may not be the best live album in the world, but it’s certainly in the race for one, together with a couple dozen other notorious records – although as of now, it’s been somewhat overshadowed by the even superior Fillmore East. However, if you can’t locate that archive release or are upset with the price of the double CD, I’d strongly recommend any TYA novice to start here (that is, if you’re able to tolerate speedy, but lengthy guitar jams; otherwise, you’d be much better off with either Ssssh or Space In Time, although I actually doubt that otherwise you’d be interested in TYA at all), especially because not only does this record stand as a ‘great live’ record, it also stands for a ‘greatest hits live’ record. Just look at the track listing!

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It’s interesting, too, to compare this record with Undead. You’ll see how ‘huge’ they have grown – almost in every sense. From a secluded club scene to large arenas in major European capitals; from a homemade lousy equipment to the Rolling Stones mobile; from half-hour gigs to extended concerts; from half-obscure jazz covers to international hits; finally, from the raw, unpolished, even though mighty energetic tones to a well-polished, professional, intoxicating ‘wall-of-sound’. Just compare the two versions of ‘I’m Going Home’ on both records and you’ll see the difference. Some may regret the loss of that original ‘raw’ sound, but I say I don’t mind. I like both albums, but Recorded Live is longer, has more songs and doesn’t have any embarrassments like the lengthy slow uninteresting blues of ‘Spider In My Web’ and the stupid drum solo on ‘Summertime’. Sure, it was recorded at a rather late period in the band’s career, when they were already almost spent creatively and on the brink of dissolution, but it is a well-known fact that live playing and “general creative state” are two absolutely different things.

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Live playing and its quality depend on quite a few factors, including, simply speaking, the particular mood of the band’s members on the day of the gig, which, in turn, may depend on the weather or the expression on that guy in the front row’s face. Luckily, most of the performances on this album were drawn from moments when the band seemed to be in relatively high spirits.

For the record, the album does feature a lengthy run-through of their most driving and famous numbers. Practically none of them are superior to the studio recordings, but none are inferior, either. On the other side, the live performance does give them a ‘spontaneous’ edge which might make them more suitable for some listeners. They kick off with ‘One Of These Days’ (wow! but somebody cut down that ending jam, please!), only to continue with the unforgettable riff of ‘You Give Me Loving’: what a wise choice from their worst record so far, and I don’t even mind that Alvin messes up the lyrics because they were so convoluted in the first place. Later on, the band, as usual, breaks in some of the oldies, like ‘Help Me’ and ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’.

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On the way, Alvin displays some cute little tricks, like showing his prowess at classical guitar (‘Classical Thing’), resurrecting the ‘Skoobly-oobly-dooboob’ ditty (‘Scat Thing’) and just playing the fool (‘Silly Thing’). The two highlights of the show are, of course, a terrific fifteen-minute version of ‘I Can’t Keep From Crying’, which is again transformed into tons of different things on the way, including even a few lines from ‘Cat’s Squirrel’ and even ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ – sic!, and ‘I’m Going Home’. The former also was the central point for showing Alvin as a ‘guitar experimentator’ – in particular, he liked to tune his guitar and play it at the same time, which sometimes resulted in a truly awful, ear-destructive sound which I kinda like nevertheless. And the latter (‘I’m Goin’ Home’, that is) is predictably close to the Woodstock version, except that the various sections are interspersed in a different way and the drums are much more prominent. And damn the stupid audience that mars the opening chords with its silly applause! Otherwise, though, it’s simply a superb version: with all the ‘boo-boo-babys’ in place, and the old rockabilly classics medley in the middle. It does seem a bit worn off as compared to the Woodstock version, but you can excuse the guys: after all, the piece was like a stone around their neck, and it’s a wonder they were still able to do it with enough authenticity and patience.

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For me, the only letdown on the album is the seven-minute ‘Slow Blues In C’. They should have left things like that to the Allman Brothers. But then again, it’s just a minor flaw in an almost flawless seventy-minute record! Be forgiving! This doesn’t sound like the Allmans at all! And I don’t have anything against the Allmans, I just don’t have a lot in favour of them doing similar things. They put me off to sleep. Berk. Ever heard ‘Mountain Jam’? How many times do you have to sit through these thirty minutes to dig it? Ah, if only everything these guys played were akin to their version of ‘You Don’t Love Me’… This record, on the other hand, is instantly amiable and friendly – and it features lots of guitar jams, too. But these kids are so frantic, so full of energy and they love the stuff they’re playing so much you’ll be sure to be caught in the fun. This is no Yessongs, either – just your basic love for dat electro guitar sound. And no ‘supergroup’ hype, either – they just play and they don’t give a damn. I like it when a record doesn’t have balls. (by George Starostin)

I can´t agree with this negative opinion to “Slow Blues In C” or to “MountainJam” by the great Allman Brothrs Band …

This album is one of the finest Ten Years After live albums ever recorded !

And enjoy all these bonus tracks … listen to “Standing At The Station” (featuring a long and wild organ solo by Chick Churchill or “Jam” (including a great bass solo by Leo Lyons !) or “I Woke Up This Morning” …  and you´ll know what I mean … that was the freedom of music in the Seventies …

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The cover of Ten Years After’s 1973 album Recorded Live depicts a giant reel-to-reel recorder, which certainly captures the era when this double-LP set was recorded. Approaching the end of their run — only one more album would come, 1974’s Positive Vibrations — Ten Years After were deep into the thick of ’70s arena rock, so everything they played on-stage wound up stretching well beyond the five-minute mark, sometimes reaching upward of 11 minutes. Everything on this double-LP places improvisation over groove — a sentiment that is accentuated on the 2013 expansion, which winds up running 21 tracks over two discs, adding bonus outtakes to the original double-LP set. The best parts here are the improvisations, particularly Alvin Lee’s long, languid guitar solos, but this album — either in its original incarnation or in its expansion — is a distinctly ’70s creation: it’s unhurried and indulgent, reveling in its slow, steady march to a virtuosic, never-ending guitar solo. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

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Personnel:
Chick Churchill (keyboards)
Alvin Lee (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Ric Lee (drums)
Leo Lyons (bass)

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Tracklist:
01. One of These Days (A. Lee) 6.20 (Frankfurt)
02. You Give Me Loving (A. Lee) 6.10 (Frankfurt)
03. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl (Willamson) 7.27 (Frankfurt)
04. Hobbit (R. Lee) 8.36 (Frankfurt)
05. Help Me (Willamson/Bass) 10.49 (Amsterdam)
06. Time Is Flying (A. Lee) 5.36 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
07. Standing At The Station (A. Lee) 11.51 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
08. Jam (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 18.09 (Amsterdam) (bonus track)
09. Help Me” (Williamson/Dixon/Bass) 12.06 (Paris) (bonus track)
10. I Woke Up This Morning” (A. Lee) 4.26 (Rotterdam) (bonus track)
11. Sweet Little Sixteen (Berry) 4.24 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)
12. Jam (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 16.33 (Frankfurt) (bonus track)

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13. Classical Thing (A. Lee) 0.53 (Paris)
14. Scat Thing (A. Lee) 0.57 (Paris)
15. I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes (Part 1) (Kooper) 1.57 (Paris)
16. Extension On One Chord (A. Lee/R. Lee/Churchill/Lyons) 10.45 (Paris)
17. I Can’t Keep From Cryin’ Sometimes (Part 2) (Kooper) 3.12 (Paris)
18. Silly Thing (A. Lee) 1.09 (Frankfurt)
19. Slow Blues in ‘C’ (A. Lee) 8.14 (Frankfurt)
20. I’m Going Home (A. Lee) 10.54 (Frankfurt)
21. Choo Choo Mama (A. Lee) 3.21 (Frankfurt)

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Roxy Music – German TV Special (1973)

FrontCover1Roxy Music were an English rock band formed in 1971 by Bryan Ferry, who became the band’s lead vocalist and chief songwriter, and bassist Graham Simpson. Alongside Ferry, the other longtime members were Phil Manzanera (guitar), Andy Mackay (saxophone and oboe) and Paul Thompson (drums and percussion), and other former members include Brian Eno (synthesizer and “treatments”), Eddie Jobson (synthesiser and violin), and John Gustafson (bass). Although the band took a break from group activities in 1976 and again in 1983, they reunited for a concert tour in 2001, and toured together intermittently between that time and their break-up in 2011. Ferry frequently enlisted members of Roxy Music as session musicians for his solo releases.

Roxy Music became a successful act in Europe and Australia during the 1970s. This success began with their debut album, Roxy Music (1972). The band pioneered more musically sophisticated elements of glam rock while significantly influencing early English punk music, and provided a model for many new wave acts while innovating elements of electronic composition. The group also distinguished their visual and musical sophistication through a preoccupation with glamorous fashions. Ferry and co-founding member Eno had had influential solo careers. The latter became one of Britain’s most significant record producers of the late 20th century. Rolling Stone ranked Roxy Music No. 98 on its “The Immortals – 100 The Greatest Artists of All Time” list (by wikipedia)

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This is taken from a series of performances on German TV during the first half of the 70’s. The first five songs are early enough to have Eno still in the band (these include a particularly creepy version of “In Every Dream Home A Heartache” with Brian Ferry looking very “Eddie Munster”). I was impressed at how great and tight they were live, even early on. Costuming starts out WAY over the top, then becomes a bit less flamboyant over the years. Phil Manzanera’s guitar-playing is consistently outstanding throughout. A couple of the songs near the end include John Wetton on bass. Eddie Jobson is remarkable playing electric violin on “Out Of The Blue.”(by Will C.)

There are many different covers in circulation, so I decided to create my own cover … just fur fun.

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Personnel:
Bryan Ferry (vocals, piano)
Eddie Jobson (violin, keyboards)
Phil Manzanera (guitar)
Andy MacKay (saxophone, oboe)
Sal Maida (bass)
Paul Thompson (drums)
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Brian Eano (synthesizer, keyboards on 05.)

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Tracklist:
01. Street Life (Ferry) 3.07
02. Pyjamarama (Ferry) 4.00
03. Mother Of Pearl (Ferry) 6.38
04. Amazonas (Ferry/Manzanera) 4.16
05. Virginia Plain (Ferry) 3.16
06. A Hard Rain´s Gonna Fall (Dylan) 3.23
07. Psalm (Ferry) 8.38
08. Out Of The Blue (Ferry/Manzanera) 4.34
09. If It Takes All Night (Ferry) 3.36

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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.)

Inside1

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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