Eagles – One Of These Nights (1975)

frontcover1One of These Nights is the fourth studio album by the Eagles, released in 1975. The record would become the Eagles’ first number one album on Billboard’s album chart in July that year, and yielded three Top 10 singles, “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It to the Limit”. Its title song is the group’s second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold four million copies and was nominated for Grammy Album of the Year. A single from the album, “Lyin’ Eyes”, was also nominated for Record of the Year, and won the Eagles’ first Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.

One of These Nights is the last Eagles album to feature guitarist Bernie Leadon, who was later replaced by Joe Walsh. Leadon left the band after the One Of These Nights tour. The seventh track, “Visions”, is the only Eagles song on which lead guitarist Don Felder sang the lead vocals, despite his desire to write and sing more songs. The album was the band’s commercial breakthrough, transforming them into international superstars and establishing them as America’s number one band. They went on a worldwide tour to promote the Album.
The Eagles began working on their fourth album in late 1974. Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote four of the nine songs by themselves, and they also collaborated with other members of the band on three other songs. Many of the songs were written while Frey and tshirtHenley were sharing a house in Beverly Hills, including “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Take It To The Limit” and “After The Thrill Is Gone”. Henley joked in an interview with Cameron Crowe that it was their “satanic country-rock period” because “it was a dark time, both politically and musically” in America, referring to the turmoil in Washington and disco music starting to take off. He added: “We thought, “Well, how can we write something with that flavor, with that kind of beat, and still have the dangerous guitars?” We wanted to capture the spirit of the times.”
Frey said that “One Of These Nights was the most fluid and ‘painless’ album [they] ever made”, and thought that the quality of the songs he wrote with Henley had improved dramatically. However, Leadon was becoming increasingly unhappy during the making of the album. He wrote three of the nine songs, none of which was released as a single. He was unhappy with the more rock direction of the band that Frey preferred, at one time walking out of a meeting to discuss which take to use after the recording of a rock track. Leadon would leave the band in late 1975, after the album was released.
Frey also began to sing less as a lead singer starting with this album, singing solo lead on only one song (“Lyin’ Eyes”) and sharing lead vocals with Henley on another (“After the Thrill Is Gone”). Henley later said: “[Glenn] was generous in that respect … If I began to do more than he did, it was because if someone had a strong suit he would play that card. ‘You sing this, you sing it better,’ that kind of thing.” Randy Meisner sings lead on two songs, one of which, “Take it to the Limit”, a composition he co-wrote with Frey and Henley, was released as the third single from the album. It is the only Eagles single on which Meisner sings lead.
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The cover for the album is an image of an artwork by Boyd Elder, also known as “El Chingadero”. Elder created artwork of painted skulls in the early 1970s, and pieces of his work, titled “American Fetish”, were exhibited in an art gallery in Venice, California in 1972. Among those who attended the opening were members of the Eagles who performed “Witchy Woman” at the show, an early appearance by the band as the Eagles. Elder was also a friend of the album cover designer Gary Burden, who had been responsible for the Eagles’ three previous albums and who was interested in using one of Elder’s pieces for this cover.[10] Elder presented two of his works to the Eagles in Dallas in late 1974, one of which was then chosen for the cover of One of These Nights. Later another work of Elder, an image of an eagle’s skull, would be used for the cover of Their Greatest Hits album. The painted animal skull motif was also used in the cover for their compilation album The Very Best of, and the skull of One of These Nights was used for the cover of the documentary History of the Eagles.
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The album cover for One of These Nights is the last Eagles album design on which Burden was involved. He made the skull stand up off the page by debossing large areas together with detailed and elaborate embossing in the wings and feathers. According to Burden, the cover image represents where the band was coming from and where they were going – “The cow skull is pure cowboy, folk, the decorations are American Indian inspired and the future is represented by the more polished reflective glass beaded surfaces covering the skull. All set against the dark eagle feather wings that speak of mysterious powers.” The album artwork received a Grammy nomination for Best Album Package.
Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone, in an early review of the album, expressed a liking for the album for its relative lack of conceptual pretension compared to the Eagles’ previous albums, but did not consider it a great album. He thought the band’s ensemble playing “unprecedentedly excellent” but they “lack an outstanding singer”, and that while “many of their tunes are pretty, none are eloquent.” He added: “And for all their worldly perceptiveness, the Eagles’ lyrics never transcend Hollywood slickness. Their hard rock has always seemed a bit forced, constructed more from commercial considerations than from any urgent impulse to boogie. And when the Eagles attempt to communicate wild sexuality, they sound only boyishly enthused. These limitations, however, seem built-in to the latter-day concept of Southern California rock, of which the Eagles remain the unrivaled exponents.
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“The Rolling Stone Album Guide judged the album to be the band’s “most musically adventurous outing yet, flirting with disco on the title song, a waltz on “Take It to the Limit”, and bluegrass psychedelia on Leadon’s “Journey of the Sorcerer”.
William Ruhlmann of AllMusic in a retrospective review was more favorable; he thought that it had more original material and that the material was more polished. He wrote: “One of These Nights was the culmination of the blend of rock, country, and folk styles the Eagles had been making since their start; there wasn’t much that was new, just the same sorts of things done better than they had been before. In particular, a lyrical stance—knowing and disillusioned, but desperately hopeful—had evolved, and the musical arrangements were tighter and more purposeful. The result was the Eagles’ best-realized and most popular album so far.”
The album first entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 25 the week of its release, and climbed to No. 1 in its fourth week on the chart, where it then stayed the next four weeks. It is the first of the four consecutive No. 1 albums by the Eagles. The album was certified Gold three weeks after its release on June 30, 1975, and it received its 4× Platinum certification on March 20, 2001, signifying shipment of over 4 million copies in the United States.
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Personnel:
Don Felder (vocals, guitar, slide guitar)
Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar,  piano, harmonium)
Don Henley (vocals, drums, percussion, tabla)
Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, pedal steel-guitar)
Randy Meisner (vocals, bass)
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David Bromberg (fiddle on 04.)
Albhy Galuten – Synthesizer on 03.)
Jim Ed Norman – piano on 05. + 06.)
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The Royal Martian Orchestra conducted by Jim Ed Norman (04.)
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Tracklist:
01. One Of These Nights (Henley/Frey) 4.51
02. Too Many Hands (Meisner/Felder) 4.43
03. Hollywood Waltz (B.Leadon/T.Leadon/Henley/Frey) 4.04
04. Journey Of The Sorcerer (B. Leadon) 6.40
05. Lyin’ Eyes (Henley/Frey) 6.22
06. Take It To The Limit (Meisner/Henley/Frey) 4.49
07. Visions (Felder/Henley) 3.58
08. After The Thrill Is Gone (Henley/Frey) 3.56
09. I Wish You Peace (Davis/B. Leadon) 3.45
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Supercharge – Between Music And Madness (1974)

originalfrontcover1Supercharge were a 1970s English rock band from Liverpool, founded by singer/saxophonist Albie Donnelly and drummer Dave Irving. They had a number three hit single in Australia with “You’ve Gotta Get Up and Dance” in 1977.
Founded in early 1974, by Liverpool tenor-saxophonist, Albie Donnelly (born Albert Edward Donnelly, 12 August 1947, Huyton, Liverpool), and drummer Dave Irving (born David Geddes Irving, 18 November 1946, Crosby, Liverpool) after they had both left the ‘In Crowd’ cabaret band, Supercharge soon built up quite a cult following in Liverpool at ‘The Sportsman’, a popular city-centre pub on Sunday and later Monday nights and also at the ‘Dove and Olive’ at Speke.
Original members included Donnelly (bandleader, vocalist, and tenor saxophonist), Ozzie Yue (guitar/vocals) (born Austin J Yue, 12 August 1947, Liverpool), Allen ‘Gaz’ Gaskell (tenor sax, guitar, harmonica, and vocals), Alan Peters (trumpet), Bob Robertson (baritone sax), Pete Newton (bass guitar), Tony Dunmore (bass) and Dave Irving (drums).
Supercharge also quickly established themselves as a major player on the UK college / university circuit. Their first album Between Music and Madness, which was locally produced, soon followed.
Around 1975, in an attempt to attract a major record label offer, Supercharge began to gig regularly on the London live circuit at venues such as the Hope and Anchor, Islington, the Nashville Rooms, and the Marquee Club. As a result, Supercharge were soon signed by Supercharge02Virgin Records, and with the company’s new record producer, Robert “Mutt” Lange, they had a number three hit in Australia with their 1976 single “You’ve Gotta Get Up and Dance”. Personnel on these recordings also included organist Iain Bradshaw. It was also in Australia that their first album, Local Lads Make Good went gold – resulting in a number of successful major tours with a version of the band that included Les Karski on guitar.
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These live UK gigs often featured celebrated live sound engineer Chrys Lindop, and included the infamous comedy track ‘She Moved The Dishes First’, which Donnelly claims they wrote so they could mess about a bit while the band were replacing broken guitar strings. This track also achieved notoriety when it was picked up and played regularly by Radio Caroline.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, although their record sales were disappointing, Supercharge still managed to achieve a reputation as one of the UK’s best live bands. This included Supercharge’s opening set for Queen at the 1976 Hyde Park Festival. However, it was becoming clear to Donnelly that Virgin did not really know what to do with them, and they eventually parted company sometime during the punk era.
Despite their reputation as a killer band live, Richard Branson decided that after two albums without major success that he would only offer Donnelly / Karski a continuous deal. The rest of the band became redundant, and ironically months later the ‘Local lads’ album went gold in Australia. However, the deed had been done, and Donnelly resorted to taking a scratch band to do the hit tour in Australia much to the chagrin of the original guys who had put all the hard studio and roadwork in to get the band where it was.
Success in Europe.(by Wikipedia)
And this is their phenomenal debut Album … a timeless classic ! Feel the power and the energy of Supercharge !
supercharge1974_02
Personnel:
Albie Donnelly (Saxophone, vocals)
Tony Dunmore (bass)
Dave Irving (drums)
Alan Peters (trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals)
Bob Robertson Saxophone, guitar, vocals)
Ozzie Yue (guitar, vocals)
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Vinnie Parker (piano on 06. + 11.)
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Tracklist:

01. Tune, Gap, Clap, Fig (Donnelly) 1.15
02. Still Alive And Well (Derringer) 3.21
03. Doggone (Tarplin/Robinson/Moore) 4.29
04. Give It Up (Kool And The Gang) 4.54
05. Midnight (Donnelly/Irving/Yue) 5.02
06. Lazy Lady (Peters) 4.46
07. Superstition (Wonder) 4.32
08. New York (Dreams) 5.59
09. Blessed Relief (Zappa) 5.08
10. Troubled Soul (Peters) 5.20
11. Wine, Wine, Wine (Donnelly/Yue) 4.06
12  Fig, Chat, Feet, Slam, Bang (Donnelly) 1.13
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Status Quo – On The Level (1975)

frontcover1On the Level is the eighth studio album of English rock band Status Quo. It features Francis Rossi, Richard Parfitt, Alan Lancaster and John Coghlan. The album’s cover art features band members in an Ames room, and on the original vinyl release, the inner gatefold sleeve consisted of informal photos members of the group had taken of each other.
In November 1974 the band released the only single from the album, an edited version of a Rossi/Young song entitled “Down Down”. The single gave the band their only #1 hit to date. Its b-side was the Parfitt/Young album track “Nightride”.
When the album was released in February 1975, the group were more or less at the peak of their career, record sales-wise. The album entered the chart at #1. All tracks were written or co-written by the group including unofficial fifth member, Robert Keith Young, apart from “Bye Bye Johnny”, which was a Chuck Berry composition.
If any single song sums up Status Quo in the hearts and the minds of the millions, it’s “Down Down.” Other songs may have been bigger, others may have more resonance, and some (“Rocking All Over the World ” comes to mind) may be so permanently ingrained that it’s hard to remember that Status Quo cut anything else. But, if you want to nail the very essence of Status Quo, only “Down Down” will do. It was their first British number one and their first all-time classic. And it was also their first grinning, winking acknowledgement that not only was there a formula to the records they made, but they were not afraid to list its ingredients. “Down Down” is the perfect Status Quo record, and the fact that it doesn’t arrive until six songs into the band’s eighth album just proves how much fun it had coming up with it.
statusquo
On the Level is Quo at its single-minded best. It doesn’t matter whether its driving the boogie through your skull with the relentless precision of “Little Lady” and “Over and Done,” lurching loosely around the ghosts of blues and ballads (“Most of the Time” and a positively maniacal finale of “Bye Bye Johnny”), or even glancing back to their days as one of British psych’s finest pop bands (“What to Do”). Still, all roads lead back to “Down Down,” a dynamic riff, a perplexing lyric, and a mood that’s so compulsive that you’ll still be shaking your head in time long after all your hair’s fallen out. And, just to make it even better, the album version’s almost two minutes longer than the familiar hit, littered with false starts, fake endings, and one of the cruelest fade-outs in recorded history. It comes just as you’re really getting into the groove. (by Dave Thompson)
liveep
The rare live EP from 1975
Personnel:
John Coghlan (drums)
Alan Lancaster (bass, guitar, vocals)
Rick Parfitt (guitar, keyboards, vocals)
Francis Rossi (guitar, vocals)
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Tracklist:.
01: Little Lady (Parfitt) 3.03
02. Most Of The Time (Rossi/Young) 3.22
03. I Saw The Light (Rossi/Young) 3.40
04. Over And Done (Lancaster) 3.55
05. Nightride (Parfitt/Young) 3.54
06. Down Down (Rossi/Young) 5.25
07. Broken Man (Lancaster) 4.14
08. What To Do (Rossi/Young) 3.07
09. Where I Am (Parfitt) 2.45
19. Bye Bye Johnny (Berry) 5.21
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20. Down Down (Single Version) (Rossi/Young) 3.50
21. Roll Over Lay Down (Live Version from the Live EP) (Rossi/Parfitt/Lancaster/Coghlan/Young) 5.41
22. Gerdundula (Live Version from the Live EP)  (Manston/James) 2.35
23. Junior’s Wailing (Live Version from the Live EP) (White/Pugh) 3.57
24. Roadhouse Blues [Live Version) (Morrison/Densmore/Krieger/Manzarek) 12.24
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Live in Mainz/Germany (22/02(1975)25.
25. Backwater (Parfitt/Lancaster) 4.56
26. Just Take Me (Parfitt/Lancaster) 3.41
27. Claudie (Rossi/Young) 4.37
28. Little Lady (Parfitt) 3.27
29. Most Of The Time (Rossi/Young) 3.20
30. Bye Bye Johnny (Berry) 6.35

31. Down Down (Demo Version) (Rossi/Young) 5.29

Return To Forever feat. Chick Corea – Where Have I Known You Before (1974)

lpfrontcover1Where Have I Known You Before is the fourth album by jazz-rock fusion band Return to Forever, the second since leader Chick Corea had “revamped” the line-up and moved towards electric instrumentation, playing jazz fusion with clear influences from progressive rock.

While the style of music did not change much since the previous album, Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy (1973), important changes took place in the band’s sound and line-up. Chick Corea, for instance, had started to use synthesizers (most notably the Moog Minimoog and ARP Odyssey synthesizers), developing the distinctive sound he became known for. An equally important change in the band was the replacement of guitarist Bill Connors with the then 20-year-old virtuoso Al Di Meola. Connors left the band before the recording of this album to concentrate on his acoustic solo career. Overall, the band developed a clearer, more focused sound and style. This was due in part to the personnel changes, the implementation of new technology, and new playing techniques, but it was also a product of more careful recording and production in the studio.

Between the album’s longer tracks are three of Corea’s short piano improvisations that all bear a title that begins “Where Have I…”. The first track is Stanley Clarke’s “Vulcan Worlds”, which features some melodic motifs that would also appear on Clarke’s self-titled second solo album Stanley Clarke the same year. The song proved Clarke “one of the fastest and most facile electric bassists around”. Each player except for drummer Lenny White takes long solos. The next long track is Lenny White’s composition “The Shadow of Lo”, a complex piece with many changes in mood. The last track on Side A is Corea’s “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy”, a sequel to his “Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy”, the title track from the group’s previous album.

returntoforever

Side B begins with the collective jam “Earth Juice”. Most of Side B is taken up by Corea’s 14-minute epic “Song to the Pharaoh Kings”, a song notable for its use of the harmonic minor scale. The track has a long keyboard intro, after which Chick Corea is joined by the full band, and an “eastern” theme appears. Each member of the band plays a long solo.

This Return to Forever set finds guitarist Al DiMeola debuting with the pacesetting fusion quartet, an influential unit that also featured keyboardist Chick Corea, electric bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White. On this high energy set, short interludes separate the main pieces: “Vulcan Worlds,” “The Shadow of Lo,” “Beyond the Seventh Galaxy,” “Earth Juice” and the lengthy “Song to the Pharoah Kings.” Acoustic purists are advised to avoid this music, but listeners who grew up on rock and wish to explore jazz will find this stimulating music quite accessible. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Stanley Clarke (bass, organ, bell tree, chimes)
Chick Corea (keyboards, synthesizers, percussion)
Al Di Meola (guitar)
Lenny White (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Vulcan Worlds (Clarke) 7.51
02. Where Have I Loved You Before (Corea) 1.02
03. The Shadow of Lo (White) 7.32
04. Where Have I Danced With You Before (Corea) 1.14
05. Beyond The Seventh Galaxy (Corea) 3.13
06. Earth Juice (Corea/Clarke/White/Di Meola) 3.46
07. Where Have I Known You Before (Corea) 2.20
08. Song To The Pharoah Kings (Corea) 14.21

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Harry Chapin – Verities & Balderdash (1974)

frontcover1Verities & Balderdash is the fourth studio album by the American singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, released in 1974. (see 1974 in music). “Cat’s in the Cradle” was Chapin’s highest charting single, finishing at #44 for the year on the 1974 Billboard year-end Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, “I Wanna Learn a Love Song,” barely entered the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart. A third single, “What Made America Famous?”, failed to chart. The album was certified gold on December 17, 1974.

The album was advertised with the slogan: “As only Harry can tell it.”

The album was the first and only work by Chapin to exclusively use professional studio musicians, rather than his touring band, as had been the case in previous projects. (by wikipedia)

Verities & Balderdash is a very strange and wonderful album. “Cat’s in the Cradle” was the driving force behind the album’s sales, but there’s a lot more to appeal to listeners, along with enough personal, topical material to make it seem a bit didactic at the time, but Chapin was cultivating a politically committed audience. Verities & Balderdash walked several fine lines, between topical songwriting and an almost (but not quite) pretentious sense of its own importance, humor and seriousness, and balladry and punditry, all intermingled with catchy, highly commercial ballads such as “I Wanna Learn a Love Song” (which is about as pretty a song as he ever wrote). Chapin is in good voice and thrives in the more commercial sound of this album, which includes lots of electric guitars and overdubbed orchestra and choruses. He still loves to tell stories — most are like little screenplays, with “Shooting Star” offering details and textures and a sense of drama akin to a finished film (in the manner of “Taxi”). The “haunt count” on this album is extremely high, boosted by gorgeous ballads like “She Sings Songs Without Words.” “What Made America Famous” may be the one song that comes off as dated, a parable — perhaps reflecting the near-meltdown of politics surrounding the Nixon resignation of 1974 — about long-haired teens and crew-cutted firemen who discover a mutual dependence and respect for each other and reconciliation; it seems like ancient history and probably will be incomprehensible to anyone born after 1968.

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Chapin also lapses into excessive dramatics in the finale, which shamelessly borrows a couple of lines from one song out of the musical 1776. The album also offers a pair of humorous numbers on “30,000 Pounds of Bananas” and “Six String Orchestra,” not the most significant songs in Chapin’s repertory, but both adding balance to the mood. Producer Paul Leka (the commercial genius behind Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”) retained some elements of the relatively lean sound that characterized Chapin’s debut album, embellishing it only enough to give the album some potentially wider commercial appeal. Even the cover art seems to reflect the two delightfully contradictory thrusts of this album: an image of Chapin posed like Uncle Sam on the military recruiting poster with a wry smile on his face.(by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Ron Bacchiocchi (synthesizer)
Harry Chapin (guitar, vocals)
Don Grolnick (piano, harpsichord)
Don Payne (bass)
Allan Schwartzberg (drums)
John Tropea (guitar, sitar)
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Jim Chapin (drums on 04.)
Steve Chapin (piano on 04., 05. + 07.)
Tom Chapin (banjo on 04.)
Zizi Roberts (vocals)
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background vocals:
George Simms – Frank Simms – Dave Kondziela
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Tracklist:
01. Cat’s In The Cradle (S.Chapin/H.Chapin) 3.44
02. I Wanna Learn A Love Song (H.Chapin) 4.19
03. Shooting Star (H.Chapin) 4.02
04. 30,000 Pounds Of Bananas (H.Chapin) 5.45
05. She Sings Songs Without Words (H.Chapin) 3.31
06. What Made America Famous? (H.Chapin) 6.53
07. Vacancy (H.Chapin) 4.00
08. Halfway To Heaven (H.Chapin) 6.10
09. Six String Orchestra (H.Chapin) 5.25

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What a wonderful parody of rock musicians:

The very day I purchased it
I christened my guitar
As my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra
In my room I’d practice late
They’d leave me alone
My mother said, “You’re nothing yet
To make the folks write home”

I’d play at all the talent nights
I’d finish, they’d applaud
Some called it muffled laughter
I just figured they were odd
So I went up for an encore
But they screamed they’d had enough
Or maybe I just need a group
To help me do my stuff

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh, I write love songs for my favorite girl
And sing them soft and slow
But before I get to finish
She says she has to go
She’s nice and says “Excuse me
I’ve got to find a bar
I think I need refreshment
For I hear you play guitar”

Oh I sent a demo tape I made
To the record companies
Two came back address unknown
One came back C.O.D
Of course I got form letters
All saying pleasant things
Like suggesting I should find a trade
Where I would not have to sing

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

I’ve been taking guitar lessons
But my teacher just took leave
It was something about a break down
Or needing a reprieve
I know I found my future
So I will persevere
And hold onto my dream of
Making music to their ears

And so I’d dream a bass will join me
And fill the bottom in
And maybe now some lead guitar
So it would not sound so thin
I need some drums to set the beat
And help me keep in time
And way back in the distance
Some strings would sound so fine

And we would play together
Like fine musicians should
And it would sound like music
And the music would sound good
But in real life I’m stuck with
That same old formula
Me and my monophonic symphony
Six string orchestra

Oh finger tip
Oh some day, I’m gonna be a star

Cat Stevens – Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) (1974)

frontcover1This is probably one of the rarest albums Cat Stevens ever recorded:

When it comes to charity albums from the ’70s, one thinks of The Concert For Bangladesh (1971) and then The Music For UNICEF Concert: A Gift Of Song (1979). But in 1974, Cat Stevens released Saturnight (Live In Tokyo) on vinyl and only in Japan.

In 2009 sherrill50 posted the following note at the Steve Hoffman Forum: “In 1974, Cat Stevens and his band recorded a live show in Tokyo which A&M Records issued the same year on LP as ‘Saturnight’ – but ONLY in Japan. Sort of the holy grail for Cat’s fans, this has (as far as I know) never been issued on CD, anywhere. Renny pointed out (as I’d also heard) that Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, had a serious dislike for the performance and, as a result, it would probably never be issued.”

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My love for Cat Stevens isn’t what it used to be but I still enjoy his classic albums Tea for the Tillerman and Teaser and the Firecat once in a while. Most of my favourite songs made it onto this live release in a dignified quality, in contrast to the later Majikat live album which was overstuffed with ladies’ choirs and other grotesqueries. In addition to being a not ungifted acoustic guitarist and pianist, Cat has got a warm, gentle voice that somehow reminds me of oak wood. His songs are elegant and uncomplicated, and most of you will probably have heard one of them somewhere. The best ones among them are usually a tad autumnal (Wild World, My Lady d’Arbanville) if not plain sad, like Father and Son and Oh Very Young, though sometimes also hopeful like Peace Train. Ah, the nostalgia. (by for-the-greater-good.blogspot.de)

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Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Gerry Conway (drums, percussion, background vocals)
Jim Cregan (guitar)
Alun Davies (guitar, background vocals)
Bruce Lynch (bass)
Suzanne Lynch (background vocals)
Anna Peacock (background vocals)
Jean Roussel (keyboards)
Larry Steele (guitar, percussion, background vocals)
Cat Stevens (vocals, guitar, synthesizer, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Wild World (Stevens) 3.03
02. Oh Very Young ((Stevens) 2.28
03. Sitting (Stevens) 3:14
04. Where Do the Children Play (Stevens) 3:52
05. Lady d’Arbanville (Stevens) 3:47
06. Another Saturday Night (Cooke) 2.35
07. Hard Headed Woman (Stevens) 3:54
08. Peace Train (Stevens) 3:58
09. Father And Son (Stevens) 3:41
10. King Of Trees (Stevens) 3:28
11. Bad Penny (Stevens) 3:21
12. Bitterblue (Stevens) 3:12.

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The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N Roll (1974)

frontcover1It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll is the 12th British and 14th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released in 1974. It was the last Rolling Stones album for guitarist Mick Taylor and the songwriting and recording of the album’s title track had a connection to Taylor’s eventual replacement, Ronnie Wood. It also marked the 10th anniversary since the band’s debut album. The album has a firmer rock sound than the band’s previous album, the more funk- and soul-inspired Goats Head Soup. The album reached #1 in the US and #2 in the UK.

Work began on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll following the Rolling Stones’ fall 1973 European tour. Production began in November at Munich, Germany’s Musicland Studios. According to guitarist Keith Richards, “We were really hot (off the road) and ready just to play some new material.”[1] The recording sessions were attended by Belgian painter Guy Peellaert, who Mick Jagger invited to do the album cover after seeing his work in the book Rock Dreams, which featured illustrations of various rock musicians such as the Stones. Peellaert eventually painted the band as “rock deities”, descending a temple staircase, surrounded by young girls and women worshipping them in Grecian clothing. The artist refused to sign a deal of exclusivity, and in 1974 provided another album art, David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs.

The album was at first developed as a half-live, half-studio production with one side of the album featuring live performances from the Stones’ European tour while the other side was to be composed of newly recorded cover versions of the band’s favourite R&B songs. Covers recorded included a take of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”, Shirley & Company’s “Shame, Shame, Shame”, and The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”. Soon the band began working off riffs by Richards and new ideas by Mick Jagger and the original concept was scrapped in favour of an album with all-new material. The cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” was the only recording to make the cut, while the “Drift Away” cover is a popular bootleg.

rollingstones1974_01It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll marked the Stones’ first effort in the producer’s chair since Their Satanic Majesties Request, and the first for Jagger and Richards under their pseudonym “The Glimmer Twins”. On the choice to produce, Richards said at the time:

“I think we’d come to a point with Jimmy (Miller) where the contribution level had dropped because it’d got to be a habit, a way of life, for Jimmy to do one Stones album a year. He’d got over the initial sort of excitement which you can feel on Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed. Also, Mick and I felt that we wanted to try and do it ourselves because we really felt we knew much more about techniques and recording and had our own ideas of how we wanted things to go. Goats Head Soup hadn’t turned out as we wanted to – not blaming Jimmy or anything like that… But it was obvious that it was time for a change in that particular part of the process of making records.”

Starting with this release, all future Rolling Stones albums would either be produced by them or in collaboration with an outside producer.

Most of the album’s backing tracks were recorded first at Musicland; solo vocals were recorded later by Jagger, about whom Richards would say, “he often comes up with his best stuff alone in the studio with just an engineer.”

The song “Luxury” showed the band’s growing interest in reggae music, while “Till the Next Goodbye” and “If You Really Want to Be My Friend” continued their immersion in ballads. Seven of the album’s ten songs crack the four-minute mark, a feature that would come to be disparaged during the rising punk rock scene of the late 1970s.

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Ronnie Wood, a longtime acquaintance of the band, began to get closer to the Rolling Stones during these sessions after he invited Mick Taylor to play on his debut album, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do. Taylor spent some time recording and hanging out at Wood’s house The Wick. By chance, Richards was asked one night by Wood’s wife at the time, Krissy, to join them at the guitarist’s home. While there, Richards recorded some tracks with Wood and quickly developed a close friendship, with Richards going as far as moving into Wood’s guest room. Jagger soon entered the mix and it was here that the album’s lead single and title track, “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”, was first recorded. Wood worked closely on the track with Jagger, who subsequently took the song and title for their album. The released version of this song features Wood on twelve-string acoustic guitar.

It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll was Mick Taylor’s last album with the Rolling Stones, and he played on just seven of the ten tracks (he did not play on tracks 2, 3, and 6). Due to Taylor’s absence, Richards is responsible for the brief lead guitar break on “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, the distorted electric guitar on the title track which includes the solo, and played both rhythm and lead guitar tracks on the “Luxury” studio recording. However, on the occasional live performances of “Luxury” during the Tour of the Americas ’75, lead guitar was provided by Ron Wood. Even though Mick Taylor is present on “Short and Curlies”, his slide guitar playing panned onto the right channel/speaker is mostly buried underneath Richards’ own lead guitar throughout most of the track which is panned to the left channel/speaker.

Similar to receiving no writing credits on the Stones’ previous album, Goats Head Soup, Taylor reportedly had made songwriting contributions to “Till the Next Goodbye” and “Time Waits for No One”, but on the album jacket, all original songs were credited to Jagger/Richards. Taylor said in 1997:

“I did have a falling out with Mick Jagger over some songs I felt I should have been credited with co-writing on It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll. We were quite close friends and co-operated quite closely on getting that album made. By that time Mick and Keith weren’t really working together as a team so I’d spend a lot of time in the studio.”

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Taylor’s statement contradicts Jagger’s earlier comment concerning the album. Jagger stated in a 1995 Rolling Stone interview about “Time Waits for No One” that Taylor “maybe threw in a couple of chords”.

Alongside the usual outside contributors, namely Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins and unofficial member Ian Stewart, Elton John sideman Ray Cooper acted as percussionist for the album. Several songs were finished songs and overdubs and mixing were performed at Jagger’s home, Stargroves, in the early summer of 1974.

In July, the lead single, “It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But I Like It)”, was released, and despite the familiar sound, it surprised many by failing to reach the top 10 in the US (although it did reach the top 10 in the UK). With its sing-along chorus, it has become a staple at Rolling Stones concerts. The B-side “Through the Lonely Nights” dates back to the previous year’s Goats Head Soup sessions. A cover of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg”, originally a 1966 hit by The Temptations, was released as the second single in the US only, where it also became a top 20 hit. Its parent album appeared in October with brisk initial sales, reaching number two in the UK (breaking a string of number-one albums that stretched back to 1969’s Let It Bleed) and number one in the US, where it eventually went platinum.

Reviews were largely positive, with Jon Landau calling It’s Only Rock ’n Roll “one of the most intriguing and mysterious, as well as the darkest, of all Rolling Stones records.”[12] However rock critic Lester Bangs disparaged the album in The Village Voice, much like Goats Head Soup, saying, “The Stones have become oblique in their old age, which is just another word for perverse except that perverse is the corniest concept extant as they realized at inception… Soup was friendly and safe. I want the edge and this album doesn’t reassure me that I’ll get it, what a curious situation to be stuck in, but maybe that’s the beauty of the Stones, hah, hah, kid? This album is false. Numb. But it cuts like a dull blade. Are they doing the cutting, or are we?”

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Author James Hector added that It’s Only Rock ’n Roll was a definitive turning point for the band. “The album marked the band’s decisive entry into a comfortable living as rock’s elder statesmen. From this point on, their youth culture importance vanished, and there would be few musical surprises in the future.” Hector concluded with “On It’s Only Rock ’n Roll, the band had become what they imagined their mass audience desired them to be. They were wrong.”

Instead of immediately touring to promote the album, the band decided to head back into the Munich studios to record the next album, to Mick Taylor’s disappointment and subsequent resignation from the band. A tour didn’t happen until the following summer in the US, the ‘Tour of the Americas ’75’, with future member Ronnie Wood taking Taylor’s place on guitar.

The title track became a permanent staple of the band’s live setlist, but apart from some performances of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “If You Can’t Rock Me” on the Licks Tour, none of the other tracks have been performed since 1977. “Till The Next Goodbye”, “Time Waits For No-One”, “If You Really Want To Be My Friend” and “Short and Curlies” have never been played live.

In order to promote the album, music videos were filmed for several of the songs. The most commonly seen video from the album was the video for “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like It)”, featuring the band (in sailor suits) playing in a tent, which gradually fills with soap bubbles (Taylor is featured in the video but did not actually play on the recorded cut). Videos were also filmed for “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and “Till The Next Goodbye”.

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Personnel:
Mick Jagger (vocals; guitar on 04. + 10.)
Keith Richards (guitar, background vocals; bass on 01.)
Mick Taylor (guitar, slide-guitar, synthesizer on 05., congas on 07.,  bass on 10.)
Charlie Watts (drums)
Bill Wyman (bass, synthesizer on 10.)
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Ray Cooper (percussion)
Nicky Hopkins (piano on 04. – 06., 08. + 10.)
Charlie Jolly (tabla on 10.)
Ed Leach (cowbell on 02.)
Blue Magic (background vocals on 08.)
Billy Preston (piano on 01., 02., 10., clavinet on 02., organ on 08.)
Ian Stewart (piano on 03., 07. + 09.)

Basic track on “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)”:
David Bowie (background vocals)
Kenney Jones (drums)
Willie Weeks (bass)
Ronnie Wood (guitar, background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. If You Can’t Rock Me (Jagger/Richards) 3.48
02. Ain’t Too Proud To Beg (Whitfield/Holland) 3.30
03. It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It) (Inspiration by Ronnie Wood) (Jagger/Richards)     5.07
04. Till The Next Goodbye (Jagger/Richards) 4.39
05. Time Waits For No One (Jagger/Richards) 6.48
06. Luxury (Jagger/Richards) 5,03
07. Dance Little Sister (Jagger/Richards) 4.12
08. If You Really Want To Be My Friend (Jagger/Richards)  6.19
09. Short And Curlies (Jagger/Richards) 2.45
10. Fingerprint File (Jagger/Richards) 7.01

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