ON THE TURNTABLE: The KinKs- “Then,Now and InBetween”
The other day someone posted a piece on their blog about a few clunkers that The KinKs put out as albums, specifically during this “Preservation: Act 1 and 2” “School Boys In Disgrace” and “Soap Opera” days. I agreed wholeheartedly that these albums basically stunk, except for one or two songs taken out of context so to speak. However, from the moment I heard “You Really Got Me” on WMCA-AM 570 radio in New York I knew this was a band that would be ingrained in my brain. What great riffs, words, energy. After the union band was lifted (1969)and The KinKs were allowed to return to the United States I had the pleasure of seeing them at the Fillmore East opening for SPIRIT. It was a night to remember, even though the reviews were dismal, I was astounded, and over the subsequent years I’ve seen the band 10 times and RAY DAVIES (solo) 5 times. Each show was unique and truly an adventure. Even during the “clunker” years aka their “theatrical period” a live KinKs show was fantastic. While the “theatrical period” records were difficult to enjoy, I take you back to the “classic” years as they are called now.(I hate that phrase)
1964: WMCA-AM (New York’s Top 40 radio) plays “You Really Got Me” by The KinKs- September 0f 1964 to be exact.Two weeks later I bought the single along with THE ZOMBIES ‘She’s Not There” at the local W.T. Grants. A few weeks later I had The KinKs “All Day and All of the Night” with the incredible b-side “I Gotta Move” and THE ZOMBIES “Tell Her No”.
Spring of 65:
The Kinks – first lp was released in 64 but I was a singles man at that time. By 65 I was into the harder stuff…albums. I bought the second (US) album “KinKs Size” first which had “Tired of Waiting/ All Day and All of the Night/Gotta Move” Then,having throughly enjoyed the second I bought the first US “You Really Got Me” album. On that collection I played “Stop Your Sobbing” over and over.“Kinda KinKs” was their next US release but I held off. But at Christmas i received “KinKs Kingdom” with its “Well Respected Man” and “See My Friends”.
In 66/67 I picked up “Face To Face” which featured “Dandy/You’re Looking Fine/Sunny Afternoon”. Then ,“Something Else By The KinKs” (1967) where virtually every track is a winner to KinKs fans…David Watts/ Death of A Clown/Love Me To The Sun Shines/Waterloo Sunset
But the “game changer” is/was “The KinKs Are The Village Green Preservation Society “ of January 1969. This was a masterpiece in my mind. (Note:just bought the 50th Anniversary Edition- all formats and it is still as fresh as it was then.)
About this time the band is working out their problems with the unions (American Federation o fMusicians) having received a ban in 1965 blackballing them from performing in the States.Years later,Ray Davies mused, “In many respects, that ridiculous ban took away the best years of the Kinks’ career when the original band was performing at its peak.”
1969: IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT THE KINKS WILL RETURN TO THE USA…but by this time it is five long years even THE DAVE CLARK FIVE, THE HOLLIES and HERMIT’S HERMITS had more Top Ten hits in the US than The KinKs. To most in The States, THE KINKS were forgotten, it being WOODSTOCK and all.The KinKs were now a “cult band”, a cult to which I was happily a card carrying member. An ad in the VILLAGE VOICE (August 69) encouraged the record buying public to send in $2.00 to REPRISE RECORDS to fund a campaign entitled GOD SAVE THE KINKS. My two bucks went in. A few weeks later I receive a box set complete with (fake) grass from The Village Green, a puzzle, a sticker, a GOD SAVE THE KINKS badge (which I still have) and included in the box was what is now, one of my most prized records “Then, Now and InBetween” . The ‘campaign” was done to help rejuvenate their careers in America . A few weeks later “Arthur” is released with the gems “Brainwashed” and “Victoria”.
The KinKs tour the US with a stop at Fillmore East October 18,1969.I am there, OH ,YES. Then,1970: Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround,Part one: and everything changes…LOLA…L…o…l…a…LOLA.
TICKETS TORN IN HALF: BOB DYLAN AND THE BAND@ MADISON SQUARE GARDEN- JANUARY 31, 1974(If you like what you are reading please hit the button to “subscribe”. Thanks.)
I don’t know why any suburban concert goer circa 1972-1978 would ever want to attend a show at NASSAU COLISEUM… drug busts, arrest, the other night 10 arrest at the BOB DYLAN and THE BAND show. Geez…I refused to buy a ticket knowing the life style of a young man would be in jeopardy when confronted by the tactics of the Nassau County PD and the county’s notorious DA. So when the call came that my bride’s co-worker had two tickets for the same show but housed in the safety and security of New York City’s MADISON SQUARE GARDEN I was on the train in a flash.Being a Thursday night I had to call in “sick” for work. Of course my boss questioned my sudden illness so I nicely told him I’m going to see Bob Dylan so “freak you” but only in stronger words.He listed it as a “personal” day.
DYLAN hadn’t toured in almost 8 years, 1966 that is and I was 14 at that time. To boot, DYLAN hadn’t released an album in almost four years so this was going to be a “must” see event. Tickets were sold out in a matter of minutes in our area. Four nights, two at the Nassau piss hole and 2 night with 3 shows ( one matinee-4PM) at MSG.DYLAN had just released “Planet Waves” a few days before our show, an album made with THE BAND onboard.
So away I go, train ride in with a bottle of wine and my usual Marlboro Reds, getting primed before meeting up with my wife and another couple. A quick bite to eat, payment for the tickets, and into the show. Pretty good seats to the left of the stage, two levels up but close enough for my zoom lens to work.(Notes from my journal-“Dylan opens with MOST LIKELY YOU GO YOUR WAY and a few tunes before THE BAND does STAGE FRIGHT, Bob joins in, then acoustic BOB, then THE BAND, then BOB and THE Band closing with MOST LIKELY YOU GO YOUR WAY. Neat. I took a photo of YOKO, Albert Grossman and DICK CAVETT chatting during intermission”.
Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine) 2.Lay Lady Lay 3.Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues 4.Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35 5.It Ain’t Me, Babe 6.Ballad Of A Thin Man 7.All Along The Watchtower 8.Ballad Of Hollis Brown 9.Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door 10.The Times They Are A-Changin’ 11.Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right 12.Gates Of Eden 13.Just Like A Woman 14.It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) 15.Forever Young 16.Something There Is About You 17.Like A Rolling Stone — 18.Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine) 19.Blowin’ In The Wind
Village Voice Review
Madison Square Garden with the Band | January 31, 1974 Aside from some guest appearances (a Woody Guthrie Tribute; the Concert for Bangladesh; a Band show at the Academy of Music) Dylan was off the road for seven-and-a-half years and didn’t play a full concert in New York City for a very long time. That was a lifetime, an entire career in rock and roll back then. A lot would happen in between: military actions, protest movements, motorcycle accidents, Woodstock. But then he came back with one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll alliances on one of the most amazing tours ever. The ‘74 tour with the Band featured Dylan at the height of his Seventies powers, alongside Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson and Levon Helm very close to the apex of theirs. This show at the Garden would amply showcase all of the above, and an audience at the height of Watergate roars like a jet engine as Dylan sings the “But even the President of the United States/Has to stand naked” line during “It’s All Right Ma, I’m Only Bleeding.”
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:(THE REAL and FAKE) FLEETWOOD MAC-Various Nights in Various Places with Various People
(1968) I’m a sixteen year old, living across the street from a nineteen year old college student, a bohemian kinda guy who enjoyed music as much as I did. When he had time to be seen with a young punk we would (occasionally) engage in a conversation about the bands he saw. He told me about The LOVING SPOONFUL early on in their career, a little later THE AIRPLANE, and once he mentioned seeing FLEETWOOD MAC(December of 1968 @ Steve Paul’s THE SCENE ). This guy raved about the group, especially their singer/ guitarist. I jotted the name of the band in my trusty notebook thinking this is a band to be on the look out for. Then,I heard nothing about them for quite some time and no matter where I searched I could not find any of their recordings. A few months passed (early 69) when I found A Hard Road (February 1967 release date), the third John Mayall album (and the first to feature Peter Green who I still did not know was the singer/guitarist in question). “A Hard Road” was amazing, especially “The Stumble” which I thought would make the perfect “break song” for my band, “Another Kinda Love”, and …”The Supernatural”. Who is this guitarist?Peter Green? Who?
My kid brother was a THREE DOG NIGHT fan and a budding concert goer. Pop always said it was the double breasted suits, Beatle boots, and music which led him astray from the priesthood. So, with a few friends he attended a July 1969 show at THE (NYS) PAVILION in Queens, NY. On the bill was FLEETWOOD MAC.While my brother raved about how fantastic THREE DOG NIGHT’s performance was, he said little about FLEETWOOD MAC except to say I would like them. A few nights later my buddies (sans me) saw Ten Years After @ WOLLMAN RINK in Manhattan and lo and behold FLEETWOOD MAC opened. The guys loved both bands. For me it was another missed opportunity. But alas, a few weeks later I found “Then Play On” in the record store, also “Fleetwood Mac”, the one with the garbage can on the cover. I was mesmerized by the music, and now realized Peter Green from Mayall’s “A Hard Road” was the guitarist/singer in question.
Then, it was my turn,November 22,1969@Fillmore East, JOE COCKER and THE GREASE BAND headlining with FLEETWOOD MAC and KING CRIMSON as support bands; I saw Cocker in August, Crimson was unheard of (another story)…It was a Fleetwood Mac night to remember, at least for me. PETER GREEN was phenomenal as was the rest of the band. So,so good they were.My girlfriend thought they were not even close to Cocker’s Grease Band. What?I need to rethink girlfriends.
Two months later, Friday night, January 23, 1970 FLEETWOOD MAC is headlining locally (Island Park) at The Action House with Frost opening. Knowing I had QUICKSILVER tickets for the next night I only stayed for one, long fabulous set by THE MAC. Again, they did not disappoint and Peter Green was brilliant…”Black Magic Woman”,”The Supernatural”, “Albatross”,“The Green Manalishi”, “Rattlesnake Shake” (which went on for about 15 minutes),”Jumping at Shadows”,and “Shake Your Moneymaker”.Whew.
A few years ago I was discussing the merits of DUANE ALLMAN with a like minded spirit when the guy told me his remembrance of the JANIS JOPLIN/ GRATEFUL DEAD show at FILLMORE EAST February 11, 1970. JOPLIN was debuting her new band@ Fillmore East. At the late show the DEAD were doing their thing when they invited Duane Allman (Allman Bros. opened the show) AND Peter Green up to the stage for a jam.Peter was in town as Fleetwood Mac was opening for SLY and The FAMILY STONE at Madison Square Garden.Recently I listened to a decent recording of this event and, well, mind-blowing is all I can say.
After these performances (late 69 early 1970), I hear no more about FLEETWOOD MAC shows or recordings, which is strange as the summer schedule (Central Park,etc) was released and I expected their name to pop up. It appears the band had a few difficulties, one being the leader, PETER GREEN walked away (May 28,1970) leaving Fleetwood Mac (version #4) as Jeremy, Danny, John, and Mick. A #5 version appears (August 70-Feb 71) by adding CHRISTINE PERFECT (from CHICKEN SHACK) aka Christine McVie.
Late Summer, the FILLMORE EAST lineup is finally announced and there they are August 28-29, 1970 SAVOY BROWN/FLEETWOOD MAC/FAIRPORT CONVENTION. I send in my SASE for tickets
for what later would be one of my favorite shows of that summer despite some personnel changes and relationship problems in the bands and for me. I had two FAIRPORT CONVENTION albums and knew seeing them live would be unique. Unfortunately Sandy Denny (vocalist) had left the band but I became a huge fan of Richard Thompson (guitar/vocals) that night. Next up, Fleetwood Mac was missing Peter Green which was a huge disappointment for me, they/he were/was the reason I was there. But this newer FLEETWOOD MAC (version #5) now had Christine Perfect on keys /vocals and they introduced KILN HOUSE stuff which rocked. Quite a huge departure from the Peter Green stuff. Finally, Savoy Brown had no Chris Youlden on vocals. Lonesome Dave did the voice, and shades of FOGHAT were born. Despite the fact that all three bands were missing a key component, all were oh so good.
It appears (May 1970) Green left the band, suffering the early onset of mental illness thought to be the result of an unsolicited LSD experience in Munich, Germany.
FLEETWOOD MAC (#6) occurs February 15,1971 when Jeremy Spencer disappears the day the band hits Los Angeles, joining a cult known as THE CHILDREN of GOD, thereby denouncing his career, his band, his wife and two children.
“…given the news of Spencer’s action, the group called on Peter Green in London to rejoin them for the duration of the tour. After an hour on the phone, Green agreed – but only to finish out the tour, which ends in Long Island March 27th. Green, whose departure was partly attributable to his own devotion to Christianity, flew in on Friday, the 19th, to join the band in San Bernardino, California. He refused to talk about the Spencer case and emphasized only that the reunion with Fleetwood Mac is temporary.(Rolling Stone:March 18,1971)
Correction: His devotion was not to Christianity as Peter Green is actually Peter Greenbaum, of Jewish decent. Green did not like the music business, actually gave away all his money at one point.
I tired having worked a KinKs concert (March 26)getting to my room about 5AM but knew I had to solder on as PETER GREEN was in town playing with FLEETWOOD MAC/ EDGAR WINTER’s WHITE TRASH/TIN HOUSE March 26/27,1971@ Rockpile aka The Action House. Again, he did not disappoint,taking the band back to their roots of blues, beautifully played blues. And then he was gone, again
FLEETWOOD MAC(version 7) is now young DANNY KIRWAN (another soon to be rock n roll tragedy) and CHRISTINE McVIE’s band. “Future Games” (71) was Danny’s shining moment as lead guitarist with BOB WELCH added to the line up on rhythm. The blues were dropped from their repertoire. “Bare Trees” (72) is considered the lp which erases everything in the past, a true Kirwan masterpiece, to some. During the promotional tour Danny Kirwan was fired from Fleetwood Mac in the (fall of 1972). His alcoholism and increasing mental instability had made him a difficult bandmate and collaborator. Version 8 is Bob and Christine’s show and so on…they were a mess financially,had troubles with internal relationships and external relationships. They added members, dropped folks, changed management ,moved to LA, back to England,etc
January 26,1974, Academy of Music- FLEETWOOD MAC/KISS/SILVERHEAD. I’m there for FLEETWOOD MAC (not knowing who was still in the band). SILVERHEAD, well I had no idea who they were, still don’t. KISS was on a return performance from their debut at the same venue on New Years Eve. Their set was cut short as Gene Simmons set his hair on fire.(I saw Kiss twice at THE DAISY in Amityville the summer before but then KISS was not like this. Tonight, KISS set the entire venue of 3000 on fire. A great show, lights, fire breathing,fully costumed and ear drum shattering loud. Then, FLEETWOOD MAC appears. I notice MICK FLEETWOOD is not on the kit, No John McVie, No Christine…strange looks around the crowd, “who are these guys” playing instrumentals and no noticeable MAC tunes. Boos start, getting louder by the moment. An announcement is made that refund vouchers are available at the box office, to which I took my two. This was a bogus FM, a band put together by the owner (a past manager) of the “brand name” FLEETWOOD MAC, which hit the road while the true members were sorting out problems with alcohol, drugs, relationships, etc.Immediately after this, the true band grab the reins and hire Buckingham and Nicks, the rest is history.
To me,of all the guitar giants to emerge from the British blues boom Peter Green was perhaps the most naturally gifted. B.B.King famously said this about him: “He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats.” That’s really is all you need to know about the man. Duane Allman acknowledged Green’s influence on him and the twin guitar approach of the Allman Brothers Band, And PETER GREEN penned “Black Magic Woman”.
The album “Sweet Baby James” was a game changer, not only for JAMES TAYLOR but also for a host of singer-songwriters who followed. His second album, first for Warner Bros Records, hit the airways in 1970 and slowly made its way up the charts. The single “Fire and Rain”, when released, was a top Ten Billboard hit.
January 25, 1971:FILLMORE EAST 8th row right side with a new girl at my side. Opening act was a 23 year old out of San Francisco who goes by one name, VICTORIA.
Mike Jahn’s review of VICTORIA from the NY TIMES that week describes her as “a frail‐looking folk singer from San Francisco,(who) is proving very impressive during her engagement at the Gaslight Cafe,The 23‐year‐old angular faced, thin‐armed performer plays electric guitar and piano, and sings in a highly distinctive voice, shifting from high‐ cutting moments unlike most other female folk singers, to soft breathy moments”. Which she was, all of that, but forgotten by me after she finished her set.
After a short intermission the crowd was reminded that James Taylor was performing a benefit for Native Americans. Out he strolls to applause and a few “We love you James”. His banter with the crowd was entertaining and his comment about having PAUL McCARTNEY in the house had almost everyone, myself included, looking for the former Beatle. Hence, James Taylor opens with an acoustic version of WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS.
With A Little Help From My Friends 03:45
2 Long Ago & Far Away 03:45
3 Something In The Way She Moves 03:54
4 Blossom 02:33
5 (Snuff Commercial) 02:17
6 Greensleeves 01:55
7 Sunny Skies 03:57
8 Diamond Joe 03:07
9 Things Go Better With Coke 01:36
10 Carolina In My Mind 04:19
11 Riding On A Railroad 02:44
12 Fire And Rain 04:46
13 Highway Song 05:39
14 Lo And Behold 04:05
15 Machine Gun Kelly 02:52
16 Hey Mister, That's Me Up On the Jukebox 04:13
17 Steamroller Blues 04:25
18 Night Owl 03:51
19 You Can Close Your Eyes 02:38
20 Sweet Baby James 03:16
James Taylor was entertaining, and a pleasure to hear. I made a tape of the performance with my portable and trusty cassette player.
What a way to celebrate my 17th birthday with two tickets to see THE DOORS on January 24, 1969 at Madison Square Garden. New brown corduroy slacks, brown boots, a new overcoat, with a few extra bucks in my pocket from my folks as a birthday gift and away I go. A new pack of Marlboro Reds, train fare, money for the food after the show at the diner, I was psyched to go to another live show. But on the train ride in, the “problem” soon reared its ugly head as I had a girlfriend who was more excited about seeing Jim Morrison and chatting about Jim Morrison with her friends who also would be attending the show, both on the ride in and then again on the way home, Jim, Jim, Jim. Geez, selfish me, taking her to celebrate my birthday, which she basically forgot.
In THE GARDEN the stage was set in the middle of the arena and as the lights dimmed, The Staple Singers appeared first. Beautiful mood and music is the best way to describe what The Staples did. Even with a poor sound system their set was fascinatingly simple, elegant and spiritual. I was awestruck. After a rather extensive intermission, THE DOORS with a bass player (Harvey Brooks) appeared on stage, and adding a small horn section for a few tunes this being their “Soft Parade” days. According to The Doors faithful this show, one of the band’s first attempts at an arena rock show, was one of their finest. That night included songs from The Soft Parade, as well as Tell All The People, Love Me Two Times, Spanish Caravan,Back Door Man, Light My Fire, Five To One and When The Music’s Over
The Doors were, to my limited live experienced ears, musically okay, but not what I had anticipated. I expected a great rock band. Jim Morrison was an idiot, or was it just me? Nah, he was an idiot, hindering an otherwise good band with his “poetry” and rants. One interlude by Mr. Morrrison was something about him sitting on a fence, “and boy, do my balls hurt”. Musically my night was made by really digging The Staple Singers and developing a true appreciation for what they did. They were one cool group with a smooth, unique sound. Needless to say the Staples did not fit into the conversation on the return trip home. And neither did my birthday which seemed to have been overlooked. So as the song goes, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS…
January 30, 1969- The Village Voice- Riffs-“Jiiimmieeeee!” “Jim Morrison carefully wrapped his black leather jacket into the shape suitable for air travel, then heaved it far into this $6.50 seats. It was early on in the proceedings Friday night at Madison Square Garden and if there was any question earlier whether the Doors concert was going to be anything but predictable, it was answered then.” “…. The instrumentalists in the group play their axes, Morrison plays the audience. “… well, the teenies got their show and the Doors and their promoters got lots of money, and money is really all that these monster events, indoors and out, are all about. The music? Who knows? The sound system in The Garden is abominable, but it mattered a lot more during The Staple Singers very professional set then when The Doors came on. The Doors originally sounded like one of the freshest, most promising things happening. Now they have released the same album under three different titles and encourage an audience that would be satisfied if they played bubblegum music as long as up front there was their Jiiimmmmiiiieeee.”
TICKETS TORN IN HALF:THE DOORS/ LONNIE MACK- JANUARY 18,1970@ FELT FORUM
A few days shy of my 18th birthday and I’m feeling like a veteran rock n roller having attended a shit load of concerts.Yet,I was still a bit naive. The entire crew at work, even us part timers got a nice Christmas bonus which I spent on new slacks, cut perfectly for my skinny body, a nice pullover, a new jacket with almost matching boots, and two tickets to see one of my girlfriend’s favorite band THE DOORS, Sunday, January 18,1970 at The FELT FORUM, my second shot at seeing this legendary band.If I could have I would have begged off but didn’t. Again,as last year, the rants and poems by Morrison while the group played a pedestrian beat in the background made me think…ah, he (Morrison) is not that good.Yet the women in the crowd loved him, they actually roared with delight at his antics and his profanity. Lonnie Mack opened the show and was as good as last time I saw him. John Sebastian joined the Doors on harmonica for the opening tune ROADHOUSE BLUES. And my stroll around The Forum almost got me arrested. Good thing I am fast and the security guard fell on the stairs when he grabbed me.
It was a long night, with a late start to the show, and a missed train for a ride home, I was getting nervous knowing that I had classes in the morning, midterm exams.The sun was about to rise as our train pulled into town, arriving home a few minutes before my folks woke up for work. I went upstairs and set my alarm hoping against hope for some shuteye, but alas, no. Pop called up to me, “Time to get up, Mary”, his pet name for me because of my hair. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, got a cup of coffee and lit a smoke. As I exhaled I wondered ,“What the hell am I doing? That show was not worth it.” I took a shower, dressed and heading off to high school.
THE DOORS were a staple in my listening pleasure over the years.After hearing about this band from my older music loving neighbors I bought the “Light My Fire” single and the first album on their recommendation. Good stuff, I thought. To my surprise the second album “Strange Days” was purchased for me by my Dad after he saw an ad for its release in a record store window in Greenwich Village. Why he bought it for me I’ll never know but I liked that he did and I enjoyed the record.
While I was working as an intern in NYC (Summer 1968)I bought “Waiting For The Sun” which I thought was the start of the end, a downward spiral, for the group. Then, “The Soft Parade” which compared to the releases of the same period (a few weeks before Woodstock Festival) shows that THE DOORS were reaching for straws here…horns, etc …pop music, yuck.
So this is my introduction to THE DOORS, four albums worth of tunes before I see them live for the first time, January of 1969. While that show is their first attempt at arena rock it is considered to be one of their “shining moments” by their legions of die hards. I was just okay with it. Now, it’s my second shot and we find a drunken, bearded, and “slightly” overweight Morrison. Well,anyway, the musicians were great. The entire show has been released live, check it out…it will prove my point.
from pitchfork review.
The rest of the band is here to support the star, and it never lets him down: The Doors were a loose, groovy, and ferocious combo, here playing a setlist that sticks to rock and blues and skips all the winsome and folky stuff that cluttered up Waiting for the Sun and The Soft Parade. Organist Ray Manzarek played the hooks that turned songs like “Hello, I Love You” into pop hits, but here he’s focused on driving the rhythm section. Even his legendary solo on “Light My Fire” changes in concert from a melodic improvisation to a jam that climaxes in frustration, as you can hear him stabbing the keys with all ten fingers and wishing he had another ten besides. On the other hand, guitarist Robby Krieger is ferocious right from the riff of “Roadhouse Blues”, and he makes their cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love” one of the best recordings the Doors ever made.
Twenty one dates after this night…july 3, 1971 and Mr.Mojo Risen is dead.
According to my friends I possess a somewhat eclectic taste in music and by my constantly seeking out new shows to attend, sometimes it is difficult to find an accompanist who would enjoy what I was going to see/listen to. This show was one of those nights. HOT TUNA (Jorma and Jack) was on a semi-official departure from JEFFERSON AIRPLANE, a band I was fascinated with.The last two times watching the Airplane, one night at Suffolk Community where there was more TUNA than AIRPLANE, and their last November Thanksgiving run at FILLMORE EAST when HOT TUNA did a complete set outshining the (newer) AIRPLANE, I was ready for this, HOT TUNA. Seems like most of my guy friends had plans or worse case scenario, had no interest in this particular show. So, a good friend, a woman accompanied me to FILLMORE EAST for HOT TUNA, TAJ MAHAL and BRETHEN. Brethren was a band out of New York, and a friend of mine knew one of the members so that connection made me pay close attention to what they were doing. They were alright, just alright, but somehow in the next few months they continued to pop up on the bills of other shows I attended. I learned to appreciate that band when I became familiar with their stuff.
TAJ MAHAL on the other hand was noteworthy from the git-go. He slipped out on stage, sat on a stool, and started to play a National Steel guitar. While slowly working through his repertoire other members of the band “appeared” without announcement of fanfare, to the point were there were four tubas on the stage accompanying him. FOUR TUBAS. It was mind blowing. Besides Taj his band consisted of HOWARD JOHNSON on tuba (later to be musical director for SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE), JOHN HALL (later of ORLEANS fame and update NY politics) on guitar, JOHN SIMON, piano (producer of THE BAND’s “Music From Big Pink”, BIG BROTHER’S Cheap Thrills, BLOOD,SWEAT and TEARS “Child is the Father To The Man” and other recordings) and ROCKY DziDzournu on congas, a standout in my memory as he was the cat who takes THE STONES’ “Sympathy For The Devil” to new heights, along with a host of other musicians, totaling ten players on stage.Great stuff . A month later, at the same venue TAJ MAHAL is back to record his live album.
To close out the night, Hot Tuna which was now ELECTRIC HOT TUNA was ear shattering loud, to say the least, and being seated second row on the left directly in front of a huge bank of speakers…LOUD.Will Scarlett on harp, the aforementioned JORMA KAUKONEN on guitar, JACK CASADY, my favorite bass player, SAMMY PIAZZA, a (adequate) drummer (I miss Spencer Dryden) and PAPA JOHN CREACH from the AIRPLANE on violin/fiddle. The boys were on fire. Overall, it was another great night at FILLMORE EAST, a truly great night.
January 1974 Date unknown early 1974: TERRY REID at Bitter End: Terry was hiding for the last two years from Mickey Most, as was “most” of his roster of artists.After basing himself in California with the likes of David Lindley and Graham Nash, Terry returns with a new look, a new record company and a new collection of tunes. Using my limited connection at Atlantic I received two press passes for Terry Reid at The Bitter End. David Lindley was and is an amazing guitarist, anything with strings he can master,saw him with Jackson Browne at PHILHARMONIC HALL a few months ago and Terry was in great voice this night. At one point Terry dropped his slide which rolled out to my seat. After the show I picked the slide up, sought out a stage guy to return it. He said ,“Terry’s right back there”. Bingo, Terry answers the door and is most thankful. The pictures on Terry’s website from THE BITTER END gig, both on stage and backstage are mine.
Ah, the joys of being an opening act for a major rock band. Consider the following: you are four young men from England, traveling together for the first time as a new up and coming act. Since your band has been recently signed to a major record label, say, ATLANTIC RECORDS, it has been decided by shared management that you will tour with a label mate of some renown, The VANILLA FUDGE. It’s late 1968 and THE FUDGE is, well, still relying on their remake of THE SUPREMES “You Keep Me Hanging On” to put hineys in the seats. You meet up on the west coast for your scheduled romp across The States, 41 dates, with fees ranging from a low $320.00 to a high of $1500.00. At some point your band will leave THE FUDGE and finish the short tour opening for IRON BUTTERFLY of “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” fame.So, who or what is this band?
Ladies and Gentlemen…LEN ZEFFLIN. (cue applause). In short order,club owners will know how to spell the name for they will make some headlines, in one year’s time they will release two noteworthy albums, and in two years time they will be the biggest concert draw in America.
For those who only know of the power and popularity of Led Zeppelin of latter days, let me take you back to a time before their very first album hit the stands.
Jimmy Page was one of the “three”, the triumvirate of rock guitarist gods who moseyed through a British band of some renown named THE YARDBIRDS. This band ,who legend states took their name from Charlie YARDBIRD Parker was somewhat known in the USA, but more popular in their homeland of Great Britain. Without giving the long history of the Yardbirds let’s just say they got a CRAWDADDY (a club) gig when the spot was vacated by THE ROLLING STONES, a band on the move. Eric Clapton was the YARDBIRDS guitarist at that time who became uncomfortable with the band veering away from it’s blues roots, heading into a pop direction. Clapton leaves and suggest Jimmy Page take his spot. Page was the “go to studio guitarist” at the time and didn’t want to vacate that profitable role, so PAGE suggested JEFF BECK who took the gig.
With BECK’s influence the YARDBIRDS moved toward a psychedelic route with fuzz tones, feedback, and overall guitar virtuosity. By 1966 JEFF BECK was voted Melody Maker’s GUITARIST OF THE YEAR.When the bass player drops out of The Yardbirds JIMMY PAGE steps in for a spell. When a new bassist is recruited PAGE stays on for a BECK/PAGE new dual guitar attack approach. Beck gets sick, misses a few gigs and ultimately leaves the band to Page.With the lead singer Keith Relf’s alcoholism and the band not having any more hits, as well as with the rise of CREAM and JIMI HENDRIX, soon most of The Yardbirds disappeared, leaving Jimmy Page with the name. To fulfill some contractual commitments,with a new manager PETER GRANT on board, the band hits the road as THE NEW YARDBIRDS.
Page had recruited TERRY REID as vocalist but he, with a new MICKIE MOST contract, could not leave. Reid suggested a friend, ROBERT PLANT who brought along his drummer friend JOHN BONHAM. Page called his studio buddy JOHN PAUL JONES for bass and keyboards and after a short tour of Scandinavia, the NEW YARDBIRDS hit the studio to record what would become LED ZEPPELIN’s debut.
The album is released January 12,1969. Some of the tunes hit the New York FM airwaves after the band’s now legendary performance as the opening act for IRON BUTTERFLY at FILLMORE EAST January 31 and February 1, 1969, this being Led Zeppelin’s first US tour. Pete my buddy at Dubbings Electronics attended one of those shows that weekend. He raved about this new band who blew Iron Butterfly off the stage, leaving Iron Butterfly to play just one song, their hit IN A GADDA DA VIDA, and according to Pete, Led Zeppelin came back out due to the booing of Butterfly and the calls for “more” Zeppelin. I have never been able to verify that but Pete said it,so…it must be true.
A few days later while at work Pete asked me to join him to see LED ZEPPELIN at THE SCENE a club in Manhattan. With little provocation I agreed to go to the Wednesday night show. But alas, the shows were cancelled due to John Bonham’s son falling at home in England and Bonham was needed there. So, I made due by purchasing LED ZEPPELIN and listening to the debut album, over and over again.
January 12,1969: LED ZEPPELIN is released.I almost burnt that record out. It was on heavy rotation with JETHRO TULL’s “This Was” on my turntable.Geez, it was so good in early 1969, and is still a good listen today.Nothing like it at the time. Dump the cd, get the vinyl.
Putting out my BEST OF for this past year made me nostalgic in a way. So I dug out some listings from yesteryear and over the next few weeks I’ll post a few.My brother and I actual compiled lists of our favorite records but this listing is from most of the records I bought that year, in no particular order or preference.
It’s 1969 and my record collection was growing in leaps and bounds. Seems like the more money I had the more records I bought. However, my stereo was not what one would expect of a serious record collector. I was using an old split speaker (in a case) record player propped up on my desk. But hey, the sucker did the job. That and my portable single speaker cassette player tucked along side my portable PANASONIC AM/FM stereo radio made up my “sound system”. I also had an AM/FM radio bedside. A friend had a huge stereo unit, one with humongous speakers,a turntable with a “stylus” no less, but alas he had virtually no records, always borrowing mine.
Records In My Rotation throughout that year included:
The debut album from LED ZEPPELIN “Led Zeppelin”, I bought this early on in the year after a recommendation from my work buddy, Pete, who saw this “unknown” band open for IRON BUTTERFLY. This album was amazing and it took me a few days to realize that this JIMMY PAGE was the same JIMMY PAGE from THE YARDBIRDS. Later, in the year after its release and after seeing the band live twice I copped LED ZEPPELIN II. Geez, these recordings were unique, and the band was …WOW.
THE BEATLES “Abbey Road” was and still is a hard listen for me, yet when it first was released I played it continuously, usually picking out a song or two before moving on to some other record .It was probably the Harrison tunes that I liked the most.
THE WHO “Tommy” is another difficult record to listen to all the way through, but that year I did see the band perform “Tommy” in its entirety twice, and I must say, live WHO was better than any record.
KING CRIMSON’S “In The Court Of The Crimson King”was/is a great record, one that for its time was truly original. This band blew me away when I saw them in the fall of 69, opening for FLEETWOOD MAC and JOE COCKER. After their 34 minute set, I bought the album the next payday. Speaking of FLEETWOOD MAC “Then Play On”( their 3rd album) drew me to see them live and I became a PETER GREEN fan that night. This collection showed the originals of the name sake take their blues influenced and mostly refurbished recordings a step further. I must have recited the opening of “Oh, Well-Part 1” a million times to friends, to the point where I was annoying. I still am, say some. And JOE COCKER’s “With A Little Help From My Friends” which I grabbed in the early summer after hearing some of his tunes on the radio and before seeing him and THE GREASE BAND open for The AIRPLANE at FILLMORE EAST was a goodie, but again, live he was a trip.
Also, there was NEIL YOUNG’s masterpiece “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”, along with FRANK ZAPPA’s “Hot Rats” which help change my musical perspective and soon led me to CAPTAIN BEEFHEART “Trout Mask Replica”.
Two debuts, one from CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH, a summer hit and Blind Faith’s one and only official release, which I thought was a mess, as was their show at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. “Nashville Skyline” by BOB DYLAN was a pleasant surprise, even my POP liked it, well, it had JOHNNY CASH on it.THE FLYING BURRITO BROS “Gilded Palace of Sin” was a good pick up and ISAAC HAYES’ “Hot Buttered Soul” arrived unannounced when I did not respond in time to a record company selection deadline but boy was I glad I got that gem. CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY’s debut double set before they shortened their name to CHICAGO, and coincidentally was the only record I ever bought by them. JETHRO TULL’s “Stand Up” was a mainstay on the turntable along with the profane MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams” which was played on minimal volume as not to upset the parents. And then there was the profanity nestled in JEFFERSON AIRPLANE’s “Volunteers” another record which kept a low profile when played.
I practiced my drums listening to THE GRATEFUL DEAD’s “Live Dead” but was not enthused with The DOORS “Soft Parade”, and
PINK FLOYD’s Ummagumma was, well, just listen to “Careful With That Axe ,Eugene” and wonder why my Mom would yell, “What is that? Please, no more.” She didn’t particularly enjoy THE STOOGES “The Stooges”, either, no matter how many times I played it. Speaking of Mom’s taste, THE VELVET UNDERGROUND “The Velvet Underground” was more to her liking as was THE KINKS “Arthur”.
JOHN MAYALL’s “Turning Point” was bought the same day as PHAROAH SANDER’s “Karma”, late 1969. Both late night incense burning albums.
and of course, THE ROLLING STONES Beggar’s Banquet which never left my turntable and the follow-up release Let It Bleed (see blog Oct. 20, 2018)
PROCUL HARUM’s “A Salty Dog” which was actually my kid brother’s record found it’s way into my room many a night, along with his SLY and The FAMILY STONE’s “Stand” and JANIS JOPLIN’s “I Got Dem Ole Kosmic Blues Again Mama” but not any of his CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL or his “Odessa” by THE BEE GEES. Just the red felt cover on that one turned my stomach. Continue reading →