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.”
Jan 30, 1996: JOHN ENTWISTLE @ Tramps w/ Godfrey Townshend ( no relation to Pete) on guitar. This was a fantastic night celebrating my 44th birthday with friends listening to THE OX rock this small but great venue.
I became an Entwistle fan the moment I heard “Boris The Spider”.It was early 1968,I’m at a house party for a friend’s 16th birthday party to which I gifted him BLUE CHEER’S “Vincebus Eruptum”. It seems like I purchased the wrong gifts for the wrong people at the wrong times. That gift has nothing to do with this story. While the BLUE CHEER record was not a hit, I did throw on the album “A Quick One” by THE WHO. At that house party we must’ve played “Boris the Spider” 20 times. Every guy there loved it, the girls not so much.
“Boris the Spider” is a song written by John Entwistle the bass player of The WHO. If memory serves me well I picked up that album “A Quick One” during the previous summer after hearing from a friend how powerful the band was at MURRAY The K’s “Music in the Fifth Dimension” shows in NY. These shows were the debut of THE WHO and CREAM and having loved i the album so much it made its way with me to many house parties. In my collection I also had “My Generation” (the album) and a few WHO singles that I was fortunate enough to find in a pretty cool, small, local record store. And after “The Who Sell Out” arrives I was totally sold on the band. Before the year is out (1969) I was fortunate enough to have seen the band three times, they mesmerized me live and on record, Keith Moon on drums and John Entwistle on bass, Pete Townsend on guitar, and the swirling, whirling microphone of Roger Daltry on vocals.
This time out I was seeing John Entwistle (solo band) at Tramps. Tonight was the opportunity to see the bass man live, loud, and up close.
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”.
January 26, 2019, rock legend Peter Frampton will receive the Les Paul Innovation Award at the 34th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards in Anaheim, Calif., joining an elite hall of fame that includes past honorees Jackson Browne, Joe Perry, Don Was, Slash, Todd Rundgren, Pete Townshend, Steve Vai, and Lindsey Buckingham. Considering that Frampton, now 68, has been playing since he was 7 years old, joined his first band at age 12 and has reinvented himself repeatedly throughout his illustrious career — and was named one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone — the accolade seems long overdue. “Oh, well, I don’t know about that,” Frampton says humbly. “I’m just thrilled that I’m being put in that category of the other honorees.” It hasn’t always been an easy road for Frampton. He struggled with the stigma of being a reluctant teeny-bopper star; suffered a near-fatal car accident; bore the brunt of the backlash surrounding 1978’s box office bomb movie musical, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band; and found himself in a late-’70s career slump after his overeager record label rushed out a follow-up album to capitalize on his phenomenally successful double concert album, Frampton Comes Alive! But over the years, this true survivor has maintained his guitar-god status through his solo material, his work with his past bands and his collaborations with everyone from George Harrison to his childhood schoolmate David Bowie.
ON THE TURNTABLE: January 20,1964- The Beatles “Meet The Beatles” is released in the US.
Some say it was the Assassination of our beloved President JOHN FITZGERALD KENNEDY which surrounded the Nation in a national funk that somehow brought THE BEATLES to stardom in the U.S. Some say we needed an escape, a diversion, and these four lads from Liverpool were the escape. Yet, I’m not buying it. My reasoning is simple. First,we, the American record buying public came a many months late to the BEATLES party, having not accepted their first few records when released stateside, these same records which were huge hits across the pond. Secondly, the time was ripe for a new (television) hero for the “youngsters” as Ed Sullivan would call us. The biggest show on TV at that time was the BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, a preposterous show which made a ratings killing week after week, and that show having their biggest week just prior to The Beatles first appearance. Americans were enamored with television. And Ed Sullivan was considered a religious experience every Sunday night. Like Sunday morning mass in a Catholic household, one couldn’t miss Sullivan on Sunday nights, it would be sinful.
So here goes my thesis:
Point ONE: Prior to Sullivan (one year before) The BEATLES had 3 releases in States, all which were misses, that is NO HITS, no charting…zero. Those records were
PLEASE PLEASE ME- February 1963(VEEJAY RECORDS)
FROM ME TO YOU-May 1963(VEEJAY RECORDS)
SHE LOVES YOU-September 1963(SWAN RECORDS)which has limited if any airplay.
In early November 1963 after Sullivan witnessed the impact of the lads in their home turf England,and how their audiences responded, BRIAN EPSTEIN,The BEATLES manager, persuades Mr. Sunday Night Television ED SULLIVAN to have THE BEATLES do three consecutive weekly performance on Sullivan’s top rated American CBS television show. Never before had any act accomplished three consecutive appearance on Sullivan, let alone an “unknown” act. CAPITOL RECORDS (US) smelling something good is happening picks up the BEATLES EMI option just as The CBS Morning News (Sullivan’s network) aired a segment on BEATLEMANIA, the morning of November 22, 1963,which they have ready to repeat it on their nationally syndicated CBS NIGHTLY NEWS. However, regular programming was cancelled as JFK was assassinated that day and THE BEATLES piece did NOT air that evening, happenstance. THE BEATLES and their manager become very anxious as they await their coming to America in a few months for three consecutive weeks no less without a hit record. This could mean a disaster for the band. Some in The Beatles camp and a few others considered cancelling.
The BEATLEMANIA segment was finally re-broadcast on CBS NIGHTLY NEWS the evening of December 10, 1963. Immediately airplay for THE BEATLES was requested on radio stations across the nation and CAPITOL RECORDS rushed out I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND, the boys newest single on December 26, 1963 which sold one million copies in the first ten days with one and one half million copies by three weeks time, just in time for the SULLIVAN appearance. THE BEATLES have the Number 1 hit in the land AND are appearing on one of the top rated television shows, for three consecutive weeks. BEATLEMANIA has arrived.
April 5,1964 BILLBOARD Magazine
#1: Can’t Buy Me Love (jumped 27 spots):THE BEATLES
Every year for my birthday gift to myself I would seek out a show to see: The Doors, Quicksilver,Traffic, Geils, are a few but 1974 I was definitely thinking outside the box as my request was to see ELLA FITZGERALD at Philharmonic Hall in NYC. It was a cold Friday night, and colder since I was working in a bank and taking the night off was a sin in those days. But screw them anyway as my boss was a jerk and in a few weeks time, just before I would almost punch him out, I quit.
So it is January 18,1974 and we attend ELLA FITZGERALD@ Philharmonic a great birthday show for me,simply a great show. Dressed to the nines,we sat amongst folks a lot older than us (22) and when the FIRST LADY OF SCAT was introduced I was one of many who gave her an immediate standing ovation. The older gent behind me said “ SIT DOWN, SONNY” to which I replied in a nice way “ FUCK OFF ASSHOLE”. He didn’t bother me again.I hate being called “Sonny”.
NYT: January 21, 1974:
Ella Fitzgerald had quite an evening Friday at Avery Fisher Hall. She was greeted by an audience that filled both the hall and all available Space on the stage. When her drummer was delayed getting to the hall, an emergency call went out for a substitute, and she wound up with two drummers. And, to cap the affair, she was given the Lincoln Center Medallion, the first pop singer and the first woman to receive the award, which had previously been bestowed on Dmitri Shostakovich and Andres Segovia.
To go with all this, Miss Fitzgerald delivered one of those easy‐going unpretentious song programs that have been pleasing her audiences for the last 20 years. As usual, she was far better on relatively slow, well‐structured ballads than when she was skimming the surface of fast tunes. “The Man I Love,” an old standby, and a recent addition to her repertory, Norris Turney’s charming tribute to Johnny Hodges, “Checkered Hat,” brought out her most expressive singing. Her regular quartet, led by Tommy Flanagan, was joined on several numbers by Roy Eldridge on trumpet, Eddie (Lockjaw) Davis on tenor saxophone and Freddie Waits, substitute drummer.
Just when I thought my TenYearsAfter obsession was over for good ALVIN LEE and Co, a new band, decide to tour.(Recently this show was released by his estate as a cd). The band was MEL COLLINS ( my buddy from the King Crimson interview fiasco) on sax/flute,Ian Wallace (Crimson)drums, STONE THE CROWS bassist Stevie Thompson and Ronnie Leahy (keys), two singers, a conga player, and ALVIN (aka Graham Barnes) all with a R&B groove. No TYA tunes no matter how many times some idiot yelled out “GOING HOME”.
Got to Keep Moving
Let’s Get Back
Somebody’s Callin’ Me
All Life’s Trials
Baby Please Don’t Go
Time and Space
There’s a Feeling
Every Blues You’ve Ever Heard
Going Through the Door
I’m Writing You a Letter
Ride My Train
As far as GENTLE GIANT goes, true GG fans are amazed that I saw them live and often ask, “How were they?” to which I reply, “Not good”. I have zero notes about their performance written in my notes.
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.
One event started what later became the SUMMER OF LOVE. Fifty-one years ago today, it was the celebration entitled “the HUMAN BE-IN” at Golden Gate Park in January of 67, an idea of MICHAEL BOWEN the avant-garde artist and co-founder of THE ORACLE, a premier “underground” newspaper which kicked off everything. This”Be-In”inspired the play HAIR: The American Tribal Love -Rock Musical by Rado and Ragni. Also, TIMOTHY LEARY asked the attendees to “turn on,tune in,drop out”.About 30,000 attended.
The mainstream media picked up the story, highlighting Tim Leary, the drugs (LSD and mushrooms), the clothing and the music. These photos and images were shown on the nightly news. TIME magazine ran a cover story on THE HIPPIES and even CBS NEWS had a special report that August.This influx of “flower children” arrived to the 25 square block area of San Francisco with the cross streets , the intersection of it all HAIGHT-ASHBURY.
With psychedelic music and drugs prevalent, one could only predict that the future of THE HAIGHT would not be so rosy or happy. Homelessness, drug abuse, poverty became rampant. The BEE GEES even wrote a song, MASSACHUSETTS, in response to what was happening in SAN FRANCISCO, a ditty about someone who lost the vision, the hope, and was homesick.
Yet, the SUMMER OF LOVE despite its misgivings gave us a great soundtrack for that time and for years to come: THE WHO, JIMI HENDRIX, BIG BROTHER and THE HOLDING COMPANY, COUNTRY JOE and THE FISH,THE ELECTRIC FLAG,QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE,STEVE MILLER,MOBY GRAPE,HUGH MASEKELA,THE BYRDS,LAURA NYRO,JEFFERSON AIRPLANE,BOOKER T and THE MG’s,OTIS REDDING, THE BLUES PROJECT,BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD and the organizers of Monterey Pop THE MAMAS & THE PAPAS.