April 19 – Like a Zombie: The Album That Wouldn’t Die

The Zombies – Odessey and Oracle

For the Zombies, the road to Odessey was a bit of an odyssey.  The seed was planted in 1958 when schoolboys Rod Argent, Paul Atkinson, and Hugh Grundy began playing music together.  After five years playing small UK gigs as the Mustangs, the group, now including Colin Blunstone and Chris White, changed their name to the Zombies in 1962.  Their only successful singles until 1969 were She’s Not There and Tell Her No, released in 1964 and 1965, respectively.


After the group’s first full album, 1965’s Begin Here, flopped, they signed with CBS Records and recorded Odessey and Oracle, mostly at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, beginning June 1, 1967 and completing it November 7.  Odessey was accidentally misspelled by the album cover designer, but the band would claim it was intentional (psychedelic, man!).  By the time the album was released in the UK on this date in 1968, the group had already split over internal disagreements and a lack of commercial success.

Rod Argent went on to form the band Argent in 1969 while the others found work ranging from music executives to insurance.  CBS did not intend to release the record in the US until staff producer, musician, and jack of all musical trades Al Kooper heard the album and insisted upon its release in the states.  Lo and behold, Time of the Season became a hit single and the slow re-evaluation of the album began.  Today, Odessey can be found in music publications listed among the all-time best albums

From the vantage point of 50 years on, it’s hard to understand why this album wasn’t more of a hit from the get-go.  Perhaps if albums such as Revolver, Pet Sounds, and Sgt. Pepper hadn’t already existed, Odessey would’ve stood out more.  Maybe the record buying public was experiencing a Summer of Love hangover and had moved on to heavier sounds.

Then again, if those albums hadn’t been recorded, Odessey might not have been either.  In no way do I consider Odessey a ripoff, as the album stands on its own merits.  But to my ears these are pop gems crafted in the spirit of McCartney and Wilson.  While it’s a shame the group wasn’t able to revel in the success of its creation in 1968, there would be subsequent well received reunions down the road with Odessey and Oracle played in full.  One of my live music regrets is not seeing them in 2015 when they played nearby.


Side One:

  1. Care of Cell 44
  2. A Rose For Emily
  3. Maybe After He’s Gone
  4. Beechwood Park
  5. Brief Candles
  6. Hung Up On a Dream

Side Two:

  1. Changes
  2. I Want Her She Wants Me
  3. This Will Be Our Year
  4. Butcher’s Tale
  5. Friends of Mine
  6. Time of the Season




April 3 – A Simon & Garfunkel Classic

Simon and Garfunkel – Bookends

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the release of one of those generation defining albums, Simon and Garfunkel’s sometimes deceptively whimsical Bookends.  Not including the soundtrack to The Graduate released earlier in the year, this was the first studio album by the duo in a year and a half, an eternity for in-demand acts in those days.  Sporadic work on the album began in 1966.  Hazy Shade of Winter was recorded during sessions for the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album, but was released as a single at the time instead.  The following year the duo helped organize the Monterey Pop Festival, where they also performed, while Fakin’ It was released as a single.  Recording proceeded slowly throughout the fall and into 1968, with finishing touches in early March.


As part of their recording contract, Columbia Records picked up the tab for their sessions, giving Simon and Garfunkel free rein to take their time and be as meticulous as they wanted to be, which they were, at least on the conceptual first side of the record.  Side two, other than Mrs. Robinson, is comprised of previously unused tracks recorded for possible inclusion in The Graduate soundtrack.  Surprisingly, Simon seems to have had little regard for those tracks at the time.  Not unlike Sgt. Pepper the year before, the concept portion of Bookends ends rather quickly with the rest being a collection of songs.  But also like Pepper, it works.  In all, the whole thing lasts a very concise 29:51.

This is among the albums that fascinated me during childhood.  It didn’t occur to me then that this was from the same period as some of the other late 60’s music I was familiar with from my brothers’ collection or the radio.  The stark, black and white cover, the turtlenecks, and Simon’s short hair all suggested another time and another sound to me, although I wouldn’t have been able to articulate it.  But of course it is a quintessential 1960’s record, as much so as any of its contemporaries.  And, it reached number one in both the US and UK.


The album has always made me imagine bleak 1960’s winters in New York City, of tiny apartments there with clanking radiators blasting out heat, of a bottle of milk and a bruised apple in the fridge and not much else, of hanging on to that one remaining friend in old age, of loneliness.  But in my young person’s mind, that was someone else’s reality, not mine.  When I would hear Voices of Old People as a child, I was always relieved to know that I would never grow old and never be so sad and grumpy.  If there was ever any doubt, it would be erased by the more lively side two which winds up at the zoo, where it was all happening and always would be.

But before visiting the skeptical orangutans, the album’s journey detoured out of the city and into America.  As I’ve grown to middle age, this song remains a bit of a personal lament for that road trip out west I never took as a 20-year-old, with a best buddy along the Pacific coast.   Or wherever.  I guess that’s what Kerouac and Steinbeck are for, to fill in those gaps.  Them, and albums such as this.


Side One:

  1. Bookends Theme
  2. Save the Life of My Child
  3. America
  4. Overs
  5. Voices of Old People
  6. Old Friends
  7. Bookends Theme

Side Two:

  1. Fakin’ It
  2. Punky’s Dilemma
  3. Mrs. Robinson
  4. A Hazy Shade of Winter
  5. At the Zoo




March 30 – Yardbirds ’68

The Yardbirds – Yardbirds ’68

Today’s offering is a slight twist on my 50th anniversary theme, as it’s the anniversary of a recording as opposed to an album release.  By 1968, The Yardbirds were no longer united in their musical direction.  Two of the band’s founders, drummer Jim McCarty and lead vocalist Keith Relf, decided to leave the group to pursue more of a folk sound, while guitarist Jimmy Page wanted to pursue the heavier sounds that the band had begun to explore and which groups such as Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were delivering to great acclaim.  In March of 1968, before McCarty and Relf exited, the Yardbirds embarked on their final U.S. tour.  They also entered Columbia Recording Studios in April to lay down some demos.

The live tracks on Yardbirds ’68, taken from their show at New York’s Anderson Theatre on March 30, 1968, were originally released by Epic Records in 1971 on an album titled Live Yardbirds:  Featuring Jimmy Page in an effort to cash in on the success of Led Zeppelin, but the release was withdrawn after an injunction was issued by Page’s attorneys.  The studio sessions saw a limited release in 2000.  In November of 2017, with cooperation among the three surviving members of the band (McCarty, Chris Dreja, and Page), the two-disc Yardbirds ’68, produced by Page, was released and includes the live set from the Anderson Theatre as well as the studio sessions.


While the band continued to include pre-Page standards in their 1968 live sets, The Yardbirds by this time were clearly Jimmy Page’s vehicle.  In fact, three of the songs on this release would later be included on Led Zeppelin albums.  The clips below from a French TV program are a good example of the group in their final months, although Page’s restoration of the Anderson Theatre performance on Yardbirds ’68 definitely offers a superior listening experience.

Perhaps I should cease to admit this when it happens lest I seem less knowledgeable than I’d like to think I am about music from this era, but Yardbirds ’68 is a bit of a revelation to me.  I’ve always taken this band for granted, knowing mainly the hits but having to think hard as to whether or not a particular song is from the Clapton, Beck, or Page era of the group.  No more.  This is heavy music, and it leaves me wondering what they could’ve achieved had they remained intact with Page as the driving force.  Which leads me to a question for fans of Zeppelin, The Yardbirds, or both:  How do you compare Yardbirds music from 1968 with Led Zeppelin?  Whichever your preference may be, I highly recommend this release.

(**Subsequent edit:  The album wasn’t available on youtube when I originally posted this.  It’s now there, so it’s now here…)


Disc 1:  Live at the Anderson Theatre, March 30, 1968

  1. The Train Kept A-Rollin’
  2. Mr., You’re a Better Man Than I
  3. Heart Full of Soul
  4. Dazed and Confused
  5. My Baby
  6. Over Under Sideways Down
  7. Drinking Muddy Water
  8. Shapes of Things
  9. White Summer
  10. I’m a Man (contains “Moanin’ and Sobbin'”)

Disc 2:  Studio Sketches

  1. Avron Knows
  2. Spanish Blood (instrumental with spoken words by McCarty)
  3. Knowing That I’m Losing You (Tangerine) (Instrumental)
  4. Taking a Hold On Me
  5. Drinking Muddy Water (version two)
  6. My Baby
  7. Avron’s Eyes (instrumental)
  8. Spanish Blood (instrumental)





March 1968 – My Laura Nyro Oversight

Laura Nyro – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession

I begin today’s post with a somewhat glaring omission from earlier this month, March 3rd to be exact, as that was the 50th anniversary of the release of Laura Nyro’s Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.  In a way, my exclusion is symbolic of Nyro’s career.  She was my answer I couldn’t think of recently to a music forum thread question (“Name an album you bought blindly without having ever listened to the artist”).  This album is not only on lists of important releases from 1968, but it’s in my collection and my wife and I enjoy listening to it, yet I still forgot to honor it on the correct day.  Self-flogging complete.

Laura Nyro

If you aren’t familiar with Nyro or this album, it’s understandable.  I wasn’t either until a couple of years ago, and it was only due to reading about her in posts by zealous fans of hers on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums that I gave her a listen and learned a bit about her.  The music doesn’t fit a particular niche, as it combines pop, jazz, rock, and soul.  I think of Nyro as a songwriter’s songwriter:  Her songs were covered by the likes of Blood, Sweat & Tears, The 5th DimensionThree Dog Night, and Barbara Streisand, and she influenced many other songwriters including Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and Todd Rundgren.

So, why is Laura Nyro not more widely known and appreciated?  Perhaps a reader could enlighten me more, but it seems she didn’t pursue the limelight as hard as her contemporaries.  Though she performed live, Nyro avoided TV appearances.  Also, keep in mind we’re hurtling toward the period when Carole King (a very successful songwriter since the early 1960’s), Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon would become the glamour girls of the singer/songwriter genre.  And sadly, as is the case with many of the artists I’m writing about, she died young.  Nyro passed away in 1997 at the age of 49 from ovarian cancer, the same age her mother died and from the same disease.  She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

And her version of Wedding Bell Blues, which she wrote at the age of 18, from her 1967 debut album:


Side One:

  1. Luckie
  2. Lu
  3. Sweet Blindness
  4. Poverty Train
  5. Lonely Women
  6. Eli’s Comin’

Side Two:

  1. Timer
  2. Stoned Soul Picnic
  3. Emmie
  4. Woman’s Blues
  5. Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)
  6. December’s Boudoir
  7. The Confession





March ’68 – A Psych-Folk Delight

The Incredible String Band – The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter

One of the more unique albums of 1968 came from one of the more extraordinary groups of the age, The Incredible String Band.  The Scottish group released its third album, The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, in March of that year to high acclaim in the UK where it reached number five on the album chart.  It didn’t fare as well in the U.S. at the time as evidenced by, or perhaps partly because of, an unfavorable review it received in Rolling Stone magazine.  Not surprisingly, it was later given five out of five stars in the Rolling Stone Album Guide (sometimes we Yanks are just a tad behind the times).

This album followed the group’s 1967 gem, The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion, and was somehow even more ambitious.  The versatility of Robin Williamson and Mike Heron can be seen with a glance at the instruments they play on the record:  gimbri, penny whistle, pan pipe, guitar, oud, piano, mandolin, jaw harp, chahanai, water pipe, sitar, Hammond organ, hammered dulcimer, and harpsichord, among others.


This music contains nuggets of many styles and themes I enjoy listening to:  Scottish music, Indian music, folk, psychedelia, wistful songs of youth and first loves, middle Earth and mythology (ISB was also an early influence on Led Zeppelin).  It’s as if Ravi Shankar and Donovan formed a band.  Or something like that.

I was first introduced to the Incredible String Band about 15 years ago by an aging hippie friend of mine named David.  I was a bit incredulous as he described their greatness and how they had performed at Woodstock, etc.  It had been a while since I’d seen the film, but I couldn’t recall them being in it (they weren’t, nor were a handful of other music legends who took the stage that weekend).  And I most certainly hadn’t heard them on the radio.  David recommended I check out their second and third albums, The 5000 Spirits or The Layers of the Onion and The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, respectively, and it happened that the CD I found contained both albums in a two-disc set.  I immediately dug it, but the downside was that I didn’t play The Hangman’s… nearly as often as its predecessor until a year or so ago.  I’m now making up for lost time.


Side One:

  1. Koeeoaddi There
  2. The Minotaur’s Song
  3. Witches Hat
  4. A Very Cellular Song

Side Two:

  1. Mercy I Cry City
  2. Waltz of the New Moon
  3. The Water Song
  4. Three is a Green Crown
  5. Swift As the Wind
  6. Nightfall

Another element of the ISB my friend shared with me was their producer, Joe Boyd.  Boyd was a (then) young American in the UK who produced acts that I would subsequently discover and love, including Fairport Convention, John Martyn, Fotheringay, as well as Richard and Linda Thompson.  He also produced music by a few acts I had already had in my collection for years:  Pink Floyd, Nick Drake, and REM.  Boyd was also at the heart of London’s underground music scene, having opened the first psychedelic nightclub, the UFO, where Pink Floyd (then known as The Pink Floyd) staged their earliest light show extravaganzas.


We’ll hear more from the Incredible String Band later in the year.






March 4 – The Mothers of Invention

The Mothers of Invention – We’re Only in It for the Money

With Frank Zappa, I’m entering territory where no matter what I say there’s always somebody who could claim I completely miss the point.  Satire, musical experimentation, comedy, it’s all here.  And I think it’s wonderful.  Perhaps this opinion is an indication that I never would’ve been more than a wannabe hippie poser had I been alive and on the scene in 1968.

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, 1968.

Or maybe not.  And this is where a hard-core Zappa snob might say the joke’s on me when I ask the following:  While this album is a dagger to heart of the Counter Culture (as well as the political right), was Zappa really above and beyond it all?  Yes, he was most likely a musical genius, and no, he did not partake in drugs and alcohol like his contemporaries.  However, did he not live in Laurel Canyon with many of those artists whose genre and lifestyles he’s making fun of here?  Isn’t that Eric Clapton contributing a spoken word bit on the first track?  Is his friend Jimi Hendrix not on this album cover?  Can he not been found collaborating with the Monkees for jeebus’ sake?  Whatever.

We’re Only in It for the Money was released fifty years ago today, and it’s a hilarious parody on the Beatles and practically everything else going on at the time on both ends of the societal spectrum.  And, for what it’s worth, one of my favorite albums of all time by anybody is a Zappa album that will see its big 50th in 2019.  As critic Robert Christgau wrote, “Cheap sarcasm is forever.”  But when I’ve finished listening to this for the second time today I’ll probably pop Rubber Soul into the changer.


Side One:

  1. Are You Hung Up?
  2. Who Needs the Peace Corps
  3. Concentration Moon
  4. Mom & Dad
  5. Telephone Conversation
  6. Bow Tie Daddy
  7. Harry, You’re a Beast
  8. What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?
  9. Absolutely Free
  10. Flower Punk
  11. Hot Poop

Side Two:

  1. Nasal Retentive Calliope Music
  2. Let’s Make the Water Turn Black
  3. The Idiot Bastard Son
  4. Lonely Little Girl
  5. Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance
  6. What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body? (Reprise)
  7. Mother People
  8. The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny



February 24 – Not Your Mother’s Fleetwood Mac (but if it is, your mother’s cool)

Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

There’s Fleetwood Mac, and then there’s Fleetwood Mac.  And then again, there’s Fleetwood Mac.  As Fleetwood, McVie x 2, Buckingham, and Nicks gear up for their Farewell Cash Grab 2018 World Tour®, today is a reminder that Fleetwood Mac is nothing at all like the band it was when it formed in 1967.  That’s not a judgement, just a fact.  There have been three rather distinct incarnations of the group:  the current, “classic” Rumours lineup, the underappreciated early 1970’s Bob Welch era (Bare Trees is a personal favorite), and the original late 1960’s British blues rock band.  Despite the various lineups and drastic changes in musical direction, the namesakes of the group, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie, remain as the rhythm section.  And it was 50 years ago today that their debut album, Fleetwood Mac (a.k.a. Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac) was released.


In 1967, guitarist Peter Green, drummer Mick Fleetwood, and bassist John McVie, all members of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers at the time (actually, Fleetwood had recently been let go), decided to form their own blues group.  They recruited slide guitarist Jeremy Spencer, and Fleetwood Mac was born.  This initial release is straight-forward blues rock, with four covers and eight Green and Spencer originals.  These guys certainly didn’t invent the blues, but along with contemporaries including all the bands where Clapton, Beck, Page, Hendrix, Brian Jones, Mick Taylor, and Alvin Lee resided at one time or another, they played it with reverence for the innovators and continued to spread the word to a mostly white audience not overly exposed to the greatness of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Elmore James and the rest.

Fleetwood Mac in 1968:  (L-R) Peter Green, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Jeremy Spencer


Side One:

  1. My Heart Beat Like a Hammer
  2. Merry Go Round
  3. Long Grey Mare
  4. Hellhound on My Trail
  5. Shake Your Moneymaker
  6. Looking for Somebody

Side Two:

  1. No Place to Go
  2. My Baby’s Good to Me
  3. I Loved Another Woman
  4. Cold Black Night
  5. The World Keep On Turning
  6. Got to Move



February 21 – Blood, Sweat and Tears Debut

Blood, Sweat and Tears – Child Is Father to the Man

The debut album by Blood, Sweat and Tears, Child Is Father to the Man, was released a half-century ago today.  While later albums by the band contain the radio hits, this one is the realization of founding member Al Kooper’s vision of adding brass and strings to a blues/jazz/pop blend to create a music hybrid not heard before (Chicago Transit Authority was released a little over a year later).  The eight man brass section on the album includes trumpeter Randy Brecker.  There’s no Spinning Wheel here, but the album doesn’t need it.  There’s not a weak track, and it has maintained solid positive critical acclaim throughout the years.

The original Blood, Sweat and Tears lineup.  Al Kooper is far right.

I suppose this is as much of an Al Kooper post as it is a B, S & T post, as the band’s glory years were just around the corner.  Al is one of my favorite peripheral (for lack of a better word) musicians in rock history:  In 1965, after tricking producer Tom Wilson into letting him onto the session, Kooper improvised the famous Hammond Organ part on Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone.  He then went on to form The Blues Project before establishing Blood, Sweat and Tears.  He left the band after this debut album on which he does the majority of lead vocals, and later in the year re-emerged in studio with guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills for the seminal-but not-as-famous-as-it-should-be album, Super Session.


Side One:

  1. Overture
  2. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
  3. Morning Glory
  4. My Days Are Numbered
  5. Without Her
  6. Just One Smile

Side Two:

  1. I Can’t Quit Her
  2. Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes
  3. Somethin’ Goin’ On
  4. House in the Country
  5. The Modern Adventures of Plato, Diogenes and Freud
  6. So Much Love/Underture


Did you know:

That the French horn at the beginning of You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones was played by… AL KOOPER!



January 29-30 – Steppenwolf, Velvet Underground

The final days of January gave us two influential rock albums.  One touched a nerve with the 60’s generation fairly quickly, while the other was initially accepted with a mostly exclusive audience before gaining wide acclaim in later years.  Steppenwolf’s self-titled debut and The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat are prime examples of how, despite what the parents of Baby Boomers might’ve claimed, all rock and roll does not sound the same.

January 29:  Steppenwolf – Steppenwolf

One of the more iconic rock vocals belongs to founding member John Kay.  As a small child in 1949, Kay and his mother escaped Soviet occupied East Germany and resettled in West Germany until 1958 when they moved to Canada where Steppenwolf was formed in 1967.  The songs on this successful debut are straight forward guitar driven tracks.  Two of them, Born to Be Wild and The Pusher, had their Counter Culture status cemented a year later when featured in the film, Easy Rider.

And now another installment of True Music Confessions:  Until I purchased a copy of the Easy Rider soundtrack a few years ago, I had no idea that Hoyt Axton was an accomplished songwriter who wrote The Pusher as well as a number of other well-known songs, e.g., Joy to the World.  I had only ever heard him sing in a Busch Beer commercial back in the 80’s and then in an appearance on WKRP in Cincinnati that I watched in syndication.  He certainly didn’t seem like much of a Counter Culture personality, but more of a bumpkin.  It turned out bumpkins could also be hippified.



Side One:

  1. Sookie Sookie
  2. Everybody’s Next One
  3. Berry Rides Again
  4. Hoochie Coochie Man
  5. Born to be Wild
  6. Your Wall’s Too High

Side Two:

  1. Desperation
  2. The Pusher
  3. A Girl I Knew
  4. Take What You Need
  5. The Ostrich


January 30:  The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat

I feel somewhat awkward trying to write about the Velvets.  Perhaps they represent to me the limit I’m willing to go to in terms of avant-garde music/art.  I like them.  I know they’re influential.  Yet I’ve not listened to them much beyond a compilation I own.  At least not as much as I “should” have.  I was never cool enough.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another band whose work was so disregarded in its time, yet so revered in later years.  Groups today wouldn’t be given a second or third chance by record companies if they charted as low as the Velvets did.

I listen to plenty of music with dark, bleak themes by troubled writers and musicians, but I don’t think it gets much bleaker than this.  But it’s fantastic.  The fuzzy distortion, Mo Tucker’s minimalist, tribalistic drumming, Lou Reed’s monotone singing, John Cale’s electric viola, organ playing, and spoken word lyrics – it’s all so hypnotic.  Just listen to the epic Sister RayWhite Light/White Heat is their second album, and was recorded in two days sans Nico’s vocals or Andy Warhol’s production.  It was also their last album of new material to feature John Cale.  Listen at your own risk; you may just wake up in some filth strewn Bronx alley trying to hit your mainline sideways.


Side One:

  1. White Light/White Heat
  2. The Gift
  3. Lady Godiva’s Operation
  4. Here She Comes Now

Side Two:

  1. I Heard Her Call My Name
  2. Sister Ray




January 22 – Lady Soul, Spirit, Dr. John

January 22, 1968 gave us a three course meal with very distinct flavors:  soul, jazz-rock, and a batch of psychedelic New Orleans gumbo.

Aretha Franklin – Lady Soul

The beauty amidst the world’s chaos continued on this day with the release of Aretha Franklin’s classic, Lady Soul, one of three great albums to come out on this date.  This one may be the most beloved of the three, and one of the most enduring of 1968 to this day.  Clocking in at 28:41, it’s very short but very sweet.  There’s not a weak song in the bunch, which includes a couple of her biggest hits. This music just leaves you feeling good.


Side One:

  1. Chain of Fools
  2. Money Won’t Change You
  3. People Get Ready
  4. Niki Hoeky
  5. (You Make Me Feel Like) a Natural Woman

Side Two:

  1. (Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone
  2. Good to Me As I Am to You
  3. Come Back Baby
  4. Groovin’
  5. Ain’t No Way


Spirit – Spirit

January 22 also saw the release of the self-titled debut from the band Spirit.  While their most famous song would come along later in 1968, they immediately carved their own niche into the rock music world with elements of progressive rock as well as jazz incorporated into their songs on this album, due in large part to drummer Ed Cassidy.  Cassidy himself was a bit of an oddity in rock at the time with his “Mr. Clean” shaved head, but more so because he was a couple of decades older than anyone else in the band and had played with such jazz luminaries as Cannonball Adderley and Thelonious Monk.  He was also the stepfather of founding member Randy California, who had briefly played with Jimi Hendrix prior to the latter’s rise to fame.  Another founding member was vocalist Jay Ferguson, who later found brief acclaim in the 1970’s pop world with the song Thunder Island.

I didn’t know much about this band when I picked up a copy of Mojo Magazine 15 or so years ago with a Roots of Led Zeppelin sampler CD attached, and Spirit’s Fresh Garbage was one of the songs.  I came to discover that Zeppelin had in fact opened shows for Spirit early on and were known to hang out side stage and listen to Spirit’s sets after their own.  In recent years one song from this first album, Taurus, made the news when Mark Andes, the only other living original member of the band besides Ferguson, sued Jimmy Page for copyright infringement on behalf of Randy California due to the similarity between a portion of Taurus and Stairway to Heaven (recorded two years later), but lost.


Side One:

  1. Fresh Garbage
  2. Uncle Jack
  3. Mechanical World
  4. Taurus
  5. Girl in Your Eye
  6. Straight Arrow

Side Two:

  1. Topanga Windows
  2. Gramophone Man
  3. Water Woman
  4. The Great Canyon Fire in General
  5. Elijah

Does the riff at about :43 in the following song sound familiar?


Dr. John – Gris-Gris

Somehow I only discovered this album in recent days (at one time I owned his 1994 album, Television), and I’m actually a little embarrassed to type that because it’s so good.  Swampy, funky, definitely not mainstream, this is the debut album of Dr. John (Mac Rebennack), and it’s also the first example of a nice side benefit of this little hobby of mine:  the opportunity to discover albums I’d never heard of, and to give others that I’d not paid much attention to a more critical listen.  If you’re so inclined, grab a sixer of Abita and dial-up this album late some warm, rainy night and enjoy.


Side One:

  1. Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
  2. Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
  3. Mama Roux
  4. Danse Fambeaux

Side Two

  1. Croker Courtbullion
  2. Jump Sturdy
  3. I Walk on Guilded Splinters

Another reason to like Dr. John:  He was the inspiration for the Muppet character Dr. Teeth.