November 1970 – Paul Kantner & the Evolution of the Airplane

November 1970: Paul Kantner & Jefferson Starship – Blows Against the Empire

Where do we go from here? Chaos or community? -from Hijack, side 2 track 2

Fifty years ago this month saw one of the more unique releases of the era, Paul Kantner’s concept album Blows Against the Empire. Technically, it’s credited as Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship, though it shouldn’t be confused with the band of that name which didn’t officially form until four years later. It’s also not the Jefferson Airplane, who were still together but experiencing inevitable internal strife on the downward slope of their run. Grace Slick does add vocals and piano throughout, and Jack Casady plays bass on two tracks.

Paul Kantner - Wikipedia

Blows Against the Empire is counterculture science fiction set in a future where the hippie generation is able to unite, steal a starship, and create their Utopia in another solar system. It’s in the anti-military, anti-government (even California’s then-governor Reagan is called out), anti-conventional society, “back to the land” spirit, only the land is on a distant planet where babies grow on trees. Another element of the story is the allegory of relationships and childbirth, which symbolize Kantner’s romantic relationship at the time with Grace Slick, who would give birth to their daughter China the following year. The album was nominated for a Hugo, a literary award for best science fiction or fantasy work in the category of Best Dramatic Presentation.

I'd Love to Turn You On #124 – Paul Kantner – Blows Against The Empire |  Twist and Shout

The album was recorded in San Francisco during the summer and fall of ’70 utilizing a number of Bay Area musicians including members of the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the Jefferson Airplane. David Crosby and Graham Nash also participated, and many of these musicians assisted Crosby with his solo debut which he recorded at the same time and location. This “shifting supergroup” was informally known as PERRO, or The Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra.

Grace Slick With Paul Kantner: The Rolling Stone Interview - Rolling Stone

From a musical standpoint, the tracks are built around Slick’s piano with plenty of vocal harmonizing between Kantner and her. In that regard it’s not far from sounding like the Airplane. An exception is The Baby Tree, featuring only Kantner’s vocal and Jerry Garcia’s banjo. My favorite songs here are heavy on piano and acoustic guitar with just the right touches of electric guitar, such as A Child is Coming (feat. David Crosby), Have You Seen the Stars Tonight? (feat. Crosby & Garcia), and Starship (feat. Jerry Garcia). That said, there’s plenty to keep me interested throughout.

Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra | Psychedelicized

Thematically, the album contains many counterculture clichés in a tidy 33 1/3 rpm album. To the cynical among us, maybe even to the point of being a parody of itself. But by the end of 1970 the dream was fading, and disillusionment was creeping into a lot of the music. This album almost sounds like one last grasp at an alternative way of being, and in a way it’s unsettlingly relevant 50 years later. Even in an era of relative artistic freedom and experimentation, Blows Against the Empire stands out as a spacy oddity. Not Trout Mask Replica odd, but out there nonetheless. And I like it.

Wave goodbye to Amerika, say hello to the garden. -from Let’s Go Together

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Mau Mau (Amerikon)
  2. The Baby Tree
  3. Let’s Go Together
  4. A Child is Coming

Side Two:

  1. Sunrise
  2. Hijack
  3. Home
  4. Have You Seen the Stars Tonight?
  5. XM
  6. Starship

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/blows-against-the-empire-mw0000024441

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blows_Against_the_Empire

November 9 – Badfinger’s Third

11/9/70: Badfinger – No Dice

Power pop progenitors Badfinger released their third album, No Dice, on this day in 1970. It was their second under the Badfinger moniker, their first album being under their original name The Iveys. It was also their first album to include guitarist Joey Molland.

Badfinger - No Dice - Amazon.com Music

No Dice is the work of a band with enormous promise, and shows them on the verge of a breakthrough if in fact this wasn’t good enough to be the one to put them over the top. The album featured one single, the standout No Matter What, and another track that would become one of the biggest hits of all time when covered by Harry Nilsson, Without You. The group was really beginning to establish itself as a musical force with great songwriting and lead and harmony vocals spread amongst the quartet. As with their patrons from Liverpool, they also showed versatility in music styles, from crunchy rockers like the opener, I Can’t Take It, to ballads such as Without You, and catchy singalongs including Blodwyn.

Badfinger - No Dice Lyrics and Tracklist | Genius

The story of Badfinger is a sad and cautionary tale, but for a period of three or four years they created some great music which stands on its own merit. With their follow up to No Dice a year later they would punch their ticket to rock immortality.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. I Can’t Take It
  2. I Don’t Mind
  3. Love Me Do
  4. Midnight Caller
  5. No Matter What
  6. Without You

Side Two:

  1. Blodwyn
  2. Better Days
  3. It Had to Be
  4. Watford John
  5. Believe Me
  6. We’re for the Dark

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/badfinger-no-dice/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/no-dice-mw0000270661

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Dice

November 4 – The Man Who Sold the World

11/4/70: David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World

David Bowie’s third studio album was released 50 years ago today, and it is widely considered the opening salvo of his classic period. Producer Tony Visconti was brought in to corral Bowie’s various styles into more of a cohesive sound. This was to be done by shifting Bowie from a purely solo artist to incorporating a band, including Mick Ronson on guitar and drummer Mick Woodmansey, who would soon be core members of Bowie’s Spiders from Mars.

David Bowie in pictures | The Star

The Man Who Sold the World represents a shift from the more acoustic folk of the previous album to a heavier rock/blues rock sound. Yet the acoustic guitars quite audible in the mix, lending to its recognizeable early 70’s Bowie sound. The original title of the album was Metropolist, after Friz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis film, but was changed by Mercury without asking Bowie, and the initial album cover on the U.S. release featured a cartoon cowboy in front of an asylum. Bowie had it changed for the U.K. release in April 1971. Despite positive contemporary reviews, the album was initially a commercial failure but was quickly reassessed after the breakthrough with Ziggy Stardust a couple years later.

MWSTWUS2.jpg
The original U.S. album jacket

Now it’s considered a crucial element of his classic early 70’s period. Everything to do with rock music was evolving so fast, and it didn’t take long for the listening public to realize how good it was. It may not be entirely innovative, but Bowie definitely put his own twist on the heavy blues rock genre. I liken it to Pink Floyd’s Meddle – a great blend of the band’s past and immediate future. Bowie has credited producer/bassist Visconti and guitarist Ronson for the album’s sonics. Bowie’s lyrics – with themes including Nietzsche, Vietnam, and man being ruled by computers – range from esoteric to dark, and border on frightening at times. The instrumental tracks to these songs, driven by Woodmansey’s drums, Visconti’s fuzzy bass, and the possibly underrated Ronson’s guitar, are relentless.

DVD Review: "Beside Bowie: The Mick Ronson Story"

Some of the haunting vocal affectation in The Width of a Circle and the title track can also be heard on his final album, Blackstar, something I hadn’t noticed until now. Black Country Rock strongly hints at the direction he would take on his next album, Hunky Dory. She Shook Me Cold veers into Cream territory. But perhaps more so than any of his contemporaries, Bowie’s vocals make the otherwise common heavy rock sound his own. It’s hard to find any weak spots on this one.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. The Width of a Circle
  2. All the Madmen
  3. Black Country Rock
  4. After All

Side Two:

  1. Running Gun Blues
  2. Saviour Machine
  3. She Shook Me Cold
  4. The Man Who Sold the World
  5. The Supermen

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/the-man-who-sold-the-world-mw0000098879#:~:text=Musically%2C%20there%20isn’t%20much,of%20Bowie’s%20best%20albums.

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/david-bowie-man-who-sold-the-world/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Sold_the_World_(album)#Track_listing

November 1 – A Beaut from The Dead

11/1/70: The Grateful Dead – American Beauty

I’ve accepted some truisms over the past couple of years pertaining to my taste in music. For example, carrying over somewhat from yesterday’s post, I can like various prog albums quite a bit without trying to become an expert on the genre and all of its sub-genres. I like what I like, in this case with a few exceptions they’re what you might call “the usual suspects.” Another realization: Gosh darn it, I like The Grateful Dead’s studio albums! I get that they’re best known as a live band, and around that one time I got to see them (I was 20) the idea of following them around for a couple weeks at a time sounded appealing. But I was late to the party and had to settle for a handful of nice soundboard tapes gifted to me by a bonafide Dead Head friend. So yeah, give me some of that Buffalo or Cornell ’77. I love it, and Donna Godchaux doesn’t even bother me anymore. But at the end of the day, my go-to’s will always be the studio work. And today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of one of their best, and one of the best by anyone in 1970 and beyond, American Beauty.

Grateful Dead Listening Guide: 1970 November 6 - Capitol Theatre

This release, appearing just four months after Workingman’s Dead, is considered a continuation of that sound, though with its emphasis on harmonies the album leans a little more in the folk direction of CSN than Bakersfield (though Jerry did increase his use of the pedal steel on this one). There was a good amount of cross-pollination happening with friends from CSNY, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana working or otherwise hanging out in the studio at the same time. The album also marked the first collaboration of Garcia with David Grisman, whose mandolin is heard on Friend of the Devil and Ripple. In addition to those songs, favorites of mine include Phil Lesh’s song for his father, Box of Rain, plus Sugar Magnolia, ‘Till the Morning Comes, Candyman, and the warhorse Truckin’. Eight of the ten songs remained in the Dead’s live repertoire throughout their existence, while American Beauty was certified Gold in 1974 and Double Platinum in 2001.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Box of Rain
  2. Friend of the Devil
  3. Sugar Magnolia
  4. Operator
  5. Candyman

Side Two:

  1. Ripple
  2. Brokedown Palace
  3. ‘Till the Morning Comes
  4. Attics of My Life
  5. Truckin’

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/american-beauty-mw0000192627

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/grateful-dead-american-beauty/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Beauty_(album)

October 1970 Music Wrap Up

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, so I’m told. I had planned to take advantage of a light month to work on what will be the busiest month I’ve had for 50th album release anniversaries in November. Instead, I didn’t even do dedicated write ups for a couple of my favorites in October. Oh well, I’ll acknowledge them now and get to work on next month’s cornucopia…

10/5/70: Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III

Contemporary criticisms painted the heavier songs as noise while others said the acoustic numbers were folk rock rip-offs. Whatever. Led Zep III went straight to number one, and is one of my favorite Zeppelin albums. I tend to enjoy the acoustic tracks most on this one, and John Paul Jones shines throughout.

A collage of butterflies, teeth, zeppelins and assorted imagery on a white background, with the artist name and "III" subtitle at center.

10/19/70: Bob Dylan – New Morning

The period of Dylan’s career from (roughly) 1967-74 tends to be glossed over by casual fans, but to me some of his best output is from that era. New Morning has quietly, almost surreptitiously, become one of my favorite Dylan albums. If Not for You, Day of the Locusts, The Man in Me – great stuff.

A black-and-white photograph of Bob Dylan

10/23/70: Frank Zappa – Chunga’s Revenge

Zappa’s third solo album was released this month. It was the first to feature Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (a.k.a., Flo & Eddie) of the Turtles. It was another shift in musical direction, and was met with mixed reviews. I haven’t listened to Frank’s entire catalog including this one, but if there’s a better album than Hot Rats somebody please let me know.

Frank Zappa - Chunga's Revenge.jpg

10/23/70 – Genesis – Trespass

Prog. Prog, prog, prog. I’ve reached a point where I’ll give an album a listen or two and it either resonates with me or it doesn’t. There are plenty of prog albums that I like a lot, including some early ones by Genesis. Trespass, their second album, just isn’t one of them. It’s a slog for me. However, I take my first step onto the Genesis train with their next release a year later.

Trespass70.jpg

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Led_Zeppelin_III

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Morning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunga%27s_Revenge

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trespass_(album)

October 23 – Elton’s Tumbleweed Connection at 50

10/23/70: Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection

Today I’m celebrating the 50th anniversary of a landmark album for Elton John and Bernie Taupin. Released this day in 1970, Tumbleweed Connection was Elton’s third album, but his second in the U.S. (his 1969 debut, Empty Sky, was not released in the U.S. until 1975). Taupin’s songwriting was evolving rapidly at the turn of the decade, from the rather esoteric lyrics on the debut, to the standout singer/songwriter tracks on the eponymous second LP, to this gem with rather unlikely circumstances associated with its creation.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is tumble.jpg

Tumbleweed is an extremely well-rounded album. While a few of its songs went on to be played somewhat regularly on the radio, the lone single from it was Country Comfort – in Australia and New Zealand only. But what makes the album distinctive? It’s a concept album whose themes are about the American west and Civil War south, what we almost generically refer to today as Americana, written and recorded by Englishmen who hadn’t yet set foot in the U.S. – and they nailed it. Bernie grew up on a diet of American western films, and combined with the influence of The Band, he and Elton were able to capture the zeitgeist of that era as well as anyone at the time outside of the aforementioned four Canadians and one Arkansan. Even the sepia toned photo on the album cover, despite the fact it was taken at a railway station in the U.K., captures the feel of the album.

Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection : musicwallpapers

Tumbleweed is one of those albums in my life that is A grade material from start to finish. In other words, I never listen to it for one or two tracks. This was the first release to include both drummer Nigel Olsson and bassist Dee Murray, who do not receive the praise they deserve in my opinion for their contributions to Elton’s success up to the mid-70’s. Tumbleweed Connection was recorded in March of 1970, EJ’s legendary live U.S. debut took place in late August at L.A.’s Troubadour, the album was released on this date, and on December 1st, Elton, Nigel, and Dee played a small college auditorium in the tiny town where I was born and grew up just under three months later. They probably had a better grasp of late 19th century America than the kids in the audience they performed for who had little idea of who Elton was and no clue of what he was to become in the ensuing months.

Elton John's Decade”The 1970s (w/Bernie) | The Pop History Dig

If interested in my top 15 Elton John album rankings, you can see them here:

https://introgroove.com/tag/elton-john-album-rankings/

https://introgroove.com/2018/08/16/august-16-my-top-15-elton-john-albums-6-10/

https://introgroove.com/2018/08/17/august-17-my-top-15-elton-john-albums-the-top-5/

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Ballad of a Well-Known Gun
  2. Come Down in Time
  3. Country Comfort
  4. Son of Your Father
  5. My Father’s Gun

Side Two:

  1. Where to Now St. Peter?
  2. Love Song
  3. Amoreena
  4. Talking Old Soldiers
  5. Burn Down the Mission

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tumbleweed_Connection

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elton_John_1970_World_Tour

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/elton-john-tumbleweed-connection/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/tumbleweed-connection-mw0000650322

October 2 – Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother – Almost There

10/2/70: Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

It must be a mark of an extraordinary band to have created such a legendary collection of albums that noncompletists like myself actually make a point of trying to like the portions of their catalog that are almost universally disliked, or at least overlooked, including by the musicians themselves. Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, released 50 years ago today, is one example.

Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, this was Pink Floyd’s fifth release, and the follow up to the sprawling, disjointed double LP Ummagumma. Nick Deriso, in an ultimateclassicrock.com review, summed up the album rather concisely: “Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother marks the final signpost for a period of broad and sometimes aimless experimentation following the departure of Syd Barrett.” One result was that it was also the final Floyd album produced by Norman Smith, as the band sought more control over their recording process. Nevertheless, it became the band’s first number one album in the U.K., presumably due to their status as an an underground live act. Despite the initial commercial success, contemporary print reviews were mixed, and neither Roger Waters nor David Gilmour look back upon the album favorably.

Pink Floyd stream live 1970 San Francisco set at 5pm this evening | Louder

Pink Floyd were coming into their own in terms of expecting more artistic freedom, and this is represented on the album’s jacket. The cover, designed by Hipgnosis (artist Storm Thorgerson drove out into the countryside and took a photo of the first cow he saw), is notable for being their first without their name or any photos of band members – a practice that they would continue throughout the 70’s. The band’s idea was to have a cover that didn’t reinforce their placement in any particular genre or sub-genre, such as “space rock.”

The Witchwood Records: RE-UP Pink Floyd - Leeds 1970

Recording presented difficulties due to restrictions placed on them at Abbey Road concerning new studio equipment, one result being that Mason and Waters had to play the entire 23 minute rhythm portion of the Atom Heart Mother suite – which consumes the entirety of side one – rather than create a loop. The suite, which I have yet to develop a taste for, is interesting for the fact that its orchestration, composed by Ron Geesin, takes the lead melody lines while the band provides the backing track – a reversal of the norm in pop/rock recording. As with Ummagumma, the second half of the album features tracks written by individual members Waters, Wright, and Gilmour before closing with the Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast suite. This latter track, with three different “segments,” is really just their roadie Alan Styles talking about and consuming his breakfast. Frankly, this is treading into John and Yoko territory.

Pink Floyd - Live At Paris Theatre, London - 1970 - Past Daily Backstage  Weekend - Past Daily: News, History, Music And An Enormous Sound Archive.

So where does this leave us? There are undoubtedly many fans who find every second of Atom Heart Mother to be among the greatest sounds ever put on vinyl, and more power to them. This is not a very accessible album to me, yet there are elements (even on side one) that I do enjoy which keep me returning from time to time to reevaluate. The easier solution, though, was to put the first three songs from side two on a playlist with some tracks from the first five albums (though I’ve grown to really like the entire Piper…, Saucerful…, and More albums). Their next release, Meddle, was the breakthrough. With Atom Heart Mother they were almost there.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Atom Heart Mother: I. Father’s Shout II. Breast Milky III. Mother Fore IV. Funky Dung V. Mind Your Throats Please VI. Remergence

Side Two:

  1. If
  2. Summer ’68
  3. Fat Old Sun
  4. Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast: I. Rise and Shine II. Sunny Side Up III. Morning Glory

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/pink-floyd-atom-heart-mother/

https://www.allmusic.com/album/atom-heart-mother-mw0000195290

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_Heart_Mother

September 1970 Music Housekeeping

Another month of a most bizarre year has come and gone. Time to tidy up and move on…

9/4/70: Caravan – If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You

Caravan released their second album this month 50 years ago. It was received relatively well, but their next album would become their most acclaimed. I enjoy the psych/jazz blend of some of the so-called Canterbury Scene groups such as this one and Soft Machine, but it’s been an acquired taste that I’m still developing.

Car-IfI.jpg

9/8/70: Neko Case born

Canadian born Neko Case, one of my favorite singers from the past 20-plus years, turned 50 this month. Random memory: David Letterman once introduced her as “Necko.” Ugh.

Neko Case Pictures, Latest News, Videos.

9/9/70: Macy Gray born

…and so did the great singer/songwriter/producer/actress, Ohio-born Macy Gray.

Macy Gray Filmography, Movie List, TV Shows and Acting Career.

9/12/70: Carpenters – Single – We’ve Only Just Begun

A fragment of this Paul Williams/Roger Nichols written tune first appeared on a bank commercial, sung by Williams. The full song ended up spending seven weeks at number one for the Carpenters.

We've Only Just Begun (Single).jpg

9/14/70: The Byrds (Untitled)

The Byrds released what really is a fantastic double album – one studio album, one live – 50  years ago this month. Their early glory years were way behind them at this point, and it’s silly to even use pronouns such as “them.” Other than McGuinn, this was an entirely different band. But they cooked, especially live, and ironically this version of the group  with McGuinn, Clarence White, Skip Battin, and Gene Parsons was together longer than any of the others. Maybe it’s only my perception as a second generation Byrds fan, but I wonder if a band name change after Chris Hillman’s departure following Sweetheart of the Rodeo would’ve given the latter years albums the attention they deserve. From the live portion, the sixteen minute Eight Miles High is a highlight, though it’s a bit of a letdown when Roger only sings the first verse when all’s said and done. Chestnut Mare is the standout from the studio sides.

The Byrds - (Untitled) album cover.jpg

9/19/70: Performance soundtrack

An interesting soundtrack to a good if somewhat dark period piece film. Names on the album include Randy Newman, Merry Clayton, Mick Jagger (who stars in the film), Ry Cooder, Jack Nitzsche, and  Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Performance-soundtrack.jpg

9/23/70: Ani DiFranco born

Another important artist from the 1990’s-onward turned 50 this month.

Ani DiFranco: Embracing Stability, Remaining Outspoken : NPR

9/25/70: Ringo – Beaucoups of Blues

Ringo released his second solo album on the 25th. His third album would be the breakthrough (with a little help from many of his friends).

BeaucoupsBCover.jpg

September 1970: Curtis Mayfield – Curtis

Mayfield released his post-Impressions solo debut, which he produced, 50 years ago this month. It spent five weeks atop the R&B charts, and reached number 19 on the Billboard Pop albums chart.

Curtismayfield-1970lp.jpg

September 1970: Johnny Winter And

The Texas blues guitarist delivered another butt-kicking album this month in 1970, his fourth studio album.

Johnny Winter And.jpeg

-Stephen

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_I_Could_Do_It_All_Over_Again,_I%27d_Do_It_All_Over_You

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neko_Case

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy_Gray

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We%27ve_Only_Just_Begun

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Untitled_(The_Byrds_album)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Performance_(soundtrack)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ani_DiFranco#Discography

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaucoups_of_Blues

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_(Curtis_Mayfield_album)

September 23 – Album #2 for The Allman Brothers Band

9/23/70: The Allman Brothers Band – Idlewild South

It hadn’t occurred to me until reading a bit of background on this album just how pivotal it was in the development of the Allman Brothers Band. The group was simultaneously and constantly touring while ducking into studios when time permitted and, in a way, that was just as important an element of the album as these studio tracks themselves. The album was recorded mostly live during sessions which took place intermittently  over a five month period in NYC, Miami, and Macon, GA. Idlewild South, the band’s second album, was released this day 50 years ago. Much of its contents would form part of the core of the band’s live repertoire for years to come.

The Allman Brothers Band: Idlewild South: Super Deluxe Edition | Sound &  Vision

Though I’ve always liked the album opener, Dickey Betts’ gospel-tinged Revival, lyrically speaking it’s kind of atypical of this band, who weren’t exactly a flower power group. Perhaps it’s no coincidence then that the song was originally an instrumental. But that groove is infectious, and along with In Memory of Elizabeth Reed it brought Dickey Betts to the fore as a crucial songwriting contributor. The latter song was written for a woman of a different name who Betts was involved with (Boz Scaggs’ girlfriend). Elizabeth Reed was a name Betts spotted on a headstone in the cemetery where the band liked to hang out and write.

Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers wearing it high and proud! :  Highslingers

The Willie Dixon track Hoochie Coochie Man features Berry Oakley’s only vocal performance with the Allmans, sounding an awful lot like Johnny Winter. This one rocks harder than anything else on an album full of blazing guitar licks. Along with In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, Gregg’s Midnight Rider is my favorite track on this record. Roadie Robert Kim Payne received a co-credit for a lyric assist. It was released as a single, but didn’t fare well until recorded by others including Gregg on his 1973 solo album, Laid Back. I like this version as much as Gregg’s solo take. Please Call Home features his typically soulful vocals, and should probably be a better known song.

Gregg Allman to Be Buried Next to Duane Allman at Funeral - Rolling Stone

Contemporary and retrospective reviews have always been quite positive, yet the album initially sold only slightly better than it’s debut predecessor. The band would really make their name through relentless touring which, after this release, would lead to arguably their greatest album the following year, At Fillmore East.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Revival
  2. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
  3. Midnight Rider
  4. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

Side Two:

  1. Hoochie Coochie Man
  2. Please Call Home
  3. Leave My Blues at Home

-Stephen

Idlewild South

https://www.allmusic.com/album/idlewild-south-mw0000196446

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idlewild_South

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/allman-brothers-band-idlewild-south/

September 23 – Simon Finn’s Cult Classic Turns 50

9/23/70: Simon Finn – Pass the Distance

“Madness” “…songs unravel lysergically” “sinewy guitar” “snarling vocals” “catharsis” “raw merriment” “hypnotic” “nocturnal” “nightmarish” “creepy” “beautiful” “poetic” – These are some of the words I’ve come across in reviews of Simon Finn’s Pass the Distance. I’ll go ahead and add “harrowing” to the list. This is a bit of an unorthodox blog entry for me, as Pass the Distance is not a well known album, not by yours truly, anyway. But it’s really quite fascinating to listen to at least once, maybe twice if you enjoy staring over a ledge into the abyss.

SIMON FINN/ “Pass the Distance” 50 anni dopo, la salvezza in una canzone

I discovered this album for myself sometime in the last ten or so years, and if I didn’t find it in the suggested music column on YouTube then I have no idea how I learned of it. In the spirit of Skip Spence’s Oar meets Syd Barrett and maybe Tim Buckley’s more experimental albums, this one is “out there,” a quintessential cult album. I’ve come across a couple of dates given as its release date, including 50 years ago today, so today it is.

Rare inserts: SIMON FINN Pass The Distance

Finn made his professional debut opening for Al Stewart at London’s Marquee Club in 1967, but spent the following two years busking and updating share prices on the London Stock Exchange’s blackboard until presented with the opportunity to record this album with David Toop on guitar and Paul Burwell handling percussion. Besides love and sex, he places heavy focus on Christian themes, redemptive and otherwise. The feature track is titled Jerusalem, in which he equates the Crucifixion with the ideals of the 1960s counterculture. He’s calling out the hypocrites, and there are many. Indeed, if you’re going to sample one song on this album, check out Jerusalem.

The Wire - Pass The Distance: A Portrait Of Simon Finn by Gianmarco Del Re

As Finn shared with a journalist in 2004, “The songs were about alienation and loneliness. Jerusalem came to me in one shot. I wrote it on mescaline and was playing it over and over and one of my flatmates wrote it down.” Due to legal issues the album was withdrawn from circulation in the early 70’s, and Finn relocated to Canada where he disappeared from the music scene completely. He taught karate before taking up organic farming, unaware that Pass the Distance had become a cult classic until it was remastered/re-released in 2004, after which he performed the album on stage on a handful of dates. He has since released a few more albums and toured with Current 93, Graham Coxon, Thurston Moore, and others.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. Very Close Friend
  2. The Courtyard
  3. What a Day
  4. Fades (Pass the Distance)
  5. Jerusalem

Side Two:

  1. Where’s Your Master Gone
  2. Laughing ‘Til Tomorrow
  3. Hiawatha
  4. Patrice
  5. Big White Car

Simon Finn – Pass The Distance LP

https://www.allmusic.com/album/pass-the-distance-mw0000636661#:~:text=Pass%20the%20Distance%20is%20not,and%20strange%2C%20oblique%20love%20songs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Finn_(musician)