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)

July 24 – A Second Offering from Yes

7/24/70: Yes – Time and a Word

Yes’s second album, released on Atlantic 50 years ago today, was recorded during the band’s touring breaks and continued the evolution of their classic early/mid 70’s sound (and lineup). A small brass and string section was employed on most of the album which sets it apart from Yes’s other albums, a move which guitarist Peter Banks did not approve of and which hastened his departure from the group before Time and a Word‘s release. He was replaced by Steve Howe, who was added to the group photo on the album’s jacket which was released in the U.S. because the original U.K. jacket was deemed inappropriate for release across the Atlantic.

Original US cover featuring Steve Howe (far right)

There’s simply no doubt who you’re listening to from the opening notes of Tony Kaye’s Hammond organ on No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, a very interesting take on Richie Havens’s original which is also notable to me as a Havens fan because Richie was known better for being an interpreter of others’ tracks rather than the one being covered. Yes’s version has an Aaron Coplandesque bombast of strings and brass, giving it a bit of an American flavor. Other favorites of mine include their reading of Stephen Stills’s Everydays, which starts out spacey before kicking into an extended jam before returning to where it began, plus Jon Anderson & David Foster’s Sweet Dreams, which points the way to future Yes albums, and Anderson’s Astral Traveller, a standout track for drummer Bill Bruford. Dear Father is probably the only song on this album that doesn’t really do anything for me.

Yes

Time and a Word is considered by prog and specifically Yes aficionados to be the weakest of their 1970’s albums. I consider myself to be a casual Yes fan, and I find it to be a very enjoyable listening experience despite its status as a transitional work. The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, and Relayer it is not. Probably not Tales from Topographic Oceans, either. But to me that says more about their depth of quality albums in those years. Take away the occasional overuse of strings and it would probably be more on par with those others.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
  2. Then
  3. Everydays
  4. Sweet Dreams

Side Two:

  1. The Prophet
  2. Clear Days
  3. Astral Traveller
  4. Time and a Word

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/time-and-a-word-mw0001948160

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

http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/yes-time-word/

 

May 1970, Pt. 3 – King Crimson’s Followup

5/15/70: King Crimson – In the Wake of Poseidon

King Crimson released their second album on the 15th of May, seven months after their striking debut, In the Court of the Crimson King. Most of the band, including Greg Lake, had departed prior to recording the followup, but returned on a session basis for this album. The similarities to In the Court are clear: sometimes erratic jazz fusion, rock, intricate guitar playing, popping drums, and periods of intermittent ethereal instrumentals. And lots of that signature Mellotron. Unsurprisingly, as with many contemporary reviews of bands not called Beatles or Stones, critics were cool to this album. Also not a shock, retrospective reviews consider it a masterpiece.

The Story Behind The Album: In The Wake Of Poseidon, by King Crimson

This band has had so many incarnations and sounds, I’m hesitant to try to write about them as a casual fan/listener. Robert Fripp seems to me a musician’s musician, an audiophile’s audiophile, and quite an intense one at that. My first two King Crimson albums were In the Court and Discipline, and that was it for a few years. Poseidon was the next one I obtained, and my initial thought was that it was a lesser version of the debut. I’ve come around, however. Maybe it took exploring more of there later work to come closer to “getting” this one. I’m sure Robert Fripp would be relieved to know it.

King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon (Vinyl) | Discogs

Interesting (to me) factoid: A still-relatively unknown Elton John, who had released his debut album Empty Sky in the U.K., was hired to perform the vocals on Poseidon before Greg Lake returned, but Fripp, perhaps wisely, changed his mind, deeming E.J. not quite the right fit.

Tracklist

Side A:

  1. Peace – A Beginning
  2. Pictures of a City
  3. Cadence and Cascade
  4. In the Wake of Poseidon

Side B:

  1. Peace – A Theme
  2. Cat Food
  3. The Devil’s Triangle: I. Merday Morn II. Hand of Sceiron III. Garden of Worm
  4. Peace – An End

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/king-crimson-in-the-wake-of-poseidon/

https://www.popmatters.com/137916-king-crimson-in-the-wake-of-poseidon-40th-anniversary-series-2496068598.html

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