July 1970 Music Wrap Up, Pt. 1

With everything that’s going on out there these days on top of it being my least favorite time of year, to refer to them as dog days is an insult to dogs everywhere. But the music plays on. If I haven’t said so in the past, these end of the month wrap up posts aren’t simply what I deem to be “leftovers” not worthy of dedicated posts. In many instances they’re an acknowledgement of my ignorance. In other words, I know what I know, but there’s so much music I haven’t absorbed in my 49.5 years, yet I continue to play catch up.

Three cheers to the first person to correctly name the band in that rather nondescript featured image at the top…

7/7/70: Parliament – Osmium

See, this is what I’m talking about. I could spend a year in a Parliament and Funkadelic 101 course and barely scratch the surface. Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain (1971) and Eddie Hazel’s Game, Dames and Guitar Thangs (1977) are in my rotation, but that still leaves, what, thirty or so albums? Anyway, Osmium was Parliament’s debut album, released 50 years ago this month. Osmium is the chemical element of atomic number 76. Duh.

Osmium (album) - Wikipedia

7/8/70: Beck Hansen born

Beck released his first album about 27 years ago, and he’s been doing things his own way ever since. He’s one of the more innovative musicians out there, and is certainly one of my favorite contemporary artists. I tend to gravitate toward albums like Sea Change and Morning Phase. He turned 50 earlier this month. Seems like yesterday that the McCartneys and Jaggers of the world hit the half-century mark.

Beck Hansen Contact Info | Booking Agent, Manager, Publicist

7/14/70: Supertramp – Supertramp

Supertramp’s eponymous debut album was released 50 years ago. It (as well as their second album, Indelibly Stamped) is an album I “should” be more familiar with than a couple of YouTube listens. It’s a bit more on the prog side of life than what they came to be known for, which is why I never heard the album as a kid. I’m a fan of the Roger Hodgson/Rick Davies combo, and I love every release within their five album stretch from 1974’s Crime of the Century to 1980’s live Paris. 1982’s …Famous Last Words has its moments as well. It’s inevitable that I’ll absorb this and its follow up a bit more, probably in the near future.

Supertramp - Supertramp.jpg

7/20/70: The Doors – Absolutely Live

This was the first live Doors album, and it contains performances from mid-1969 to spring of ’70. It received rather poor reviews, but with the Doors one never knows what personal ax a writer might have had to grind with that band. The Doors were a group that people either seem to like or dislike without middle ground. Maybe it was the Celebration of the Lizard that sealed this album’s status among Rolling Stone writers and their ilk. Live at the Hollywood Bowl was my live Doors listening experience during my formative years. Come to think of it, that might be the show they got the Absolutely Live album cover photo from. It’s certainly not representative of the bearded and slightly bloated Jim of 1970. I’m still a fan.


July 1970: Fairport Convention – Full House

Fairport Convention is a band that I’ve raved about, and in a way I’ve patted myself on the back for having discovered them for myself despite my rural Midwest American 1970’s-80’s upbringing. But the reality is I only know and love the albums they did with Sandy Denny, which comprise three of the first four Fairport albums. Full House was their fifth. This was Richard Thompson’s last appearance with the band, and it’s apparently a very good album which follows in the vein of Liege & Lief but without Sandy, who had moved on to form Fotheringay. I just haven’t heard it. Perhaps you can see the dilemma I face when trying to decide what direction to take with my music education: Funkadelic or post-Denny Fairport Convention? Have I reached a point where there’s just not enough time to devote to all the sounds I’ve yet to explore?

Fairport Convention-Full House (album cover).jpg









July 5 – The Lizard King and His Grasshopper – errrr Moth…

The Doors – Live at the Hollywood Bowl

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Doors’ historic engagement at that venerable L.A. venue, the Hollywood Bowl.  They weren’t the first rock act to perform there – among the many notable non-classical or jazz concerts, the Beatles were there in ’64 and ’65, the Jimi Hendrix Experience performed two months after the Doors, and skipping ahead almost 50 years Tom Petty’s final show just before his passing was on that stage – but thanks to the belated concert album and video release in 1987, the performance holds an important place in the group’s lore.


The Doors were one of my favorite bands during my highly impressionable adolescence in the 1980’s, and I rented this concert video numerous times on VHS.  Then somewhere along the line, perhaps after watching Oliver Stone’s 1991 biopic of the group a few times, I began to see Jim Morrison as more of a caricature of himself which cheapened the music for me.  But as we see repeatedly with these bands, time has a way of shaping and reshaping our perspectives.


In my case, starting this blog has caused me to revisit the Doors catalog with fresh ears.  Whether one likes Morrison’s poetry or not, or whether one even considers it poetry at all, there were three extremely talented musicians and one very good vocalist in that group.  Actually, two talented vocalists, as heard when Ray Manzarek had to take over the vocals on the occasion at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam when Jim was unable to make it to the stage after ingesting anything and everything given to him by fans as the band walked around the city.  And knowing that Manzarek was also playing the bass lines on his keyboard only elevated his status as a musician in my mind.


Due to the poor quality of the tapes when originally released 31 years ago, the album was limited to seven tracks totalling just over 22 minutes.  With improved technology, the other tracks were cleaned up and the full show was released in 2012 as Live at the Bowl ’68.  As critic Chris Roberts noted upon the 2012 release, the band seemed very aware of the importance of the show as they rehearsed more than usual, played tighter during the show, and even decided on a set list prior to the performance – something they didn’t often do.



One of my favorite moments of the show comes during The End when Morrison, under the influence of the “dreaded lysergic” (as George Harrison referred to it in later years), goes into a rambling stream of consciousness soliloquy about a grasshopper he sees on the stage just to his left.  He’s being over the top as usual in his typical rock Adonis mode when he looks down and realizes it’s not a grasshopper but a moth – a rare moment of levity, especially for such a bleak song.

Tracklist (2012 release):

  1. Intro
  2. When the Music’s Over
  3. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
  4. Back Door Man
  5. Five to One
  6. Back Door Man (Reprise)
  7. The WASP (Texas Radio and the Big Beat)
  8. Hello, I Love You
  9. Moonlight Drive
  10. Horse Latitudes
  11. A Little Game
  12. The Hill Dwellers
  13. Spanish Caravan
  14. Hey, What Would You Guys Like to Hear?
  15. Wake Up!
  16. Light My Fire
  17. Light My Fire (Segue)
  18. The Unknown Soldier
  19. The End (Segue)
  20. The End





July 3 – The Doors Roll On

The Doors – Waiting for the Sun

The Doors released their third album on this day in 1968.  Given the success of their first two releases, The Doors and Strange Days (both from ’67), expectations were high among fans and critics.  While received fairly well, Waiting for the Sun was still considered a bit of a let down after the band had blasted onto the scene the year before.


Due to the amount of time the Doors were spending on the road and doing TV appearances, they had a relative shortage of material to record.  Some songs on the album were the last of the leftovers from Jim Morrison’s compositions which landed on the first two releases, and they intended to compensate for the dearth of new material with a long piece titled The Celebration of the Lizard.  That track was a collection of song fragments with Morrison’s lyrics, but the band failed to achieve a satisfactory recording so it was left off the album.  Oddly, the solid title track was also left off and later used on the 1970 Morrison Hotel record.

Jim being Jim.

The result was a good but not great album, including the band’s second #1, Hello, I Love You.  To me, it’s an enjoyable listen all the way through without any clunkers, although the standouts are obvious.  Robby Krieger’s flamenco and electric guitars on Spanish Caravan are among my favorite sounds on the album, and Morrison’s lyrics are worth another reading 50 years on.  While songs such as Love Street lighten the vibe, the overall tone is even a little darker than on the first two albums (tracks such as The End from their debut notwithstanding), and Jim’s behavior was becoming more unpredictable on stage and off.  The Doors were very active at this point, and we’ll hear from them again in these pages shortly.


Side One:

  1. Hello, I Love You
  2. Love Street
  3. Not to Touch the Earth
  4. Summer’s Almost Gone
  5. Wintertime Love
  6. The Unknown Soldier

Side Two:

  1. Spanish Caravan
  2. My Wild Love
  3. We Could Be So Good Together
  4. Yes, the River Knows
  5. Five to One