Posts Tagged ‘ 1971 ’

T-Rex “Electric Warrior”

Electric Warrior

I grew up thinking T-Rex was mad lame. See, you hear this “Bang A Gong, Get it ON!” song on classic rock radio all the time, and somehow everybody knows it’s T-Rex. But that’s it… pretty lame, man. Pick up the nice digipak release of Electric Warrior, however, and you’ll experience your first bout of T-Rextacy.

I’m just writing this one up in case. Everybody in the UK is sick of this album, but I didn’t know about it until a few years ago. It simply can’t be missed. From the moment Mambo Sun sets the kicked back groove, Electric Warrior is an album with immediate resonance. It carries on to the beautiful Cosmic Dancer (watch the great film Billy Elliot for a healthy dose of Rextacy) before taking off with the rocking Jeepster. The album continues this way dynamically, but every song is so simple, every melody so smart, every lyric so strange, and every sound so classic.

It’s no wonder Marc Bolan was in love with himself. Check out the Born to Boogie DVD to see him perform next to a giant cutout of himself while wearing his face on his tee shirt. Electric Warrior is the album when Bolan took the folkier, mystic Tyrannosaurus Rex to the next level. Basically, he wanted to rock. So he brought out the electrics and the drum kit, but kept the bongos and added some strings. Just go get Electric Warrior, then The Slider. Then, if you’re up for it, old buddy Sergio will tell you about TANX.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Life’s A Gas”

[ Buy from Amazon | Search eBay ]

John Hartford “Aereo-Plain”

Aereo-Plain

John Hartford started off like many songwriters, writing song after song trying to hit a big one. And when he did, with Gentle On My Mind (one of the most recorded songs ever), he hung out on those royalties, and all of his subsequent albums were exactly what you would expect from a bluegrass entertainer who did just exactly what he wanted to do. Of course, I must admit that the first time my buddy showed me his tattered LP with some goggled longhair singing hillbilly tunes I wasn’t too interested (probably opting at that time for Trout Mask Replica or the like), but of all the albums I once ignored, this was my biggest mistake.

Hartford is the Frank Zappa of bluegrass. Not quite as prolific in terms of releases, but both musicians were so firmly entrenched in their respective musics, and at the same time, so able to comment on it from an outside, and humorously different point of view. With Aereo-Plain, the first album any wannabe John (or even bluegrass) fan should nab, Hartford grabbed some of the best pickers in town (Norman Blake, Tut Taylor, Vassar Clements, and Randy Scruggs on electric bass guitar) and just let ’em go. In the studio, the only requirements were that at least one picker had to know the song, and the rest could follow. It was a free-form recording and they didn’t listen to playback until it was all over.

There was magic there at that studio, and for a closer look we have the wonderful, newish companion CD, Steam Powered Aereo-Takes which gathers many great outtakes from the sessions. But seriously, start here with the biggie. John’ll rip that banjo and sing about Steamboats (of which he was a Mississippi River pilot), hippies, drug dealin’, songwriting, and the “Goodle Days” in general. In fact, this nearly conceptual album has a nostalgic theme almost in line The Kinks’ classic Village Green album.

Not to be missed, then get Morning Bugle.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Back In The Goodle Days”

[ Google Product Search ]

The Pink Fairies “Never Never Land”

Never Never Land

The Pink Fairies were from the same trashy underbelly of English underground rock as the Edgar Broughton Band, the Deviants, Hawkwind, Arthur Brown, and Gong. Twink, one of the band’s founders, had been in the beat era Fairies, The In-Crowd, Tomorrow, the Pretty Things, and he even managed to released a great solo album in 1970, prior to this.

The Pink Fairies were special, a truly dynamic band that was England’s very own MC5. They released 3 albums during the early 70’s, and while their true swan song, Kings Of Oblivion, is usually cited as their masterpiece, Never Never Land is nothing less than stellar. It kicks off with the misleading Do It. The album version of this tune begins with an acoustic intro than blasts into a hard punk rocker that should really be a classic radio anthem. War Girl engages in some cosmic blues rock soul with some fantastic wah-wah and a great spacey atmosphere. Say You Love Me and Teenage Rebel are more proto-punk/power pop highlights that show off the bands impressive instrumental chops which were honed at countless outside festivals. Surprisingly, Heavenly Man recalls early 70’s Pink Floyd, with slow profound drumming, dazed vocals and David Gilmour style guitar flourishes.

The band’s sound was a combination of the burgeoning progressive rock scene, the earlier psychedelic revolution, proto-punk/garage rock roots, a small hint of politics, and good ole fashioned rock n roll. All these elements make the 10 minutes of Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout a joy to listen to. This is an undeniably great album from an unsung band. Never Never Land shows a vital band fighting for its life, creating some of the hardest outdoor festival music of the time. Anyone into the early Flamin’ Groovies, the Stooges, MC5, the Coloured Balls, or the Amboy Dukes should do themselves a favor and pick this album up.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Do It (Single Edit)”

[ Buy from Amazon ]

David Bowie “Hunky Dory”

Hunky Dory

File this under “No kidding.” Who cares if this album is holding an outside straight of massive Bowie classics (Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, Life On Mars, Queen Bitch).

The problem is the powerhouses tend to overshadow the real gems here. Kooks has to be the best song on this record! Quicksand is great as well, a well orchestrated ballad with rock band climaxes. The ultra catchy Fill Your Heart is another beautiful, piano-led, tune.

With Andy Warhol and Song For Bob Dylan following (before the undeniable Queen Bitch) it’s a wonder people consider The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust the better record. Anyway, that’s more of a Ziggy record than a Bowie record.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Kooks”

[ Buy from Amazon | iTunes ]

Nilsson “Aerial Pandemonium Ballet”

Aerial Pandemonium Ballet

My friend actually got mad at me for not telling him about this album sooner. I had always thought it was one of those private albums, that you love but don’t really mention to anyone. But, as it turns out, this one is best shared.

So here it is, ladies and gentleman, may I present, in the center ring, Nilsson! And his mash-up album (way ahead of its time), Aerial Pandemonium Ballet. When Harry hit it big with The Point! and his rendition of Freddy Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin‘ practically scored the entirety of Midnight Cowboy, he went back in the vaults and re-released his first two albums (Pandemonium Shadow Show and Aerial Ballet), only mixed together as one.

Nilsson was the Beatles’ favorite American recording artist and he pays them a fitting tribute in the bonus tracks with “You Can’t Do That” which every Beatles fan MUST hear. Also, I heard once that Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song was about John Lennon but I’m not sure if this is true; this was recorded well before the lost weekend.

Can’t recommend this one enough, especially if you haven’t yet heard Harry’s beautiful three-octave crooning or his cyclical songwriting skills. Some folks think the original two albums are better, which is fine, but this must be the first mash-up! Go Nilsson.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Without Her”

One is a Number Divided By Two

The Tokens “Intercourse”

Intercourse

You definitely know who the Tokens are. Think: “….Wimoweh, a wimoweh…”

The Tokens are best known for their massive 1961 #1 hit (US/UK) recording of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” In the late 60s, influenced by the Beatles and the Boys (Smiley Smile), Mitch Margo and The Tokens recorded a wildly psychedelic selection of songs written during “a pretty blue period” in Mitch’s life.

Admittedly, some songs haven’t stood the test of time as well as the Boys’ songs. Even I have trouble playing the overtly druggy Commercial in the presence of others. But really, I have to recommend you get your hands on this album because it will likely blow you away. The songs are simply beautfiul.

If you don’t get this album, you should at least rejoice in the opening mantra: “It’s amazing to be alive, all I can say is stay alive.” Also, be aware of the cover art… I have seen two other versions that portray Intercourse as either a lo-fi/punk record or a mid-eighties Kinks record.

Tokens Albums

I got this album from the link supplied below, and I happened to receive the Oglio CD which features the original cover art crudely featured at the top of this post. It is amazing to be alive!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Wonderful Things”

The Tokens - Intercourse

All I Can Say Is Stay Alive!