Tag: 1969

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin II

ARTIST: Led Zeppelin              220px-Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_II (1)

TITLE:  Led Zeppelin II

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Whole Lotta Love (#4 US), Living Loving Maid (She’s Just a Woman (#65 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The whole damn thing, unless you’ve been in the Marianas Trench.

LINEUP: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones, John Bonham

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The album that made Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: A simple three note riff concocted by Jimmy Page for a song directly stolen from Willie Dixon created the beast known as Led Zeppelin. Had “Whole Lotta Love” been absent from this Earth, what would classic rock stations build their playlists around?

This album had the blues (another one was stolen – from Leadbelly in “The Lemon Song”), ROCK (see above, along with “Living Loving Maid”), Robert Plant being all lovey dovey, and space form Jimmy Page and John Bonham to jizz all over the control board. Rock and roll man. Rock and roll.

As a teenager, this was the record by them I played the most. (My girlfriend at the time cringed when I sang along to “The Lemon Song”.Blame her?) Now, it’s one I play the least. It’s the most predictable, the most cliché ridden, and some tracks are skipped with regularity. I mean, it’s GOOD, but not great except for a couple tracks, and they stole one of them.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They got nabbed for plagiarism, and now the credits for “Whole Lotta Love” and “The Lemon Song” have put right that thievery.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. A bonus disc with backing tracks and rough mixes, with one unheard intro/outro that is very unique.

GRADE: B+: A couple tracks are boring, a couple tracks are just exercises in overplaying, and there are a few gems. But it’s the Zep I turn to the least, despite the highlights.

Mott the Hoople – Mott the Hoople

ARTIST: Mott the Hoople            220px-Mottthehoople1969

TITLE:  Mott the Hoople

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #66 UK, #185 US

SINGLES: Rock and Roll Queen

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover the Kinks, Doug Sahm, and Sonny Bono

LINEUP: Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Verden Allen, Overend Watts, Dale Griffin

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut for Mott the Hoople is a bit unfocused and fussy, thanks mainly to producer Guy Stevens.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Well, the first three tracks of their debut are covers, including an instrumental of “You Really Got Me”. That raises red flags. Yet their originality hit with the single “Rock and Roll Queen” (a title oft-used later by many other bands) it demonstrated their smarts and chops. But Guy Stevens, the manager and producer, made some creative choices that obscured their originals in favor of those covers.

Ian Hunter was a late addition to the band, showing up right before this recording, and Hunter was going through a lot of Dylan affectations at the time. But the power of the band with Mick Ralphs and Overend Watts made rockers notice, and while they didn’t buy their records they were big on the live circuit.

They did the late 60’s, early 70’s thing of jamming a bit too long, and Hunter’s Dylan impersonation doesn’t grow on you. But they got their foot in the door here even if it took a while form them to burst through it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Just an FYI, record company issues make it so a comprehensive compilation isn’t quite possible now, at least streming.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a couple of B-sides..

 GRADE: B-: I waver between liking this, or exiling it. I’ll keep it thanks to Ralphs and Watts.

Mason Proffit – Come & Gone

ARTIST: Mason Proffit R-7850770-1450137577-4685.jpeg

TITLE:  Come & Gone

YEAR RELEASED: 1973 – rerelease of Wanted (1969) and Movin’ Toward Happiness (1971)

CHART ACTION: #203, Movin’ Toward Happiness charted at #177

SINGLES: Two Hangmen

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nah

LINEUP: Terry Talbot, John Michael Talbot, Tim Ayers, Ron Schuetter, Art Nash

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Country rock quintet released two albums before singing with Warner’s. This is a re-release of those two records. R-7483761-1442442370-6840.jpeg

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Led by the Talbot brothers, Mason Proffit had a well-received five year career that was marked by incessant touring and limited sales. The main reason that their blend of country, rock, and politics was a niche that didn’t fit on radio at the time.

 

They were too country and bluegrass for rock, too rock for country, and their politics were in support of the Native Americans and brotherhood was more subtle than some of the bombastic political statements of the time. They also added some subtle Christian elements to their songs.

Musically, they were excellent. John Michael Talbot is an ace banjo player, and they definitely have the right sounding mix of all of their elements. There’s not really a bad cut here, and songs like “Hard Luck Woman” or “Sweet Lady Love” could have been hits on some chart at a different time. R-5956623-1407368731-6919.jpeg

NOTES & MINUTIAE: John Michael Talbot founded the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, a Catholic monastic community.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. These individual albums aren’t streaming, so this is a value.

 GRADE: A-: Sometimes a bit too earnest, but they make a nice country-rock noise. Both albums would get this grade separately. This is a good find for those who like country rock and influences of bands like the Eagles.

Delaney & Bonnie – The Original Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

ARTIST: Delaney & Bonnie                             220px-Acceptnosub

TITLE:  The Original Delaney & Bonnie & Friends a/k/a Accept No Substitute

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #175

SINGLES: When the Battle Is Over,

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover Do Right Woman – Do Right Man

LINEUP: Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett, Leon Russell, Jerry McGee, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Rita Coolidge, Jim Keltner, Jim Gordon

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second release from the blues rock duo finds their sweet spot – mixing blues, soul, rock, gospel, and country together for a unique sound.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Signed to Elektra after their first album didn’t work out for Stax, Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett gathered their touring band, which had some heavyweights (though they were unknown at the time for the most part) and recorded this record.

The Memphis-based backing band fit right in with the duo’s sense of soul and blues, and the songs and the backing melded perfectly. Soon after, they opened for Blind Faith playing a lot of this material, and Eric Clapton became enamored with their sound and style, and they were instantly propelled into the upper echelon of rock.

Yet, this record didn’t sell much (thanks to a dispute between Elektra and Delaney), but those who heard it instantly loved it. Hearing it today, it fits right in with the best efforts from Clapton and Joe Cocker, among others.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: George Harrison offered them an Apple Records contract based on hearing this album, but the contract was voided soon after.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. 

GRADE: A: The band is tight, and make the songs shine and work well with the Bramlett’s voices.

The Grateful Dead – Live/Dead

ARTIST: Grateful Dead                    Grateful_Dead_-_Live-Dead

TITLE: Live / Dead

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #64

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dark Star, St. Stephen, Turn on Your Love Light

LINEUP: Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann, Pigpen McKernan, Tom Constanten

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The whole world now gets to experience a Dead concert, at least the musical element.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are some that say this is the pinnacle of the Grateful Dead. This series of concerts in early 1969 were the culmination of the songs, sounds, and attitude of their first three albums, where they explored folk, blues, jazz, and rock in a psychedelic stew with long, long, long jams.

The first track, “Dark Star”, is the test of where you are as a listener of the Dead. You’re either right there with them through every note and improvisation, or you’d wish they’d stop noodling around and just get on with it. Yet even the most ardent critics have to admire side two’s medley of “St. Stephen” with “The Eleven”, an improvisation in 11/8, which is not an easy time signature to play in, especially on substances.

For me, their meandering stuff is just that, meandering, though I can definitely hear their musicianship and joy in explorations. Stuff like “Feedback”, though, and the almost interminable beginning to “Dark Star” tests my patience a bit. fillmore 1969

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Tom Constanten left the band in early 1970 right after their New Orleans drug bust.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: They have a 3-CD set of these dates at the Fillmore (Fillmore West 1969) which is probably a better bet since it’s got everything in some context and has more of their bluesy stuff and more ‘succinct’ songs. 

GRADE: B+: I’d give it an A- if “Feedback” wasn’t here.

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin

ARTIST: Led Zeppelin           Led_Zeppelin_-_Led_Zeppelin_(1969)_front_cover

TITLE: Led Zeppelin

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #7 US, #6 UK

SINGLES: Good Times Bad Times (#80)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dazed and Confused

LINEUP: Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Bonham, John Paul Jones

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The debut from the rock and roll behemoth is mostly blues rock, with a couple of interesting diversions and a closing cut that points their way to domination.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the ashes of the Yardbirds Jimmy Page emerged. With studio whiz John Paul Jones and relative unknowns Robert Plant and John Bonham in tow, the new group recorded this album on their own and gave it to Atlantic Records. The company eagerly snapped it up, and the rest is history.

Most of the album is rooted in the blues, much like the Yardbirds. Two Willie Dixon tunes (“You Shook Me” and “I Can’t Quit You Baby”) were pure blues, while “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” was a standard of blues and rock bands throughout the 60’s. “Dazed and Confused” is definitely in a slow blues style.

The album’s most important cuts diverge from the blues. “Good Times Bad Times” and “How Many More Times” are riff driven, and while the latter does use some blues call-and-response, and ref3erences blues songs, the riff is pure hard rock. “Communication Breakdown”, on the other hand, has a riff that could be a speed metal or punk riff – miles ahead of its time. Most heavy songs at the time were slow and lumbering – not this one.

The band tends to ramble on some cuts (they needed an editor), and their version of “You Shook Me” isn’t as good as the Jeff Beck Groups, but this debut changed the course of rock in three cuts.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: When the Yardbirds split, Jimmy Page had the rights to the name of the band, and had to tour Scandinavia to fulfill contracts. So he recruited this band as “The New Yardbirds”, and then changed the name.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One bonus track, the title track.

GRADE: A-:  “How Many More Times” points to the future.

Dusty Springfield – Dusty in Memphis

ARTIST: Dusty Springfield     Dusty_Springfield,_Dusty_in_Memphis_(1969)

TITLE: Dusty in Memphis

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #99

SINGLES: Son of a Preacher Man (#10 US, #9 UK), Don’t Forget About Me (#64 US), The Windmills of Your Mind (#31 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it.

LINEUP: Dusty Springfield. Reggie Young, Tommy Cogbill, Bobby Emmons, Bobby Wood, Gene Chrisman, The Sweet Inspirations.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Springfield goes to Memphis to boost her career, and while the commercial results weren’t there, the arrangements and production by Jerry Wexler, Arif Martin, and Tom Dowd, along with Springfield’s sublime vocals, made for a classic.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It’s hard for an artist to realize that they need to move in another direction to kick-start a career, but Springfield took a chance by signing with Atlantic Records and recording this album in the same place where so many Atlantic soul hits were recorded. Dusty_Springfield_-_Dusty_In_Memphis_(UK)

This is string heavy vocal pop with a soul music underpinning. Springfield’s delivery fits right in with the backing from the Sweet Inspirations and the crack session musicians, and the string arrangements add the right amount of depth without going to schmaltz.

The material is from A-listers as well (Goffin / King, Mann / Weil, Randy Newman, Bacharach / David among others). From material to production to performance, this is aces all the way.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Springfield was nervous about recording in Memphis with these players, and her nerves made for a difficult session. Her vocals were ultimately recorded in NY.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, packed with B-sides, singles, and other unreleased tracks from Springfield’s Atlantic era, including the fantabulous “Live Here with You” 

GRADE: A+: I was skeptical about giving this my highest grade, since it’s been such a hyped record by critics, but in breaking it down, it’s pert near perfect for any listener.

 

Steve Miller Band – Brave New World

ARTIST: Steve Miller Band              220px-Steve_Miller_Band_-_Brave_New_World

TITLE: Brave New World

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: #22

SINGLES: My Dark Hour (#126)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Space Cowboy.

LINEUP: Steve Miller, Lonnie Turner, Ben Sidran, Tim Davis. Glyn Johns plays a lot on the album, and Paul McCartney famously contributed to one song.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Shedding the overt psychedelic sound towards a more straight-forward blues rock foundation.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Two members left the Steve Miller Band after 1968, including Box Scaggs, and Miller re-focused his work more towards blues and rock, and came up with a winning album.

“Seasons” and “Celebration Song” still have some of a hippie vibe but definitely more in a traditional rock (and folk for “Seasons”) feel, and “Space Cowboy” became a Miller signature and it’s truly where the band gels, but the final track – a true duet between Miller and Paul McCartney – is the highlight.

“My Dark Hour” not only introduced a very familiar guitar riff to the Miller lexicon, but the presence of McCartney forced Miller tor really up his game, which resulted in a fantastic performance. This is a solid album from beginning to end – worth the exploration for sure.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “My Dark Hour” came about after McCartney was the sole member of the Beatles left after a huge argument regarding their management. Miller was in the studio as well, and they started to jam.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: A gem of an album that more Miller fans should know.

Amon Dull II – Phallus Dei

ARTIST: Amon Duul II                            220px-Phallus_dei

TITLE: Phallus Dei

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only Krautrock fans, perhaps.

LINEUP: Christian Thierfeld, Peter Leopold, Holger Truizsch, Dieter Serfas, John Weinzierl, Falk Rogner, Christian Borchard, Chris Karrer, Renate Knaup, Dave Anderson

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: One of the definitive early Krautrock bands. This isn’t for those who need structure, order, and brevity.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Amon Duul II was a breakaway band from the Amon Duul commune in Germany. Amon Duul, the commune, had a band as well but this bunch wanted to create an actual career as musicians.

Along with Can, they were on the forefront of the experimental German music, featuring long, complicated jams and odd vocals that may be chanting or lyrics – and lyrics in German or English.

This record has a single long title track on the back side, which devolves into a percussion-heavy jam. Most of the album moves forward and rewards intense listening, but the last jam gets tiresome after a while.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original Amon Duul’s recordings were unprofessional and only released after Amon Duul II were notable.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, two versions with various jams.

GRADE: B+:  Krautrock starts here, along with the first Can album.

Can – Monster Movie

ARTIST: Can                                               220px-CanMonsterMovieAlbumCover

TITLE: Monster Movie

YEAR RELEASED: 1969

CHART ACTION: Nah.

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only those who love Krautrock and / or weirdness

LINEUP: Irmin Schmidt, Jaki Liebezet, Holger Czukay, Michael Karoli, Malcolm Mooney

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After a rejected album (later released about 13 or so years later), Can records a ‘more accessible record’. Of course, it has a side long track.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The beginning of Krautrock? Maybe. Can had a couple of singles and a rejected album under their belt when Music Factory (later Liberty and United Artists) released this record in Europe in 1969.

It wasn’t quite psychedelic, or something for hippies. It was its own thing. There are some regular song structures here, but there’s some jazz improvisations, and rhythmic influences from other cultures all thrown in the mix. Add to that, while the band was German the singer was an African-American poet living in Germany.

This is intriguing, and while not all of the pieces come together, and some parts are a little off, especially Mooney’s odd, abstract lyrics. it’s still a noble experiment in sounds.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Malcolm Mooney left the band soon after and went back to the US. Allegedly he had a nervous breakdown.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+:  “Yoo Doo Right”, the 20-plus minute opus, is one of the better long form songs, but a couple of pieces of it and parts of the other songs on the albums needed a bit more polish.