Tag: 1971

Dust – Hard Attack / Dust

ARTIST: Dust

TITLE: Hard Attack / Dust

YEAR RELEASED: 1972 / 1971

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Stone Woman

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Suicide shows up on hard rock playlists.

LINEUP: Richie Wise, Kenny Aaronson, Mark Bell

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Long lost power trio’s two albums are rereleased 40+ years after the fact and gather interest as proto-metal influencers.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Dust probably wasn’t going to make it. The label they were on (Kama Sutra) was more of a pop record company. Their sound (heavy but with some acoustic flourishes, country influences and strings on a few numbers) was ahead and behind the times – too early for metal and too late for heavy psychedelic rock. They also were quite minimalist despite the underpinning of acoustic guitar and said strings on a few cuts.

Listening to these two records now (somehow they decided to put their second record first on the collection) you get the sense that Dust had an idea where they wanted to go, but no one knew what to do with them. They were even more bare-bones than Black Sabbath at times, with Kenny Aaronson’s bass and Mark Bell’s drums holding court while Richie Wise riffed and soloed. Wise’s lyrics also seemed a bit dark (especially in “Suicide”, which seems to out-do “DOA” by Bloodrock in the macabre) though Aaronson wrote “Learning to Die”, which was also pretty damn dark too.

The choice of putting album two ahead of album one seems to make one think Dust went through a regression. It was the opposite – they tried more stuff on record two instead of full-on power trio noise.

Dust broke up after their second album with Wise wanted to go into production work, leaving an uncertain future behind him. Forty years later, you can hear the dots connecting between Blue Cheer, Sabbath, Deep Purple, and then to Dust, and beyond…

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Wise produced the early Kiss albums. Bell became Marky Ramone. You know him. Aaronson became a session bassist / fill in / supergroup member with a great reputation.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. These two albums in one CD is it. You can’t really find live film of Dust out there.

GRADE: B+: This shows that even records that are seemingly cast aside by record companies and critics can have their moments in the sun.

Mountain – Nantucket Sleighride

ARTIST: Mountain

TITLE: Nantucket Sleighride

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION:  #16 US, #43 UK

SINGLES: The Animal Trainer and the Toad (#76)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Don’t Look Around, Nantucket Sleighride (To Owen Coffin)

LINEUP: Leslie West, Felix Pappalardi, Steve Knight, Corky Laing

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The follow-up release for this loud proto-metal band doesn’t have the high of “Mississippi Queen”, but it’s a better album through and through.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roaring out of the gate with “Don’t Look Around”, Mountain starts its second album like their first. However, instead of being a disappointment after that blast, the band settles in and delivers pretty decent cuts.

The title track, an elegy to Owen Coffin, who was an unfortunate victim of the shipwreck of the whaler Essex (the Dollop did an episode about it, and Owen Chase, a survivor, wrote a fantastic account about it. Coffin volunteered himself so others may survive). It’s a creative and moving telling of the tale (up to the shipwreck) and Mountain’s best song.

The other tracks don’t devolve into snoozers like the previous record. Even with a darker subject (“Tired Angels” is dedicated to Jimi Hendrix), Mountain keeps it heavy for most of the record, as they should. Sadly, this is the last Mountain record worth anything, unless you just LOVE blustery long live versions. And by long, I mean side or two side long.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The band had some co-writers. Felix Pappalardi’s wife, Gail Collins, wrote most of the lyrics, but Sue Palmer also contributed lyrics as well.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A single and a live track. Nothin’ special.

GRADE B+:  This album has enough heavy tracks to make you eschew the compilation and grab this in total.  

Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey

ARTIST: Van Morrison 

TITLE: Tupelo Honey

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION:  #27

SINGLES: Wild Night (#28), Tupelo Honey (#47), (Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball (#119)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Moonshine Whiskey

LINEUP: Van Morrison, Ronnie Montrose, Bill Church, Rick Schlosser, Connie Kay, Jack Schroer, Mark Jordan, Gary Mallaber, John McFee, Ted Templeman, Bruce Royston, Luis Gasca, Boots Houston, Ellen Schroer, Janet Planet

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A love song album to his wife, Janet Planet, after they moved to California.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Moving to California at the behest of his wife, Janet Planet, Van Morrison’s Tupleo Honey is filled with songs about love and their new adventure, while reflecting on their old life in Woodstock, NY.

Morrison’s songs this time were fairly straightforward in their subject matter, for a change, but the way Morrison sings them, the arrangements he and Ted Templeman came up with, and the evocative playing by the band is what makes them special. The feeling it puts into songs like the title track, “Moonshine Whiskey”, or “Old Old Woodstock” is almost incomparable.

I can’t find a fault with this album, to be honest. It’s an album of love songs, but it’s not goopy or cloying. It’s heartfelt.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Tupelo Honey is a honey made in Mississippi from the pollen of tupelo trees.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. This isn’t even streaming, as Morrison doesn’t like it since it’s about his now ex-wife Janet Planet.

 GRADE A+: This one hits me right in the heart.

Brave Belt – Brave Belt

ARTIST: Brave Belt  R-6067485-1410234025-6141.jpeg

TITLE: Brave Belt

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Rock and Roll Band, Crazy Arms Crazy Eyes

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not unless you were in Canada in 1971 or so

LINEUP: Randy Bachman, Chad Allan, Rob Bachman. C. F. Turner, not a member yet, sings backup a couple of times.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After leaving the Guess Who, Randy Bachman joins with former Guess Who singer Chad Allan and his brother Rob to form a country-tinged band based in Winnipeg.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Fans still shocked about Randy Bachman leaving the Guess Who were also surprised when he formed Brave Belt with his brother as the drummer and the former lead singer of the Guess Who, Chad Allan.

More shock came to fans when the band was more of a country-rock flavored outfit than the harder edged Guess Who.

There are some rockers here for sure. But Allan was turning more toward a country-folk sound with his songs. Randy Bachman was also singing in his gentle falsetto. This was a transitional band, as Bachman was finding his bearings after leaving the hit machine of the Guess Who. It’s not that exciting, but it’s interesting as a minor point of rock history.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: C. F. Turner joined as the bass player after the basic tracks (Randy Bachman played the bass) but did sing backup on a few tracks.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE B-: Most of the songs are OK. They are well played, of course, thanks to Randy Bachman’s virtuosity. But you can take this or leave it.

Stevie Wonder – Where I’m Coming From

ARTIST: Stevie Wonder 220px-StevieWonderWhereImComingFrom

TITLE: Where I’m Coming From

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #62, #7 R&B

SINGLES: If You Really Love Me (#8 US, #4 R&B, #20 UK), Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer (#78 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really

LINEUP: Stevie Wonder, James Jamerson, Syretta Wright, other Motown people

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The first album where Stevie Wonder broke free of the Motown machine is tentative, but does have some tracks where his future direction is shown.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Thanks to a brilliant contract negotiation, Stevie Wonder was able to break free of Motown’s artistic control, and allowed Wonder to produce himself, and record an album that he wanted to, without any interference.

(This is why this is the first non-compilation by Wonder I’m reviewing – standard Motown hit+filler infected the previous ones.)

This album doesn’t sound like a typical Motown album of the time, even if the Funk Brothers played on it. The arrangements are varied, and the songs take more chances at times. Sometimes, it works (“Do Yourself a Favor forshadows his funk excursions) and “If You Really Love Me” has an intriguing arrangement for a ballad. Sometimes, like “I Wanna Talk to You”, don’t work but at least it was an attempt to be socially conscious. Other ballads just seem perfunctory, but they were his, at least.

This is a teaser for the great Wonder albums of the 70’s.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: His then-wife, Syreeta Wright, co-wrote each song with Wonder. This is also the first album where Wonder wrote everything.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE B: A great effort at independence, though sometimes he still sounds shackled a bit. “Do Yourself a Favor” is fantastic though.

Fleetwood Mac – Future Games

ARTIST: Fleetwood Mac                220px-Fleetwood_Mac_-_Future_Games

TITLE: Future Games

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #91

SINGLES: Sands of Time

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Oh, no. Nothing from this record.

LINEUP: Danny Kirwan, Bob Welch, Christine McVie, John McVie, Mick Fleetwood

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Another album, another lineup, though this one would last two whole years!

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jeremy Spencer’s gone. Peter Green’s long gone. But John McVie’s new wife, Christine (nee Perfect) is now a full-time band member. Bob Welch, a California guitarist relocated to Paris, joined up after an ‘audition’ where he didn’t play a note. That was a good decision by the band.

This moves way away from the blues, into more of a mellow rock dominated by Danny Kirwan and Welch, with Christine McVie contributing two quintessential Christine McVie tracks. It’s mellow sound that would become the hallmark of Mac between the blues and the Buckingham / Nicks era.

Songs like the title track and “Morning Rain” are pleasant enough, and it struck the US market enough to hit the Top 100. The UK avoided this version of the group like the plague, as none of the five albums with Welch ever charted there.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This originally had seven songs, with three long-ish ones on side one. The record company said they wouldn’t release a seven song album (at least not from them), so they added a 2 ½ minute jam quickly and called it good.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE B-: It’s got its moments, and Welch is underrated as a FM member (so is Kirwan). But it’s mellowness can only carry it so far.

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.

Yes – The Yes Album

ARTIST: Yes                                      220px-The_Yes_Album

TITLE:  The Yes Album

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #40 US, #4 UK

SINGLES: Your Move (#40), Yours Is No Disgrace

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Starship Trooper, I’ve Seen All Good People (Your Move is part of this suite)

LINEUP: Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye. Colin Goldring played the recorder

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The breakthrough album, helped by a focus on musical suites and new guitarist Steve Howe.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Two changes to Yes improved their lot a great deal since their 1970 album. First, the band focused on long prog-rock suites that showcased their chops and abilities. Second, the band replaced departed Peter Banks with Steve Howe, who had been in Tomorrow and other groups.

Howe’s guitar style and versatility with acoustic and electric guitars helped the band build up the suites and allowed for excellent transitions, as showcased in “Yours Is No Disgrace” and “Starship Trooper”. The latter cut is probably the pinnacle of Yes’ early prog rock days. He also added another vocal element along with Anderson and bassist Chris Squire, which richened the vocal sound.

Even with a couple of lesser cuts on the second side, this is really where to start with Yes for the curious.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: On the cover, Tony Kaye is seen in a cast, as he broke his foot in a car accident the night before.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a studio version of Howe’s guitar solo “The Clap” and single edits.

 GRADE: A-: Three classic Yes suites, and the filler’s not bad, really.

Crazy Horse – Crazy Horse

ARTIST: Crazy Horse                                 220px-CrazyHorseCD

TITLE:  Crazy Horse

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: #84

SINGLES: Dirty Dirty, Downtown

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dance Dance Dance, I Don’t Want to Talk About It

LINEUP: Danny Whitten, Nils Lofgren, Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, Jack Nitzsche. Ry Cooder was on a few tracks, and Gib Guilbeau played fiddle on a song.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Neil Young’s backing band records its first album, and its only one with Danny Whitten.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Backing bands have had a spotty history in recording their own works, with some being able to construct their own identity, and others sounding like their ‘boss’ with just a different vocalist. Crazy Horse straddled the two on their first result.

It’s hard to separate Crazy Horse from Neil Young, especially as both went through their careers. First, though, with Danny Whitten in control of the band, Nils Lofgren added to help out, and Jack Nitzsche producing and adding piano, they added textural components that weren’t present in most of their Neil Young recordings. Most all of the tracks were originals (with only two Young tracks, both unreleased at the time by Neil), and the original of “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” is here.

While this isn’t as ragged as Young’s work with the band, it’s almost too safe. Perhaps they tried to reign in Whitten, who was already struggling with addiction. It was too late for Danny, as he would be dead in a year. What we are left here is a competent rock and roll record with some of the rough edges sanded off, for better or worse.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Crazy Horse was known as the Rockets before hooking up with Young, and recorded an album in 1968.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: Whitten’s a good songwriter, but it’s not as loud and raucous as one would expect. But it’s better than their two 1972 records without Whitten or Lofgren or Nitzsche, which are to be avoided.

The Kinks – Percy

ARTIST: The Kinks                 220px-KinksPercySoundtrack

TITLE:  Percy

YEAR RELEASED: 1971

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: God’s Children

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: An instrumental of Lola

LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, John Dalton, John Gosling, Mick Avory

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A soundtrack to a UK comedy film that was not released in the US. It shouldn’t have been.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record was the soundtrack to an odd UK film called Percy that featured Elke Sommer, Britt Ekland, Denholm Elliott and Hywel Bennett. Like many true soundtracks, there are a lot of instrumental and mood pieces, and a few songs which relate to the movie.

“God’s Children”, the single, was one of Ray Davies’ best ‘hidden’ tracks, but many of the other songs are laden with strings, are meandering mood pieces for the film, or sound like leftovers from other projects.

Pick and choose, but since “God’s Children” is on The Kink Kronikles, you may want to pass altogether.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Willesden Green” is sung by bassist John Dalton, the only track not sung by a Davies brother.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. It was appended onto the Lola CD, but it just clogs that record up. 

GRADE: D+: I’m saving a few, but there’s really only one track here, and the rest is just not worth it for anyone but the Kinks zealots