Tag: 1971

Brave Belt – Brave Belt

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

TITLE: Brave Belt



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.


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



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


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.


 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



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.


 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


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



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



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.


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



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

Chicago – Chicago at Carnegie Hall

ARTIST: Chicago                                     

TITLE: Chicago at Carnegie Hall




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They did all of their early hits

LINEUP: Peter Cetera, Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Danny Seraphine

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A four (FOUR) record set (and four CDs in the bonus version) documenting their 1971 residency at Carnegie Hall. Zzzzzzz…..

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Several albums in history have had notorious bad reviews, and Chicago’s quadruple live record had some of the worst in history. I’ve given this one a shot…and…the reviews are mostly spot on.

It’s way too long, To be clear, extremely way too long. Chicago always extended songs with intros and jams, but in their early albums they also had the long-ass free-form intros as well. They had suites that contained some classic pop and meandering solos. None of those were cut here, and they were even extended past tolerance. But the worst offender is the sound of them tuning up and dead space between tracks, and elongated applause. I mean, tuning up? On stage? Why put that on the record? Ye Gods.

With some judicious editing, I think they could have got this to a double or triple live. That wouldn’t have improved the sound, which is flat and doesn’t benefit the group at all. Some of the performances are ragged, especially vocally.

All in all, you don’t need this or want this, except for the one unique song “Song for Richard and His Friends”, which showed Chicago’s political side – siding with the leftists. That didn’t last.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At least three members of the band hate this album or said it shouldn’t have been released. It could have been edited down for sure.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, somehow a quadruple album has a bonus disc of alternates, etc.

 GRADE: C-: Meh sound, way too long, not the best performances, I mean, a perfect storm of exiled records. I did, except for the new political track.

Elton John – Friends

ARTIST: Elton John                        Friendsalbum

TITLE: Friends



SINGLES: Friends (#34)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No, this one’s buried for good reason.

LINEUP: Elton John, Caleb Quaye, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson and session vocalists.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A slight film soundtrack to a slight teen-romance that’s all but forgotten.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Elton John’s creative burst (or the release of songs he had cooking up when he got signed) hit a speed bump with this album, a goopy soundtrack for a forgotten teen sex drama.

Like soundtracks, there’s some instrumental tracks (or mostly instrumental – variations of themse and all that), and then there’s a lot of sentimental fluff here.

I exiled all but three – “Can I Put You On” is the track that’s most like other John tracks from the time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This isn’t streaming alone – it’s part of the Rare Masters collection.


GRADE: C-: It’s probably best to just skip this one.


Elton John – 11-17-70

ARTIST: Elton John                                                     220px-171170UK

TITLE: 11-17-70 (17-11-70 for most of the world…)



SINGLES: Not from this album

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Take Me to the Pilot and Burn Down the Mission, though this draws from his 2nd and 3rd records.

LINEUP: Elton John, Dee Murray, Nigel Olsson

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Taken from a live radio broadcast in a recording studio, John and his band run through a set of his early work.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Elton John was an ascending star, with two charting albums and a big hit single. He and his band meshed into a tight trio with bass and drums supporting the piano man (no doubt inspiring Ben Folds later on).

Most of the performances are sharp, with John displaying his piano skills and evocative singing. Murray’s bass work provides a great counterpoint to the piano, and Olsson’s drumming is sharp and propels the songs forward.

His cover of “Honky Tonk Women”, and the covers thrown into “Burn Down the Mission” (extending that song to 18 minutes) don’t seem necessary, and throw me off a bit. John also uses those opportunities to show off a bit more. Yet this is a great performance of his originals.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The original radio broadcast had thirteen songs but is only out on bootlegs and as vinyl released on Record Store Day.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: They added the fantastic “Amoreena” on the CD issue, and the new vinyl issue has the entire concert (keeping the original running order and just adding the other songs on side 3 and 4), but the entire concert, in order, hasn’t been released.

GRADE: A-: A few points off for the covers, but the band cooks through his originals and John sounds fantastic.