Tag: 1973

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                             

TITLE: Dark Side of the Moon               



SINGLES: Money (#13 US), Us & Them (#101)


LINEUP: Dave Gilmour, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, Richard Wright. Claire Torrey did the vocals on The Great Gig in the Sky. Dick Parry played sax. Doris Troy, Lesley Duncan, Lisa Strike, and Barry St. John did backing vocals. Various around the studio contributed voice overs.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A pinnacle album for production, progressive rock, the 70’s, you name it.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Can I say anything about Dark Side of the Moon that hasn’t been said? Well, I’ll try to be somewhat original, I guess.

The production and engineering are stellar, probably the best sounding record I’ve heard (thanks to Alan Parsons even if some of the band won’t say it). The record was a pioneer on using sequencers to great effect, and the sound effects the band used were stellar and added so much to the recording.

But none of that would matter without the songs and the playing. This may be the last true record as a band where they all collaborated instead of one member rather much dictating what was to be played. The songs grew out of concerts they played in 1972 and 1973 where they workshopped the songs and got them just right. Every band member was on top of their game.

It deserves all of the accolades it received, and listening to it with fresh ears (with earbuds or headphones) will bring you delight. Oh, and it’s been on the charts for 957 weeks total in the US. So…yeah.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Parsons made the standard 35-pound sum as engineer for this record. And Claire Torrey received credit for “The Great Gig in the Sky” since she just ad-libbed those vocals.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No. Why should there be?

GRADE A+: The apex of prog rock and Pink Floyd.

Billy Joel – Piano Man

ARTIST: Billy Joel Billy_Joel_-_Piano_Man

TITLE: Piano Man



SINGLES: Piano Man (#25 US, #136 UK), Worse Comes to Worst (#80 US), Travelin’ Prayer (#77 US), The Ballad of Billy the Kid


LINEUP: Billy Joel and the cream of the LA session crop at the time (Ron Tutt, Wilton Felder, Larry Carlton, etc.)

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After his disaster of a first album (in Quick Hitters), Joel catches a few breaks and gets a new deal, and hits on his first try.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: It was a long couple of years for Billy Joel after his first album. Legal issues, tours, and a six month stint in LA grinding as a nightclub entertainer. But an appearance on WMMR, and at Mar Y Sol, got CBS interested and this album was the result after a couple of years of grinding it out.

The title track became the hit, and a few songs became standards, especially “Captain Jack”. After a rousing “Travelin’ Prayer”, and the hit, the album stalls out a bit, though the arrangements are varied. But the songs aren’t 100% all there until the end and “Captain Jack”.

Joel has a better backing band and production. Nothing is in the sad piano motif (for the most part), and it does what it meant to do – introduce Billy Joel to the public.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Joel played a set on WMMR that included the as-then-unrecorded “Captain Jack”, and that became a sensation in Philly, then New York, and then CBS got him.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, including the entire WMMR broadcast.


GRADE B: Joel throws a lot out there, stylistically, and some sticks.

Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Bachman-Turner Overdrive

ARTIST: Bachman-Turner Overdrive

TITLE: Bachman-Turner Overdrive



SINGLES: Gimme Your Money Please, Little Gandy Dancer, Blue Collar (#68)


LINEUP: Randy Bachman, Tim Bachman, C.F. Turner, Robbie Bachman

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Brave Belt becomes BTO

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After leaving the Guess Who, and then forming Brave Belt with his brother Robbie and former Guess Who singer Chad Allan, Randy Bachman lost a record deal, and got another one as he simplified (or dumbified) his sound and added another brother and C. F. Turner.

The result was a simple rock album that didn’t show any of the inventiveness or lyrical bite of Randy Bachman’s work with the Guess Who. It was basic rock, and this debut didn’t even have some of the hooks or riffs that highlight their later work.

There’s a really bad song from Tim Bachman (ooof), a weird pre-chorus in “Don’t Get Yourself in Trouble”, and leaden songs throughout, except for “Blue Collar”, and that lasts about two minutes too long. This one is a slog even at 35 minutes and half of the eight songs exiled.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The demo tape was labelled Brave Belt III.



GRADE C-: They’d do worse, but that’s not praise.

Hall & Oates – Abandoned Luncheonette

ARTIST: Hall & Oates       Hall_and_Oates,_Abandoned_Luncheonette_(1973)

TITLE: Abandoned Luncheonette



SINGLES: She’s Gone (#60 US on first release; #7 US, #42 UK on re-release)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ooh…maybe Lady Rain??

LINEUP: Daryl Hall, John Oates and session hotshots like Chris Bond, Hugh McCracken, Jerry Marotta, Steve Gelfand, Bernard Purdie, and more…

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album by the duo finds their sweet spot in an updated blue-eyed soul sound, with a couple of tracks not working this time.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Daryl Hall & John Oates moved from their hometown of Philly to New York to take in that scene and work with Arif Mardin on their album. Together, they crafted a sound that was the start of the classic Hall & Oates sound.

This collection is fine for the most part, with a couple of highlights like “Lady Rain”, and the all-timer “She’s Gone”. Oates had more tracks on this record than the usual release, and his tracks aren’t the weaker ones.

The record kind of goes off the rails at the end – with “Laughing Boy” kind of a messy solo performance by Hall (though he loved to play it in concert) and the final track which goes from blue-eyed soul to a…hoedown…for some reason. Well, just stop it after “Lady Rain” then.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This is supposedly the duo’s favorite record that they did.


GRADE B+: Wow, those last two tracks derailed it. The first seven cuts were good to great to all-timer, and then…

Lou Reed – Berlin

ARTIST: Lou Reed                      220px-Berlinloureed

TITLE:  Berlin



SINGLES: How Do You Think It Feels, Caroline Says

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Berlin, Men of Good Fortune, Lady Day

LINEUP: Lou Reed, Bob Ezrin, Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar, Steve Winwood with help from Michael and Randy Brecker, Tony Levin, BJ Wilson, Gene Martynec, John Pierson, Allan Macmillan, and Blue Weaver.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: “Hey, let’s follow up our hit album with a song cycle about a couple living in Berlin who are hooked on smack and doomed in this life! That’ll keep the cash registers humming!”

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Wow. The themes and motif of this album should have about a billion trigger alerts for survivors of addiction, domestic violence, and suicide attempts. It’s Lou Reed telling a story of Caroline and Jim, two characters from a track on his debut album. And it’s not pretty.

The music and arrangements are outstanding, and there’s some great work by Steve Hunter and Dick Wagner on guitar. But the bleakness that Reed describes really hits home in the second half of the album – Side 2 for you vinylists. I don’t know if I can play it again it’s so dark and depressing, and Reed’s montone becomes creepier as the songs go along.

The most gut wrenching song is “The Kids” where Reed and producer Bob Ezrin put actual sounds from kids screaming for their mother in the background. I couldn’t deal with it.

It’s art and not pop, and I can see what Reed was aiming for, but it really stopped his career cold for a while as his audience couldn’t relate to the decay and desperation. It wouldn’t be the first time he did that.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Bob Ezrin and Reed had planned a stage adaptation, but 86’d it due to sales. That would’ve been a laugh riot. Or not…


 GRADE: B: This is a split decision. The second side is so bleak and dark I’m exiling ¾ of it. As a song cycle, and in artistic terms, it works. But as for enjoyment, oh man. No.

Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

ARTIST: Black Sabbath                            220px-Black_Sabbath_SbS

TITLE:  Sabbath Bloody Sabbath



SINGLES: Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A National Acrobat, Spiral Architect

LINEUP: Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward. Rick Wakeman (!) plays on a track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Continuing their trend of experimenting with other motifs, Sabbath breaks out the synths, a prog musician, and strings.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The beginning riff, and the outro, is Sabbath gold. Tony Iommi broke out of his writers block with those riffs, and today they inspire guitarists everywhere.

And a few of the following seven tracks, such as “A National Acrobat” and “Spiral Architect” are heavy and worthy as well. Though “Spiral Architect” really could have been a Moody Blues song if it wasn’t so riffy. “Sabbra Cadabra” has a swing that’s not usually found with the group and the use of Rick Wakeman on synths and piano add a lot to it.

But…not everything works. Ozzy’s synth doodlings aren’t clever or revealing. Iommi’s acoustic piece feels like it’s repeating the others he’s done, and they just don’t seem that into some of the songs. The production seems a bit unheavy as well – it’s missing something.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The Cardigans (!) covered “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”.


 GRADE: B: It’s a record with “A” material and “C” material (or “C-“ to be honest).

Neil Young – Time Fades Away

ARTIST: Neil Young                   Timefadesaway.jpeg

TITLE: Time Fades Away



SINGLES: Time Fades Away

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Don’t Be Denied, Journey Through the Past

LINEUP: Neil Young, Ben Keith, Jack Nitzsche, Tim Drummond, John Barbada. David Crosby and Graham Nash show up a couple of times.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Live album of new songs is fantastic, but hated by Young because of the memories of the tour.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After Harvest, and the success of Harvest, Neil Young took everyone on a huge veer to the left. First, he released the soundtrack to his movie Journey Through the Past, which isn’t streaming, has never been on CD, and is…well…not worth reviewing anyway or complaining about the fact it’s missing. (In a word, it’d be my first F if I decided to review it). Then he went on tour with a group he called the Stray Gators, full of session whizzes, and played a bunch of new songs, loudly.

The tour was a mess. Everything that went wrong, from band members getting fired, to Young getting a sore throat, to animosity throughout the band, to heavy drug and alcohol use, to indifferent receptions to some great new songs, soured Young on this whole era. The album that resulted, though, shows these songs are among Neil’s best.

The star cut, in my ears, is “Don’t Be Denied”, though all eight songs are fantastic. Young’s ballads are heartfelt and intimate even if he’s playing in arenas. The rockers are raucous, and even if Young’s voice is a bit shaggy it still carries emotion.

After many, many, years in the wilderness due to Young’s bad feelings about the entire tour and experience (and personally, an MP3 I procured via a torrent of a vinyl copy), it’s now out there, warts and all. A must have.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Crosby and Nash came along at the end of the tour because of Neil’s sore throat.


GRADE: A: I’m probably upping this a notch high because I’m so glad it’s out there, but it’s excellent despite the raggedness.

Roxy Music – Stranded

ARTIST: Roxy Music                        Roxy_Music-Stranded

TITLE: Stranded



SINGLES: Street Life (#9 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Mother of Pearl, A Song for Europe

LINEUP: Bryan Ferry, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, Eddie Jobson, Paul Thompson, John Gustafson

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rebounding quickly after Brian Eno left, Roxy Music moved toward a more streamlined, glamorous sound.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While Brian Eno’s synthesizer swoops and swirls added unpredictability to Roxy Music, the core of the band was always the cool, calculated, European sound. New keyboardist, the just 18-year old Eddie Jobson, adds more of a classical feel to his piano and organ, and also adds violin to certain songs, giving the group even more of an elegant flair.

Bryan Ferry’s vocal croon with his vibrato were very unique in rock music at this time. This adds another layer to the cool, sound. Phil Manzanera’s guitar and Paul Thompson’s drums anchor things in rock, though. Manzanera’s solo in “Serenade” reminds you that this is a rock band.

The Euro-centric sound and style would mean Roxy Music wouldn’t become mainstream over here in the 70’s, but they were very influential for many musicians in this era, even punk rockers.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The cover was the UK Playmate of the Year Marilyn Cole.


GRADE: A-: They took the Eno years and built on them, becoming more song and pop oriented while maintaining their uniqueness.

Roxy Music – For Your Pleasure

ARTIST: Roxy Music                       Roxy_Music_-_For_Your_Pleasure

TITLE:  For Your Pleasure



SINGLES: Do the Strand

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Editions of You, In Every Dream Home a Heartache

LINEUP: Bryan Ferry, Brian Eno, Andy Mackay, Phil Manzanera, Paul Thompson, John Porter.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Roxy Music’s second album is an improvement in both songwriting and production.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roxy Music’s second album became a touchstone for glam, new wave, and even punk rockers with its arty style, dedication to their craft, and the ability to cross through to many audiences. It’s also weird.

Brian Eno’s very involved here, with solos and effects blaring out of his VC3. Andy Mackay’s saxophone is untamed at times, blaring over the songs with abandon. Yet, Bryan Ferry remains calm and cool as usual, crooning over the mayhem but lifting his voice when it calls for (like in the choruses of “Do the Strand”). Ferry’s vocals during the mayhem of the title cut, and the outlandishness of “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” also warrent mention. Paul Thompson’s strong drumming also anchors the tunes.

The issue in the US is that glam was just a fad, and Eno’s and MacKay’s wanderings weren’t received well. Yet it was our loss. The album may not have been able to break the airwaves, but it’s combo of art and glam make for an exciting listen, even during some of the artier sections.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: As usual in the UK, the lead single “Pyjamarama” wasn’t on the album. That hit #10 on the charts over there.


GRADE: A:  There’s some arty bo-ho stuff that makes my head wander, but this is a solid album for glam and new wavers.

ZZ Top – Tres Hombres

ARTIST: ZZ Top                               220px-ZZ_Top_-_Tres_Hombres

TITLE:  Tres Hombres



SINGLES: La Grange (#41), Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Waiting for the Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago

LINEUP: Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Putting it all together, ZZ Top records their commercial breakthrough.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After slowly gaining in popularity (regionally, for the most part), ZZ Top’s blend of blues and boogie found its audience when this stormed out of speakers in 1973.

At first, “La Grange” was the cut of choice, and it still causes a commotion whenever it’s on the radio. Yet, the album is full of glorious blues and rock-and-roll. The opening tracks (“Waiting for the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”) have been fan favorites for years, and many of the deep tracks are just as solid as the hits (especially “Precious and Grace” – that one should be cranked up as high as possible).

Gibbons’ guitar work is versatile as usual, with great slide, blues and boogie riffs sprayed all over the place and Frank Beard’s drumming has strengthened and he adds more flair to his work.

There isn’t a track that I’d leave off, but the side closers aren’t as strong as the rest of the tracks (they’re still not that great at slowing down). That’s a quibble – you gotta have this in your rock collection.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Everyone knows that “Waiting for the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago” blend together on album, but it wasn’t planned. An engineer spliced the songs too close so they went together as they were a medley.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, three live tracks.

GRADE: A:  This may be the pinnacle of ZZ Top, especially early Top.