Tag: 1970

Crabby Appleton – Crabby Appleton

ARTIST: Crabby Appleton     crabby

TITLE: Crabby Appleton

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #175

SINGLES: Go Back (#36)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Uh-uh

LINEUP: Michael Fennelly, Felix Falcon, Casey Foutz, Hank Harvey, Phil Jones

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Grabbing a singer from the Millennium, the band Stonehenge becomes Crabby Appleton and record a great debut that saddles them one-hit wonder status.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Crabby Appleton’s debut’s single, “Go Back”, is a great piece of 70’s rock with enough pop that it should have been cranking out of radios all over the country in 1970, but stalled at #36 somehow.

The album met the same, mystifying fate. Great reviews only gave it mediocre sales, and to this day, when listening to the record, one wonders why.

Sure “Go Back” is their poppiest tune, but the rest of the record is good-to-great rock for the era, with varied styles and textures that don’t rely on a formula nor “hit plus filler”.

Who knows, man. Maybe it was the name, but it was recognizable since Crabby Appleton was a villan on a cartoon shown during Captain Kangaroo. Ah, well. Listen to it now; it’s good.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Michael Fennelly met the drummer, Phil Jones, at an LA Club, and soon joined the band.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: You really could do worse, especially in 1970 one-hit wonders.

Ringo Starr – Beaucoups of Blues

ARTIST: Ringo Starr             220px-BeaucoupsBCover

TITLE: Beaucoups of Blues

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #65

SINGLES: Beaucoups of Blues (#87)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really

LINEUP: Ringo and lots and lots of Nashville Cats

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Ringo goes country, which shouldn’t have been a surprise, really.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Several of the songs that Ringo sang for the Beatles have their roots in country or rockabilly, so the fact that Ringo went country for a solo album shouldn’t have been a surprise.

It was a run-of-the-mill country album for the time, with some decent songs (the title cut and “$15 Draw” especially) and expert playing by the Nasvhille session players. Ringo’s voice is well suited for this.

It’s worth keeping in the catalog more as a curio than anything. Ringo’s solo work is spotty, but this is decent enough.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The songs were all written for Ringo. This also wasn’t the first solo album for Ringo. Early in 1970 Ringo released Sentimental Journey, an album of standards he recorded ‘for his mum’.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A B-side and a jam.

GRADE: C+: Not bad, really, but not exceptional and more for fans than anything.

Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection

ARTIST: Elton John                             Elton_John_-_Tumbleweed_Connection

TITLE: Tumbleweed Connection

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #5 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: Love Song

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Ballad of a Well-Known Gun, Country Comfort, Burn Down the Mission

LINEUP: Elton John, Caleb Quaye, Roger Pope, Dave Glover, Herbie Flowers, Nigel Olsson, Barry Morgan, lots of others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Elton John finds his 70’s sound and improves his songwriting and arrangements.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the first notes of “Ballad of a Well Known Gun”, modern listeners recognize Elton John’s signature sound. This is the album where it begins to coalesce.

The arrangements and melodies are more rock-and-roll than before, and Elton’s vocals are also schooled in more of a rock idiom. Gems like “Amoreena” and “Country Comfort”, and “Burn Down the Mission” populate the record. There’s somewhat of a theme, with a lot of songs with gun allusions, keeping a western theme.

There’s still a few tracks where it doesn’t all hold together. The selection for a single (“Love Song”) seemed out of place. It bombed, but the album did well on FM radio and sold and sold despite no single.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Amoreena” was used in the opening credits of Dog Day Afternoon.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. The gem is the original version of “Madman Across the Water”

GRADE: B+: Most everything is a great listen, with just a few tracks that are semi-skippable.

Elton John – Elton John

ARTIST: Elton John                                        Elton_John_-_Elton_John

TITLE: Elton John

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #4 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: Border Song, Your Song (#8 US, #7 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Take Me to the Pilot

LINEUP: Elton John, Caleb Quaye, Clive Hicks, Barry Morgan, and a lot of others.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After a false start with a solo album that was totally ignored, Elton John starts his career as a hit maker.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Elton John hooked up with producer Gus Dudgeon, and armed with some classic Elton / Bernie Taupin songs started his long hit making career.

After the first single didn’t do well, “Your Song”, originally a B-side, struck a chord with pop, rock and adult contemporary audiences. The song it replaced as A-side, “Take Me to the Pilot” was the best song on the album, and overall those two songs were the pinnacle of Elton John’s debut and the example of both sides of early Elton.

The rest of the album was lesser, but decent enough to show that Elton would have a longer career than just a one-hit wonder. It’s definitely one of the lesser albums of his early career, but he found his voice and style.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: That first album is available out there, called Empty Sky, but it’s really not worth the time or effort.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Off-album singles and B-sides.

GRADE: B-:  Two great songs, the rest just OK but good enough.

Various Artists – Zabriske Point Soundtrack

ARTIST: Various (Soundtrack)                              zabriske

TITLE: Zabriske Point

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dark Star, Tennessee Waltz

LINEUP: Pink Floyd, Kaleidoscope (US band), Grateful Dead, Patti Page, Youngbloods, Jerry Garcia, Roscoe Holcomb, John Fahey

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Soundtrack to infamous Michaelangelo Antonioni film is as unfocused and bland as the film, despite the presence of some heavy hitters.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The best thing about this soundtrack album is the reworking by Pink Floyd of “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” to “Come in Number 51, You’re Time Is Up”. The best way to hear that is on You Tube, with the concluding images of the film (the house exploding over and over and over again) combined with the song.

What else is there? Some country-rock excursions, an excerpt from “Dark Star” that only makes you want to hear the whole thing, some Pink Floyd songs that were actually better than the second side of Atom Heart Mother, and some infernal noodling. Oh, and Patty Page.

This movie was a spectacular failure:  incomprehensible, pretentious, and clichéd. The soundtrack kind of fits it.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Pink Floyd had some other tracks they kept from the movie and finally reworked them into the famous “Us and Them”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, even more noodling and more blah Pink Floyd tracks.

GRADE: C:  Maybe it should have been a Pink Floyd EP, though one of the Kaleidoscope tracks and the John Fahey tune is nice.

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                                          AtomHeartMotherCover.jpeg

TITLE: Atom Heart Mother

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #55 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: The title track

LINEUP: Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Rick Wright, Nick Mason. The EMI Orchestra and the John Aldis choir was involved as well.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Audacious side-long suite shows the bands ambitions and weaknesses, while the individual songs on side two add a factor of meh to the proceedings.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There are some folks who think this record is the epitome of Pink Floyd’s early period, and I’d like to know why they think that.

The first side is the 23-minute long mega-suite with a choir and orchestral sections, making it another in a line of rock+orchestra releases from the UK around this time. It’s got some nice pieces and parts but seems bogged down in pretention, especially with the choir.

The other side features a song each from the band (well, everyone is credited with “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” but it’s really a Nick Mason joint), and they’re rather disposable songs to be honest – nothing that really excites you or causes you to throw the record away.

I can say the best part of the album is really the cover. Not that this is bad like More, or the solo sides of Ummagumma. It’s just pretension amping up mediocre art.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They tried to tour this bloody thing with brass sections and a choir, but they had to hire the brass on the fly and they lost money all in all.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+:  Soon, Pink Floyd will find the spark they had from their early days. This is just treading water, though.

Uriah Heep – …Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble

ARTIST: Uriah Heep                                                                     220px-VeryEavyVeryUmble

TITLE:  …Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #186

SINGLES: Gypsy

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nope

LINEUP: David Byron, Ken Hensley, Mick Box, Paul Newton, Alex Napier. Nigel Olsson played drums on two tracks. Colin Wood played keyboards on two tracks.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Keyboard and guitar heavy band crunch out their debut album. It’s not horrible, despite the contemporary reviews of it.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Uriah Heep rumbles out of the gate with “Gypsy”, a plodding heavy tune showcasing Ken Hensley’s organs and the bands ability to pile drive a riff to submission.

For most of the album, that’s the formula. It’s not bad, since Hensley’s a great organist and Mick Box can fake a good riff or two. What doesn’t work is their work on slower tracks, as they had a couple of moments where folk invaded their bluster, and they just don’t work in a slow, less heavy idiom. 220px-UriahHeepAlbum

It’s probably not the first Uriah Heep album to grab, but it’s not awful despite what they said at the time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The ghastly photo on the UK cover was David Byron in heavy makeup.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: They had one different track in the US and UK originally. Reissues have the UK and US songs, and some other rarities.

GRADE: B-:  Ken Hensley gets an A- / B+ by himself.

Derek & the Dominoes – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

ARTIST: Derek & the Dominoes         laylacover

TITLE:  Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #16 US, #68 UK

SINGLES: Tell the Truth, Layla (#10 US, #7 UK), Bell Bottom Blues (#78 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Little Wing, Key to the Highway

LINEUP: Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Duane Allman. Aibhy Galuten on one track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Clapton forms a band and releases his magnum opus.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tired of the crushing fame and adulation he was receiving, and wanting just to play, Eric Clapton formed a band hot on the heels of his work with Delaney & Bonnie and George Harrison. The core (Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon) foursome had grown tight while touring with Delaney & Bonnie.

Clapton wanted to be anonymous, so they toured under this name in the UK and then moved to Miami to record this album. Duane Allman joined the sessions soon after he and Clapton jammed together, and over time, the quintet recorded this classic mix of blues and rock-and-roll, with Allman’s slide guitar fitting in seamlessly over Clapton’s blues based guitar playing. The songs were mostly co-written by Clapton and Whitlock, with some tasty covers thrown in for good measure.

The production by Tom Dowd is absolutely perfect, with all of the musicians blending well together seamlessly. Whitlock and Clapton’s vocal pairings were complimentary – neither a perfect vocalist, but they made it work together.

With the title cut, “Bell Bottom Blues” (one of my all-time favorite tracks by anyone) and the other tracks, it’s just a fantastic record from start to finish.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the only studio record the band recorded. They made a live album, but sessions for their second album broke down thanks to the band’s prodigious use of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine. Whitlock and Clapton didn’t work together again until 2000.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, sessions for the album, and some of the completed or semi-completed tracks for their second album are on releases.

GRADE: A+:  Listen to “Bell Bottom Blues” closely, hearing how they interplay, and hear the production.

Neil Young – After the Gold Rush

ARTIST: Neil Young                                          220px-after_the_gold_rush

TITLE:  After the Gold Rush

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: #8 US, #7 UK

SINGLES: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (#33), When You Dance I Can Really Love (#93)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: After the Gold Rush, Southern Man

LINEUP: Neil Young, Danny Whitten, Nils Lofgren, Jack Nitzsche, Billy Talbot, Greg Reeves, Ralph Molina. Stephen Stills sings backup, and Bill Peterson was the one who played the iconic flugelhorn solo on the title cut.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A classic album that brought in the 70’s from the 60’s idyllic haze.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Neil Young was inspired by a screenplay from Dean Stockwell and Herb Bermann, and wrote a few songs for the soundtrack (the film was never released). He recorded some tracks with Crazy Horse (even as Danny Whitten was in the throes of addiction) and others with parts of the CSN band.

Young’s songs evoke the issues of the country moving from the 60’s to the 70’s. The morose theme rings through the tracks, but then there’s hope in some tracks as well. The lyrics are oblique, while the music creates the mood (except for “Southern Man” which is angry on all fronts). The album is mostly acoustic in feel, but some tracks crank out the rock. It’s a good balance showing all sides of Young.

The title track is one of the best songs Young ever wrote, and could be a theme of the 70’s even if the meaning is obfuscated by the passages of time (and Young’s memory).

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Four of the tracks were recorded with Crazy Horse, then the rest with a amalgamated band that included Nils Lofgren on keyboards, an instrument he never played on record before.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A+:  Neil Young has recorded a lot of albums, but this is probably his best. It’s one of the best of the 70’s for sure.

Dr. John – Remedies

ARTIST: Dr. John                     220px-dr-john_remedies

TITLE:  Remedies

YEAR RELEASED: 1970

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Loop Garoo, Wash Mama Wash

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No

LINEUP: Dr. John, Jessie Hill, Shirley Goodman, Tami Lynn, and the band Cold Grits.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Dr. John gets back to business, and releases an album with a spooky vibe that contains a whole side for a scary song about a famous Louisiana prison.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Dr. John shook off the relative failure of his last album, and came up with a first side of material that fits in with his stoner New Orleans voodoo vibe that’s fun and carefree, like “Mardi Gras Day”. His vocals seem like he’s imbibed and in a good spirit to get into that voodoo vibe.

Then there’s the second side.

Angola is an infamous penitentiary in Louisiana, and at this time was infamous for brutality, assaults, sexual slavery, and egregious use of solitary confinement. “Angola Anthem” was sold to Dr. John from a former inmate of Angola, and is a side-long glimpse into the harrowing life there. The backing is menacing, and the sounds of chains and other metal is absolutely chilling. John’s voice, which on the first side was joyful and stoned, is now fearful.

Not many people know of that track, which is a shame, since it’s definitely a protest anthem toward the harsh treatment of inmates there – and by all accounts it’s not gotten much better.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Cold Grits was a band that’s kind of confusing and I couldn’t get a line on who actually is or was in it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: Be prepared for a bad trip on the second side, but it’s art that needed to be released.