Tag: 1971

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.

Earth, Wind and Fire – The Need of Love

ARTIST: Earth, Wind & Fire     Theneedoflovealbum

TITLE: The Need of Love


CHART ACTION: #89, #35 R&B

SINGLES: I Think About Lovin’ You (#44 R&B)


LINEUP: Sherry Scott, Verdine White, Maurice White, Wade Flemons, Chet Washington, Alex Thomas, Michael Beal, Don Whitehead, Doug Carn, Yackov Ben Israel, Oscar Brashear

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second album by large horn-based soul ensemble is disappointing, and led to a breakup and a re-formation.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first track on this record is called “Energy”, and while it may have been interesting to play and conceive, it just seems more of a jazz jam session than a concise tune, which would have confused some expecting slow jams like their R&B hit.

That hit, “I Think About Lovin’ You”, is a sweetly sung ballad (penned and voiced by Sherry Scott) that deserved to be a hit, and the closing track is nice, but the jam was pointless, and the two other tracks were bleah and moored in their own sentimentality.

It seemed the band could go into many directions and either go jazzy or straight R&B, and what they did do was break up for the most part, leaving the White brothers with the name, and an idea.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They also recorded the soundtrack to the Blacksploitation movie Sweet Sweeback’s Badass Revenge.


GRADE: C-: Redeemed, barely, by the last two tracks. It’s probably good that this version blew up in 1971.

If – If 3

ARTIST: If                     If_3_(If_album_-_cover_art)




SINGLES: Forgotten Roads, Far Beyond

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nnnnooooopppppeeeee

LINEUP: JW Hodkinson, Dick Morrissey, Dave Quincy, Terry Smith, John Mealing, Jim Richardson, Dennis Elliott

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Third album by jazz-rock combo sounds like a repeat of their first two albums, and it seems flat and same-old when compared to the others.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There’s some nice playing here and some decent arrangements, but this third record from If is about as imaginative as the title. The vocals and lyrics don’t always seem to the fit right, and even though guitarist Terry Smith does good work (especially on “Here Comes Mr. Time”), it all sounds pretty similar to what’s come before.

There’s more vocals here than on past albums, but moving to a more concise structure doesn’t do much for the album or the group. I’ve moved their catalog into my jazz folders for the most part.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Here Comes Mr. Time” was featured on a United Artists sample album

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with the single mixes.

GRADE: C+: Three records in two years may have spent the ideas for the band. Exiled their catalog to jazz.

Rod Stewart – Every Picture Tells a Story

ARTIST: Rod Stewart                                            220px-EveryPictureTellsaStory

TITLE: Every Picture Tells a Story



SINGLES: Reason to Believe (#62 US, #1 UK), Maggie May (#1 US), (I Know) I’m Losing You (324 US)


LINEUP: Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, Martell Brandy, Sam Mitchell, Martin Quittenton, Pete Sears, Micky Waller, Danny Thompson, Andy Pyle, Lindsay Jackson. The Faces were on (I Know) I’m Losing You, and Long John Baldry and Maggie Wood sang on the title track.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Stewart’s solo career hits its apex, musically.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is peak Rod Stewart. His raspy voice was well suited for all of the material. He and Faces running mate Ronnie Wood and his ‘second band’ of studio musicians constructed great arrangements and showcased their versatility and musicianship. It’s mostly an acoustic album, with just enough electricity to add to the various classical guitars, pedal steels, and mandolins.

The impressive note is that Stewart covered songs by Dylan, Tim Hardin, and Elvis and wrote songs to their equal. “Maggie May” has been played to death, but in this context, with the Martin Quittenton intro, and right next to “Mandolin Wind” in the running order, it sounds fresh and of a piece with the album.

Stewart would really never reach this artistic level again, succumbing to the ease of ready-made fame. This one is for everyone, critics and fans.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The opening to “Maggie May” is officially “Henry” written by Martin Quittenton.


GRADE: A+: Even the most obscure cut (“Seems Like a Long Time”) is a winner

Earth, Wind & Fire – Earth, Wind & Fire

ARTIST: Earth, Wind & Fire     Earth,_Wind_&_Fire_-_Earth,_Wind_&_Fire

TITLE: Earth, Wind & Fire


CHART ACTION: #172, #24 R&B

SINGLES: Fan the Fire, Love Is Life (#93, #31 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: My Baby Don’t Dance to Nothing but Ernest Tubb, Too Many Nights in a Roadhouse, Hillbilly Hula Gal

LINEUP: Maurice White, Verdine White, Michael Beal, Leslie Drayton, Wade Flemons, Sherry Scott, Alexander Thomas, Chet Washington, Don Whitehead, Doug Carn, Phillard Williams

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album sounds more like a conglomeration of Sly Stone, Chicago, and Santana.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Maurice White’s first formation of Earth, Wind & Fire had the funk and the sensibility, but unlike his later incarnation, this was more of a collaboration of voices, led by Sherry Scott and others like Wade Flemons, instead of White taking more of a solo vocal turn.

The group does have a swing, but it sounds derivative at times. The late 60’s Sly and the Family Stone come to mind, with some influences by Chicago in the horn charts and the percussion effects of Santana.

That’s not to say it isn’t enjoyable – it’s a fun listen except for the interludes (which really distract from the music) – it’s just not so original.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Maurice White and two other members (Flemons and Whitehead) were The Salty Peppers before forming EWF.


GRADE: B-  Derivative, but well-played funk/soul for the time. The interludes knock it down a bit.

Little Feat – Little Feat

ARTIST: Little Feat                                       220px-Littlefeatalbum

TITLE: Little Feat




OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Truck Stop Girl, Willin’

LINEUP: Lowell George, Bill Payne, Roy Estrada, Richard Hawayrd. Ry Cooder, Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Russ Titelman guested on tracks. They had strings and horns, too.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First Little Feat album is a showcase for Lowell George’s guitar playing and he and Bill Payne’s songwriting.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the first notes of Lowell George’s slide on “Snakes on Everything” to the concluding madness of “Crazy Captain Gunboat Willie”, Little Feat’s debut is mostly a joy, and mostly a showcase for the band’s instrumental chops and great, yet off-the-wall, songwriting.

The first side, especially, is a celebration of sorts. While “Truck Stop Girl” and “Willin’” (here in an almost solo performance by George in an oddly low voice), are the best known, “Brides of Jesus” is the track that’s their best showcase. A slow introspective number that builds as it goes, that track is the hidden gem.

Side two opens and closes fine, but a couple of slower tracks kill the momentum. Little Feat’s more of a party than anything, and most of the album definitely is.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This allegedly sold just 11,000 copies on its release.


GRADE: A-:  The record runs out of steam a bit, but it’s a fun ride for the most part.

Pink Floyd – Meddle

ARTIST: Pink Floyd                         MeddleCover.jpeg

TITLE: Meddle



SINGLES: One of These Days


LINEUP: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Rick Wright, Nick Mason

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After being in the weeds for a few years, Pink Floyd capitalizes on their strengths and create a record that fulfills the potential of the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: With the first ‘pings’ on side two, Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” moves from a moody instrumental theme, to a meditation on life on the planet, to one of the best psychedelic jams and David Gilmour guitar solo. Then, it gets weird, with the seagulls or albatrosses in the lyrics being heard. Back to the original themes with a dramatic ending.

This song is the precursor for every Floyd song in the 70’s and for better or worse overshadows the first side.

Yet, the first side is definitely an improvement over any studio record in 1969 or 1970. Every song is varied, and while they don’t 100% work all of the time, they make a nice cornucopia of the band’s styles – and the songs are better, as a whole, than anything since A Saucerful of Secrets.

All of the band members make excellent contributions, but this is really Gilmour’s album, with Rick Wright also shining. This is a must listen.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Echoes” was the centerpiece of the Pink Floyd at Pompeii film.


GRADE: A:  A couple of cuts on side one aren’t as strong as they could be, but you gotta have this.