Tag: 1972

Bang – Bang

ARTIST: Bang                                                                  bang

TITLE: Bang

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #164

SINGLES: Questions (#90)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Wow, no.

LINEUP: Frank Ferrara, Frank Glicken, Tony Diorio.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Heavy Philly proto-metal bands first release was met with mostly indifference, but now is looked at as proto-doom.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Throw this into the proto-metal power trio hopper – Bang features a bassist and vocalist singing in a high (but not shrieking) register, along with a guitarist and drummer. But the music was sludgy and heavy, more like Sabbath than anything.

With its sound, Bang was definitely too heavy for real commercial success in the 70’s, despite the charting of a hit single. The production sounds muddy, as studios didn’t really know how to process a sound like theirs – lots of low end mud.

There’s some good stuff here, though, and you can see why “The Queen” is an influence on later doom metalists. It’s a curiosity, mostly, but metal guys would be served to take a listen for historical purposes.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had recorded an entire concept album that was put on the back burner by Capitol Records for later release. It didn’t get released until 2001.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B-: There’s something here, something compelling, that keeps me listening. Also, the cover is great.

Neil Young – Harvest

ARTIST: Neil Young                  220px-NeilYoungHarvestalbumcover

TITLE: Harvest

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Heart of Gold (#1 US, #10 UK), Old Man (#31 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Man Needs a Maid, The Needle and the Damage Done

LINEUP: Neil Young, Ben Keith, Jack Nitzche, Tim Drummond, Kennty Buttrey and other guests like CSN, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A laid back country influenced album from Young becomes a hit and Young’s signature record, much to his chagrin.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Neil Young definitely had an ear for combining country, folk, and rock. Yet, he wasn’t part of the nascent ‘country rock’ movement, he was his own man, as always.

There’s a melancholy air to the album, fitting the times. A lot of the songs are commentaries on the life in 1972, political, social, and generational. There’s a couple of cuts that break away from the country-sounding style thanks to some orchestration added on (a rarity for Young).

While this was popular, and some songs are poignant, a few cuts just seem tossed off to fit the theme and aren’t as meaningful as others.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Alabama” was a followup to “Southern Man”, and those songs made Lynyrd Skynyrd respond to him. Also, Young didn’t like the spotlight, and retreated by making his next few albums uncompromising and non-commerical.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: I know this is one of his best-loved album by casual fans, but only a few tracks seem at par with Young’s best.

Roy Buchanan – Roy Buchanan

ARTIST: Roy Buchanan                           MI0000616898

TITLE: Roy Buchanan

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Sweet Dreams, Haunted House

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He covers a Merle Haggard and Hank Williams song.

LINEUP: Roy Buchanan, Chuck Tilley, Teddy Irwin, Pete Van Hallen, Dick Heintze, Ned Davis.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First real commercial studio album from an under-known yet influential guitarist.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Thanks to an early PBS documentary, Roy Buchanan went from a local DC legend to a national recording artist. His playing with the Telecaster inspired numerous guitarists and gained praise from John Lennon, Merle Haggard, and the Rolling Stones.

This is a simple album, with some cover songs (including an inspired take of the 60’s novelty tune “Haunted House”). Only a few cuts have vocals, those by country vocalist Chuck Tilley. The playing is raw and ragged at times, but it seemed like Buchanan and the band were having a good time.

This is a guitar-head’s album, and well worth it for those who love the Telecaster sound.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Buchanan’s career spanned several years, starting with playing for Dale Hawkins and then Ronnie Hawkins, and then settled into session work before settling down in DC.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B+:  This is for Telecaster fans!

ZZ Top – Rio Grande Mud

ARTIST: ZZ Top                                    220px-zz_top_-_rio_grande_mud

TITLE:  Rio Grande Mud

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #104

SINGLES: Francine (#69)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Just Got Paid

LINEUP: Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, Frank Beard

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Better riffs, better variety, better songs. This is ZZ Top all the way, just no one really knew it yet.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is the launching point for the classic 70’s ZZ Top sounds. Compared to the first album, there are more rock-and-roll elements here than in their first album, and a more varied attack of the blues.

“Francine” and “Just Got Paid” roar out from the start with two ripping classics (though “Francine” is really inappropriate) and then record moves toward more of a blues feel, ending with a long, slow blues “Sure Got Cold After the Rain Fell”, the great “Whiskey’n Mama” and “Down Brownie”, a tribute to a girl who takes them out for a good time.

The consistency between tracks is better, and every song has its high points. It’s not perfect, but if you love ZZ Top and don’t want the usual, grab this one.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Steve Perron and Kenny Cordray actually wrote “Francine” (which also is spelled “Francene” at times).

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: Air slide guitars to the fore!

Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill

ARTIST: Steely Dan                            cant_buy_a_tcant_buy_a_thrill

TITLE:  Can’t Buy a Thrill

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #17 US, #38 UK

SINGLES: Do It Again (#6 US, #39 UK), Reelin’ in the Years (#11 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Dirty Work, Kings

LINEUP: Donald Fagan, Walter Becker, David Palmer, Denny Dias, Skunk Baxter, Jim Hodder

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First album by sophisticated rock band already shows their impeccable production and somewhat ‘interesting’ songs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: While most of rock was still in the boogie-boogie-boogie throes of Grand Funk, or the wimpy-wimpy-wimpy throes of singer songwriters, here comes Steely Dan, with sophisticated melodies and chords, great production, and hooks.

Already from the first album, you can tell that Steely Dan was going to feature fantastic production. Not every rookie band with two hot shot guitarists would ask yet another guitarist to do the solo in a song because of how it sounded. The performances are spot on, the harmonies almost perfect, and the arrangements are definitely, adult, instead of what was happening out there at the time.

This record, though, has some of the weaker songs in the Steely Dan canon. That’s almost to be expected, since it’s a debut, and Walter Becker and Donald Fagan were just starting to flesh out their ideas. A few tracks are more of a lounge act than rock band. But when at its best, this is a winner.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: David Palmer was added as a vocalist on the road because Fagan was unsure of his voice, and did the lead vocal for “Dirty Work”. Also, there is an early single that the band has basically buried – it’s never been on album or collection.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-:  A great debut with a unique sound for the time (and to this day, really).

Jo Jo Gunne – Jo Jo Gunne

ARTIST: Jo Jo Gunne                   jojogunne-090431182529

TITLE:  Jo Jo Gunne

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Run Run Run (#27 US, #6 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Nope

LINEUP: Jay Ferguson, Matt Andes, Mark Andes, Curly Smith

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  One-hit wonder’s album really showed why they were a one-hit wonder, despite the presence of Jay Ferguson.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Featuring two members from Spirit (and those same two members would find fame as a solo artist (Jay Ferguson) or a member of Firefall and Heart (Mark Andes), Jo Jo Gunne’s first album was released with much promise.

Featuring a great single in “Run Run Run”, it was hoped that their brand of rock-and-roll boogie would catch fire. It didn’t, and it’s plain to see why. Except for the single, none of the songs are truly memorable.

Boogie-rock is fine if you have some hooks. Heck, Status Quo has hooks, and they play the same song over and over again. Jo Jo Gunne’s sound is pretty fresh, but the songs are just there and there’s nothing compelling drawing you in to listen. I’m disappointed as I always heard decent things about this record, but on listen it’s meh.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Mark Andes left after this album. They carried on for three more records before Jay Ferguson went solo.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: C+: Upgraded for the single. Some exiled.

Ohio Players – Pleasure

ARTIST: Ohio Players                                     220px-pleasureohioplayers

TITLE:  Pleasure

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #63. #4 R&B

SINGLES: Pleasure (#45 R&B), Varee is Love, Funky Worm (#15, #1 R&B)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not unless you were funky enough.

LINEUP: Sugarfoot Bonner, Rock Jones, Pee Wee Middlebrooks, Junie Morrison, Andrew Noland, Marvin Pierce, Gregory Webster.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT:  Funk group hits its stride, and breaks out with a novelty hit about…well…a funky worm.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: “Funky Worm” was a hilarious (well, I think it’s funny) tune about a worm that plays guitar, and features the “Granny”, a character developed by Junie Morrison.

Dang it, though, this is funky and hot all the way through. The synthesizers and keyboards by Morrison were definitely trailblazing, and the rest of the band develops great grooves and hooks in the grooves. The band sounds loose and like they’re having fun, which adds to the atmosphere.

Ballads (first and last cut of side two) still trip them up a bit, and vocals are an afterthought. It’s still quite funky.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Morrison’s ARP synthesizer in “Funky Worm” has been sampled by numerous acts.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few b-sides and leftover cuts. Some great, some not so great.

GRADE: A-: Except for the ballads, this is like nine cans of shaving powder funky.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath Vol. 4

ARTIST: Black Sabbath 220px-black_sabbath_vol-_4

TITLE:  Black Sabbath, Vol. 4

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #13 US, #8 UK

SINGLES: Tomorrow’s Dream

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW:  Supernaut, Snowblind

LINEUP:  Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Bill Ward

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Sludgy as normal, but Sabbath tries to extend themselves and it doesn’t quite work all of the time. Plus, cocaine. 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: They originally wanted to call this album Snowblind, but the record company demurred. That would have been appropriate.

There was some traditional Sabbath sludge, a groundbreaking cut in “Supernaut”, the requisite Tony Iommi instrumental (this time with strings and mellotron) and then a couple of cuts that really could have been left on the floor, including (sorry folks) “Changes” which is a weepy, maudlin ballad that could have been recorded by Climax or Leo Sayer.

They tried to extend themselves a bit with tracks like “Snowblind” and “Cornucopia”, which were halfway successful. The excesses showed when they thought “Fx” was cool to put on the album. That’s a minute and a half you won’t get back.

Trim out a couple of cuts and it’s a fine record with great riffs. But I must take those two tracks into consideration.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They recorded this in LA, basically self-produced, and basically went through a ton of cocaine and other drugs.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

GRADE: B: Some great cuts but the weakest one yet.

Genesis – Foxtrot

ARTIST: Genesis                         foxtrot72

TITLE:  Foxtrot

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #12 UK

SINGLES: Watcher of the Sky

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Get ‘Em Out by Friday, Supper’s Ready

LINEUP: Peter Gabriel, Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Steve Hackett

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Bookended by two of their better prog compositions, Foxtrot propels Genesis to high esteem in the progressive rock world.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: From the mellotron wash of “Watcher of the Sky” to the concluding notes of “Supper’s Ready”, this album finds Genesis comfortable and confident in delivering their ornate, complex material.

Odd time signatures abound everywhere, and the lyrics are playful and storylike, drawing inspiration from Keats, ancient Norse kings, and even a spiritual encounter at Kensington Palace. The climax is “Supper’s Ready”, which over its seven movements and 23 minutes transports the listener to another realm, as long as they can follow along with the storyline.

Not everything works all of the time, which is typical for longer suites, but the the opening and closing and “Get ‘Em Out by Friday” really work, and became band and prog rock staples.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The main part of “Watcher of the Sky” is in 6/4, while the most famous part of “Supper’s Ready” is in 9/8. That’s for you scoring at home, as it were.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-:  The great pieces dominate the album and make up for the so-so pieces.

The J. Geils Band – Full House

ARTIST:  The J. Geils Band              j-_geils_band_-_live_full_house

TITLE:  Full House

YEAR RELEASED: 1972

CHART ACTION: #54

SINGLES: Hard Drivin’ Man

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: First I Look at the Purse, Whammer Jammer, Looking for a Love

LINEUP: Peter Wolf, J. Geils, Seth Justman, Magic Dick, Danny Klein, Stephen Bladd

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: White hot and fun live album – that displays the great live band they were.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Live albums got to be a cliché in the 70’s, but this single LP live set from the J. Geils Band shows how thrilling live records could be, especially for a band that thrived on performance.

Every member of the band has a chance to shine. Magic Dick, of course, gets his turn in “Whammer Jammer”, showing the world his harmonica skills. J. Geils is an underrated and tasteful guitarist, and Seth Justman’s talent is greater than his 21 years (he was the baby of the group – five to nine years younger than his bandmates).

Then there’s Peter Wolf. No one can even come close to Wolf’s enthusiasm and spirit on these live albums, leading, exhorting, pleading with the audience to participate and lose themselves in the tunes.

Most of these songs were covers – mainly forgotten soul and blues songs, with three originals that sounded just like them. This is a much better representation for the band than their first two studio records.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was recorded in Detroit and the Cinderella Ballroom. They were a Boston band, but Detroit was like a second ome to them.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A:  A fantastic single-disc live album that makes you definitely wish you were there.