Album Chart of 1971

<1970 1972>

  • This chart features albums released in 1971 and is limited to all of the albums in my collection which have “A-list” status.
  • The Top 30 albums are profiled, and the full chart (Top 91) is summarised, in sortable table form, on the Albums released in 1971 page, which shows the full range of albums in this sites' database, including the “B-list” records.
1971-a-the-doors.jpg

THEY WERE ONLY 27

Following the recent tragic losses of Brian Jones, Al Wilson, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison becomes the latest in a freakish line of 27 year-olds to suffer deaths by mis-adventure, all being linked to some sort of substance abuse. Just 10 weeks had passed since the release of “L.A. Woman” when he was found dead in July, in his new Parisian apartment by his girlfriend, Pamela Courson. What was it with these young people? Playing dice with your life through hard drugs – it doesn’t get much un-cooler than that.

A wiser old head, John Lee Hooker, paid a tribute to Hendrix and Joplin on this years “Hooker n Heat” LP. His “Kick Hit 4 Hit Kix U (Blues For Jimi And Janis)” doubled-up by firing a warning shot to the kids of the day: “Lookey here, I'm gonna tell you a story about two friends whom I known, and the whole world knowed 'em, the one and only Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, who passed on from the needle… Stop shootin' those needles, and stop swallowin' in those pills, that needle's too heavy man, your heart can't take it none. Hey, hey, I know, so many young folks, they're hooked, they're doomed to die”

The Doors finally delivered the blues-heavy album that Jim Morrison had been hankering to make for a long time. Likewise, Janis Joplin finally realised her own soulful blues vision with her own group, and arrangements done her way; “Pearl” was quite the parting gift to the world. Al Wilson's star continued to shine, with Canned Heat’s collaboration with John Lee Hooker, “Hooker n Heat” finally seeing release. Further to the May '70 sessions, Hooker had called him “the greatest harmonica player ever” – quite some tribute from a seasoned, well-travelled bluesman.

Meanwhile, in the land of the living, Leonard Cohen continues his impressive streak of delivering an awesome LP every 2 years, Mr Fox maintain the high standards they had set in 1970, and the little known Usizwe Namatshitshi ensemble from South Africa deliver two sets which both nestle in to my Top 10 of the year. At this time, there’s a hugely unique and exciting jive scene going down in the townships which is bypassing the rest of the world.

Led Zeppelin continue to rock majestically, whilst Marc Bolan’s T Rex vision continues to get bigger and bolder with every passing year.

Singer-songwriters seem omnipresent in 1971, and Loudon Wainwright III, John Prine, Bridget St. John, Rodriguez, Karen Dalton, Melanie and Joni Mitchell prove themselves to be amongst the very best of ‘em.

The Jukebox Rebel
27-Mar-2016

TJR says:

9.17 “A masterpiece”

“L.A. Woman” is a true masterpiece; a fierce celebration of the group’s punk-blues sensibilities. Mr Mojo Risin and his boys, bristling with tensions between them, had sparks flying left, right and centre in 1971. For me, they emerged with their greatest set – and that’s no mean feat after the dynamism of their previous output. Following on from last years’ excellent “Morrison Hotel”, the Doors delved even deeper into the blues for this one. The assistance of Lonnie Mack on bass guitar had beefed up the sound on the previous LP, and the group repeated the formula with bassist Jerry Scheff being drafted in this time, on loan from team Elvis. Playing alongside Robby Krieger on second guitar was Marc Benno, who added authentic blues licks on four of the raunchier numbers. The funky chops of “The Changeling” open up the set, and it’s immediately apparent the group are on their A-game with the sound of now. The joi-de-vivre of the lead-single, “Love Her Madly”, immediately follows, and the feel-good factor rockets. By sheer contrast, the raw-blues gutsiness of “Been Down So Long” snarls aggressively, and we get a glimpse of the angst of the poetic one who has been squaring up to Rock n Roll for 5 years now – “Set Me Free” he wails at the end. Despite his near-future ambitions lying with new European solo adventures, his parting shots on this album were highly potent, artistically and spiritually, belying his “tired” drawl. The Jimmy Reed drag of “Cars Hiss By My Window” is “right-on” as someone shouts in the background, and Jim gets right into the Jimmy spirit by playing a mouth organ without actually using a mouth organ. It sums up the truly brilliant and spontaneous atmosphere that permeates the set. The epic rootsiness of the title-track plays out side 1 and the WOW factor is soaring high. Opening side 2, the dark-light adventurism of the highly unique “L’America” encapsulates all that is great about the Doors, with the tension-release tricks to the fore; all is not rosy for the Latino immigrants. “The Hyacinth” sounds somewhat sorrowful as Jim again drops “I need a brand new friend, who doesn’t trouble me”. Meanwhile, his bandmates ebb and flow sympathetically with his ruminations, despite being in the verbal firing line. Awkward. “Crawling King Snake”, the album’s sole cover, follows, and the group get down and dirty with authentic roots, as they take re-invent Big Joe Williams’ 1941 song here in the proto-punk era. Taking the baton from there, the added edge from Jerry Scheff’s bass pays big dividends on “The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)”, as the group compete equally with Morrison’s brilliant poetry for a double-whammy attack on the senses. Jeff’s playing is equally prominent on the magnificent album closer, “Riders on the Storm”. For this one, Jim recorded his main vocals and then whispered the lyrics over them to create the echo effect. This proved to be Morrison's last recorded song to be released in his lifetime. The single was released in June of ’71 and entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 3 July 1971, the day that Morrison died. Spookily, the song, and the album, ends with the storm fading slowly to silence…

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Apr-2006


TJR says:

8.70 “A classic”

“Well I stepped into an avalanche, it covered up my soul” said the grotesque hunchback in a resigned, world-weary monotone. Yay, Leonard’s back! The opening gambit on his third LP is served upon a hypnotising fast-pick classical guitar pattern and a gorgeous string section – immediately the senses are filled. Soon after, the devastating poetic brilliance of “Dress Rehearsal Rag” absolutely leads the listener by the hand on a trip to desolation row, where suicide is just a razorblade stroke away. On this sort of form, he’s in the highest echelons where the greats truly exist: “There's no hot water and the cold is running thin. Well, what do you expect from the kind of places you've been living in? Don't drink from that cup, it's all caked and cracked along the rim. That's not the electric light, my friend, that is your vision growing dim. Cover up your face with soap, there, now you're Santa Claus. And you've got a gift for anyone who will give you his applause. I thought you were a racing man, ah, but you couldn't take the pace. That's a funeral in the mirror and it's stopping at your face.” I can’t help but chuckle – might “Songs of self-hate and loathing” have been a better title? The tone lightens musically for “Diamonds In The Mine”, which brings the Nashville sound into disrepute. Here, Leonard sounds every bit as busted and disgusted as he did on “Dress Rehearsal”: “And the trees are burning in your promised land. And there are no letters in the mailbox, and there are no grapes upon the vine, and there are no chocolates in the boxes anymore, and there are no diamonds in the mine.” Emptiness abounds. Is it wrong to find this hilarious? It sure is entertaining – what a performer, what a vocal. Side 2 is not quite as breath-taking, but “Joan of Arc” serves excellently as a closer. Here, we are taken on a trip back to 1431 as our heroine is given a voice whilst facing the fire which is consuming her as she burns at the stake, after having been found guilty of heresy. I must say, she seems to taking it all rather calmly. What a gal. Quite right Joan, don't let those crazed zealots beat you. She deserves to be immortalized. An awesome LP every 2 years – that’s the Leonard Cohen story so far; seasoned to perfection every time.

The Jukebox Rebel
20-Apr-2007


TJR says:

8.11 “Excellent”

Having lost the strings and wind of Andrew Massey and John Myatt (on financial rather than artistic grounds) it might have been thought that Mr Fox were up against it to reproduce the brilliance of their debut. But that would be to underestimate the creative talents of the husband and wife duo of Bob and Carole Pegg, who remained at the heart of the new four-piece in 1971. Their second set features 5 of their own and 2 traditionals, and is characterized by a wonderful variety of folk styles and their most agreeable cookie, but earthly, charms. Mr. Fox were putting Wensleydale on the map long before Wallace and Gromit – but their homely Yorkshire warmth is not immediately apparent. “Mendle” opens the set with Carole’s vocal set against a swathe of droning organ and what can only be described as proto-shoegaze waves of guitar. It’s fantastically unexpected – which augurs well for an album which has many surprises in store. Side 1 of the LP is taken up by just two tracks, and it’s the epic 13-minute title-track which closes the side. Here, Bob sings of a dark-haired gypsy lass by the name of Mary Lee by whom he’s smitten. “Her Granddad used to drive in a pony and a trap. But now they lived in Bradford where her Father dealt in scrap. I can't really tell you how we passed away our time, We mostly spent the evenings drinking Tetleys' ale and wine. And though it may seem commonplace the way I'm telling you. To me the life with Mary Lee was like a dream come true.” Mind those cookie charms I was telling you about? Alas, one day he arrives to take his lass out, only to be left speechless at her father’s news: “If it's her that you're seeking you've a long long way to go, she joined the vans for Scotland at least twelve hours ago.” This sets our man off on an epic journey, mapped out by sheer wit, will and determination. Early next morning he starts for Ilkely… flags down a car that dropped at Bolton… walks alone by the low hills of Wharfedale… by the black top of Kilnsey sees the dawn crack… finds out from a farmer the gypsies camped up at Langstrothdale… reaches Buckden by evening where he rests, gaining news that the travellers have gone over the top into Wensleydale. Heartening news is found there; a fine dark lass was spotted and she had shouted from the back of her wagon that they were making for Keld by the Buttertubs pass. Our man conquers that steep and high pass and as the sun next drops low he comes into Thwaite where he reaches journey’s end. But there is no happy ending. Begorrah! “Mary walked up to me and I looked into her eyes, and the sadness in her face is a thing I can't describe. We didn't speak a word there was nothing left to say, about the closing of a love affair, the closing of a day. Mary took my hand in hers; I took her hand in mine, just one more night together, before we had our time. We couldn't sleep inside the van there wasn't any room, so I spent the night in Marys' arms beneath the haloed moon. I woke up in morning the light was cold and grey. The Gypsies and their caravans had gone upon their way. In my head a burning pain, in my heart a hole. By my side a note was pinned. "Have mercy on my soul." The last time I heard a word about my Mary Lee, she was married to a tinker and was living in Dundee. They say she has a baby now to bounce upon her knee, and I wonder in the long nights if she ever thinks of me.” I tell thee. They don’t write ‘em like that anymore. Straight from the off on side 2, “Aunt Lucy Broadwood”, stripped down to rap n percussion, maintains the bizarre brilliance and positively screams “Chumbawamba-hubba-bubba”. The group’s traditional roots are explored again as Carole sings the tale of the “House Carpenter” with fantastic raggle-taggle backing from the group. “Dancing Song” reminds me and my ill-advised prejudices that I should never under-estimate any musical form – who knew a Morris-Dancing number could be so enjoyable? Carole’s vocal is sweetness personified on the closing traditional, “All the Good Times”, which finishes the set off with a rousing chorus aided by the Gridley Tabernacle Choir to which the entire alehouse can sway and sing heartily. Good times indeed. Bob and Carol Pegg broke up and the band ended with them. Ach well, they were reet Gradley for a time.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-May-2012


TJR says:

7.98 “Brilliant”

Despite the trials and tribulations of her personal life, Janis Joplin was at the peak of her powers at the turn of the decade. Thanks mainly to her trusted guitarist John Till, she finally had a group, the Full Tilt Boogie Band, who, she felt, could deliver her soulful blues rock vision and, at the same time, fit in with her Rock n Roll lifestyle. The band was composed of Till, pianist Richard Bell, bassist Brad Campbell, drummer Clark Pierson, and organist Ken Pearson. She was quoted as saying: “Full Tilt Boogie Band is my band. Finally, it's my band!” Not only was she leading the group, she was in full artistic control of the material. Before the studio recordings in September, the group had worked these songs out with a few months of solid live performances. All nine of the vocal tracks that made it onto “Pearl” were selected by Janis, and she had the final say in the studio arrangements. Producer Paul A. Rothchild was heavily into the work and called her a “dream” to work with. That man knew his craft. The harmonious environment shines through on the LP – I think it would be fair to say Janis had a dream producer to work with too. Soulful, edgy and occasionally even playful, the full emotional flavour of Joplin’s sound floods out on an album which revels in real-life issues of love and pain and oozes class at every turn. There was none of that darned showboating which tainted so many blues rockers of the day. In short, Janis and Full Tilt with Rothchild were believable. Her new-found musical confidence is exemplified on the album opener, “Move Over”, one of her own compositions. She struts every bit as surely as Jagger, and Full Tilt come across like some sort of Stones / Doors super-group. Seizing the moment, “Cry Baby”, a Garnet Mimms cover, rolls in gloriously, and Janis comes over as cool as James Brown doing “Please Please Please”. We’re talking high priestess levels of soul-power, oozing class and dripping with passion. Blues and Soul roots dominate proceedings, but an alt-country one-two emerges strongly on side 2 with “Me and Bobby Magee”, which talks of the heartbreak of losing a free-spirited other, and “Mercedes Benz” her a capella anti-consumerism hippie anthem of “great social and political import” as she so cutely put it. “That’s it” she advises at the end, as if saving you from hanging around awkwardly waiting for the guitars and drums to kick in, before signing off with a chuckle that gets you chuckling with her. It’s kinda heart-breaking to learn that this lil’ beauty was her final work. As Paul Rothchild recalled in ’92: “It wasn’t a sad and tragic time. Fun was the underlying thing.” It seems, however, that the jovial atmosphere in the studio was in stark contrast to her private life reality; after a period of abstinence, Janis had resumed the heroin habit that had plagued her life in the late 60s. In the early hours of 4th October 1970, she died, aged just 27, from what was thought to be an accidental heroin overdose. A devastated Paul Rothchild and John Till had to work through their own grief to complete the project over the next couple of weeks, but they did so, and emerged with a fantastic set. Lately, Janis had been known as “Pearl” among her friends. Her last LP was a wee gem; her vision was finally realised.

The Jukebox Rebel
01-Nov-2008


TJR says:

7.79 “Brilliant”

In South Africa ’71, Rupert Bopape’s Mavuthela Music had some serious album market competition from Hamilton Nzimande’s Isibaya Esikhulu Music. “Yithi Sibaphethe” (“We Say We Have Arrived”) was the second LP of the year from Sizwe Mazibuko and his Princesses, who traded as Usizwe Namatshitshi. And rather than succumbing to the laws of diminishing returns, this set was stronger again, almost effortlessly cool with its easy-going but super-tough zulu-warrior rhythms – a surefire winner in the township jive market. The vocalists and musicians are credited on the back cover of this one. From this, we can tell that the singers are: Sizwe Mkhwanazi (male vocals); Busisiwe Dlamini (female vocals); Dudu Hlophe (female vocals); Sarah Gwebu (female vocals) and Johannah Mdlalose (female vocals). Although there are five women on the front cover one seems to be missing from the name-check. What a shame! The band (named Amataitai) line up: Mntima Dube (lead guitar); Thomas Motshwane (rhythm guitar); Lameck Moloi (bass) and Dan Van Wyk (drums). There’s not a weak track to be heard here – even the strangely lethargic opener “Ufikile Unyaka Omusha” has a certain charm. “Yithi Sibaphethe” (“We Say We Have Got Them”), penned by future Amaswazi Emvelo member Absolom Mkhwanazi, is the highlight of side 1, with the focus solely on Mkhwanazi’s soulful but tough vocal, characteristically great bass / rhythm guitar action, and just the hint of a marching drum. My three most-favoured all appear on side 2 and all were attributed to producer Hamilton Nzimande. “Ungamthembi Umuntu” (“Don’t Trust People”) has a funky stomp thing going on, and the vocals, male and female and veering between sung and semi-chanted are excellent. It’s nice to see that the producer doesn’t dominate the writing credits entirely and lead female Busisiwe Dlamini pens 2 great tracks in “Amandla Endoda Awapheli” (“That man cannot be brought down, his energy or power is endless”) and “Lishonile Ngofika Nini” (“Will I make it there by sunset?”) They save the very best for last on the album with a bona-fide classic of the mbaqanga genre, “Siyobohla Manyosi” (“harm you did to me will come back to you” i.e. “what goes around comes around”). The melodies are bursting out all over the place from the entire ensemble and I particularly care for some of the high neck wandering from Lameck’s bass. Ever noticed how the odd “off-note” creeps in? I’m sure it’s deliberate – and I love them even more for the unabashed carefree spirit. I’d say they have, most definitely, arrived. This LP was made available by the amazing bloggers at Electric Jive. You can read more about it and download a copy here.

The Jukebox Rebel
19-Jan-2013


TJR says:

7.58 “Brilliant”

So you get a folk group and a rock group on the same top value package? And they’re brilliant in both genres? Yes please. This set is equally brilliant to last years, and is consistently terrific from beginning to end, with only the fussy bluster of “Four Sticks” going against the organic grain. “Black Dog”, “Rock and Roll” and “Stairway to Heaven” steal all the music press headlines – and justifiably so, for they are chiselled and handsome additions to the Rock arena – but, for me, the utmost power and glory lies with the less celebrated tracks. Side 1 highlight is “The Battle of Evermore” which, as Jimmy Page later explained, was “made up on the spot by Robert and myself. I just picked up John Paul Jones's mandolin, never having played a mandolin before, and just wrote up the chords and the whole thing in one sitting.” To aid the ancient other-worldly feel of the piece, Sandy Denny of Fairport Convention was invited as co-vocalist with Robert Plant: “For me to sing with Sandy Denny was great. We were always good friends with that period of Fairport Convention. Richard Thompson is a superlative guitarist. Sandy and I were friends and it was the most obvious thing to ask her to sing on "The Battle of Evermore". If it suffered from naivete and tweeness - I was only 23 - it makes up for it in the cohesion of the voices and the playing.” A drumless Zepp with acoustic guitars and mandolins deliver the excellent “Going to California”, which Plant describes as being about “… me reflecting on the first years of the group, when I was only about… 20, and was struggling to find myself in the midst of all the craziness of California and the band and the groupies…” The album’s parting shot, a re-write of Memphis Minnie’s “When the Levee Breaks” (1929), is completely mesmerising; a relentless sludge-rocker with licks and tricks galore which only truly reveal themselves after several spins. Right here, these exceptionally creative rockers are on their A-game.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-May-2007


TJR says:

7.33 “Really good”

The second LP from the 24 year-old purveyor of humour-laden singer-songwriter gloom, sometimes devoid of humour, was released in June 1971. He had just got married to fellow singer-songwriter Katie McGarrigle, the two having discovered they were to become parents. You’d think he’d be the full of the joys, but it doesn’t really come across that way. The album starts off wonderfully with “Me and My Friend the Cat” – “sitting at speeds known only to few, incredible distance we travelled us two, if only you’d been there, if only you’d seen.” You kind of get the feeling he’d make a great Dad. This is Loudon the loveable goof-ball, with a whole lot of crazy imagery to share. His bachelor day songs are still lurking, evidenced on “Motel Blues”, as the lonely life of a travelling musician is tragicized with the desperate plea for sexual favour: “I'll write a song for you, I'll put it on my next LP, come up to my motel room, sleep with me!… There's a Bible in the drawer don't be afraid, I'll put up the sign to warn the clean-up maid… I'll buy you breakfast, they'll think you're my wife, Oh come up to my motel room, save my life.”Be Careful, There’s A Baby In The House” signals the beginning of the Wainwright family story being told publically in song: “Be careful there's a baby in the house, and a baby can spot your schtick, all the coochy coochy coo is a lot of poo poo when you spread it on that thick.” Imagine being scared of a lil’ ol’ baby! At least he’s honest – it’s a part of the charm and he gets away with it. There would be no happy ending here though; there was a real-life tragedy when Kate had a miscarriage some months later. The strange angsty tone is continued on the wildly confrontational “I Know I’m Unhappy / Suicide Song / Glenville Reel” which is so brutally stark that it makes you wonder if it’s to be interpreted as some sort of sick black humour: “I rarely make love, I mostly get laid… when you get the blues and you want to shoot yourself in the head, it’s alright… go ahead… cut your throat, cut your wrist… turn your body back to soil.” Loudon’s first song about Kate, “Saw Your Name In The Paper” is another strange one – not for him a sappy song declaring undying love – where’s the entertainment in that? Kate and her musical partner Roma Baran, who would go on to be Laurie Anderson's producer, had gotten a rave review for their performance at the 1970 Philadelphia Folk Festival. Loudon used the song to warn her against the perils of fame; perils to which he himself was not immune. See: Motel Blues. In summary, the minutiae of personal politics and his awkward ways make for another compelling listen on “Album II”, but it’s the sole cover version which steals the glory. Loudon, together with Saul Broudy on harmonica and wife Kate on harmony vocals, play a blinder on “Old Paint” – he allows the plaintive side of his character to roam pure and true, and his co-performers contribute exquisitely. Although well received by a few critics, the album failed to make any commercial impact and proved to be his last for Atlantic Records. Bah, humbug.

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Oct-2006


TJR says:

7.31 “Really good”

By the dawn of the seventies, there was more to the vibrant South African music scene than just Gallo Music. The popular Usizwe Namatshitshi (which could be translated as Sizwe Mazibuko and the Princesses, but then the names themselves could also literally translate as “even the young girls heard us”) were a part of producer Hamilton Nzimande’s rival production stable at Isibaya Esikhulu Music and had at least two albums released on the CBS label in 1971. The front cover paints a wonderful picture of the set up at play here. Up front most often was singer-groaner Sizwe Mazibuko, backed by the female quintet Amatshitshi (The Princesses), who included Busi Dlamini, Nomusa Mathebula and Dudu Hlophe. As you can see, traditional costume and dance was a key concept for the group; these are tough rhythms and they’re ready to do battle! My two favourites on side 1 were written by princesses – “Amaqembu Ayagiya”, a catchy mid-paced number penned by Nomusa Mathebula and “Emakhuzeni” written by Dudu Hlophe, which comes complete with wonderful, repetitive funky chops, glorious harmonies and, what can only be described as, some strange sneezing vocalisms from our main man. Album highlight for me is “Uyangizungeza Lombemu” on side 2, which is chock-full of character. A strange loping rhythm frames the bed, whilst a super-sweet female lead vocal contrasts with the gruff male. The backing vocals veer between melodious harmonising and chanting with whistling. The overall effect is mesmerising. The fast-paced “Madoda Sesikhathele” maintains the high immediately, with some superb bass and rhythm guitar interplay that almost flirts with the Jamaican Ska beat – it’s completely fantastic. This is a strong album and is easy to love. This LP was made available by the culture preservationists, Electric Jive. You can read more about it and download a copy here.

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Jan-2013


TJR says:

7.18 “Really good”

Straight from the off on “Mambo Sun” Dr. Strange has me howling like a loon beneath the bebop moon. His new group are sounding ACE. “I Dance myself right out the womb, is it strange to dance so soon?” sings Marc on “Cosmic Dancer” which immediately follows. Yes Marc, that’s just plain weird. But that’s why we love you. To accompany his evocative lyrics, Marc was now hearing much more in his head musically: “I just needed more people than Mickey to get across the sound”. With the duo of Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn now expanded as a full-on rock group, nay a glam rock group don’cha’know, the sound has toughened up – but Bolan’s whimsical and playful imagery is still very much present and correct. And shock-horror, some innocence has been lost along the way. On “Jeepster”, a major pop hit of the day, he gets away with some low-down debauchery: “Girl I’m just a vampire for your love… I’m going to suck you out out out”. Top of the Pops? Blimey. This newly displayed sexual confidence is to the fore again on the raunchy “Lean Woman Blues” as Marc quivers: “Black day, all you give to me are your wild ways. When you're the love of my life, and when you gorge me with a knife, and I'm blue”. Right here, I don’t know whether I’m meant to be terrified or excited – but I love the vibe and he (and the superb group) get me screaming HELL YEAH! The album’s lead single “Get It On”, which had given the group a huge Number 1 in the UK pop chart, kicks off side 2 with a whole load of energy. With its working origins in Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie”, I’m endeared further still to Marc’s musical vision, a deal which is further cemented with his fade-out whisper “and meanwhile, I'm still thinking” which comes straight from the pen of ol' Charles himself. This is followed by “Planet Queen” – is there no end to this cleverness? Marc reckoned that “Electric Warrior” was his way of explaining to America that his group were worth listening to. He had a restless energy about him, a great body of songs to work with, and now a great new band to get the message across. As he would say: “It’s heavy boogie man, get high on this jive”.

The Jukebox Rebel
23-Dec-2007


TJR says:

7.11 “Really good”

A product of Chicago’s country-folk revival of the late 60s, Prine was offered a recording contract by Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records after the record executive saw the singer perform several of his own songs at a Kris Kristofferson show at the Bitter End. Prine would later remark: “I was terrified. I went straight from playing by myself, still learning how to sing, to playing with Elvis Presley's rhythm section.” Kristofferson had championed the hobbyist, recognising his ability to write powerful, affecting songs with down-home earthly mannerisms, and it was he who sat in the producers’ chair. In his liner notes, Kristofferson quipped: “Twenty-four years old and writes like he's two-hundred and twenty.” Bob Dylan was also a big fan of this newly emerging talent, later writing: “Prine's stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about “Sam Stone”, the soldier junkie daddy, and “Donald and Lydia” where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that.” Existentialism is a hoot in John’s world – straight from the off on “Illegal Smile” he ruminates: “Total silence is my only friend, ‘A bowl of oatmeal tried to stare me down’.” His one-liners are incredible. In “Sam Stone”, a song about a drug-addicted war veteran and his death by overdose, the line “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm, where all the money goes” continues to reverberate long after the album is over. “Pretty Good” is a classic – a most Dylan-esque attack on phony patriotism, especially in the context of the exhibitionistic chauvinism of the meat-heads. Best on side 2 is “Far From Me”, which Prine later said was his favourite self-written song. It’s a lonely waltz about lost love for a waitress: “Ain't it funny how an old broken bottle, looks just like a diamond ring, but it's far, far from me.” He’s got a way with words that boy…

The Jukebox Rebel
15-Mar-2011


TJR says:

6.99 “Good”

Arriving in February 1971 was this boundary-pushing double-album set from Köln’s repetitive groove monsters. With Japanese wanderer Damo Suzuki now having taken over completely as lead vocalist, a clearer identity emerges for the group. The quintet line up for this one: Damo Suzuki (21, vocals); Holger Czukay (32, bass, engineering, editing); Michael Karoli (22, guitar, violin); Jaki Liebezeit (32, drums, double bass, piano) and Irmin Schmidt (33, keyboards, vocals on “Aumgn”). The album starts offensively with the prog-ish “Paperhouse” which struggles for any sort of connection within its seven minutes, recalling some of the more boring aspects of the psychedelic rock era. Better, is the more simplistic and minimalistic “Mushroom”, a repetitive and spacey trip for a new, blank generation. Better again is “Oh Yeah”, delivered with a masterclass in how to beat some drum, be economical with guitar, be slightly crazy with your vocals, ride the groove and DIG the repetition. The entirety of side 2 is taken up by the sprawling “Halleluhwah” which oozes attitude and sonic invention, and is served with oodles of funk-groove, one step beyond Sly Stone or George Clinton. It is other-worldly, and quite unlike anything else which is going on in the planet in ‘71. Some groups just lead from the front, and this weird, and very wonderful, piece is one such instance. The entirety of side 3 is given over to “Aumgn”, a remarkable feat of noisemaking which journeys deep into an avant-garde adventure playground, with nightmarish vocal drones by keyboardist Irmin adding to the downright strangeness, before it all ends rhythmically in a swathe of tribal African abandon. The more experimental nature of the second record is underlined on side 4 with Damo’s disconcerting primal screamer “Peking O” which flirts with some bossa-nova in amongst the craziness. It’s not one I’d recommended for your local tea dance in Bournemouth. “Bring Me Coffee Or Tea” (no, they couldn’t have, surely?) finishes things off where the album started – in a prog-ish haze. This time, however, the excesses are much more agreeable, and almost seem to flirt subliminally with Latin-American motifs, in keeping with the preceding track with which it shares a side. Presumably, these pseudo-flamenco stylings are the work of Michael. It took me a while to appreciate the nuances many and varied within this LP – it’s worth taking the time out for.

The Jukebox Rebel
20-Mar-2007


TJR says:

6.78 “Good”

Bridget St. John only ever sings songs that she can relate to; songs that mean something to her; songs that come from her own experiences. Based on the evidence from her first 2 LPs, I can tell that in real life she is a gentle and lovely soul. These are early morning sleepy tunes that roll from your head as you fall out of bed to discover the day. As with her debut set, hushed melodies are prevalent, as is her trademark low-register acoustic-guitar-based delivery. This time around, however, she almost has a co-star in the Scottish-born avant-garde producer, Ron Geesin. The added cellos, flutes, bassoons, violins and horns are interwoven sympathetically – it’s a job well done. Speaking of the two-year gap since her debut, Bridget explained: “There had been talk of my doing an album with Paul Samwell-Smith, but all that fell through and I was pretty sad as a result. It took me a long time to prepare the material and work everything out and after I'd given him the rough tapes, everything fell through, and I was left at a bit of a loose end. As it happened, everything worked out very well, because Ron Geesin produced the album and made a beautiful job of it as far as I was concerned. I knew Ron as a friend, and I just asked him if he would do it much to everybody's horror because they all associated him with weirdness and didn't think for one minute that he had the delicacy to handle the kind of songs I'd got ready to record. But that freaky stuff is only one facet of his music, the part that he chooses to project on stage, and I knew that he was capable of much more—for instance he'd just completed the music for 'The Body' and 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and some of that was just beautiful. Apart from one song, "The Lady and the Gentle Man", which I don't really like at all any more, that album turned out exactly as I wanted it to I think Ron put in some lovely work on it. At the time, he had his own studio, and I used to go round there and we'd discuss each song I'd go over it, and he'd note the chord shapes and so on, and then I'd leave it to him to arrange, so that when I next saw him, he'd have the arrangement all ready to record. That was very satisfactory from my point of view, and things worked out very well.”

The Jukebox Rebel
03-Mar-2016


TJR says:

6.66 “Good”

On his second album, there’s a general sense that his bitter stories of bad drugs, broken dreams and ghetto struggles have given way to a slightly more palatable serving for norms, where even the odd love song is permittable. Sounds to me like someone’s made a change in him. Not for nothing did contemporary reviews mention Jose Feliciano and Bill Withers in the same breath. Groan. His London-based group for this one were: Chris Spedding (guitar); Gary Taylor (bass); Andrew Steele (drums); Phil Dennys (keyboards) and Tony Carr (bongos, percussion). Rodriguez recalls: “We spent 30 wonderful days recording the Reality album. We stayed in Belgravia, London.” Thankfully, this softening is not an exact science, for the fire in the belly is still in evidence here and there. The dropouts and degenerates get it tight on “A Most Disgusting Song”, a most amusing early album highlight. Sixto’s exquisitely picked guitar plays-off against Jimmy Horowitz’ gorgeous violin on “Sandrevan Lullaby / Lifestyles” as our man takes a pop at society’s ills with some dazzling prose: “America gains another pound, only time will bring some people around, Idols and flags are slowly melting, Another shower of rice, to pair it for some will suffice, the mouthful asks for second helpings” Album closer “Cause” is a stunner – sublime imagery and gorgeous production, every bit the equal of Nick Drake, the master of the genre. Steve Rowland (the record’s producer) in the documentary “Searching for Sugarman” made this astute summation: “Couple of them [talking about songs from “Coming From Reality”] are so sad. There is one in there, that’s absolutely a killer. One of the saddest songs (…) I’ve ever heard. [listens to the song] That really makes me sad, because that was the last song we recorded… And was makes it even sadder is, the album was released in November 1971. And we expected big things and it did absolutely nothing. And then two weeks before Christmas Sussex dropped him off the label – and the very first line of the song as if premonition was… Oh man, you have to think about that. This guy deserves recognition!” The opening lines to which Rowland were referring were: “Cause I lost my job two weeks before Christmas, and I talked to Jesus at the sewer, and the Pope said it was none of his God-damned business, while the rain drank champagne.” Damn. What a delivery. It is indeed sad that nobody was interested in this in 1971. What was wrong with music fans back then?

The Jukebox Rebel
28-Aug-2015


TJR says:

6.55 “Good”

Each passing album has been getting better since 1967 – “Hunky Dory” is the first proper good ‘un. Previous bass player and producer Tony Visconti sat this one out, as new bassist Trevor Bolder and producer Ken Scott stepped up to the mark. The string arrangements of Mick Ronson were to the fore on the album’s finest moments. The album starts majestically with “Changes” which features Bowie himself on saxophone, with Rick Wakeman's on keyboards and Mick Ronson handling string arrangements. Artistic re-invention is the order of the day: “look out you rock n rollers.” The magical mystery which surrounds much of Bowie’s work bubbles to the surface once again on side 1 with “Life On Mars?” and, once again, it’s the key trio of Bowie / Wakeman / Ronson who make it happen. The singer noted that Wakeman “embellished the piano part” of his original melody and guitarist Mick Ronson “created one of his first and best string parts” for the song. Unbelievably, Bowie’s trite old cabaret roots immediately rear their ugly head again on the following “Kooks”, a song for his new-born son, Duncan Jones. It’s the audio-equivalent of “coochy-coo”. Torn between the light and dark, “Quicksand”, ensures the album’s recovery is instant – despair never sounded so damned gorgeous. Side 2 has a flamenco-flavoured tribute to “Andy Warhol”, a rather dull soft rock “Song For Bob Dylan” (must be digging on the Band period) and a sizzling nod to Lou Reed, “Queen Bitch”, which sounds completely out of place on the album, but absolutely steals my utmost affection. Bowie himself considered the album to be one of the most important in his career. Speaking in 1999, he said: “Hunky Dory gave me a fabulous groundswell. I guess it provided me, for the first time in my life, with an actual audience – I mean, people actually coming up to me and saying, ‘Good album, good songs.’ That hadn't happened to me before. It was like, ‘Ah, I'm getting it, I'm finding my feet. I'm starting to communicate what I want to do. Now: what is it I want to do?’ There was always a double whammy there.” Had I been there, he’d have been on my 1972 watch list for sure. What would he do next?

The Jukebox Rebel
18-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.55 “Good”

Musically, another uniquely Kinks affair, marrying trad English brass with American country rock. The brass section included Mike Cotton on trumpet, John Beecham on trombone and tuba, and Alan Holmes on clarinet. Lyrically, the album centred on themes of poverty and working-class life, as well as the destruction and subdivision of old Victorian neighbourhoods—a practice that had become commonplace in North London during the 1970s. The excellent opener, “20th Century Man” lays down the grumpy blueprint: “I was born in a welfare state, Ruled by bureaucracy, Controlled by civil servants, And people dressed in grey, Got no privacy, got no liberty, Cos the twentieth century people, Took it all away from me.” Ain’t no cure for these acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues. Just as well Ray Davies has a great sense of humour… it's all here in this winning package.

The Jukebox Rebel
12-Aug-2008


TJR says:

6.53 “Good”

The Wailers early 70s mission to deliver a new soulful brand of reggae moves on from last years’ part I (“Soul Rebels”) to this years’ part II (“Soul Revolution”), the second and final album of theirs to be cut with producer Lee Perry at the helm. The set opens up with a fantastic cover of the Impressions ’64 tune “Keep on Moving”, almost coming on like an artistic statement of intent, even if it is only a cover. It’s one only two covers on the LP, the other being “African Herbsman”, originally done as “Indian Rope Man” by Richie Havens in 1969. Marley pens 10 of the 12 tracks and he is more prominent than ever before with his lead vocal. It’s interesting that his name appears upfront on the billing – what did Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer think about this I wonder? Perry’s touch is key to the album’s success; those basslines are plunging deeper than ever before into hearts and souls. Best of the Marley-penned collaborative efforts is “Sun is Shining” which is stripped to highlight vocals, bass and melodica. Augustus Pablo was surely listening in!

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.50 “Good”

The Karen Dalton album story ends here – although it doesn’t quite have the strength in depth of her 1969 debut, it’s another goodie, with some exceptional treasures. The set was recorded at Bearsville Studios and originally released by Woodstock Festival promoter Michael Lang's label, Just Sunshine Records. The album was produced and arranged by Harvey Brooks, who also plays bass throughout. In his liner notes, Fred Neil was full of praise for Karen’s unique style: “Karen has been my favourite female vocalist as well as a heavy influence on my own style of singing since the early sixties. I first picked up on her one night in the village at ‘Cock and Bull’ (which later became ‘The Bitter End’). Her voice grabbed me immediately. She did “Blues on the Ceiling” (which is my song) with so much feeling that if she told me she had written it herself I would have believed her. Her voice is so unique, to describe it would take a poet.” Whilst she never sung her own words, she sure could interpret. “Something On Your Mind”, one of 3 originals on this LP, emerges absolutely as one of the years’ greatest songs. It was donated to Karen by her old pal from the East Village, Chet Powers. What a gift. She served it back to him wrapped with the most beautiful bow ever. Not so great, however, are the ill-advised showband stylings of “When A Man Loves A Woman” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” which are a bit of a turn-off. Her strengths lie in folk roots – “Same Old Man” (The Holy Modal Rounders, 1964) and “Katie Cruel” (a traditional) are pure, true and completely Dalton. What a pity the album story ends here.

The Jukebox Rebel
16-Mar-2014


TJR says:

6.48 “Decent enough”

This was the final newly conceived album on Buddah Records from the 24 year-old New Yorker, what with the label attempting to exert demands which were not in accordance with the artists’ oeuvre. Quite right Melanie, stuff ‘em. The title-track gets proceedings off to a flyer. Straight away, I’m reminded just how much I love Melanie’s waver and her gift for melody. Album highlight “Babe Rainbow” immediately follows – keep your glow on is the message. I’m thinking, isn’t she lovely? It’s a timeless waltz, with wonderful pennywhistles and exquisite orchestration. There are 9 originals on the album and 3 covers – “Sign on the Window” (Bob Dylan, 1970); “My Father” (Judy Collins, 1968) and “Chords of Fame” (Phil Ochs, 1970). Her own songs are the best – the most powerful. My side notes for “The Saddest Thing” read: “raw and pure – Melanie’s on fine form here.”The Nickel Song”, soon to be a Top 40 hit, is a little song with a big bite: “Well, I don't know so many things, but I know what's been going on, we're only putting in a little, to get rid of a lot that's wrong” She’s even charming when she’s dissing folks, what a gal, completely loveable. Buddah's loss…

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Feb-2010


TJR says:

6.48 “Decent enough”

By the time of this release in November 1971, Melanie had left Buddah Records and signed with Neighbourhood. In a move which must have been really annoying for both the artist and her new label, Buddah issued this compilation of predominantly unreleased material in direct opposition to “Gather Me” (Neighbourhood Records NRS-47001) which had only out a matter of weeks earlier. It really is a cut-throat business. But, hey, what do fans care? All they see is a new Melanie album with songs they haven’t collected yet. Where’s the crime? Buddah pulled the stops out too, creating an attractive, appealing package which looked, every inch, an all-new affair. The UK release famously had a “scratch 'n' sniff” label on the sleeve with the message “Rub gently to release the magic of Melanie's Garden”. And who could resist that? [steady] Content wise, the album is surprisingly good in the circumstances, with 5 strong originals from the pen of the lady herself. Interestingly, the three covers – “Lay Lady Lay” (Bob Dylan, 1969), “Jigsaw Puzzle” (The Rolling Stones, 1968) and “Don’t You Wait By The Water” (Winnie Lightner, 1924 in the musical “George White's Scandals”) – are the weakest moments on the set. Her own “Garden In The City” serves as a fantastic start to the record, playing to her strengths; strong in the voice with some beautiful melody lines. Only two of the album’s tracks had seen the light of day before now – “We Don’t Know Where We’re Going” and “Stop! I Don’t Wanna Hear It Anymore”, both of which had featured on “R.P.M. (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)” (Bell Records ‎BELL-1203) in 1970. The latter of these is an interesting little folk-rocker with shades of Peru. The album goes out in a blaze of glory and no little humour with “People In The Front Row”, an excellent production which regales a tale of her being “third on the bill of a second rate show” and just how lonely it can feel as a performer. She sings: “You know I looked around for faces I'd know, I fell in love with the people in the front row” The nervous laugh which she delivers as part of the song cracks me up everytime. Lovely Melanie <3

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Feb-2010


TJR says:

6.45 “Decent enough”

She wants to have fun and shine in the sun but personal politics are making the lady blue on her 4th LP. The brave lass lays her soul bare on this LP. As she later reflected: “The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defences. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defences there either.” The further advantage for this wonderful songwriter is that folks tend to react positively to honesty and sincerity – and the reviews and response to this album were glowing. Artists are always striving for a connection – I think she found a two-way relationship with a mass audience with this one. While she had been taking some time out to de-stress in Europe during 1970, Joni learned to play the Appalachian dulcimer, and her newly learned skills were premiered here on “Blue”. She wastes no time in showing the instrument off on the album opener “All I Want” which sets the album tone both in terms of the adventurous brand of light but complex folk-rock and with the blue nature of the content: “I am on a lonely road and I am traveling, traveling, traveling, traveling, looking for something, what can it be.” There is heartfelt sorrow in “Little Green” – a song written about the daughter she had given up for adoption in 1965, when she was a poor folk singer in Toronto. She had named her Kelly Dale after the colour kelly green. The singer later commented: “I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with the child, but I had to let her go.” Album highlight “Carey” was about a memorable character named Cary Raditz, a cane-carrying chef with bright red hair that she met in Crete during her European time-out travels of 1970. He’s a mean old Daddy but she likes him. I think the whole world loves Cary without ever having met him. The ultimate sinking song of the set is the title-track itself, a stark piano ballad which has had its fill of the shallow life: “Acid, booze, and ass, needles, guns, and grass, lots of laughs, lots of laughs” Lots of laughs? Yeah right, says Joni wearily. The bleakest moment on the album is quickly put behind her as she confesses that she would even be willing to “kiss a pig” to be back “home” in “California” – bet the hippies loved that line. The warmth of the mini-group on this one shines through with Joni on the dulcimer, James Taylor on guitar and Sneaky Pete Kleinow on pedal steel. Mixed-up emotions are to the fore on “This Flight Tonight”. After yet another lovers tiff, Joni has taken to the air, but soon regrets her decision to fly away from the problem: “Oh Starbright, starbright, You've got the lovin' that I like, all right, Turn this crazy bird around, I shouldn't have got on this flight tonight.” The ooh-lah-lah-lah rock n roll riffage is a neat touch which keeps the rebel rocker fires burning. The album finishes appropriately with yet another autopsy on a failed romance with one of her exes: “The last time I saw Richard was Detroit in '68, and he told me all romantics meet the same fate someday – cynical and drunk and boring someone in some dark café. ‘You laugh’ he said ‘you think you're immune? Go look at your eyes they're full of moon, you like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you all those pretty lies pretty lies, when you gonna realize they're only pretty lies?’” Luckily for music fans, her muses various are rich and many, and this cathartic set can only be healthy. I wouldn't want to be in her head, mind…

The Jukebox Rebel
25-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.44 “Decent enough”

The cover features the black man, Swamp Dogg, riding on the back of an oversized white rat – unusual! He’s an off-the-wall maverick for sure. Probably sells himself short on the artistic credibility stakes but, hey, he’s his own boss. There’s no doubt as to his musical credentials though and, once again, his rhythm and horn sections continue determinedly with a winning southern soul approach. The album features guests such as Betty Wright, Al Kooper, Lonnie Mack and a young employee at TK by the name of Harry Wayne Casey, who’d go on to find fame and fortune with his own project, KC and The Sunshine Band. This is a very satisfying album to my ears but Elektra didn’t hear it that way – it would prove to be Dogg’s one and only LP for the major. Apparently, the provocative “God Bless America For What?” landed Swamp Dogg on Richard Nixon’s infamous “Enemies List”. Swamp was probably bang on… damn those honkys…

The Jukebox Rebel
14-Jan-2010


TJR says:

6.42 “Decent enough”

For their first of the new decade, released in the springtime of ’71, the Stones now lined up: Mick Jagger (27, lead vocals, guitars); Keith Richards (27, guitars, backing vocals); Mick Taylor (22, lead guitar); Bill Wyman (34, bass guitar) and Charlie Watts (29, drums). This was very much the start of a new era for the group, now freed from their obligations to Decca Records and to the dodgy management contracts with Allen Klein. The LP was the first to be released on their own label and featured the lips and tongue logo which would become absolutely synonymous with the Rolling Stones. The album gets off to heavy-hitting start with “Brown Sugar”, their 70s equivalent of “Satisfaction” with a riff that resonates internationally. Jagger says: “The lyric was all to do with the dual combination of drugs and girls. This song was a very instant thing, a definite high point.” Drugs, in fact, are everywhere you look on this album – no wonder they’re skint. Paying no attention at all to this, I prefer to just let the music do the talking; “You Gotta Move” is the next song that strikes a chord with me, the album’s sole cover version. Jagger goes negro-spiritual! It’s got the wow factor and these cats prove to me, once again, they’ve still got a feeling for the blues that runs deep. By contrast, the rockers “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Bitch” leave me cold – I can’t escape the dreaded feeling that this is the new sound of the Stones that will take future precedence, all stodgy riffs, posing posture and soar-away solos. “I Got The Blues”, which recalls those terrific Stax ballads, gets me back onside. The best is saved ‘til last with the enigmatic “Moonlight Mile”, a lifestyle weary ballad of the Rock n Roller which is seems steeped in a real-life truth. Jim Price’s piano and Paul Buckmaster’s string arrangement lift this piece on to a high platform. The album was a major success, hitting top spot in both America and Britain, but their troubles weren’t over. Mismanagement and poor advice had led to their financial affairs being in a sorry mess – within months of the album’s release the whole group had decamped to the South of France where they would be out of reach of the tax authorities for a while. Life was never dull for the Rolling Stones…

The Jukebox Rebel
22-Dec-2007


TJR says:

6.37 “Decent enough”

“Histoire de Melody Nelson” is regarded by many critics and fans to be Gainsbourg's magnum opus. The concept album has a plot which involves a middle-aged man (played by Gainsbourg) accidentally colliding his Rolls Royce Silver Ghost into teenage girl Melody Nelson's bicycle, and the subsequent seduction and romance that ensues. Jane Birkin portrays the Lolita-like protagonist in song, on the cover and in the short film which followed. In some ways it could be seen as semi-autobiographical – in real life he was 40 she 21 when they started seeing each other in 1968. The later joke goes that only 30,000 copies were sold – but everybody who bought one became a pervert – you’ve got to laugh. It’s a somewhat dodgy concept – but it’s immaculate in its conception, and for that producer Jean-Claude Desmarty can take his share of the plaudits. New Wave pop motifs and trippy beats give the whole work a futuristic feel, whilst the atmospheric strings deliver a cinematic experience that wouldn’t sound out of place in a James Bond soundtrack. After the release of the album, a music video was made for each song, and released all together as “Melody” a short musical, aired on French TV. The album’s finale reverts back to the opener, the two tracks being virtually inseparable in musical terms, with Herbie Flowers’ up-front, left-field bass once again lending the cutting-edge depth which has been a major highlight of the set. In “Cargo Culte”, Gainsbourg sings about Melody’s tragic death in a freak plane crash in the Pacific, comparing himself to a New Guinean shaman who tries to put her body together through the wrecks of the crashed plane, as a 70-strong choir signal the end of this sorry tale of sex and death. The psueds will have a field day with this one…

The Jukebox Rebel
21-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.36 “Decent enough”

The 53 year-old journeyman lands with ABC for his latest offering – a highly polished full-group effort, but a highly relaxed affair all the same. 2 tracks get a reworking – “House Rent Boogie” (No Friend Around, 1969) and “We Might As Well Call It Through” (John Lee Hooker, 1962). Produced by Bill Szymczyk and Ed Michel, the double album was recorded in November 1970 at Wally Heider Recording with top-notch session musicians such as Jesse Ed Davis, Carl Radle, Steve Miller, Gino Skaggs and Mark Naftalin. The picks are all to be found at the very beginning. “(I Got) A Good ‘Un” swings with a tough backbeat – just love that sound. The remake of “House Rent Boogie” is an absolute classic – feel the menace, what drama. “Kick Hit 4 Hit Kix U (Blues For Jimi And Janis)” continues the gloomy tone, as John pays tribute to two recently deceased friends and fires a warning shot to other friends un-named, as well as his audience at large: “Lookey here, I'm gonna tell you a story about two friends whom I known, and the whole world knowed 'em, the one and only Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, who passed on from the needle… Stop shootin' those needles, and stop swallowin' in those pills, that needle's too heavy man, your heart can't take it none. Hey, hey, I know, so many young folks, they're hooked, they're doomed to die” The message is clear kids – one bourbon, one scotch, that'll do you.

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Jun-2012


TJR says:

6.33 “Decent enough”

Following on from his revival success with “Let’s Work Together”, Wilbert recorded two albums for Juggy Murray – “Let’s Work Together” (Sue SSLP-8801, 1970) and “Shoot You Full of Love”, issued in January 1971 on the new Juggernaut label. Two tracks get a reworking from Wilbert’s back-albums – “CC Rider” (Kansas City, 1965) and “Near To You” (Anything You Want, 1970). There are six originals on-board as well as four cover versions – “Little Liza Jane” (Huey Smith and His Rhythm Aces, 1956); “That’s All Right Baby” (Jimmy Rogers and his Trio, 1950); “Down On The Corner” (Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1969) and “Things I Used To Do” (Guitar Slim, 1953). The overall feeling is relaxed – Wilbert plays all of these tunes from the heart and soul, but in a fashion which suggests a carefree spirit is at play, often not even bothering with technical issues such as adding proper lyrics, contenting himself by exclamations, grunts and wailed vocalisms instead. Stylistically, the set is characterised by a strange old potpourri that incorporates old folk, blues, soul, psychedelic and funk eras – he’s been there to see it all before so, hell, why not? This is a good fun, homely record by a talented guy.

The Jukebox Rebel
10-May-2012


TJR says:

6.29 “Decent enough”

“What’s going on?” asked Marvin. “There’s a riot going on” replied Sly. Slow and low, these stark and dark urban grooves reflected political assassinations, police brutality, the decline of the civil rights movement and social disillusionment. The main man was going through a period of personal turmoil, under pressure from record execs, his own group and his black brotherhood to deliver and to represent. It was enough to drive the man to hard drugs – but he finally emerged with a solid follow-up to 1969s “Stand!”, with a sound which had quite clearly moved on from there. According to the other Family Stone members, most of the album was performed by him alone, overdubbing and sometimes with the use of a drum machine. For the album’s major piece, “Family Affair”, and some other selections, Stone enlisted several other musicians including Billy Preston, Ike Turner, and Bobby Womack instead of his bandmates. Family Affair? Oh, the irony. In his contemporary review for Rolling Stone magazine, music journalist Vince Aletti got it right away, describing this work as “the new urban music… not about dancing to the music, in the streets. It's about disintegration, getting fucked up, nodding, maybe dying. There are flashes of euphoria, ironic laughter, even some bright stretches but mostly it's just junkie death, oddly unoppressive and almost attractive in its effortlessness”. I'm into this head-nodding, look-tough thing…

The Jukebox Rebel
26-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.26 “Decent enough”

Decent fourth album from the gritty Californian power rockers, running a full range of Rock n Roll which digs dirtily all the way from Gene Vincent to the Stones to Beefheart. They line up: Cyril Jordan (guitar, vocals); Roy Loney (guitar, vocals); Tim Lynch (guitar); George Alexander (bass guitar); Danny Mihm (drums) and Jim Dickinson (piano). These are, in fact, the children of the Rolling Stones invasion. They’ll mess you up for fun. The hippies are dead – 'mon the punks.

The Jukebox Rebel
09-May-2006


TJR says:

6.22 “Decent enough”

The Beach Boys ironically titled 1971 LP stands in contrast to the group’s reinvention as a socially conscious unit. Album opener, “Don’t Go Near The Water” is fabulous and hilarious – the trademark choral harmonies remain but these days we’re being led to believe that “Surfin USA” wasn’t such a great idea after all – avoid that polluted water kids! A key feature of this LP is that all Beach Boys stepped up to the plate as songwriters – the state of the nation and the struggle for change is getting to Carl on “Long Promised Road”: “So hard to plant the seed of reform, to set my sights on defeating the storm.” They’re saying all the right things for me – and the tunes are pretty neat too. Despite the right-on head-nodding it’s the light-hearted “Take a Load Off Your Feet” which emerges as my favourite – a song for pregnant mammas everywhere, a universal truth. “Student Demonstration Time” soon gets the protest movement back on track. It’s Mike Love who steps forward for this one, re-inventing “Riot in Cell Block #9” (The Robins, 1954) with a newly written set of lyrics which are summed up with the killer line “We're all fed up with useless wars and racial strife.” Right on Mike. In another surprising twist, the group’s new manager, Jack Rieley, steps up for lead vocals on the humorously titled, but nonetheless earnest “A Day In The Life of a Tree”, which comes complete with bird noises alongside a mournful harmonium. Said Rieley: “Brian Wilson and I had been talking a lot about the sorry state of the planet back then. He was filled with questions and we went on for hours about it. Forests were dying, the air had turned brown, the earth's future was beginning to appear hazardous to health. When Brian first played the chords and sang the tentative melody for me, he asked what the song should be about and I suggested a single tree as metaphor for the earth; that single tree as metaphor for more than ecology. I fell in love with the chords at once and loved the swelling tension of that droned bass line; the song seemed to lend itself to the lyrical concept.” It could potentially be a twee embarrassment – but the bravery pays off and they emerge triumphantly with an affecting statement. The album ends with the title-track, which finally sees the light of day after some 5 years in the making. Unsurprisingly, it has nothing to do with surfing, it’s about a spiritual awakening and prophesies an optimistic hope for those who can capture the innocence of youth. It’s really the perfect way to end a Beach Boys album. Even in this protest-era beset with racism, crime, war and poverty they still manage to find an uplifting tone. They’re true artists – and they’re on good form right here.

The Jukebox Rebel
17-Jan-2016


TJR says:

6.20 “Decent enough”

Recorded in L.A. in May 1970, 17 John Lee Hooker songs. Reworks several tracks from the Hooker back-albums, but all tracks new to the Canned Heat album discography. A much better 2nd half performance on this double set, more vitality, better attitude. From the Canned Heat perspective, this album really was the end of an era. It was the very last studio album to feature harmonica player, guitarist and songwriter Alan Wilson, who died in September 1970 from a strong drug overdose. John Lee Hooker is heard wondering how Wilson is capable of following Hooker’s guitar playing so well. Hooker was known to be a difficult performer to accompany, partly because of his disregard of song form. Yet Wilson seemed to have no trouble at all following him on this album. Hooker concludes that “you [Wilson] musta been listenin’ to my records all your life”. Hooker is also known to have stated “Wilson is the greatest harmonica player ever.” The album was released early in 1971, some 4 months after Alan’s death. The album’s group cover photo was taken after his death, but a picture of Alan can be seen in a frame on the wall behdind John Lee Hooker. This set gave Hooker his first mainstream hit album, reaching number 78 in the Billboard charts.

The Jukebox Rebel
24-Aug-2009


TJR says:

6.20 “Decent enough”

Helping to plug the gap left by the demise of Otis Redding, O.V. Wright was keeping the Southern Soul flag flying proudly in 1971 with this thoroughly decent offering. The album features 10 single sides – past, future and present – including, as the title suggests, last years’ “Ace of Spades” and this years’ “A Nickel and a Nail”. The tempos are split down the middle, 50% for the dancefloor and 50% for late night, bluesy, contemplation. His group are very fine indeed; production duties were handled by Willie Mitchell at his Royal Recording Studio in Memphis. The Hi Records Rhythm Section and the Memphis Horns providing the backing impeccably; tangibly effervescent or believably mournful as required. Best for dancefloor action is “Ace of Spades”. It’s pretty much impossible to stay still when this funky rhythm section takes effect; bright horns, phat bass, screamin’ vocal – it’s got the lot. The only track which is out-of-date is “Eight Men, Four Women”, a single which first saw the light of day away back in ’67. It’s the best of the lonely and blue ballads on here; in his dreams, the jury finds our man guilty of love. The gospel girls wail, as the sax whimpers and a low-down organ pleas “Have mercy on this soul!”

The Jukebox Rebel
13-Jun-2012

chart first published 27 Mar 2016; last edited 05 Jun 2016

Album Charts

by year…

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950 1951 1952 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

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