Monthly Archives: October 2014

Goodbye, indeed

As mentioned the other day …

Goodbye, indeed. It probably went out in the Great Record Purge of 1989.

That year, some friends were having a big rummage sale. We sent over a bunch of stuff, including a bunch of records I’d bought in my teens and 20s that I wasn’t listening to in my early 30s. After collecting records for almost 20 years — hell, simply after growing up — your tastes change.

On record digs, I still come across some of those records. “Yeah, I used to have that one,” I think to myself. But there are few regrets. Certainly no regrets for dumping any and all Ted Nugent records. Nor for any Styx record released after 1974. Nor those Hot Tuna records. Nor those Starcastle records. Nor, really, even a Rolling Stones record considered to be one of their best.

I didn’t go to the rummage sale, but I vividly remember the lovely Janet telling me that more than one person had dug through the vinyl and said “Hey, there are some good records in here.”

Guessing, then, that Cream’s final record, “Goodbye,” from 1969, was been one of them. Told you I was prone to occasional outbreaks of cluelessness.

Glad, then, that one Jack Bruce record survived the Great Record Purge of 1989.

Apostrophe Frank Zappa

“Apostrophe,” Frank Zappa, from “Apostrophe,” 1974. Also available digitally.

For 40 years, it’s been debated what, exactly, Jack Bruce did on this fierce, fuzzed-out instrumental jam with Zappa and drummer Jim Gordon.

Did Bruce — then just six years moved on from Cream — play bass, as the liner notes and Zappa himself insisted? Or did he play cello, as Bruce tried to tell an interviewer almost 20 years later? All the evidence points to bass, and Bruce listed “Apostrophe” among his “special appearances” on his website.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Life at 20

To mark its 20th anniversary, Mojo magazine is doing a series of interviews with “20 world-changing musicians looking back on their 20th year.”

mojo-20-241

Less grandly put, it’s about what their life was like, what their influences were, when they were 20. It’s sometimes fascinating, sometimes remarkably ordinary. As I read through these pieces, I think back to my 20th year, which also was sometimes fascinating, sometimes remarkably ordinary.

Because my birthday falls on the first day of summer, my school years are neatly defined. My 20th year was my junior year of college. It was a time of great change.

A couple of weeks before I was to leave my Wisconsin hometown, Elvis died.

That was, as I wrote seven years ago, a mild, sun-splashed Tuesday afternoon in 1977, one of those August days that seems to last forever. Especially when you are 20 and trying to wring the most out of every moment left before you leave home, knowing you are leaving home for good.

Then, seven weeks into that junior year, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s plane went down.

That was 37 years ago today, Oct. 20, 1977. I’d just picked up their new record. My vinyl copy of “Street Survivors” is the original issue, with the cover showing flames surrounding the band. In the middle, Steve Gaines stands with his eyes closed, enveloped by flames.

skynyrdstreetflames

My lingering memory is of how I’d snapped up that record, and of how quickly thereafter the band was silenced.

The loss of Lynyrd Skynyrd was greater than the loss of Elvis. I’d grown up with Skynyrd on the radio and on my stereo. Elvis was old news, old music for old people. (I was 20. I’d learn.)

Thinking back to that year of being 20, sorting through the loss of Lynyrd Skynyrd signaled that maybe this is the way you grow up. You deal with real life, which delivers blows like that. You live in a tiny apartment. There’s not much money, so you scrape by. I vividly remember saving pop bottles, then cashing them in during the last week of the fall semester and getting as many groceries as possible for that $3 or $5 or $7. Whatever it was, it wasn’t much.

Some better news came along during Christmas break. As 1977 turned to 1978, the local paper hired me. That’s another way you grow up. You go to work in your chosen profession and you keep at it for 36 years.

But when you’re 20, the new kid in the newsroom, there’s things going on that you don’t know.

lynyrd skynyrd endangered species

“Things Goin’ On,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, from “Endangered Species,” 1994. It’s their unplugged record, one I’ve enjoyed for 20 years now. It’s out of print.

This acoustic version is available only on the “Thyrty: 30th Anniversary Collection” CD, and not digitally. The original version was on Skynyrd’s 1973 debut album, “Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd.”

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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My lingering cluelessness

Even though there are more than 1,000 records in the crates at AM, Then FM world headquarters, evidence of my lingering cluelessness emerges from time to time. As it has with the news that Paul Revere, the leader of Paul Revere and the Raiders, has died.

Sure, I knew of Paul Revere and the Raiders when I was a kid. I knew all their hits. In the summer of 1971, when I was 14, I bought the 45 to “Indian Reservation.” But I liked the Monkees more.

Today, I have records by the Monkees, but none by Paul Revere and the Raiders. Lingering cluelessness.

So, today, my friends are schooling me when it comes to those underappreciated garage rockers from the Pacific Northwest.

— Larry dropped a solid remembrance of Paul Revere and the Raiders, including a nod to their influence on ’80s kids, over at his Iron Leg blog. It’s a must read.

— Along those lines, Norb says “Just Like Me” was one of the first songs he learned to play on bass from start to finish.

— Steve says Paul Revere and the Raiders might have been “America’s version of The Animals.” He interviewed Revere once, maybe 20 years ago, and remembers being told “Mark Lindsay’s famous ponytail was fake.” He also remembers Revere “probably would have talked all day.”

— Emery reminds me that “(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone” was done first by Paul Revere and the Raiders in 1966, then by the Monkees later that year.

Sigh.

— Joe dug up a review of a Paul Revere and the Raiders show in Milwaukee from late October 1966. The show — with the Robbs, Keith Allison (who later joined the Raiders), the Standells and the Gilloteens as the opening acts — drew 3,500 to the Milwaukee Auditorium.

“Generally the audience, composed mostly of teen age girls, was very well behaved but the Raiders’ Mark Lindsay’s version of ‘Kicks’ was too much and fans mobbed the stage until ushers escorted them back to their seats.

“After their last number, the Raiders ran to a waiting bus that left the building as soon as they boarded. Even with their quick exit, about a hundred screaming girls mobbed the bus before police could clear a path to W. State St.”

Here’s an interview with Bob Barry, Milwaukee’s most popular DJ, done in 1966 for a Milwaukee TV station. Don’t know whether this was done at the same time as the show.

That show, by the way, was a Dick Clark production. The Robbs, who had moved from Milwaukee to Los Angeles, were the house band on “Where The Action Is,” also a Dick Clark production. Robbs drummer Craig Krampf remembers the tour as “about 80 one-nighters in a row.” Here’s a look at that 1966 tour.

Please visit our companion blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under October 2014, Sounds