Tag Archives: 1969

Can’t you see? No, not really

Heard today that the Marshall Tucker Band will be playing our local vintage movie palace-turned-performance venue in a few weeks.

That show, on April 2, will come almost 40 years to the day since I saw the Marshall Tucker Band.

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Well, sort of. The Marshall Tucker Band was on stage at the Quandt gym in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on Friday, April 1, 1977. I was in the audience. I was 19. Many other details have been hazy ever since.

The Marshall Tucker Band was one of the biggest names in country rock, which itself was big at the time. They were at their peak, touring behind the “Carolina Dreams” LP and having just released “Heard It in a Love Song” as a single. Both the album and the single turned out to be their biggest hits.

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It was a big deal that they’d play this small college town in central Wisconsin. Point was a half-hour’s drive south for us. When I say us, I can’t be more specific than that. Don’t remember who I went with.

We went to a house party before the show. I want to say it was a little house on Division Street, the main north-south drag in Point and just off campus. Someone knew some guys that lived there. Older guys, maybe seniors, maybe 23, 24, 25. Turned out to be way too much party for that 19-year-old kid.

Even so, I vividly recall sitting in the cluttered living room of that little house, really digging a Steely Dan record. It might have been “Countdown to Ecstasy.” That detail also has been lost to the haze of time. It’s proof, though, that I really must have been overserved. I never liked Steely Dan.

At some point, I was sure we needed to get over to the gym. Whoever I went with said, nah, we have plenty of time. So of course we were late.

This review of the show was from The Pointer, the student paper. It was written by a guy who became one of my college classmates later that year. Just about everything in his review is news to me, especially that it poured that night.

tucker-review

Turns out there was a mad rush to the seats. No wonder I wound up a million miles from the stage. One side of the Quandt gym has two tiers of bleachers. I found a spot along the front railing of the top tier, near an aisle. I sat and kneeled there as best I could.

There, my friends, is where the story fully fades into the haze of time.

Save for one detail. I never liked the Marshall Tucker Band, either.

Not when you could hear this fine piece of hippie country rock on the late-night free-form FM radio of the time.

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“Two Hangmen,” Mason Proffit, from “Wanted,” 1969.

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Filed under February 2017, Sounds

Meanwhile, back at the blog …

Earlier this year, we shared an appreciation of four music greats who are still with us: Chuck Berry, Little RichardJerry Lee Lewis and Tina Turner. They’re my four. Yours may be different.

Yet that train keeps bearing down on us, taking Scotty Moore, Mack Rice, Bernie Worrell, Ralph Stanley, Wayne Jackson and Chips Moman this month alone. Since we last gathered here, Guy Clark, Candye Kane, Billy Paul, Lonnie Mack and Prince also have left the building.

In a year in which we have lost so many music legends, it seems wise to not stop at four. It also seems wise to not wait too long.

So here are four more music greats who are still with us, all of them still going strong. This is by no means the B team, or the second tier, or anything like that. Just four more worth appreciating here and now.

Mavis Staples, 76. The beloved gospel/soul/R&B singer released a wonderful new record, “Livin’ On A High Note,” in February. That same month, “Mavis,” a documentary profile, premiered on HBO. She’s playing gigs across North America through November, then will receive Kennedy Center Honors in December.

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“Revolution,” Mavis Staples, from “Hot Wacks,” 2013, a compilation of artists on the Anti- label. A distinctive cover of the Beatles song from one who’s long sung about revolution.

Tom Jones, 76. Sir Tom is performing gigs across Europe this summer in support of “Long Lost Suitcase,” a roots record released last October as the final part of a trilogy that also includes “Praise & Blame” and “Spirit In The Room,” which came out in 2010 and 2012, respectively. “Long Lost Suitcase” also is the companion piece to his memoirs, “Over The Top And Back.” It’s been a tough year, though. His wife of 59 years, Linda, died in April.

tom jones this is tj lp

“Dance of Love,” Tom Jones, from “This is Tom Jones,” 1969. It’s a tune written and done first by Charlie Rich in 1965 on the Smash label.

Dennis Coffey, 75. This Funk Brother is still playing some mean rock and jazz guitar “in the D.” He tweets out his shows at @DennisCoffeyDET, announcing on relatively short notice that he’ll be at the Northern Lights Lounge — his most frequent Detroit gig — or at Motor City Wine, or at the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe. His blog is recommended reading. Coffey shares lots of good stories there. Likewise his discography for record collectors. His last record, the solid, self-titled “Dennis Coffey,” came out on Strut Records in 2011. It’s worth checking out.

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“Never Can Say Goodbye,” Dennis Coffey, from “Goin’ For Myself,” 1972. A cover of the Jackson 5 tune on which Coffey demonstrates a little bit of soul, a little bit of funk and a bit more jazz.

Gladys Knight, 72. Another of the great ladies of soul, she’s playing gigs in Europe and the United States through October. A solo act for almost 30 years now, she hasn’t had the late-career success of her peers. Widely known today for lush ballads and inspirational songs, Gladys Knight belongs here because of her energetic performances with the Pips in the late ’60s and earliest ’70s on Motown’s Soul label. She really did get down to the real nitty gritty, kids.

gladys knight pips nitty gritty lp

“(I Know) I’m Losing You,” Gladys Knight and the Pips, from “Nitty Gritty,” 1969. When I heard this cut on Sirius XM not too long ago, I was reminded that this is one of my favorite LPs. And, yeah, that’s Dennis Coffey playing guitar on the “Nitty Gritty” single and his wah-wah, fuzz-toned lick about 11 seconds into the intro of “Friendship Train.”

 

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Filed under June 2016, Sounds

Doin’ fine on Cloud Nine

We interrupt our appreciation of music legends still with us for an appreciation of something else still with us.

AM, Then FM is quietly celebrating its ninth anniversary in the blogosphere.

It arrived on the scene during the last week of February 2007.

It gradually gained a modest group of regular visitors, thanks to gracious and kind support from fellow bloggers who remain friends to this day. Back then, there were many blogs, many readers. Times change.

When AM, Then FM debuted …

— Our son had just turned 12 and was in sixth grade. He’s now 21, a college junior, performing in still another play this week and heading to New York on a spring break theatre tour in a couple of weeks.

— I’d just marked 29 years in the news business. I’m no longer in the news business.

Yep, times change.

But I’ll continue to buy records and talk about them here as if we were in the same room, listening to them and sharing our takes on them.

Your continued loitering is much appreciated. We’ll keep on keepin’ on.

I wanna say I love the life I live.
And I’m gonna live the life I love.
Up here on Cloud 9.

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“Cloud Nine,” the Temptations, 1969, from “The Motown Story” box set, 1970. It’s out of print. This cut features a minute-long intro with Otis Edwards discussing how they came to record the song during the fall of 1968. He insists it’s about the state of black life at the time, and not about drugs, as widely believed at the time.

Also featuring Dennis Coffey on lead guitar and Mongo Santamaria on conga drums. Santamaria covered it later that year on his “Stone Soul” LP.

gladys knight pips nitty gritty lp

“Cloud Nine,” Gladys Knight and the Pips, from “Nitty Gritty,” 1969. A cool cover on which the Pips get gritty, too.

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Filed under February 2016, Sounds

The record library is open

It had been so long since someone asked, the question damn near startled me.

“Can I borrow some of your records?”

Some of my records? These records?

And then my head cleared. Yes, of course, you can borrow some of my records, Evan. Just as my friends and I shared records back in the ’70s, when none of us had all that many LPs or 45s.

So off to college they went last week, two from Creedence Clearwater Revival, one of Evan’s faves of the moment.

This weekend, another request: “Dad, do you have any records by The Who?”

who meatybeatybigbouncy lp

So off to college it went, “Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy,” a compilation of early Who singles.

When I told Evan that it came out in 1971, before the release of “Baba O’Riley,” his favorite Who song, he wondered when I’d gotten it. The record sleeve told all.

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“Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy” came from Inner Sleeve Records in Wausau, Wisconsin, sometime in the mid-’70s. Back then, when you bought a record there, you got a nice sleeve to go with it.

Those Creedence records were even older. Off to college went “Willy and the Poor Boys” and “Pendulum,” from 1969 and 1970, respectively. Evan grabbed the former because it has “Fortunate Son,” one of his favorite protest songs, on it.

Hope he enjoys them as much as I did, even though he’s several years older now than I was when I spent a lot of time listening to Creedence. I was just a junior-high kid then. That said, I long ago grew tired of hearing the hit singles over and over. These days, I enjoy the Creedence tunes less often heard.

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“It Came Out Of The Sky,” Creedence Clearwater Revival, from “Willy and the Poor Boys,” 1969. Also available digitally. In which a UFO lands in a farm field just south of Moline and the Establishment, circa 1969, freaks out. Enjoy the ride as John Fogerty gleefully sticks it to The Man.

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Filed under January 2015, Sounds

New arrivals from the South

Record Store Day pretty much came and went without me, and that’s OK.

Judging from Facebook, it looked like all of my favorite record stores had plenty of folks come through. We were headed south on vacation, but stopped briefly at Shangri-La Records in Memphis, Tennessee.

shangri la records memphis 2014

They have lots of soul records, as you’d expect, but there was none was compelling enough to haul back to Wisconsin. There was one that piqued my interest, but it looked a little rough for a $17 record. Maybe next time.

They have lots of soul records at The End of All Music in Oxford, Mississippi, too. They were still recovering from Record Store Day two days later.

end of all music oxford 2014

It was quite a thrill to come across this one, filed under “F” as I made my way through an alphabet full of soul records.

eddie floyd never found girl lp

It appeared to be Eddie Floyd’s “I’ve Never Found A Girl” from 1969 — which I would have loved to have had — but inside that jacket was another, less interesting Eddie Floyd record from the early ’70s. Dang. That happens.

Just when it seemed there again wouldn’t be any records compelling enough to take home, I realized I’d overlooked two crates of “New Arrivals.” Don’t you love record stores with fresh supplies of new arrivals? There, I saw this.

willie mitchell soul bag lp 2

I rarely see Willie Mitchell records in Wisconsin. I have only one other. In several years of record digging, I’ve developed this little rule. If you’ve never seen something in all that time, you ought to think about getting it.

So please enjoy a little something from this new arrival to Green Bay, Wisconsin, which comes via Oxford, Mississippi.

“Young People,” Willie Mitchell, from “Soul Bag,” 1969. It’s out of print. (This cut and some others from this LP are available on “Poppa Willie: The Hi Years, 1962-1974,” a double-CD import comp released in 2001.)

Written by Andrew Love and Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns, this was the only single from “Soul Bag,” It peaked at No. 120 on the U.S. charts in 1969.

“Soul Bag” is a bag full of tremendous instrumentals by the Memphis Horns and the Hi Rhythm Section, including four other Love-Jackson originals along with covers of songs by Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett and Sly and the Family Stone, and a cover of the “Hawaii Five-O” theme.

Eventually, though, Mitchell focused on producing records for the Hi label rather than recording his own. Only four more LPs followed “Soul Bag,” two each in 1970 and 1971, before Mitchell took a long break from recording.

And on the same week I visited that Oxford record store, so did Archie Turner and Howard Grimes, two members of the Hi Rhythm Section.

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

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Filed under April 2014, Sounds

Another little mystery

So I’m over at Funky 16 Corners not too long ago, digging what my friend Larry had cued up.

He’d dropped both sides of “Do What You Wanna Do,” a single I’d never heard, from Frank Howard and the Continentals, a group I’d never heard of.

When I think of Frank Howard, I think of the guy who used to play baseball for the Washington Senators. The guy whose cocktail lounge — and that’s what it was, a lounge, and not a bar — I used frequent in the early ’80s. But I digress.

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Barely 20 seconds into “Do What You Wanna Do (Part I),” an obscure 1969 single on the DeLuxe label, I got an odd sense of deja vu. I’d heard this before. More precisely, I’d heard this bass line before. But where?

So I played it over and over, wracking my brain, trying to solve that little mystery. After about 20 minutes, it rolled into my head. Oh, I heard it here.

blasters lp 1981

“I’m Shakin’,” the Blasters, from “The Blasters,” 1981. The LP appears to be out of print but the song is available digitally.

Instead of the bass line, it’s the sax line, but it’s the same.

Wanting to accurately document this for Larry, I did a little digging and found this was a cover of a Little Willie John song from 1960. Which I’d never realized. Just never paid all that much attention 30 years ago, when this was one of my favorite LPs, getting lots of time on the turntable.

Then along comes my friend Derek, who’s sending out the “daily” portion of his equally wonderful Derek’s Daily 45 blog in a blaze of glory this month.

On the second day of his retrospective, The Best of Daily 45, Part 2, Derek dropped this, the final clue to that little mystery.

im shakin little willie john

It was Little Willie John’s original 1960 version from the King 7-inch, which I’d never heard. Same sax line.

And that is how you solve a little mystery. With a little help from your friends.

(Now why Larry and Derek, little-known but influential curators and champions of little-known but influential American popular music, are not getting MacArthur Fellowships — the genius grants — is another little mystery.)

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

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Filed under October 2013, Sounds

Adrift

The calendar that so neatly defined our lives for so long has been shredded by the winds of change.

There’s no longer any need to save vacation days for November, first for the high school musical and then for the state football playoffs. We have no dog in either hunt anymore. Our son and our nephew are off at college.

The rhythms of fall disrupted. The basement gone silent.

Yeah, we’re still adjusting to being empty nesters. It’ll take a while.

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To pass the time, I cleaned up AM, Then FM World Headquarters a few days ago. There are no more loose records on the floor in the office. Everything is in a crate or on a shelf. Everything is organized, mostly alphabetically, for the first time in a long time.

That’s progress, but now there’s no longer a stack of recent acquisitions, things that ought to be listened to first before going on the shelf. That was, and is, music to be shared. Yet those of us who read and write music blogs are finding increasingly few people to share it with. Another rhythm disrupted.

At a time of change, it’s still comforting to dig through those stacks. Some of those records have been there for 40 years. 

So, adrift? Yeah, perhaps for a while, but the music is still there. We’ll keep on keepin’ on.

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“Keep On Doin’ What You Do,” Willie Hutch, from “Soul Portrait,” 1969. (The buy link is to a 2009 import.)

We’ll keep digging. After all, our fall record show is coming up in a couple of weeks. There must be more cool records like this.

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

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Filed under October 2013, Sounds