Tag Archives: 1974

Thanksgiving night

This is Thanksgiving night. You may have eaten more than you should. You may have drank more than you should.

On Thanksgiving night 1969, similarly overstuffed, all you can manage is to plop down into an overstuffed chair, turn on the TV and hope to be entertained.

You turn on ABC. Starting at 8 p.m./7 Central, you watch “That Girl” and “Bewitched.” Mindless enough. Then, at 9/8 Central, you watch “This Is Tom Jones.” Tom does a 6-minute medley with Little Richard. Mind blown.

On Thanksgiving night 1974, if you can manage it, you are among the 20,000 staggeringly fortunate people for whom their nightcap is seeing and hearing Elton John at Madison Square Garden in New York. Kiki Dee opens. It is percussionist Ray Cooper’s first New York show with Elton’s band.

Then Elton introduces a special guest.

“Seeing it’s Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a joyous occasion, we thought we’d make tonight a little bit of a joyous occasion, ah, by inviting someone up with us onto stage. 
And, ah, I’m sure he will be no stranger to anybody in the audience when I say it’s our great privilege and your great privilege to see and hear Mr. John Lennon!”

They spend 13 minutes together on stage, performing “Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” It is Lennon’s last live performance before an audience.

Elton John Band Featuring John Lennon and the Muscle Shoals Horns LP

“Whatever Gets You Through The Night,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There,” Elton John and John Lennon, from “Elton John Band Featuring John Lennon And The Muscle Shoals Horns,” 1976. (My copy is a German import from 1981.)

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Filed under November 2020, Sounds

Be thankful

Everyone is missing someone today, on Thanksgiving.

Savor those memories.

Make new memories.

Enjoy the day!

wm devaughn be thankful lp

“Be Thankful For What You Got,” William DeVaughn, from “Be Thankful For What You Got,” 1974. The LP on the Roxbury label is long out of print.

William DeVaughn had much to be thankful for.

He was a government employee, a draftsman who sang on the side. He wrote this in 1972. Its original title: “A Cadillac Don’t Come Easy.”

DeVaughn paid $900 to have his song recorded at a Philadelphia studio called Omega Sound. One of his producers, John Davis, was a session player with MFSB, the house band at Philly’s Sigma Sound Studios. Davis and co-producer Frank Fioravanti came up with a more sophisticated arrangement — the one heard here — and recorded it with members of MFSB at Sigma Sound.

Much of the rest of this LP has a gospel feel.

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Filed under November 2015, Sounds

How much stuff is too much stuff?

Dad old apartment

Much of the month that’s passed since our last post has been spent moving my 89-year-old father into assisted living.

A big part of that has been dealing with things he accumulated — and for whatever reason — held onto. He wasn’t a hoarder, but it still was too much stuff, some of it kept for no apparent reason. Chalk it up to the mindset of someone who grew up during the Great Depression.

Everyone collects stuff. I’ve collected baseball cards and football cards and basketball cards, Batman cards and Green Hornet cards and James Bond 007 cards, Beatles cards and Monkees cards, comic books, coins and old pop bottles. I collected bobbleheads long before that became a thing. I don’t collect any of those things anymore.

Of course, I still collect records, as I have for more than 40 years.

Having dealt with all my dad’s things, I wonder whether I have too much stuff. I have about 1,200 vinyl records, the vast majority of them LPs. There must be at least 100 records I’ve bought but never listened to. Is that a bad thing? Does that happen to other record diggers?

All those records bought but never heard, set aside for a day when I have more time, a day that never seems to come.

But I did sit down pretty much right away and listen to the Ike and Tina record I bought last month at Tin Dog Records. When Don Covay died at the end of January, I pulled out the only Don Covay record I have — bought it at least a couple of years ago — and listened to it for the first time. About the same time, I pulled out a Booker T. and the M.G.’s record I bought in Chicago last summer and listened to it for the first time.

I know this because I ripped all three of these records to digital.

Edwin Starr Hell Up In Harlem LP

As I did when I found the “Hell Up In Harlem” soundtrack back in January.

But as I listened to that record, I discovered it was missing the last cut on Side 1. A record about 2:43 shy of a load. Typical Motown bull to leave it off the reissue pressing. I mentioned it on Facebook, and my man Greg in Minnesota came to the rescue.

So please enjoy a song I don’t have from a record I do have.

“Don’t It Feel Good To Be Free,” Edwin Starr, from the “Hell Up In Harlem” soundtrack, 1974.

 

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Filed under April 2015, Sounds

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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Filed under October 2014, Sounds

‘Seven’ for seven

AM, Then FM turns 7 this week. To celebrate, a story of a long-ago record hunt.

Those of you who are regulars know how much I dig Bob Seger’s early stuff. The first Seger song I came to know and love, I heard on the radio in 1974. That single was “Get Out Of Denver,” the breathless rocker from “Seven,” the seventh LP by a still-young Seger.

Just one problem. Because Seger was then still just a regional act, big only in the Midwest, the distribution of his records was hit or miss. Try as I might, I couldn’t find “Seven” in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.

So I mentioned that to my friend Herb one day. Herb was two years older, and he promised to look for “Seven” when he went back to college in the fall.

There was one condition, though. Herb also couldn’t find a record he wanted in Wausau. If memory serves, he was looking for this one …

babe ruth first base lp

“First Base,” by the British prog rockers Babe Ruth. They covered Frank Zappa’s “King Kong” on it, and Herb was into Zappa.

So Herb said, “Tell you what. I’ll keep an eye out for your record and you keep an eye out for mine.”

Eventually, I found Herb’s record, and Herb found mine. My copy of “Seven” came out of a cutout bin, probably from somewhere in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Scott Sparling, whose website The Seger File is a tremendous resource about all things Seger, calls this “indisputably the best album never to make the Top 200 Billboard album chart.” This was Seger’s first record with the Silver Bullet Band. They opened for Kiss while touring in support of “Seven.”

You probably know “Get Out Of Denver,” so here are a couple of other cuts from “Seven,” as we celebrate seven years.

bobsegersevenlp

“Need Ya” and “School Teacher,” Bob Seger, from “Seven,” 1974.

The LP, and these songs, are out of print. Three of the other cuts on “Seven” — “Get Out Of Denver,” “Long Song Comin'” and “U.M.C. (Upper Middle Class)” — are available on “Early Seger, Vol. 1,” a 2010 release, and digitally.

“Need Ya” was the first single off the album, but went nowhere. Sounds to me to be influenced by Rod Stewart, and Sparling hears that, too. “Get Out Of Denver” came next and peaked at No. 80.

Sparling says the live version of “School Teacher” is a bit of a holy grail for Seger fans. He explains:

“Seger had a ‘long version’ of ‘School Teacher,’ which contained a long story
— told during the instrumental break — about working as a janitor
and watching a very sexy teacher walk home from work.
If there is a God of Boxed Sets … please, please Lord,
let the long, live version appear. It’s a classic.”

As the summer of 1974 wound to a close, “School Teacher” was an album cut listed as “hitbound” on WTAC, The Big 6, out of Flint, Michigan. It never made it.

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

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Filed under February 2014, Sounds