Tag Archives: 1974

Some records I used to have

One of our local concert venues announced the other day that Hot Tuna will be playing an acoustic show in February. Which got me to thinking about records I used to have. I used to have a couple of Hot Tuna records.

This one, their debut LP from 1970.

And this one, another live LP from 1971.

I remember nothing about either record, other than they were full of meandering folk-rock-blues tunes, which I apparently once fancied. My friend Scott suggested this: “Back then you were probably smokin’ the same stuff they were.”

That’s entirely possible. It seems the kind of music you’d put on and zone out.

While record digging in my friend Jim’s basement last weekend, another guy had this record on the top of his stack.

I used to have that one, too. That was a double live LP from 1976. I remember nothing about it, other than it also was full of meandering folk-rock-blues tunes.

There might be a couple hundred records I used to have. Lots of them went out in The Great Record Purge of 1989, when we took a bunch to our friends’ garage sale. It was mostly stuff I’d bought in my teens and 20s that I wasn’t listening to in my early 30s.

Any and all Ted Nugent records? Gone. Any Styx record released after 1974? Gone. Those Starcastle records? Gone. Even a Rolling Stones record considered to be one of their best? Gone.

This is another record I used to have. This one, I’d like to find again. When keyboard player Jon Lord died this summer, it reminded me of how often I’d listened to — and enjoyed — Deep Purple when I was in high school in the early ’70s. I still have three other Deep Purple LPs, but not this one from 1974.

I suspect I won’t dig the whole thing as much now as I did then, but hearing it again likely will summon a rush of memories. That’s something to look forward to. Until then, this cut — grabbed some years ago from a music blog that has since gone dark — will have to do.

“Sail Away,” Deep Purple, from “Burn,” 1974.

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


Filed under November 2012, Sounds

Furlough week, Day 3: This side

Our mantra this week: If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.

The other day, I was listening to an old record from the ’70s and realized we usually played just one side of it, over and over, and rarely the other side.

It was this record.

It was one of the records we listened to in Jerry’s basement when we were in high school in the mid-’70s. But as I played it again the other night, it became clear that the most memorable bits were on the first side, which was called “This Side.” I flipped it over and listened to “That Side,” which again didn’t measure up to “This Side.”

Richard Pryor’s salacious, profane comedy was mind-blowing for a bunch of white kids from the middle of Wisconsin. Pryor may have been from Peoria, Illinois, not all that far from where we grew up, but his was a much different world than ours. Pryor had a keen eye and ear for those differences. His world was black and white, and he drew some sharp distinctions.

“White folks do things a lot different than niggers do. …
Black families be different.”

Here are two examples, recorded live in early 1974 at Don Cornelius’ Soul Train nightclub in San Francisco:

“Black And White Life Styles” and “Exorcist,” Richard Pryor, from “That Nigger’s Crazy,” 1974.  That LP is out of print, but both bits are available on “The Anthology, 1968-1992,” a 2002 compilation that also draws more from “This Side” than “That Side.”

A few words about the N Word: It’s used here only in the context of the time, as Pryor himself used it at the time.

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Filed under March 2012, Sounds

Jerry’s basement

Explosions have rocked our basement this summer.

Our rec room, of course, is where our 16-year-old son and his pals gather to play video games and watch Netflix.

There is an old 26-inch TV to which the Xbox is attached. The old stereo components are still there, too. A turntable, a CD player, a receiver and two small but nice speakers, all dating to the early ’90s. One day, our son found out that the TV was hooked up to the stereo system. If you turn on the receiver while playing video games, the explosions blast through the speakers.

It was not all that different in Jerry’s basement in the summer in the mid-’70s.

We didn’t have video games, of course. We had APBA, a table-top baseball game with cards and dice. There were three, four, five, sometimes six of us. We played in the afternoon, went home for supper and at times resumed at night.

Fairly clear now why the ladies did not dig us then.

Jerry also had a stereo. If memory serves, it was one of those old compact stereos from which the turntable dropped down and the speakers swung out. We cranked up the volume as best we could, but there were no explosions.

Jerry didn’t have many records — none of us did then — but we often played most of what he had. So much so that I remember most of those records to this day, more than 35 years on. They included:

“Montrose” by Montrose (1973). We were listening to Sammy Hagar before he was Sammy Hagar.

“Desolation Boulevard” by the Sweet (1974). Try as I might, I can’t remember hearing the original version of “A.C.D.C.,” which Joan Jett has so memorably covered.

“Physical Graffiti” by Led Zeppelin (1975). I wasn’t much of a Led Zep fan, but I loved “Boogie With Stu.” Still do. Last summer, one of my son’s pals — a guitar player — said he’d love to get a copy of this record. You should have seen his face when I handed him the vintage vinyl a couple of weeks later.

“16 Greatest Hits” by Steppenwolf (1973). This, for us, was classic rock. I really didn’t dig them much at the time. Neither did our JV basketball coach.

“The Adventures of Panama Red” by the New Riders of the Purple Sage (1973). Um, so, yeah.

“That Nigger’s Crazy,” by Richard Pryor (1974). Hugely influential in honing our collective sense of humor, which at the time also was being shaped by the National Lampoon (the magazine and the radio show), Cheech and Chong, George Carlin, Monty Python and Johnny Carson.

Again, fairly clear now why the ladies did not dig us then.

Hey, we were 16. It was 1973. Here are some more sophisticated artists we weren’t digging in Jerry’s basement. If we knew then what we know now …

“Dirty Ol’ Man,” the Three Degrees, from “The Three Degrees,” 1973. This was their first studio album. It’s full of Gamble and Huff’s great Philly soul. This is a great tune that was bigger in Europe than in the States.

“Standing In The Shadows Of Love,” Barry White, from “I’ve Got So Much To Give,” 1973. This was his first album. There was a time before everyone knew Barry White was synonymous with seduction. This was that time. (This edited version of this Four Tops cover is from “Barry White’s Greatest Hits,” 1975. The original LP version which runs longer.)


Filed under August 2011, Sounds

Waiting for Miss Millie

Dennis Coffey, the great Detroit soul and funk guitarist, will be out with a new record next month. I’m looking forward to hearing it, especially after listening to “Constellations: The A To Z of Dennis Coffey.”

This mix, assembled by Detroit DJ House Shoes, is a nice overview of Coffey’s work from his Funk Brothers session work to his ’70s solo prime to today, including some tunes that have sampled his riffs. I was pleasantly surprised to find I already have most of the songs in the mix, but some may be new to you.

(Tunes from Dennis Coffey’s upcoming record are in italics)

1. “Scorpio” intro – (featuring Dennis Coffey, Jazzy Jeff, Jake One and Q-Tip)
2. LL Cool J – “Jinglin’ Baby”
3. Dennis Coffey – “Main Theme from ‘Black Belt Jones'”
4. Dennis Coffey – “7th Galaxy”
5. Dennis Coffey – “Ride Sally Ride”
6. The Temptations – “Cloud Nine”
7. Rodriguez – “Sugar Man”
8. Marvin Gaye – “I Want You”
9. Dennis Coffey – “Garden Of The Moon”
10. The Spinners – “It’s A Shame”
11. Dennis Coffey – “Never Can Say Goodbye”
12. Dennis Coffey – “Whole Lotta Love”
13. Diamond D – “No Wonduh”
14. The Isley Brothers, Dennis Coffey and Lyman Woodward – “It’s Your Thing”
15. The Floaters – “Float On”
16. The Dramatics – “In The Rain”
17. The Dramatics – “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get”
18. Dennis Coffey featuring Mick Collins (Dirtbombs) and Rachel Nagy (Detroit Cobras) – “I Bet You”
19. Edwin Starr – “Easin’ In (Hell Up In Harlem)” / Digable Planets – “Nickel Bags”
20. The Temptations – “I Can’t Get Next To You”
21. The Undisputed Truth – “Smiling Faces Sometimes”
22. Dennis Coffey featuring Mayer Hawthorne – “All Your Goodies Are Gone”
23. Outro

As noted, House Shoes’ mix also includes bits of three cuts from the new record, “Dennis Coffey,” which comes out April 26 on Strut Records.

I’m especially looking forward to hearing “Miss Millie,” the cut on which Coffey is backed by Kings Go Forth, the great 10-piece soul group out of Milwaukee. Some Midwest heat, anyone?

Until then, enjoy some classic Dennis Coffey cuts not on this mix.

“Getting It On,” Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band, from “Evolution,” 1971. This funky cut led off the record everyone bought because the smash single “Scorpio” was on it.

“Taurus,” Dennis Coffey, from “Goin’ For Myself,” 1972. This was Coffey’s third single, and it did almost as well as “Scorpio.” Dig the drums and the horns.

“Theme From ‘Enter The Dragon’,” Dennis Coffey, from “Instant Coffey,” 1974. A high school friend said he played this constantly back then. It’s clear why.

All three LPs are out of print, but all three songs are available on “Absolutely The Best of Dennis Coffey,” a CD released last month.


Filed under March 2011

The party crasher

Vietnam veterans are in town this weekend for an event called LZ Lambeau. It’s being billed as a long-overdue welcome home. There are four days of events, with the biggie tonight at Lambeau Field.

One of the bars within walking distance of the stadium booked the Commander Cody Band for Friday night.

They once were called Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. They’ve long been a guilty pleasure, and I’ve never seen them, so I went.

The group is just a quartet these days, not the eight-piece big band of old. It’s still fronted by the fine piano player George Frayne and it still cranks out a crowd-pleasing mix of rock, boogie, country and swing.

Good show, but an interesting vibe, one I’d not experienced in quite some time.

As you’d expect, most folks at the show wore something, most often black, proudly proclaiming themselves as Vietnam vets. That also made it clear who was not. Even though it was a friendly, mellow crowd of about 200 that turned out for Commander Cody, it still left me feeling a little like a party crasher.

I’m in my early 50s, and I’m too young for this group. Always will be. I didn’t graduate from high school until five weeks after the fall of Saigon.

So there’s that, and there’s this.

The band was set up in a banquet hall with a couple of cash bars along the side. Seeing all the slightly older folks at the bar and on the dance floor, it felt like I was crashing another wedding at the Colonial Ballroom, a big old rural dance hall not far from where I grew up.

If anyone was on to me one way or the other, they were cool about it. We were all digging Commander Cody, anyway. Here’s a little of what we heard. All are live tracks. The Commander is best heard in the wild.

“Down To Seeds and Stems Again Blues,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, from “Lost in the Ozone,” 1971. Recorded live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in April 1971.

Frayne proclaimed it the only slow song they play, and it was.

“Beat Me Daddy (Eight to the Bar),” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, from “Live From Deep in the Heart of Texas,” 1974. Recorded live at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas, in November 1973.

This is what they play to pick up the pace after playing that slow song.

“Lost in the Ozone,” Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, from “We’ve Got a Live One Here!” 1976. Recorded live in England in January or February 1976.

This closed those long-ago shows, and it closed Friday night’s show.


Filed under May 2010, Sounds

Bob Seger goes back in time

On an otherwise dull day at work, this sweet little item came across the wire: Bob Seger is coming out with a new CD chock full of some of his earliest songs.

That’s great news for those of us who have long preferred the young, spirited, in-your-face Seger of the late ’60s and early ’70s to the more familiar, more mainstream latter-day Seger.

Brian McCollum, writing in the Detroit Free Press, says it’s “a lineup of hard-to-find album cuts.” For most folks, probably. But not for those of us who are crate diggers, nor for those of us who grew up in the upper Midwest and heard Seger on the radio in those early days. He was well known regionally but hadn’t made it big nationally.

I have two of the three “long unavailable” LPs from which the new “Early Seger, Vol. 1” is drawn. I’ve seen both at Amazing Records, my local vinyl record shop, in the last month.

The 10 cuts on the CD are a mix of tunes from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” “Back In ’72” and “Seven,” all fine Detroit rockers released from 1972 to 1974. “Smokin’ O.P.’s” is mostly covers, the others mostly original material. There also are four unreleased tunes, one from 1977 and the others from 1985.

Seger also is apparently reviving a vintage Detroit label. “Early Seger, Vol. 1” is being released on Hideout Records, once the home of crunchy Detroit rock, some it put out by Seger.

Seger remains loyal to his roots. At first, “Early Seger, Vol. 1” was sold only at Meijer’s stores. (That’s a big grocer and retailer in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.) Now it’s available at Seger’s Web site. There might be a wider release early next year.

So here’s a sampler of early Seger … but not from the new CD. Perhaps from future volumes of “Early Seger,” which certainly seem possible.

“Vol. 1” has a re-recorded version of this tune: “Long Song Comin’,” Bob Seger, from “Seven,” 1974. It’s out of print.

“Vol. 1” also has Seger’s ever-so-slightly superior original version of this tune: “Get Out of Denver,” Dave Edmunds, from “Get It,” 1977.

But “Vol. 1” doesn’t have this tune: “Love The One You’re With,” Bob Seger, from “Smokin’ O.P.’s,” 1972. On which Seger steps aside and leaves the lead vocals to Pam Todd and Crystal Jenkins.


Filed under November 2009, Sounds

“Helloooo … goodbye”

As long as you’re watching all those scary movies as Halloween draws near, enjoy Richard Pryor’s take on “The Exorcist.”


“Exorcist,” Richard Pryor, from “That Nigger’s Crazy,” 1974.

It was recorded live at Don Cornelius’ Soul Train nightclub in San Francisco in early 1974. The LP is out of print, but seven of its 11 cuts are on “The Anthology: 1968-1992,” a double CD released in 2002.

This cut is barely 2 minutes long, yet Pryor creates a completely new film, turning “The Exorcist” onto its spinning head.

He’d done the same to Westerns when he helped write “Blazing Saddles” in 1973. Wonder what that film would have been like had Pryor been cast as the sheriff, as director Mel Brooks intended, instead of Cleavon Little. That said, I can’t see anyone but Little as the sheriff.

I’ve seen “Blazing Saddles” dozens of times.

I’ve never seen “The Exorcist.” I think I’d enjoy Pryor’s version more.

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Filed under October 2009, Sounds