Content tagged '70s'
Sweet Baby James (Album of the Day)
James Taylor seems pretty unassuming for a musical pioneer, but when SWEET BABY JAMES came out in 1970, it put him in the vanguard of the singer-songwriter movement. Actually his second album (after a self-titled release for Apple), James' Warner Bros. debut took off with audiences in need of a breather from the turmoil of the late 1960s; such gentle ballads as “Country Road” and the Top Ten hit “Fire And Rain” were easy-going but never empty-headed. Though some of L.A.'s top session players (and pal Carole King) lend instrumental support here, Taylor's warm voice and acoustic guitar work are enough to hook you on their own. The Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer was born on this day in 1948, and to celebrate his birthday, we'll give another listen to SWEET BABY JAMES.
Heavy Horses (New Shoes Edition) (Album of the Day)
Released between SONGS FROM THE WOOD (1977) and STORMWATCH (1979), HEAVY HORSES was the second in a trilogy of folk-rock albums from Jethro Tull. Lead singer and flautist Ian Anderson explained its particular focus on horses and agricultural life saying, "as a child, my big passion was to get off the leash and explore the local wooded and leafy suburbs." The result was a Top 20 album on both sides of the Atlantic, one whose commercial success was also met with critical praise for its melodies, instrumentation and Anderson's signature flute playing. Now, a 40th anniversary “New Shoes Edition” adds 9 bonus tracks (7 of them previously unreleased), a full May 1978 concert from Berne, Switzerland and an extensive new booklet, making the 3-CD/2-DVD set the definitive version of Tull's HEAVY HORSES.
Van Halen II (Album of the Day)
Treading similar ground as their debut but with even greater confidence, Van Halen's second album was released on this day in 1979. With producer Ted Templeman back behind the boards, the SoCal quartet serves up 10 hard rock anthems with deceptive ease, including “Beautiful Girls,” “Somebody Get Me a Doctor” and the irresistible “Dance the Night Away.” Eddie Van Halen's fretwork is dazzling throughout (in particular on acoustic instrumental “Spanish Fly”), and frontman David Lee Roth's humor and energy give the collection appeal far beyond headbangers. A Top 10 hit that eventually went 5x platinum, VAN HALEN II is a near-perfect party record.
How The West Was Won (Deluxe) (Album of the Day)
HOW THE WEST WAS WON highlights the best performances from Led Zeppelin's legendary concerts at the Los Angeles Forum and Long Beach Arena on June 25 and 27, 1972. Originally released in 2003, the celebrated live album was sequenced to replicate a single concert from beginning to end, and captures the band at the height of its formidable powers. Standouts include a 25-plus minute version of "Dazed And Confused" and a 21-minute medley based around "Whole Lotta Love." The performances also introduced songs from the quartet's HOUSES OF THE HOLY album, which would be released nine months after these shows. Now available, a 3-CD/4-LP/DVD Deluxe Edition of HOW THE WEST WAS WON features audio remastered by guitarist Jimmy Page along with a book filled with rare and previously unpublished photos.
Luxury Liner (Album of the Day)
“Something became fully formed at that point,” recalled Emmylou Harris of the personnel and performances on LUXURY LINER. “The instrumentation of the Hot Band reached a kind of peak.” You can't help but be impressed by the credits on the 1976 collection, which include guitarists James Burton, Albert Lee and Rodney Crowell, fiddler Ricky Skaggs and supporting vocalists Dolly Parton and Nicolette Larson. The talent in the studio was matched with first-class material ranging from country and rock chestnuts (“Hello Stranger,” “(You Never Can Tell) C'est la Vie”) to more contemporary compositions like former mentor Gram Parsons' title track and Townes Van Zandt's “Pancho and Lefty,” which remains a staple of Harris' concerts to this day. LUXURY LINER is the singer's best-selling solo record to date as well as a personal favorite, making it the perfect way to wish Emmylou Harris a happy birthday.
Boys In The Trees (Album of the Day)
Two years after her previous album (and on the heels of a popular James Bond theme song), Carly Simon made a triumphant return with BOYS IN THE TREES. The 1978 Elektra set was produced by Arif Mardin, who brought a touch of R&B and the cream of New York session players to the proceedings. Also joining Carly in the studio were husband James Taylor (who co-wrote two numbers and harmonizes on the Everly Brothers classic “Devoted to You”) and Doobie Brother Michael McDonald (on Top 10 hit duet “You Belong to Me”). With such well-crafted originals as the title track, Simon's songwriting skills also came to the fore, and BOYS IN THE TREES is still insightful and moving 40 years after its release.
Back in the U.S.A. (Album of the Day)
Some of the most exciting music made in America at the end of the 1960s came from Detroit, thanks to bands like The Stooges, The Alice Cooper Group … and the MC5. The “Motor City Five” had already kicked out the jams on a live album before heading into the studio with producer Jon Landau to see if they could capture their high-energy attack in a more controlled setting. The resulting 1970 album, BACK IN THE USA, answered that question with a resounding “yes.” Along with nods to rock's raucous past (like the Chuck Berry-penned title track) and the MC5's revolutionary roots (“The American Ruse”), the set provided a template for the punk rock to come with such driving songs as “Tonight” and “Shakin' Street.” Packed with incendiary power, BACK IN THE USA was named one of the 500 greatest albums of all time by Rolling Stone.
Bloodshot (Album of the Day)
Years before their 1980s pop breakthrough, The J. Geils Band had paid their dues as Boston's top blue-rockers, and the sextet's 1973 studio album, BLOODSHOT, lives up to the group's reputation. Future Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk is behind the boards, but that group's meticulous mystique is far removed from the raucous energy bursting from these grooves. Along with a couple of well-chosen covers (such as The Showstoppers' “(Ain't Nothin' But a) House Party”), keyboardist Seth Justman and frontman Peter Wolf came up with a batch of originals that could pass for R&B classics themselves: “Don't Try to Hide It,” “Make Up Your Mind” and “Give It To Me” are but a few of the scorchers here. BLOODSHOT was justifiably a Top 10 hit, and we'll give the Atlantic collection another spin in memory of guitarist Geils, who passed away a year ago today.