Beatles – Help! Soundtrack Album

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for sountrack…Help! by the Beatles.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 11 PICK 4- SOUNDTRACKS- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE BEATLES- HELP!

To avoid confusion I’m reviewing the UK version of Help! because that is the one that I own.

The movie Help! was an enjoyable movie. It was not nearly as good as A Hard Days Night but it had it’s moments. I love black and white movies but the color made Help! stand out. The Beatles knew it wasn’t as good as their first…John had a quote about it: “it was like being a frog in a movie about clams.” Nevertheless it was a fun movie and a pleasure to watch today.

Amazon.com: Blujway The Beatles Help Lobby Card Movie Poster Replica 11 X  14 Photo Print: Posters & Prints

They shot the movie in five different locations…London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Austria, and the Bahamas.

It was the first Beatle movie I ever saw…I rented it from a video store in the mid-eighties. The Help! movie was the only Beatle movie they had at the time. With no internet, it was my only window to see the Beatles other than the documentary The Compleat Beatles.

Behind-the-Scenes Footage From the Beatles' 'Help!' Surfaces

The soundtrack is a great album on it’s own.

I picked this album/soundtrack because I always thought this was the transitional album between Beatlemania and The Beatles middle period. After this album would come Rubber Soul and the swinging sixties would officially be kicked off. Help! shows them making strides into the future. You can hear a some of their earlier work and get a hint of what was coming.

Here are a few songs…I’ll leave the big hits off of the preview.

You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away is a good song with a noticeable Dylan influence.

One of my favorite songs on the album is The Night Before…I first heard it on the Beatles Rock and Roll Music compilation album. It’s another song that would have been a single for another band.

As soon as I heard I’ve Just Seen A Face…I learned it on guitar and have been playing it ever since. This is a song that you can see the change starting to take place…from the bouncy numbers to this folk influenced one. This song would be on the American version of Rubber Soul.

You’re Going to Lose That Girl has a catchy call and response chorus. The backup vocals are superb.

The title track is brilliant with John calling out for Help after being battered by Beatlemania. They also dipped into their club roots with a cover of the Larry Williams song Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The album had the hits of course…Help!, Yesterday, and Ticket To Ride…all #1 in the Billboard 100.

I’m ready to watch Help! now…can I smuggle a Blu-ray player on the island?

Help!
The Night Before
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Need You
Another Girl
You’re Going to Lose That Girl
Ticket to Ride
Act Naturally
It’s Only Love
You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Yesterday
Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Van Morrison – Saint Dominic’s Preview…Desert Island Albums

This is my tenth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. This wraps up the Desert Island Album portion of our show…now on to other albums and music movies. 

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 10- PICK 3- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- VAN MORRISON- SAINT DOMINIC’S PREVIEW

When I was 18 in 1985 I heard Brown Eyed Girl for the first time. Somehow I missed that song growing up…which seems impossible but the song took me down a great path. I started to order imports of Van’s early Them records and then started on his 70’s solo albums.

I bought them out of order but I ended up with his late sixties and seventies albums like Astral Weeks, Moondance,  His Band and Street Choir, Veedon Fleece, Wavelength, Tupelo Honey, Hard Nose The Highway and this one (I then worked on the 80’s albums). I traveled a lot in my car in those days…seeing a girlfriend or just cruising about. Saint Dominic’s Preview was  an album I kept going back for Van’s voice, phrasing and songwriting.

The album peaked at #15 in the Billboard Album Charts and #14 in Canada in 1972.

When I got the album I had a summer job in the middle of nowhere in this back water town. I had to drive over an hour to get there and Van kept me company singing about Safeway’s Supermarket and Redwood Trees. One listen to this album and I’m young, carefree, and having a really good time living life. Music brings back memories and this one makes me feel exactly like I felt then.

The title track Saint Dominic’s Preview is a great piece of work. This song and Tupelo Honey are probably my favorite Van Morrison songs. This one takes you on a lyrical journey…And for every cross cuttin’ country corner, country corner
For every Hank Williams railroad train that cried, And all the chains, badges, flags and emblems, And every strain on brain and every eye

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile) is all about happiness. Whenever I feel down…I play this and it’s impossible to feel down. The song is an obvious tribute to the great Jackie Wilson. I’m in heaven, when you smile

Almost Independence Day is an epic song. It has a nice flow to it and it was largely improvised. Van Morrison and guitar player Ron Elliot are trading guitar licks and then Lee Charlton joins with some great jazz-influenced drums. The over all sound of this is fantastic.

Redwood Tree evokes nostalgia and memories of growing up, in a similar way as his song And It Stoned Me. Oh redwood tree, Please let us under
When we were young we used to go, Under the redwood tree

So we are set on our respective islands with our top ten albums now. The only regret I have is that we didn’t have more favorite album picks…but it has to be some limit. The Beatles, The Who, Big Star, The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, The Allman Brothers, The Kinks, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and Van Morrison. Not a bad 10.

Saint Dominic's Preview, In Cleveland Of All Places | by Patrick Hosken |  Medium

Now let’s move on to the last three.

1. Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)
2. Gypsy
3. I Will Be There
4. Listen to the Lion
5. Saint Dominic’s Preview
6. Redwood Tree
7. Almost Independence

Saint Dominic's Preview (Remastered) | HIGHRESAUDIO

 

Bruce Springsteen – Greetings From Ashbury Park…Desert Island Albums

This is my ninth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 9 PICK 3- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN- GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, NJ

The imagery flows like water with Greetings From Ashbury Park, Bruce’s debut album in 1973… It’s not very polished but that adds to it.  The songs have a stream of consciousness feel to them. It was critically praised but did not have huge sales. The album only peaked at #60 in the Billboard Album Charts.

I was around 19 (1986) or so when I found this album, or when the album found me, and I was going through an angry young man phase. I had just bought a 1976 Fender Musicmaster guitar (I still have it) and a black leather jacket. This album fit my mood at the time perfect. I wasn’t really angry but just realized I was considered a man now in the world but wasn’t sure what that meant and where I fit in. I listened to the album and it just seemed right.

Bruce Springsteen, 1973. : OldSchoolCool

I had this album picked and almost presented it with the 3rd or 4th pick but something told me to go with Big Star and the Zombies and wait. I originally bought this album in fall so it seems right that this pick will be my first pick in fall…if only I still had that leather jacket.

Now on to the album…Bruce’s manager Mike Appel (who is another story) and John Hammond (who signed Bruce, Dylan and many others) wanted a more singer songwriter album, while Springsteen and Jimmy Cretecos (co-producer)  preferred a band dominated album. A compromise was reached but when Clive Davis listened to the album he said there wasn’t a commercial single…Bruce wrote a couple of songs to include on the album. Blinded By The Light and Spirit in the Night. They were no doubt band oriented songs…so the album swung that way…but it still is very sparse with instruments. No big screaming guitars or anything like that. The melodies and lyrics are the focus.

Bruce Springsteen and band played for their Christmas money in 1973

Springsteen picked out the musicians who would help him out on this album. David Sancious, Gary Tallent, Vini Lopez and Steve Van Zandt were a few. However, Van Zandt barely participated because of a prior commitment to tour as a member of The Dovells backing group. Other musicians who would help out were Clarence Clemons, Richard Davis, and others.

1973 » Bruce Springsteen

I hear Dylan and a very strong Van Morrison influence on this album. It is rough and raw and unpredictable. When we first started this draft I knew this album would be in it either by me or someone else. I feel luck y that it fell this far down.

The most famous song on the album is “Blinded By The Light” which was covered later by Manfred Mann Earth’s Band that peaked at #1 in 1977. I just want to say…Bruce’s lyrics were “cut loose like a deuce, another runner in the night” a “deuce” is a hot rod car…that is all I’ll say… Well I jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground, Asked him which was the way back home, He said take a right at the light, keep goin’ straight until night, and then boy, you’re on your own

“It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” is another great track and one of the most powerful songs he ever wrote. The devil appeared like Jesus through the steam in the street, Showin’ me a hand I knew even the cops couldn’t beat
I felt his hot breath on my neck as I dove into the heat

“Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?” is a journey through an enjoyable play of words. This song is about as wordy and catchy as you can get. It was written about a bus journey to a girlfriend’s house. I listened to it so many times that I know every word to this day. I was surprised to see that he still plays this in concert every now and then…but you can’t beat the studio version. Wizard imps and sweat sock pimps, interstellar mongrel nymphs Oh, Rex said that lady left him limp, love’s like that (It sure is)

My personal favorite is “Spirit of the Night.” This song hints at some of the characters and places that start populating Bruce’s musical world. Well, Billy slammed on his coaster brakes, And said, “Anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake? It’s about a mile down on the dark side of Route 88
I got a bottle of rosé so let’s try it

This is a crazy good debut album. His first two albums were building up to everything that was crystallized in his third…Born to Run. That doesn’t make the first two any less. Greetings doesn’t “sound” as well as Born To Run but Bruce delivers.

After his second album The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, Bruce made his career making album Born To Run. He never has returned to the free form lyrics of his first two albums. I do wish he would try a song or two like these again…but maybe you have to be a certain age to write these types of songs and free of life distractions…After Blonde on Blonde, Dylan also left this style of song behind and he was 25 years old. Bruce was 24 in 1973 when he released Greetings from Ashbury Park and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.

I really love the albums on the island and with this one I’ll enjoy the characters of Crazy Janey, Mary Lou, Broadway Mary, Wild Billy, Hazy Davy, and Killer Joe. All these characters grew up through his albums and we knew our own versions of these people… they matured in front of our eyes and ears…much like Bruce did and we all grew together…and this album was the beginning of the story that we are still following.

Blinded By The Light
Growin’ Up
Mary Queen Of Arkansas
Does This Bus Stop At 82nd Street?
Lost In The Flood
The Angel
For You
Spirit In The Night
It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City

The Kinks – Give The People What They Want…Desert Island Albums

This is my eighth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 8- PICK 4- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE KINKS- GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT

In 1981 I remember hearing Destroyer on the radio and was confused..Wait…is this a new version of All Day and All of the Night? I wanted that song so I bought the album. Give The People What They Want combines different styles. Punk, Rock, and a little New Wave was thrown in on a few of the songs. I had bought singles and a greatest hits by the Kinks but this was the first new Kinks album I purchased. It’s not considered among their best but I think it’s been underrated and the album still stands up today.

It didn’t get the recognition that their next album “State of Confusion” received because it didn’t have a huge hit single like Come Dancing. Songs like Better Things, Around The Dial,  and Destroyer did get radio play though.

Two years after I bought the album I saw the Kinks live at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. They opened with “Around The Dial,” the opener off of this album.. Ray started to write songs that played well in arenas during this time. The concert was right up there with The Stones concerts to me. I was lucky to see the Kinks while they still were still releasing new albums.

Their energy was off the charts. They were approaching middle age but they had more energy than their opening band (The White Animals) who were in their early 20s.

The album opener… Around The Dial is a song that I totally can relate to today because of pre-programmed radio shows. It’s about corporations taking over radio and getting rid of the free form local DJ’s who played songs that their audience actually wanted to hear. This was starting to get popular in the late seventies…now it’s standard.

The song Give The People What They Want is my favorite song off the album. While writing Low Budget, their previous album, Ray was watching American TV including “That’s Incredible” where people did dangerous and insane stunts. He writes a fair statement about the viewing public…now and then. Parts of it are crude but is true to life.  When Oswald shot Kennedy, he was insane, But still we watch the re-runs again and again, We all sit glued while the killer takes aim…

Ray borrowed his own riff from All Day And All Of The Night and repurposed it for Destroyer. He also revisits Lola in the song. Destroyer reached #3 on the Billboard Rock Top Tracks chart and #85 on the Billboard 100.

Better Things has a  new wave feel to it and one of the few optimistic songs on the record. It’s the closing song on the album and changes the dark cynical tone of the album to a little more hopeful.

I finally brought an album to the island that wasn’t released in the 60s or 70s. This 1981 album rocks. It’s probably the hardest rock album that the Kinks ever produced…but it’s still unmistakably Ray Davies.

  1. Around The Dial
  2. Give The People What They Want
  3. Killers Eyes
  4. Predictable
  5. Add It Up
  6. Destroyer
  7. Yo-Yo
  8. Back To Front
  9. Art Lover
  10. A Little Bit Of Abuse
  11. Better Things

Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home…Desert Island Albums

This is my seventh-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. 

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 7- PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BOB DYLAN- BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME

he not busy being born
Is busy dying

I was a kid when I first heard a Bob Dylan song and it was Knocking On Heaven’s Door. I liked the song but didn’t think much else about it. Later I  heard about him while reading about the Beatles. This man was armed with words that caught everyone’s attention. The books would describe his voice as crude but effective with other adjectives thrown in the mix. I then bought his greatest hits.  I received that great Dylan poster with the album that had “ELVIS” formed in his hair…I thought what a cool guy.

Original Bob Dylan Poster Created by Milton Glaser – The Ross Art Group

I then purchased Bringing It All Back Home and I was a bigger fan. I loved his voice right away. He didn’t sing like McCartney, Lennon, Elvis, or anyone like that but it worked…his voice had soul and passion. I found out why a generation before me followed him like the Pied Piper…it all became clear. Whether you understood or agreed.. his voice and words meant something. Bob wasn’t a product.

It was Dylan who inspired the Beatles and it was The Beatles who inspired Dylan…they played off of each other and took popular music to new exciting places.

This album angered a lot of his fans. After being a folk singer armed with his acoustic and his bag of words…he blew people away. Then this album came out with electric instruments. That did not go down well with the folk fans. One side of the album was acoustic and the other side full of raw electric songs. Some of his fans would boo him at concerts as soon as the band backed him up on the rock section. That didn’t slow Bob down at all…he knew what he was doing was right and he would not yield to the boos or naysayers.

On top of all of this…the album was recorded in three days…three days (January 13,14, and 15 1965). That’s not enough time for most artists to get a decent outtake.

These songs…where do I start? Lets start with the opener Subterranean Homesick Blues and the line “You don’t need a weather man
to know which way the wind blows.” How many hippies have quoted that line? I learned this song by heart much like I did Tangled Up In Blue later on.

It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) is a song that verse after verse amazes me. His voice in this song is perfect… almost like a preacher behind a pulpit. Bob sings about commercialism, hypocrisy, politics, and warmongering for starters. It’s wrong to pick out a lyric in this song without posting all of them but I will…”Made everything from toy guns that spark, To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark, It’s easy to see without looking too far, That not much is really sacred” I mean…holy hell…who comes up with that? It fits just right with today’s commercialism.

Love Minus Zero/No Limit is a over looked song by Bob that very well could be my favorite off of the album. This contains one of my favorite Dylan lyrics. “She knows there’s no success like failure, and that failure’s no success at all.” Lyricists would kill for lines like that…Dylan would make a habit of it. He helped raised the standards for songwriters. No longer would serious artists get away with simple rhyming lyrics.

She Belongs To Me took a while for me to get this one. For the longest time I skipped it on the album but then…one day it clicked. “She’s got everything she needs, She’s an artist, she don’t look back, She can take the dark out of nighttime
And paint the daytime black.” it has since become one of my favorites.

I’m not going to add more videos to the already full post but it was a coin toss on which ones to go over. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue, Mr. Tambourine Man, Outlaw Blues, Gates of Eden, Maggie’s Farm…and all of them are worthy. Bob released three albums between March 22, 1965 and June 20, 1966. Those albums were Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisted, and Blonde on Blonde. Those alone would be a hall of fame career for any other artist but Bob was just getting warmed up.

This is my first non-band album on my island and I couldn’t have picked a better artist or album. Listening to Dylan never gets old because you continually find something new you didn’t hear before.

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
2. She Belongs To Me
3. Maggie’s Farm
4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
5. Outlaw Blues
6. On The Road Again
7. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream
8. Mr Tambourine Man
9. Gates Of Eden
10. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
11. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Allman Brothers – Eat A Peach…Desert Island Albums

This is my sixth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

https://slicethelife.com/2020/09/02/2020-album-draft-round-6-pick-9-the-allman-brothers-eat-a-peach/

I was going to pick the At Fillmore East live album but I also wanted some studio tracks…you get both with this one. This is the last album that Duane Allman worked on before a motorcycle crash took his life. He died a few weeks into making the album. The album also included live tracks that were not used on At Fillmore East like One Way Out, Trouble No More, and a 33 minute “Mountain Jam” that was built off a riff from a Donovan song “There is a Mountain.”

They had some sort of chemistry live that was incredible. I’m usually not a fan of long endless live songs but they keep intensity up…plus with this album you get the best of both worlds.

25 years ago I would not have picked this album…I’ve learned more about them in the past few years and have become a huge fan of the classic lineup. When I listen to the Allman Brothers I listen to the music as a whole more than just the songs. They clicked so well as a band that they blended perfectly when at their best.

Their best albums to me are At Fillmore East, Eat A Peach, and Brothers and Sisters. They have been labeled and credited as starting “Southern Rock” but they were totally different than most of their peers. The Allmans were more blues/jazz oriented who happened to be from the south.

The two guitar players were Duane Allman and Dickey Betts…two of the best around at the time. They also had two drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny Johanson (Jaimoe) (who played with Otis Redding). Their bass player was from Chicago…Berry Oakley (who would die in a motorcycle crash a little over a year after Duane) who was amazing. Gregg Allman would write and  sing lead on many of the songs and as he said…pushed the gravy on the meat…he added texture with his Hammond Organ.

They started to work on this album in September of 1971 and laid down the basic tracks to for “Blue Sky,” “Stand Back” and “Little Martha.” Duane Allman died on October 29, 1971. So those tracks have Duane playing on them and of course all of the live material features him on guitar. After he died the band went back to the studio and recorded the rest and it was finished in December.

The album was released on February 12, 1972 and it peaked at #4 in the Billboard 100 and #12 in Canada. The original name was going to be “Eat A Peach for Peace.”

The opening song is my favorite one on the album. Ain’t Wasting Time No More…it was Gregg Allman’s song working through the grief of his brother’s death and about soldiers coming home from Vietnam. Last Sunday morning, the sunshine felt like rain,the week before, they all seemed the same

Blue Sky is a Dickey Betts song that I never get tired of. The soaring guitars and the few verses that it has are happy and upbeat. Betts initially wanted the band’s lead vocalist, Gregg Allman, to sing the song, but guitarist Duane Allman encouraged him to sing it himself… “Man, this is your song and it sounds like you and you need to sing it.” Dickey Betts wrote this about his Native Canadian girlfriend, Sandy “Bluesky” Wabegijig.

Melissa is probably the most remembered song off of this album. It’s a great song that Greg had written years before…he couldn’t think of the right woman’s name until he heard a lady in a grocery store yell for her daughter… Melissa.

One Way Out is some of the live feel  that I wanted with Fillmore East and I get it on this album along with the above studio cuts. One of their best known songs.

I thought the island needed a southern touch so the Allmans will do just fine. I’ll just sit back with soul food, listen to Allmans, and watch the tide.

  1. Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More
  2. Les Brers In A Minor
  3. Melissa
  4. Mountain Jam
  5. One Way Out
  6. Trouble No More
  7. Stand Back
  8. Blue Sky
  9. Little Martha
  10. Mountain Jam Cont’d.

Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet…Desert Island Albums

This is my fifth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

https://slicethelife.com/2020/08/17/2020-album-draft-round-5-pick-3-badfinger20-selects-the-rolling-stones-beggars-banquet/

“Please allow me to introduce myself”

Beggars Banquet and Between the Buttons were the first two Rolling Stone albums I owned not counting Hot Rocks, the greatest hits collection. I played this album to death. As with most Stones albums you get what you get…rock, blues, and a little country thrown in the mix. I got this album when I was 12 and it opened my eyes wide to the Stones…much more than a collection of their hits would ever do.

This was the first album to start the stretch of 5 albums (Beggars Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers, Exile on Main Street, and Goats Head Soup) that helped make the Stones what they are today. In 1967 after failing to live up to Sgt Pepper with Their Satanic Majesties Request (although I do like that album) they came back retooled with a new producer Jimmy Miller.

The Stones got back to doing what they do best…playing the blues…although with a different sound than Little Red Rooster. A weary Brian Jones was still in the band at this time and contributed to all but two songs…but it’s mostly Keith on guitar. Brian, because of the state he was in, was used more as a touch-up artist…filling in some holes with sitar, tambura, guitar,  blues harp, and mellotron.

This album is not considered up there with Sticky Fingers or Exile On Main Street but I have the strongest connection to it. I’ve always related Beggars Banquet to the White Album. They were both released in 1968 and both were raw and honest. No studio trickery to either…a big departure from the psychedelic era of 1967.

I don’t think Jimmy Miller gets enough credit for their sound. That is not a knock against the Stones but the Miller produced albums are special.

The Jumping Jack Flash single (also Miller produced) was released in May of 1968 to signal a change was coming and this album followed on December 6, 1968.

Beggars Banquet was delayed for months because of the album cover. The original cover (which is now used) had a dirty toilet covered with graffiti. The photo was taken by Barry Feinstein in a tiny bathroom at a Porsche repair shop above Hollywood Blvd. and Cahuenga Blvd.

Mick and Keith were given crayons to add more graffiti for the back credits. Their record companies for America and the UK would not approve the cover. The Stones finally relented and released a plain  “invitation” white cover…which is the cover I owned.

Now for the songs. Sympathy for the Devil and Street Fighting Man are the two most well-known songs off the album. Sympathy for the Devil is perhaps the Stones’ best-written song and with a samba beat that touches on voodoo. Street Fighting Man is maybe the most powerful song they ever wrote. “Well now what can a poor boy do
except to sing for a rock n’ roll band?”

Those two songs are classics but this album is a great collection of 10 songs. Prodigal Son has always been a favorite of mine. They really do the old blues well in this one. It’s a song written by Robert Wilkins, a reverend who recorded Delta Blues in the 1920s and 1930s.

No Expectations…Brian Jones’ slide guitar in this is great…it sets the mood for this song.  Mick has said it was Brian’s last great contribution to the Stones. One of the best album cuts from the Stones.

Stray Cat Blues…Mick sounds so ominous in this track. The guitar is absolutely filthy as well.  I feel the need for a shower after I listen to it. This song would not fly today. It’s raunchy and sleazy…but a great album cut. I hear the click-clack of your feet on the stairs
I know you’re no scare-eyed honey

My other favorite songs are Factory Girl, Salt of the Earth, and Jigsaw Puzzle.

The album peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in the UK, and #3 in Canada in 1969.

Looks like I have brought the first Stones album to our respective islands. If you get an urge to dance around a fire singing “whoo, whoo… whoo, whoo“…come on over and I’ll drop the needle on the vinyl and shake some maracas.

1. Sympathy for the Devil

2. No Expectations

3. Dear Doctor

4. Parachute Woman

5. Jig-Saw Puzzle

6. Street Fighting Man

7. Prodigal Son

8. Stray Cat Blues

9. Factory Girl

10. Salt of the Earth

 

Zombies – Odessey and Oracle…Desert Island Albums

This is my fourth-round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
https://slicethelife.com/2020/08/11/2020-album-draft-round-4-pick-6-badfinger20-selects-the-zombies/

In the early 90s, I purchased the Zombie’s greatest hits. The cd contained the usual songs Tell Her No, She’s Not There, and Time Of The Season. I had read about The Zombies in music books and how other bands admired them for their jazz and classical influences.

They are best remembered for those three hits but also for one album…Odessey and Oracle.  With this album, they elevated themselves to new heights…but that took a little while. In Rolling Stone magazine in the 80s and 90s I read great writeups about this album. Finally, I tried it for myself and was more than happy I did. Many critics hailed this album as one of the greatest of the decade and it lived up to their hype.

By the way… The band wanted to call the album “Odyssey and Oracle” but cover artist Terry Quirk accidentally spelled the title wrong and the band decided to run with the misspelling.

By 1967 they were close to being done. They were broke and had to pay for most of the sessions. Tell Her No and She’s Not There were 3 years in the past and in pop music…that was a lifetime.

They got together in Abbey Road studios right after The Beatles finished Sgt Pepper in 1967…even using John Lennon’s Mellotron. They ended up recording one of the best albums of the sixties. April 18, 1968, was the UK release date. It was a little while after that before America heard it.

The album almost didn’t get released in America. Al Kooper worked for Columbia Records as a staff producer in the A&R department. One of his first assignments was to go to London and he bought around 40 albums that could only be bought there. Odessey and Oracle stood out from all of the rest.

Clive Davis was about to sign off on this album not being released in America. Kooper changed his mind and convinced Clive to release the album. That is how the album was released and Time of the Season became a hit. By the time Time Of The Season peaked at #3 in 1969 the band had broken up.

It ended up ranked at #100 in Rolling Stone Magazine best 500 albums of all time. Not bad for an album that only peaked at #95 in the Billboard Album Charts in 1969.

The best way I can describe this album is somewhere between psychedelic pop/rock and baroque pop. I think that is a fair statement. I suggest listening to this album with headphones. The Zombies paid attention to detail and the backup vocals are outstanding. It the year that Sgt Pepper and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn were recorded… Odessey and Oracle belong with those albums.

It’s pure joy to sit and listen to this album. I’ll highlight these songs.

Time of the Season is the big hit off the album and also…there is an official law in the books about this song. If you produce a film about the 1960s this song must be played. The song is great and it does transport you to that time. What’s your name? Who’s your daddy? (He rich) Is he rich like me?

Care Of Cell 44 is the real star of the album to me. The song is arranged beautifully. with part vocal-only arrangements, You can hear Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney’s influence in this recording. Chris White’s (Zombies bass player) bass playing is phenomenal in this song. If Paul McCartney and Brian Wilson had a baby…this is what it would be. Take a listen to this one.

This Will Be Our Year is a wonderful optimistic song. It sounds like it should have been a hit but it was stuck on the B side to Butcher’s Tale  (Western Front 1914) which is more of an experimental song and not exactly very commercial…that was a wasted opportunity.

Another song that caught me on the first listen is A Rose For Emily. The theme is very similar to Eleanor Rigby but more subdued. “And as the years go by, she will grow old and die, The roses in her garden fade away, not one left for her grave, not a rose for Emily…”

Put this album on with some headphones and travel back to the sixties.

So far on my island…all the albums are within 4 years (1968-1972) of each other but that suits me fine. I’m sure an album will break that eventually. Odessey and Oracle brings some beautiful pop music to my hut. Grab a coconut and come over…we will listen to the Zombies…btw…Have you seen Mary Ann? I’ve been looking for her.

1. Care Of Cell 44
2. A Rose For Emily
3. Maybe After He’s Gone
4. Beechwood Park
5. Brief Candles
6. Hung Up On A Dream
7. Changes
8. I Want Her She Wants Me
9. This Will Be Our Year
10. Butcher’s Tale (Western Front 1914)
11. Friends Of Mine
12. Time Of The Season

 

Big Star – #1 Record…Desert Island Albums

This is my third round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.
2020 ALBUM DRAFT-ROUND 3 PICK 6- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- BIG STAR- #1 RECORD

“Big Star is like a letter that was mailed in 1971 but didn’t arrive until 1985.”
Musician Robyn Hitchcock 

I never travel far, without a little Big Star
The Replacements

“We’ve sort of flirted with greatness, but we’ve yet to make a record as good as Revolver or Highway 61 Revisited or Exile on Main Street or Big Star’s Third.”
Peter Buck

The band didn’t chart a record when they were active. I still hold their music up along with The Who, Beatles. and Kinks…they never had the sales but they did have a giant influence. They released this album as their debut in August of 1972.  I had to stop myself from writing an open love letter (I may have failed) about this band. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people knew? No and no. It’s about the music. Mystique and coolness wear off and all you are left with is the music…We are fortunate to have 3 albums by Big Star to enjoy.

In the early eighties, I heard stories from an older brother of a friend about Big Star out of Memphis…but their records were hard to come by.  I loved what little I heard and it got lost in the shuffle but it planted a seed for later. 

By the mid-80s I heard more of their songs. In 1986 The Bangles released “September Gurls” and I knew it sounded familiar…and the DJ said it was a Big Star song…then came the song, Alex Chilton, by The Replacements and  I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t until the early nineties, I finally had Big Star’s music along with the Raspberries and Badfinger. My power-pop fandom kicked into high gear and I have never left that genre.

Big Star was the best band never heard. Such a great band but a long frustrating story. They made three albums that were among the best of the decade that were not heard until much later. They signed with Ardent which was a subsidiary of Stax Records.

A power-pop band on the soul Stax label doesn’t sound like a good idea now and it wasn’t then. Stax was failing at that time and could not distribute the records to the stores. Kids loved the music on the radio only to go to a record store with no Big Star records. Rolling Stone gave them rave reviews…but that doesn’t help if the album is not out there to purchase. They were through by 1974 after recording their 3rd album.

When their albums were finally discovered by eighties bands, they influenced many artists such as REM, The Replacements, Cars, Cheap Trick, Sloan, Matthew Sweet, KISS, Wilco, Gin Blossoms, and many more. They influenced alternative rock of the 80s and 90s and continue to this day.

Listening to this album with each song you think…Oh, that could have been a single. Alex Chilton and Chris Bell wrote most of the songs and wanted to emulate Lennon/McCartney and they did a great job but with an obvious American slant to make it their own. After the commercial failure of this album, Chris Bell quit but the other three continued for one more album and then bass player Andy Hummel quit after the second album, and Chilton and drummer Jody Stephens recorded the third.

I could have gone with ANY three of their albums. I picked this one because of Chris Bell. The songs are a bit more polished on this one than the other two but it fits the songs they present. Chris Bell added a lot to Big Star and after hearing his solo song I Am The Cosmos you see how much. Radio City, their second album, with Chilton in charge many consider their best and their third album, Third/Sister Lovers is not as commercially accessible but I still love it. All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time.

I’ll go over four songs.

The Ballad Of El Goodo  A song about Vietnam conscientious objector…but it is much more than that. It is one of the most perfect pop/rock songs recorded to my ears. This would make it in my own top 10 songs of all time. The tone of the guitars, harmonies and the perfectly constructed chorus keeps calling me back listen after listen. This is when pop music becomes more.

In The Street is a song that everyone will know. It was used as the theme of That Seventies Show. Cheap Trick covered it for the show. I was not a teenager in the early seventies but with this song, I am there front and center. Steal your car and bring it down, Pick me up, we’ll drive around, Wish we had, A joint so bad.

Thirteen is a song that Chilton finds that spot between the innocence of childhood and the first teenage year where they meet and intertwine with confusion. Won’t you tell your dad, “get off my back” Tell him what we said ’bout “Paint It Black”

When My Baby’s Beside Me has a great guitar riff to open it up. This is power pop at it’s best. A nice rocker that should have been blaring out of AM radios in the 70’s.

I’m not going over every song (but I could easily) because reading this won’t do it…you have to listen if you haven’t already. You will not regret it. Not just these songs but the complete album.

It’s a mixture of songs on the album…rockers, mid-tempo songs, and ballads. Even the weaker song called The India Song is very listenable. My favorites besides the ones I listed are  Watch the Sunrise, Don’t Lie To Me, Feel, and Give Me Another Chance.

I now have rounded out my albums on my island. The variety of The White Album, The rock of Who’s Next, and the ringing power-pop beauty of Big Star…swim or use a boat and come over to my island and we will listen…the Pina Coladas and High Tides (hey it’s an island) are flowing… let’s drink to BIG STAR.

On a side note. If you want to learn more there is a good documentary out about them called: Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me.

Feel
The Ballad Of El Goodo
In The Street
Thirteen
Don’t Lie To Me
The India Song
When My Baby’s Beside Me
My Life Is Right
Give Me Another Chance
Try Again
Watch The Sunrise
ST 100/6

  • Chris Bell – guitar, vocals
  • Alex Chilton – guitar, vocals
  • Andy Hummel – bass guitar, vocals
  • Jody Stephens – drums

 

 

 

The Who – Who’s Next…..Desert Island Albums

https://slicethelife.com/2020/07/20/37604/

This is my second round choice from Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days.

I bought this album when I was 14. I had a few albums by The Who…Face Dances, Big Meaty Big and Bouncy,  and a greatest hits package called Hooligans. Hooligans was a 4 album set and had four songs from Who’s Next and that sample was enough to know I wanted the complete album.

With headphones on, I placed needle to vinyl and could not get over the sound…the sonic boom. The biggest sound I have ever heard before on record. I listened to every song three times through in the first sitting. I knew I finally found a band that moved me like no other except The Beatles. After this came Tommy, Quadrophenia, and The Who Sell Out…but this album left me speechless. Before this record. I liked the Who…after the album they were THE WHO.

It was 1981 and this album had been out for 10 years but that made no difference. As with the Beatles, I was late to the fan party but when I arrived… I arrived in style with Who’s Next under my arm.

There is not one clinker on the album. Forty-three minutes and thirty-eight seconds of pure bliss.

I have a Glyn Johns quote on recording the album to start this off.

I have a residing memory of sitting in the truck, my hair being parted by what was coming out of the speakers, a massive amount of adrenaline coursing through my veins. There have been a few occasions over the years when I have been completely blown away, believing without a doubt that what I was listening to would become much more than just commercially successful but also a marker in the evolution of popular music, and this was one of those moments.

Won’t Get Fooled Again… this is the best concert song I’ve witnessed on film or live in person. It has drama, action, suspense, and aggression… just as much as any movie. Every member of the band is at the top of their game. You have Pete’s thick power chords, John Entwistle’s rolling basslines, Keith Moon’s controlled chaos, and Roger holding it down and keeping it grounded.

When your bookends on an album are Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again you have a great album.

My favorite song on the album is Bargain. Moon’s drumming on this song alone makes it worth a listen. Pete Townshend has said the subject of the song is God…as one critic put it… it may be the angriest message God ever received.

Goin’ Mobile is a great vehicle for Townshend’s voice…and how could you not like the line..Play the tape machine, make the toast and tea, When I’m mobile.

Behind Blue Eyes is a song that lulls you with a beautiful melody with sparse accompaniment (probably the longest Moon ever sat on his hands while recording) and then it happens…all hell breaks loose and Roger sings…no correction…he doesn’t sing…he demands When my fist clenches, crack it open, Before I use it and lose my cool… it’s like getting hit by a bus that you didn’t see coming…and then it’s over.

My Wife is a song John Entwistle wrote for the album and one of his best songs. A rocking and hilarious look at marriage by a desperate man. Love Aint For Keeping is a song that gets a lot of play at my home and car. It has a great message. Getting In Tune…this song starts off as a slow ballad and then The Who kicks it up a notch as usual.

The Song Is Over is a beautiful song with Pete and Roger taking turns singing.

Baba O’Riley…One of the most well-known intros in rock ever. Not much else to say about this song except dynamic and exhilarating…that about sums it up.

Who’s Next was released on August 14, 1971. It started off as a rock opera called Lifehouse. The problem was that Pete could not get the idea across to other band members, journalists, or even his producer Glyn Johns. It was suggested to dump the story and make a great standalone album of the songs. The Who did just that.

This album kicked down the door to the seventies and future. The mixture of synthesizers and guitars are perfect. The synthesizers still sound fresh and vibrant today. 1971 was an extraordinary year for great albums…this one helped lead the way.

So far on Max’s Desert Island, I have the White Album and Who’s Next. Life is good…I think I will pick up my guitar and play…just like yesterday.

  1. Baba O’Riley
  2. Bargain
  3. Love Ain’t For Keeping
  4. My Wife
  5. The Song Is Over
  6. Getting In Tune
  7. Going Mobile
  8. Behind Blue Eyes
  9. Won’t Get Fooled Again

 

The Beatles – White Album…..Desert Island Albums

https://slicethelife.com/2020/07/09/2020-album-draft-round-1-pick-4-badfinger20-selects-the-beatles-the-white-album-the-beatles/

The White Album was released in 1968 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 about everywhere else…and it would be #1 as well on “Max’s Desert Island.”

Is this considered the Beatle’s best album? Probably not but if I had to take just one with me to that proverbial desert island…this would be the one. They have albums that are considered better like Revolver and Sgt Pepper but I relate to the rawer songs on this album. The album’s actual name is “The Beatles” but for obvious reasons, it will forever be known as the White Album.

When John Lennon was killed in1980 there were three albums I bought that long winter. Double Fantasy, The White Album,  and Abbey Road. I’m back there again in that 1980-81 winter and spring when I hear this album.

The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in the mix. It has plenty of songs that you have heard of and many that the masses have not heard as much. John Lennon wrote one of his best songs for this album… Dear Prudence.

The Beatles more than many bands could bend to a style of music and play that style well.

Some critics said they should have taken the best of the two albums and slimmed it down to one…but as a Beatle fan…Nahhhhh. It’s the friggin Beatles White Album!

My favorite songs: Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cry Baby Cry, Helter Skelter, I Will, I’m So Tired, Revolution 1, Yer Blues, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey, Back In The USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Glass Onion.

Are all of the 30 songs up to the Beatle’s high standards? No, but more than enough are to make this a great double album.

Although the songs differ in style they all have that Beatles touch to them whether it be the hard Helter Skelter, country Rocky Raccoon, or even the fairytale-like Cry Baby Cry.

The sessions were not the happiest time for the band but they came up with the most eclectic batch of songs they ever produced.

 

  1. Back In The USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. Glass Onion
  4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  5. Wild Honey Pie
  6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
  7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  9. Martha My Dear
  10. I’m So Tired
  11. Blackbird
  12. Piggies
  13. Rocky Raccoon
  14. Don’t Pass Me By
  15. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
  16. I Will
  17. Julia
  18. Birthday
  19. Yer Blues
  20. Mother Nature’s Son
  21. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  22. Sexy Sadie
  23. Helter Skelter
  24. Long, Long, Long
  25. Revolution 1
  26. Honey Pie
  27. Savoy Truffle
  28. Cry Baby Cry
  29. Revolution 9
  30. Good Night

 

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Ranking Led Zeppelin Albums #6 – #10

Led Zeppelin has produced some of the best albums in the history of rock. I will include the original live album of “The Song Remains the Same”… Not the remastered version of that one. Below is the way I would rank them. Ten albums in all including Coda released after John Bonham died. 1-5 coming tomorrow.

 

The_Song_Remains_the_Same.jpg

10. The Song Remains The Same – 1976

This was recorded at the end of their 1973 American tour but was not released until 1976. They sound tired. It’s a good history marker looking back, but far from their best live performance. Not until long after the band broke up though nothing was officially released except this. I still prefer this over the movie of the same name.

Tracklist

Rock And Roll
Celebration Day
The Song Remains The Same
Rain Song
Dazed And Confused
No Quarter
Stairway To Heaven
Moby Dick
Whole Lotta Love

 

Coda.jpg

9.  Coda – 1982

The album spans the band’s entire career, from live performances just after their debut album to unused songs from In Through the Out Door sessions. My favorites are Ozone Baby, Wearing and Tearing and Walter’s Walk. Personally, I like this album more than Presence but the playing is not as tight.

Tracklist

We’re Gonna Groove
Poor Tom
I Can’t Quit You Baby
Walter’s Walk
Ozone Baby
Darlene
Bonzo’s Montreaux
Wearing and Tearing

Presence.jpg

8.  Presence – 1976

This album was made when Robert Plant was recuperating from injuries he and his wife suffered in a car wreck. He was singing from a wheelchair. Jimmy Page was keeping the band busy recording this since they could not tour. The playing on this album is great and tight but the songs are not as strong as their predecessors. After Physical Graffiti, this one paled in comparison. Technically this could be one of Jimmy Pages best performance on an album. It was recorded and mixed in 18 days.

Tracklist

Achilles Last Stand
For Your Life
Royal Orleans
Nobody’s Fault But Mine
Candy Store Rock
Hots On For Nowhere
Tea For One

In_Through_the_Out_Door.jpg

7.  In Through The Out Door – 1979

It was not the typical Led Zeppelin album. Page and Bonham were having substance difficulties during this album. Plant and Jones wrote much of the album and Jones used his new synthesizer. This was a change in direction and some Zeppelin fans hated it but it did foreshadow the synthesizer coming in the eighties. I liked a lot of songs on this album like In The Evening, Fool In the Rain, All of My Love and the fun Hot Dog.

Tracklist

In the Evening
South Bound Suarez
Fool In the Rain
Hot Dog
Carouselambra
All My Love
I’m Gonna Crawl

Led_Zeppelin.png

6.  Led Zeppelin – 1969

One of the best debut albums of any band. The classic Dazed and Confused, Good Times Bad Times, etc… The album went to #7 in the Billboard 100, #6 in the UK and #11 in Canada. Some people wonder why the band didn’t like critics…this is what Rolling Stone said about the album.

The latest of the British blues groups so conceived offers little that its twin, the Jeff Beck Group, didn’t say as well or better three months ago, and the excesses of the Beck group’s Truth album (most notably its self-indulgence and restrictedness), are fully in evidence on Led Zeppelin’s debut album.

In their willingness to waste their considerable talent on unworthy material the Zeppelin has produced an album which is sadly reminiscent of Truth. Like the Beck group they are also perfectly willing to make themselves a two- (or, more accurately, one-a-half) man show. It would seem that, if they’re to help fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer (and editor) and some material worthy of their collective attention.”

The album is hard-hitting as it is fused Rock and Blues…it was very heavy and had a great sonic quality…

Tracklist

Good Times Bad Times
Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
You Shook Me
Dazed And Confused
Your Time Is Gonna Come
Black Mountain Side
Communication Breakdown
I Can’t Quit You Baby
How Many More Times

John Lennon – Rock and Roll Album

This album originated because of a lawsuit against John Lennon. On ‘Come Together’, John sings, “Here come old flattop”, a line that was originally in Chuck Berry’s 1956 hit, ‘You Can’t Catch Me’. When it was used, music publisher Morris Levy filed a lawsuit for copyright infringement against John.

To settle out of court John agreed to cover three songs that Morris Levy had publishing rights on. John started to work on this when he separated from Yoko in the early seventies. John picked songs that influenced him before the Beatles.

Phil Spector agreed to produce the album and the album started in October of 1973.  The sessions dragged on. Phil Spector, as he often does, acted erratically during the sessions which included shooting a gun through the studio ceiling… Phil then disappeared with the tapes. Lennon could not get the tapes back. After that Spector was involved in a car wreck in March of 74 and was in a coma.

This should have been an easy thing to do… record some covers right? No, John couldn’t get the tapes back so he started on an album of mostly original material called Walls and Bridges which would include the #1 hit “Whatever Gets You Thru the Night.” He would come back to the covers album afterward.

Now Lennon was getting sued by Levy because Levy already expected the Rock and Roll album to be out. Lennon explained what was going on and John did record one of the three songs on Walls and Bridges called Ya Ya with his son Julian.

John finally got the tapes back from Spector and started the album with the same musicians. He gave Levy some demos to show him the progress that was being made…Levy turns around and has the demos pressed and released them as a record called “Roots: John Lennon Sings the Great Rock & Roll Hits.” They were sold on TV for 3 days before EMI filed an injunction and stopped the record.

Lennon_Roots.jpg

Lennon then finished the real album in 5 days with John himself producing. It was released in February 1975. Only four songs are used on the album that was produced with Spector. I will say this about the record. This isn’t just some star singing old hits…you can tell John loved the songs and treated all of them with reverence.

The album made it to #6 in the Billboard 200, #6 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. Stand By Me made it to #20 in the Billboard 100. John Lennon did not make another album until Double Fantasy in 1980.

The cover features a young John Lennon while in Hamburg.

I’m taking nothing away from the Ben E King’s version of Stand By Me because I love it… but for me, this is my go-to version. Lennon’s voice cuts through the song like a knife.