So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead …. by David Browne

I’ve read a few books about the Dead but this one is probably the best I’ve read. I just finished re-reading it after finishing it three years ago. It is their complete history from beginning to end. The book I enjoyed the most was Deal: by Bill Kreutzmann The Deads drummer. He has some great stories and Steve Parish’s book is good also…but as far as the history…this has been the best.

This is not like reading a book about the Beatles, Stones, Dylan, or even the Allman Brothers. The Grateful Dead were totally different in the way they came about and what path they took. They were such a hippy band but along the way they turned into a corporate organization…a different kind of organization but one all the same. Their crew was known to be loud and sometimes violent along with the Hells Angels by the mid-seventies and the craziness wore off on everyone around them.

I always thought of them as this loose ensemble that just loved playing. Yes, they loved playing but they weren’t above pointing fingers when something went wrong on stage. At one point Weir and Pigpen were “fired” although accounts differ on if they really were let go. In other words, they were human… like anyone else. They did however think differently and for a bunch of hippies…they were very ambitious.

Speaking of Pigpen (Ron McKernan)… that was a wonderful thing about this book…his importance is highlighted and you see how important he was to the Grateful Dead. Jerry wasn’t the key focus when they started…it was Pigpen. Although he looked like a biker…he was described as an incredibly nice and sensitive man. He was the showman of the band and Jerry commented that he was the best musician in the band in the beginning.

The book covers their entire career and along with the way, there are many twists and turns. They cover Garcia’s slide down until his diabetic coma in 1986 when he had to re-learn how to play guitar again. Less than a year later they were back on the road and then recorded the In The Dark album.

The band never had a big hit single and now…over 20 years of being together and touring they were suddenly huge with the song Touch Of Grey. They even agreed to play the game with the record company and they made a video. They were signed to Arista Records and the record company and band were at a meeting. Garcia suddenly asked, “I don’t have to do Dick Clark, do I?” With that, the executives laughed at the thought of the Grateful Dead appearing on American Bandstand.

There were points where it looked like Garcia would beat his addictions but the threat of him going back to heroin was always there. They also cover all the members rather well…Garcia wasn’t the only one with drug problems but his problem probably affected the band the most.

If you want to learn about their history…this is a really good read.

A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park

***Dave from A Sound Day has a new feature Turntable Talk…he will have an article by me today about Why the Beatles are still relevant…hope you get to read it.***

Fantasy Park: 1975 – Twin Cities Music Highlights

Imagine a concert in 1975 with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and more. Well, it happened! Sorta. Rod Serling did all of the radio promos. It would be one of his last projects…he would pass away before it aired.

It was a 48-hour-long rock concert (Fantasy Park) that was aired by nearly 200 radio stations over Labor Day weekend in 1975. The program, produced by KNUS in Dallas, featured performances by dozens of rock stars of the day and even reunited The Beatles. It was also completely imaginary, a theatre-of-the-mind for the 70s.

The “concert” was made up of live and studio recordings by the artists with live effects added to make it sound legit.

The show had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to Fantasy Park. In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut! Callers were asking where they could get tickets to this amazing show.

The show was so popular in Minnesota that they played it again in its entirety the next year…now that people knew it wasn’t real and weren’t looking for tickets. The greatest concert that never was.  Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the play-by-play details along with some behind-the-scenes updates.

The concert would always be halted due to rain on a Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday.

Now people look for the full 48-hour tapes of the show. They are a hot collector’s item. Rod Serling passed away on June 28, 1975.

Bands at Fantasy Park

Chicago
Elton John
Led Zeppelin
Joe Walsh
Cream
Shawn Phillips
Pink Floyd
Carly Simon
James Taylor (& Carol King)
Poco
Alvin Lee
Eagles
Linda Rondstadt
Dave Mason
Steve Miller
John Denver
Beach Boys
War
Grand Funk
Yes
Deep Purple
Rolling Stones
Cat Stevens
The Who
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Marshall Tucker Band
Allman Brothers Band
Seals & Crofts
America
Joni Mitchell
Doobie Brothers
Loggins and Messina
Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young
Bob Dylan
Beatles

Here is 10 minutes of it here.

Big Star – Feel ….Power Pop Friday

Happy Friday Everyone! Hope your week is going well. Lisa from Tao Talk did me an honor by posting an article I wrote on her site about Maria McKee from Lone Justice in her Women Music March series…she has had some great artists! Check it out if you can.

When Big Star comes up, when people think of a member…it’s usually Alex Chilton. That is not a bad thing but on their debut album Chris Bell was just as prevalent as Chilton. This song was off of their debut album named #1 Record. It’s the only album to feature Chris Bell along with Alex Chilton the entire album. They complimented each other perfectly.

After writing a post for Dave’s site about Badfinger (thanks Dave)…a band that I obviously like…I thought I would post about another band that is right up there. I hold Big Star’s music up 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. Whenever I write about this band, I always have to stop myself from gushing about them. Was it the mystique of them? Was it the coolness factor of liking a band that not many people know? 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.

“Feel” leads off the album with a bang. Feel was written by Chris Bell and Alex Chilton and Bell takes the lead vocal. There are more hooks in this song than in a tackle box. This is what power pop is all about. If I had to introduce someone to power pop, I would ask them to listen to #1 Record by Big Star and Straight Up by Badfinger.

All three are in Rolling Stone’s top 500 albums of all time. For a band that never charted a record that isn’t too bad. When their albums were finally discovered by later bands, they influenced many artists such as The Replacements, REM, The 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.

Drummer Jody Stephens: “All of a sudden I’m playing with these guys that can write songs that are as engaging to me as the people I’d grown up listening to, so I felt incredibly lucky.” 

Paul Westerberg:  “I never travel far, without a little Big Star,”

Alternate Mix

Feel

Wondering what are you doing?
You’re driving me to ruin
The love that you’ve been stealing

Has given me a feeling

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

Wondering what are you doing?
You’re driving me to ruin
The love that you’ve been stealing
Has given me the feeling

I feel like I’m dying
I’m never gonna live again
You just ain’t been trying
It’s getting very near the end

I feel like I’m dying
I feel like I’m dying

Beatles – One After 909

A pure rock and roll song by The Beatles. It’s always a joy to listen to because it goes back to their roots They played this song live in the early days before Beatlemania. When they recorded the final version on the roof you could see they were having a good time. George’s guitar playing on this is perfect.

A song that was recorded in January of 1969 but was written by John and Paul  in the 1950s. Being a very early attempt at songwriting, John Lennon reluctantly brought it forward for The Beatles to record when they were looking for new material in early 1963. They recorded it but didn’t have a take that they liked.

In 1969 John pulled out “One After 909” from his memory and presented it again. On this occasion, it was reworked with enthusiasm and with a different feel and arrangement, the result becoming a cool presentation of early Beatlemania at their final live performance on the rooftop in 1969.

John, Paul, and George were talking about the song and John said he always wanted to change the words. Paul said no…it’s great like it is so they played the song on the rooftop. It would be included on the Let It Be album released in 1970

The song was about a lady who tells her boyfriend she is leaving on the train that leaves after train number 909. He begs her not to go, but she does anyway. He packs his bags and rushes after her and discovers that she is not on “the one after 909,” so he goes home depressed and goes into the wrong house.

John Lennon: “I wrote it when I was about seventeen, either right before or after ‘Hello Little Girl,’ and it was resurrected for (the ‘Let It Be’) album, probably for lack of material. Nine has always been around. I’m not sure why. I was born on the ninth of October, I lived at nine Newcastle Road, ‘Revolution 9.’ Numerologically, I’m apparently a number three or six, so I’m not sure where the nine comes from…but it’s all part of nine.”

Paul McCartney:It was a number we didn’t used to do much but it was one that we always liked doing, and we rediscovered it. There were a couple of tunes that we wondered why we never put out; either George Martin didn’t like them enough to or he favored others. It’s not a great song but it’s a great favorite of mine because it has great memories for me of John and I trying to write a bluesy freight-train song. There were a lot of those songs at the time, like ‘Midnight Special,’ ‘Freight Train,’ ‘Rock Island Line,’ so this was the ‘One After 909.’ She didn’t get the 909, she got the one after it! It was a tribute to British Rail, actually. No, at the time we weren’t think British, it was much more the Super Chief from Omaha.”

One After 909

My baby said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I begged her not to go and I begged her on my bended knees,
You’re only fooling around, you’re fooling around with me.
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you’ve got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I’ve got the number wrong

Well she said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you’ve got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I’ve got the number wrong

Well she said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 9-0,
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 9-0,
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

Love Valley Rock Festival…1970

What a festival this was and what a town it still is. It happened in Love Valley North Carolina. The headliners were The Allman Brothers who at that time only had one album out and were largely unknown to the masses. This huge festival was soon known as Woodstock South.  Between 100,000-200,000 showed up.

A man named Andy Barker always wanted to live in a western town. When he was 29 years old he bought some land in 1954 and moved his family there. The land was in Iredell County and he he built the town and it was chartered in 1963. It has a saloon, hitching posts, a small church and more. No cars are allowed in town…you can walk or ride a horse through.

It’s the place for riding horses, rodeos, and hiking trails with 2000 acres to cover. The population of Love Valley is right now at 96. Through the years it seems to stay around 100.

Love Valley: The Town Where Cars Aren't Allowed, Only HorsesLove Valley, NC - Town With No Cars, Only Horses

In 1969 Andy’s daughter Tonda wanted to go to Woodstock but he thought she was too young. So he asked her and her 16 year old brother Jet Barker to organize a festive concert in Love Valley. While in college she had worked with an entertainment coordinator at college and knew the ropes. She managed to secure the Allman Brothers Band who at the time were known in the south but that is about it. They also got some more local bands to fill it out…it was a large bill. It took place Thursday July 16-18, 1970.

One interesting thing that happened was that the Hell’s Angels and Outlaws showed up to do battle with each other. According to witnesses Andy Barker stopped them and confiscated a chain and ax from each and told them there would be no trouble here. They seemed to respect this man because after that the gangs dispersed and some camped out with no reported trouble. The festival went off without any major hitch.

Tonda: “It was perfect, it was like a dream. We had worked so hard and we could finally just sit down and enjoy it.”

Andy planned to make a documentary of it but it didn’t happen. All we have to look at is some grainy footage but that grainy footage shows Duane Allman a year before At Fillmore East was released. They were finishing up their second album Idlewild South at this time. Some very nice bootlegs are out there from their multiple sets.

Along with the Allman Brothers, the line up consisted of these bands: Big Brother and the Holding Company (without Janis), Radar, Peace Core, Wet Willie, Johnny Jenkins, Tony Joe White, Hampton Grease Band, Donnydale, Catfish Freedom, Sundown, Chakra, Hot Rain, Kallabash, Warm Stone Blind, Captain John’s Fishmarket. There were over 40 bands over that weekend.

Some like Wet Willie would go on to have a few hits. Tony Joe White had a top ten hit with Polk Salad Annie the year before.

Ed Buzzell was a UPI stringer and took these photographs...they are amazing. They don’t show many bands…just the people…you feel like you are there.

Beatles – Penny Lane

I love the visuals in this song. I’ve never had the pleasure of being there but it feels like I’m standing in the middle of Penny Lane in 1967.

This song was part of what I think was the best single ever released. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields. Both of the songs are connected with Liverpool. Both John and Paul wrote about places where they grew up.  Paul explained that Penny Lane was a suburban district where, until age four, he lived with his mother and father.

The Beatles did not include these two songs on Sgt Pepper. They recorded singles and albums separately for the most part. They ended up on the Magical Mystery Tour album in America.

Lennon and McCartney were competitive and for the most part it was a good competitiveness that resulted in timeless songs that will be still remembered 100 years from now.

They made promotional films for both songs. This must have been a shock to some people. They had not seen the Beatles since the year before…they had ditched the mop tops and gone weird…that must have been in some people’s minds. The music had a sophistication that earlier songs didn’t have.

The single only made #2 in the UK…it was locked out of the #1 position by no other than Elbert Humperdinck with Release Me. It did peak at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand in 1967.

In 1967, Capitol released Beatles music on a new but short-lived format called “Playtapes.” These tape cartridges did not have the capabilities to include entire albums, so a truncated four-song version of “Magical Mytery Tour” was released in early 1968 in this portable format, some rare copies having a picture from the “Help!” soundtrack album on the front of the tape. “Penny Lane” was one of the four songs on this release. These Playtapes are highly collectable today.

Paul McCartney: “When I came to write it, John came over and helped me with the third verse, as often was the case. We were writing childhood memories: recently faded memories from eight or ten years before, so it was a recent nostalgia, pleasant memories for both of us. All the places were still there, and because we remembered it so clearly we could have gone on.” John himself relates: “We really got into the groove of imagining Penny Lane, you know – the bank was there, and that was where the tram sheds were and people waiting and the inspector stood there, the fire engines were down there. It was just reliving childhood.” In John’s Playboy interview of 1980, he concurs about his input in writing the song: “I wrote some of the lyrics. I can’t remember which. It was all Paul’s melody.”

“There was a barber shop called Bioletti’s with head shots of the haircuts you can have in the window and I just took it all and arted it up a little bit to make it sound like he was having a picture exhibition in his window. It was all based on real things; there was a bank on the corner so I imagined the banker, it was not a real person, and his slightly dubious habits and the little children laughing at him, and the pouring rain. The fire station was a bit of poetic license; there’s a fire station about half a mile down the road, not actually in Penny Lane, but we needed a third verse so we took that and I was very pleased with the line ‘It’s a clean machine.’ I still like that as a phrase, you occasionally hit a lucky little phrase and it becomes more than a phrase. So the banker and the barber shop and the fire station were all real locations.”

Here are the two videos…Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane… See those glasses that John Lennon slips on in the Penny Lane Video? The square ones…I have some identical from that time period…they are really cool.

Penny Lane

In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say, “Hello”

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
And little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway

In Penny Lane, the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane!

Lynyrd Skynyrd – I Need You

This album track came off of their second album Second Helping released in 1974. It was less than a year after their fantastic debut album called Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd. 

In my opinion they had some good albums after this one but not until their final one Street Survivors  did they match their first two.

Second Helping contained their big hit Sweet Home Alabama.  The album peaked at #12 in the Billboard Album Chart and #9 in Canada in 1974.

They played schools, parties, and bars for years before they hit it big. The band was first discovered in a rock club called Funnochio’s, on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1972. They were found by the famous Al Kooper, who had just landed an executive position at MCA Records and was searching to find some new talent for MCA’s “Sounds of the South” label. At that time Kooper was on tour supporting Badfinger at the time.

This album was produced by Al Kooper who was a founding member of Blood, Sweat, and Tears and he also played organ on Bob Dylan’s classic Like A Rolling Stone.

The three guitar attack was important with this band but it was Ronnie Van Zant’s songwriting that made them what they were. This song is a little slower but has that Skynryd build up of guitars. The band had some great album cuts and this is one of them.

Al Kooper: “Ronnie Van Zant was Lynyrd Skynyrd. I don’t mean to demean the roles the others played in the group’s success, but it never would have happened without him. His lyrics were a big part of it – like Woody Guthrie and Merle Haggard before him, Ronnie knew how to cut to the chase. And Ronnie ran that band with an iron hand. I have never seen such internal discipline in a band. One example: These guys composed all of their guitar solos. Most bands improvised solos each time they performed or recorded. Not them. Ronnie’s dream was that they would sound exactly the same every time they took the stage.” 

I Need You

Ain’t no need to worry
There ain’t no use to cry
‘Cause I’ll be comin’ home soon
To keep you satisfied

You know I get so lonely
That I feel I can’t go on
And it feels so good inside babe
Just to call you on the telephone
An’ I said…

Ooh baby I love you
What more can I say
Ooh baby I need you
I miss you more everyday

I woke up early this mornin’
And sun came shining down
And it found me wishin’ and a’hoping
Mama you could be around

Well you know I need you
More than the air I breathe
And I guess I’m just tryin’ to tell you woman
Oh what you mean to me yeah, yeah

Ooh baby I love you
What more can I say
Ooh baby I need you
I miss you more everyday
What I say…

I’m tryin’ to tell you I love you
In each and every way
I’m tryin’ to tell you I need you
Much more than just a piece of leg

Ooh baby I love you
What more can I say
Ooh baby I need you
I miss you more everyday

Ooh baby I love, love, love, love you
What more can I say yeah
‘Cause ooh baby I need your sweet lovin’
I miss you more an’ more everyday

Ooh baby I love you
Baby, baby I need ya

….

Mike Nesmith (1942-2021) and the Monkees influence

I had something else planned to post but I found out that Mike Nesmith passed away. Nesmith was a big inspiration to me. There is no question…Nesmith would have made it without the Monkees…he was a talented writer, actor, producer, novelist and a very good Texas guitar player.  He wrote some great country rock songs, Elephant Parts, and even a hit for Linda Ronstadt’s band The Stone Poneys…Different Drum.

While watching the reruns of the Monkees I bugged my mom to buy me a green wool hat with buttons but you can’t buy them off the shelf. She got me a green stocking cap…it wasn’t the same but I was happy.  When the Monkees are mentioned some people cringe but they still have a place in my 5-year-old heart…plus how many bands can say that Jimi Hendrix opened up for them? Although that might be the worst pairing ever.

I’m not saying they deserve to be remembered with the best bands ever. Not at all but they do need to be recognized for their influence on a couple of generations. They influenced a lot of kids to form bands…mostly because of their weekly prime-time television show and ensuing hit singles. In the 80s they had a big comeback with a tour and massive airplay on MTV… I got to see them then…without Nesmith though.

They were a lot of fun. I thought WOW… I must be in a band one day. Little did I know that being in a band was not living in a cool place at the beach and having adventures at every turn…not to mention everyone getting along…it just doesn’t happen that way…but it is a special feeling being in a band with an us against them attitude and a great growing experience.

After I went through the Monkees faze I discovered the Beatles, The Who, Stones, Kinks…anything British but I still have a soft spot for some of the old Monkees songs.

The Monkees basically took A Hard Days Night movie humor and made a television show around a life of a mid-sixties rock band. Kids wanted to form bands after seeing them romp around the screen with girls…who wouldn’t want that gig? Michael Stipe from REM has said  he was influenced by them.

They were not allowed to play on their first couple of albums…only sing…The Monkees were put together by Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider for Screen Gems with two real musicians in the band…Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork… Micky Dolenz (he did sing in cover bands before The Monkees) and Davy Jones could sing and act…. and Mickey quickly learned drums.

When news came out that they didn’t play on their albums they were roundly criticized in the 1960s. They fought Don Kershner who controlled what they sang…. and won… The funny thing is many sixties pop bands didn’t play on their records and the Monkees actually started to play their own instruments on their third album (Headquarters)  and writing some songs for every album afterward.

In the second season of their tv show they started to gain more control. Some of those last episodes are very pot influenced…especially the episode called “The Frodis Caper”… It is surreal and broke the fourth wall…the second season is worth a watch…all of them are fun but the 1st season is more formulaic.

I still like many songs by them…anything written by Michael Nesmith (famous also for Elephant Parts), Pleasant Valley Sunday, Randy Scouse Git, Steppin Stone and Saturday’s Child.

All in all, they ended up singing and playing on some of the best-known sixties pop-rock hits.

I’ll just add one more thing…he Monkees belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

….

Badfinger – Sweet Tuesday Morning

This song came off the album Straight Up that was released in 1971. Sweet Tuesday Morning was guitarist Joey Molland’s ballad about his then new wife Kathie.

All the band members wrote songs and sang. Pete Ham was the most successful out of the four but that doesn’t mean the rest were mediocre. Joey and Tom were both good songwriters and all collaborated with each other at times.

Joey Molland joined the band when bass player Ron Griffiths quit right after they recorded Come and Get It because of friction caused by his marriage. Molland who was previously with Gary Walker & The Rain, The Masterminds, and The Fruit-Eating Bears joined as a guitar player. Tom Evans switched to bass and this was the most successful lineup.

Sweet Tuesday Morning is mostly an acoustic song with simple backing that fit the early 1970s. In the UK this was the B side of Day After Day, Badfinger’s biggest hit.  Joey Molland had quite a strong showing on Straight Up…with the songs “Sweet Tuesday Morning,” “Suitcase,” “I’d Die Babe” and the albums most rocking song “Sometimes.”

Most consider Straight Up the best album they made. If you ever decide to buy a Badfinger album and want something other than just a greatest hits…this is the one to buy. 

Sweet Tuesday Morning

Sweet Tuesday morning
You came and you smiled
And all of my fears,
They have left me

Sweet Tuesday morning
You came and you smiled
And love is the answer you gave me

I’ve been to places all around, astound me
I’ve seen the breaking of the souvenirs
I’m in a brightness I can feel surround me
And it’s the first time I’ve felt it for years

Sweet Tuesday morning,
You came and you smiled
And love is the answer you gave me….mm-mhm

I’ve been to places all around, astound me
I’ve seen the breaking of the souvenirs
I’m in a brightness I can feel surround me
And it’s the first time I’ve felt it for years

Badfinger -Suitcase

This song was on their Straight Up album but it’s when they were live it came alive. They have a terrific groove going on and Pete wails on the solo. This was Badfinger live as they ventured out of power pop into a jam band. The live version of the band is much different than the studio version.

This song was going to be the B side to Name of the Game issued as a single but Apple never released it. The song has a power pop base but with hard electric on top and it changes the dynmaic of it.

Making the Straight Up album was no easy task. They started off with Geoff Emerick (he produced their last album and engineered several Beatle albums) producing them. The songs were rejected by the Apple’s head of US operations Allan Steckler. George Harrison thought a lot of Badfinger, especially Pete Ham and wanted Name of the Game to be released as a single before the album.  George then started to produce the band himself. He worked with them and they started to make progress. He played slide with Pete on the hit Day After Day and Leon Russell played piano.

They were making great progress but then the  Bangladesh concert came up and George was distracted. He handed off the producing to Todd Rundgren. The band and Rundgren didn’t mix well but he finished producing it in two weeks. The members were much happier with George who actually listened to their ideas.

It was a great album but one of the complaints from the band was it lost a lot of rawness and energy after Rundgren mixed it.

Going through three producers…it’s a wonder it’s as good as it is.

The Studio version is the second video but I would reccomend the live version…and I don’t do that a lot.

Suitcase

Suitcase, suitcase, follow me ’round
Bootlace, bootlace, tie me down
Money for fun, yeah, golden crown
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing for so long

And I’m sorry to be leavin’
Yeah, that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leavin’ today

[guitar solo (Pete Ham)]

Well I’m sorry to be leavin’
But that’s all I get to say
‘Cause I’m sorry to be leaving today

(Driver drive)

Driver, driver, go too fast
Miser, miser, make it last
Pusher, pusher, on the run
It’s all inside a game we’ve been playing so long

So long

Beatles Get Back Trailer

Just saw this a few minutes ago. Lately I’ve been living in a bubble because of work but this is the new Get Back trailer. This is not the sneak peak Peter Jackson released before. On November 25,26, and 27th… 6 hours of the Let It Be/Get Back music, comedy, and drama will all unfold on the Disney plus.

As a very young Beatle fan I read about these sessions and only saw still photographs. Later on I saw them do Get Back on MTV while on the rooftop and it was like photos coming to life…I read where they had 56 hours of video footage sitting in a vault from this album. Now we will see 6 hours out of that anyway…you what what? I would happily sit through 56 hours… Peter Jackson has done such a great job on the look of the film…it looks like it could have been filmed yesterday. Peter, need an assistant for free?

With the previews I’ve seen…it looks like it was a lot of fun and the bad drama was not prevalent through the filming. Ringo has said that people have focused on the negative but it was much more positive than that. What is great about Get Back is the good time they had and it wasn’t all doom and gloom. I can’t imagine the pressure they were under to deliver and be as good as their last album. In this case, when they filmed this, it was just a few months after they released The White Album…The Let It Be album didn’t get released until after their last studio album Abbey Road.

Enough of me talking…here is the preview.

Violent Femmes – American Music…. 80’s Underground Mondays

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin band Violent Femmes are best known for their song Blister in the Sun released in 1983. A girl that I knew drove me crazy playing that song but after a while I started to like it…more than the girl. The song started to be played on alternative and college radio.

James Honeyman Scott (Pretenders guitar player) was booked to play a gig and he was so impressed by the Violent Femmes that he let them open for him. They were were then offered a record deal by Slash Records and soon after that they released their 1982 debut album, “Violent Femmes.” The album slowly hit and later went platinum.

This song was on their Why Do Birds Sing? album in 1991 and it was their fifth studio album. The album peaked at #141 in the Billboard Album Chart but the song peaked at #2 on Billboards Modern Rock chart.

Through breakups and reunions the band minus the original drummer Victor DeLorenzo  are still together. Gordon Gano is the singer- songwriter and Brian Ritchie is the bass player with new drummer John Sparrow.

They released an album in 2019 called Hotel Last Resort and it peaked at #29 in the Billboard Indie Charts.

American Music

Can I, can I put in something like…
“This is “American Music”… take one.” 1-2-3-4!
Do you like American music?
I like American music.
Don’t you like American music, baby?

I want you to hold me, I want your arms around me.
I want you to hold me, baby…
Did you do too many drugs? I did too many drugs.
Did you do too many drugs, too, baby?

You were born too late, I was born too soon,
But every time I look at that ugly moon, it reminds me of you.
It reminds me of you… ooh-ooh-ooh.

I need a date to the prom, would you like to come along?
But nobody would go to the prom with me, baby…
They didn’t like American music, they never heard American music.
They didn’t know the music was in my soul, baby…

You were born too soon, I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake, it reminds me of me.
It reminds me of me…

Do you like American music? We like American music.
I like American music… Baby.
Do you like American music? We like all kinds of music.
But I like American music best… baby.

You were born too late, and I was born too late,
But every time I look at that ugly lake,
It reminds me of me…
It reminds me of me
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
Do you like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me
I like american music
It reminds me of me
She like american music
It reminds me of me

Monkees – Papa Gene’s Blues

80s Underground Mondays will be back next week…

Papa Gene’s Blues was written by Mike Nesmith with The Monkees in 1966 and was on their debut album. Nesmith also produced and sang the lead vocals on the track. The great James Burton and Glen Campbell are playing guitar on this track. The song reminds me of Ricky Nelson.

Nesmith was allowed two songs on the album. This one and Sweet Young Thing…which to me were two of the highlights of the album. Nesmith didn’t write pop songs…he wrote more country rock. Halfway into the guitar solo, Nesmith calls out “Aw, Pick It, Luther!”. Which is a shout out to Johnny Cash and his guitar player, Luther Perkin

I have to add this every time I do a Monkees post. They should be in the Hall of Fame, if only with their influence on three generations of listeners. The show debuted in the 60s, it was in reruns in the 70s (that was when I found them), and a complete revival in the 80s plus a tour. MTV promoted them heavily and they a hot item again. I saw them in 1986 and they were great.

Michael Nesmith:  “I liked the Monkees songs quite a bit, I wasn’t much of a pop writer. I tended, and still do, toward country blues, and lyrics with little moments in them – all pretty far off the pop songs of the ’60s. No resentment at all.”

Papa Gene’s Blues

No heartaches felt no longer lonely
Nights of waiting finally won me
Happiness that’s all rolled up in you

And now with you as inspiration
I look toward a destination
Sunny bright that once before was blue

I have no more than I did before
But now I’ve got all that I need
For I love you and I know you love me

So take my hand I’ll start my journey
Free from all the helpless worry
That besets a man when he’s alone

For strength is mine when we’re together
And with you I know I’ll never
Have to pass the high road for the low

I have no more than I did before
But now I’ve got all that I need
For I love you and I know you love me

[Spoken:]
Play, magic fingers!
Yee haw! Oh, pick it, Luther!

I have no more than I did before
But now I’ve got all that I need
For I love you and I know you love me

Yes, I love you and I know you love me

Rain Parade – One Half Hour Ago

I’ve been listening to the Rain Parade’s album Emergency Third Rail Power Trip and I’ve heard influences from Buffalo Springfield to Rubber Soul. The Rain Parade were part of the Paisley Underground scene in Los Angeles in the early 80s. The Paisley Underground scene contained bands such as The Bangles, Green on Red, and The Long Ryders.

If you get a chance give this album a listen. 

They were another band formed in Minnesota by college roommates Matt Piucci (guitar, vocals) and David Roback (guitar, vocals) in 1981, while they were attending Carleton College. David’s brother Steven Roback (bass, vocals) joined.

Their roots were in punk music but in this band…instead of the Sex Pistols and the Clash they went for the Byrds jangly guitars. The critics were mixed on this band…some saying they copied the psychedelic era too much and others saying they were ahead of their time. The Roback brothers were the main writers. After this album Dave Roback left the band.

From Wiki: Critic Jim DeRogatis would later write in his book Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock (2003) that “Emergency Third Rail Power Trip is not only the best album from any of the Paisley Underground bands, it ranks with the best psychedelic rock efforts from any era”, with uplifting melodies offset by themes that were “dark and introspective.”

They were together from 1981 to 1986. They broke up in 1986 and reformed in 2012 and have been touring since. Dave Roback passed away in 2020.

Daveid Roback: “Rain Parade was very much a recasting of our punk interests in more musical terms, inspired by our fascination with music history.”

One Half Hour Ago

What’s the point of looking back?
All you see is an empty track
Of lives you’ve lived
And things you tried to love

What’s the use of anything
That brings you down?
You can’t believe it for an hour
You’re in here just a while

Half an hour from an hour ago
From a half an hour from an hour ago
Call me early on Saturday
It’s my favorite day
I’ll come out to play
That is only, I go to bed
So that I can rest
I can leave my head behind

Disappointing everyone
I’m so much fun
Until I’m lost
Things we do are the way we choose to live