Procol Harum – Whiskey Train

This song was released in 1970 and the opposite of their best-known hit “A Whiter Shade Of Pale.” The band had some personnel changes by this time. This wasn’t a big hit or a hit at all but I’ve always loved it as a rock and roll song.

Whiskey Train was written by guitarist Robin Trower and Keith Reid. Great rock and roll song. Leslie West and Blackfoot also covered this song but I’ll stick with the original.

 

Procol Harum – A Whiter Shade of Pale

A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum was released in 1967. It went to #1 in the UK and #5 in the US. It sold over 10 million copies. It is a great song and it perfectly captured its time. John Lennon was a huge fan of the song and would play it repeatedly in his psychedelic Rolls Royce.

It was re-released in 1972 and went to #13 in the UK charts.

It is one of those songs like Itchycoo Park that automatically transports me to the sixties… I never get tired of listening to this…

The Illinois Crime Commission included the song in a list of ‘drug-oriented records’ along with “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane and The Beatles “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” When any ban would happen the records would fly off the shelves.

This is from songfacts.com

In 2004, the UK performing rights group Phonographic Performance Limited named this the most-played record on British TV and radio of the past 70 years. In 2009 it was announced that this song is still Britain’s most played record. The runner-up in the list was Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The two songs share one unusual similarity-on both of them the word “fandango” crops up in the lyrics.

Gary Brooker and Keith Reid were credited with writing the song but Matthew Fisher the former keyboard player in the band sued for partial writing credit and won. Now the song’s writing credit is Reid-Brooker-Fisher. Gary Brooker and Fisher wrote the music and Reid wrote the lyrics. This is from an interview with Keith Reid.

 “I was trying to conjure a mood as much as tell a straightforward, girl-leaves-boy story. With the ceiling flying away and room humming harder, I wanted to paint an image of a scene. I wasn’t trying to be mysterious with those images, I was trying to be evocative. I suppose it seems like a decadent scene I’m describing. But I was too young to have experienced any decadence, then. I might have been smoking when I conceived it, but not when I wrote. It was influenced by books, not drugs.”

 

 

A Whiter Shade of Pale

We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
And the waiter brought a tray

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, “There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see. “
But I wandered through my playing cards
And they would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open wide
They might have just as well been closed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

She said, “I’m here on a shore leave,”
Though we were miles at sea.
I pointed out this detail
And forced her to agree,
Saying, “You must be the mermaid
Who took King Neptune for a ride. “
And she smiled at me so sweetly
That my anger straightway died.

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

If music be the food of love
Then laughter is it’s queen
And likewise if behind is in front
Then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
Seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
And attacked the ocean bed

And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale

Watkins Glen 1973

I first read about this concert-festival in a Grateful Dead biography… There is not much video footage from the concert. I never could understand why this concert didn’t hold up in history like some others like The Atlanta Pop festival and others. I’m not saying it should have been remembered like Woodstock because it’s cultural impact was like no others…but this drew more than any other festival including Woodstock.

An estimated 600,000 people came to this concert on July 28, 1973, in Watkins Glen N.Y. 45 years ago. Maybe the reason it is not as remembered is that only three bands performed…but the three bands were giant bands in their prime. The Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, and The Band.

From the bands themselves, almost all agree the sound check on Friday was better than the concerts.

Perspective about the concert by a member from each band.

Robbie Robertson from his book Testimony

Then we got a request from Bill Graham, who was putting together a show “just up the highway from us” at the Watkins Glen Raceway. We’d be performing with the Allman Brothers and the Grateful Dead. Playing some gigs could help us get “back on the stick,” as they say.
We went up to Watkins Glen the day before the show for the sound check. Bill Graham said that the Dead would go on first and play for three or four hours—that was part of their thing, giving the audience their money’s worth. “Until the drugs wear off,” said Bill, laughing. We’d go on in the late afternoon, and the Allmans would take over at sundown. As we were leaving the sound check, it looked like cars were heading toward the racetrack from every direction. Bill said he expected maybe a hundred thousand or more.
When we came back the next day, we couldn’t believe our eyes. Hundreds of thousands of people had showed up, and more just kept coming and coming. The crowds mowed down the high chain-link fences around the racetrack and filled the area as far as the eye could see. Bill was running around trying to make people pay admission, but the mobs were out of control.
When it came time for the Band to take the stage, it started pouring. As we waited, hoping it was going to let up, Bill came over. “They’ve determined there are 650,000 people here. It’s the biggest concert in history.” The news was somewhere between an incredible accomplishment and a huge disaster.
The rain started letting up, and Garth played some churchy, rainy-day keyboard sounds out over the crowd. When it was safe to go on, we decided to start our set with Chuck Berry’s “Back to Memphis.” And wouldn’t you know, as Levon sang that baby, the sun came out.

Gregg Allman from My Cross to Bear

Right before Brothers and Sisters came out, we played the festival at Watkins Glen with the Band and the Grateful Dead, in front of six hundred thousand people—the biggest show in history to that point. People always talk about Woodstock. Watkins Glen was like three Woodstocks. I think actually it might’ve been a little too big. They should have had people all the way around the raceway, and maybe had the stage in the center revolving real slowly, do a revolution in a minute. That’s not that complicated.
A show like Watkins Glen was uncomfortable, because you know that you’re getting the show across to this many people, but you still got two times that many behind them. You could finish a song, take your guitar off, put it in the case, and latch it up before the last guy heard the last note. Sound ain’t all that fast, not compared to light.

When you’re playing in that situation, you’re kind of thinking about the end. Not that you’re wishing it to be over, but you can’t even hear yourself—that was back before we had the in-ear monitors. Everything was so loud. You just walk out there and start to wince before you even start playing. It’s hard to get any kind of coziness, any kind of feel with the audience.
I guess there’s something about that many people seeing you all at once that’s real nice, but it’s just too much. You’re just like a little squeak in the middle of a bomb going off. But it was interesting, and it was a pretty fun day. People were OD’ing all over the place. And of course, Uncle Bill was there, which cured everything. It was exciting to be there and see it—and to be able to make ’em stand up, now that was something else.

Bill Kreutzmann from Deal

We made some questionable business decisions and we couldn’t sell records, but we sure could sell tickets. We sold around 150,000 tickets for a single show at a racetrack in Watkins Glen, New York, on July, 28, 1973. Yes, and more than 600,000 people ended up coming out for it. The lineup was just us, the Allman Brothers, and the Band. That show, called the Summer Jam at Watkins Glen, made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for what, at the time, was the largest audience ever assembled at a rock concert. In fact, that record may still hold today, at least in the U.S., and some have even proposed that it was the largest gathering in American history. Originally, the bill was supposed to just be the Dead and the Allmans, but our respective camps fought with the promoter over which band would get headliner status. The solution was that both bands would co-headline and they’d add a third, “support” act.
The friendly (“-ish”) competition between us and the Allman Brothers carried through to the event itself. And yet, the memory that I’m most fond of and hold most dear from that whole weekend was jamming backstage with Jaimoe, one of the Allman’s drummers. We were just sitting in the dressing room, banging out rhythms, and that was a lot of fun for me. Jaimoe backed Otis Redding and Sam & Dave before becoming a founding member of the Allman Brothers, where he remains to this day. He’s a soulful drummer and just an incredible guy who is impossible not to like.
As for the show itself, it is a well-known fact that the Grateful Dead always blew the big ones. Watkins Glen was no exception. However, we still got a great night of music out of it—the night before. The show took place on a Saturday, but by Friday afternoon there were already about 90,000 people in front of the stage. I’ve heard others place that number closer to 200,000. Either way, the audience was already many times the size of any of our regular shows, and the show was still a full day away. The only duty we had on Friday was to do a soundcheck, and even that was somewhat optional. The Band soundchecked a couple of songs. The Allman Brothers soundchecked for a bit. Then, perhaps spurred on by our friendly rivalry, we decided to one-up both bands by turning our soundcheck into a full-on, two-set show. Naturally, without any of the pressure of the “official show” the next day, we really let loose and played a good one. There was an eighteen-minute free-form jam that eventually made it onto So Many Roads, one of our archival box sets. It’s good music, all right, and it still holds its own.
On the day of the actual show, we had to fly into the venue via helicopter because the roads were all backed up, like what happened at Woodstock. People left their cars on the side of the road and walked for miles to the gig. I remember looking down from the helicopter and seeing the most incredible impressionist painting, a Monet of heads, shoulders, tie-dyes, baseball caps, and backpacks, packed front to back. You couldn’t see the ground for the crowd. To this day, I’ve never seen anything else like that.
Nowadays at large music events and festivals, they have golf carts for artists and crews to get around, but back then they used little motor scooters. Early, during the day of our supposed “soundcheck,” I commandeered one of these scooters and, because the venue was an actual racetrack, I decided to do a lap. This was before the gates were opened. The scooter went maybe fifteen or eighteen miles an hour, something stupid like that, and it took forever just to do one lap. But I did it. And that’s when I first started to get a feel for the scale of the event and just how large it was.
During the Summer Jam itself, I watched the other bands play and I honestly thought the Allman Brothers played better on the big day than we did. As for the Band, well, they always sounded great.

If you have read this long…below is some crowd video and a little of the music.

Best Double A-Sided Singles List

This is my first attempt at a list. I have picked what I think were the top 20 double A-Sided singles in pop/ rock.  I feel good until number 5…after that it gets hard. When I made the list I wasn’t counting how many copies they sold or just chart history. I tried to put their importance in history into account. and my preference…which of course means nothing but it’s fun…

  1. Beatles – Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane The number 1 position is the only position that didn’t give me any trouble…
  2. Beatles –  Hey Jude/Revolution – What a single this is… Two of the Beatles best-  known songs together for their first Apple release. A great way to start the Apple label.
  3. Rolling Stones –  Honky Tonk Women/You Can’t Always Get What You Want The Stones released this in 1969 and Honky Tonk Women when to number 1
  4. Elvis – Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog  This is cool fifties Elvis and untouchable. This record influenced young rockers all over the world. 
  5. Beatles – Something/Come Together George finally gets an A side and he runs with it and you have Come Together as the B side. 
  6. Rolling Stones – Ruby Tuesday / Let’s Spend the Night Together No Chicago blues here but beautifully crafted pop. 
  7. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Proud Mary/Born On The Bayou This was the major breakthrough single for CCR and they kept coming. 
  8. The Band – Up On Cripple Creek/The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down The quality of this single is outstanding. Neither was a top 20 hit but they are still played to this day. 
  9. Beatles – Paperback Writer/Rain The bass jumps out at you on these recordings. Paul plays a Rickenbacker and boosted the level in the studio
  10. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Down on the Corner / Fortunate Son Fortunate Son was John Fogerty’s angriest song and it made his feelings known. 
  11. Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There The single that broke the Beatles in America. I like some of the other Beatle singles more but this one was huge and maybe the most important of their career. 
  12. Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode/Around and Around Johnny B. Goode is the song ever bar band is required to know. The guitar riff is eternal. 
  13. Rolling Stones – Bitch/Brown Sugar If I had to explain to an alien what Rock and Roll was all about without talking…I would hand them a picture of Keith Richards and a copy of Brown Sugar.
  14. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travelin’ Band / Who’ll Stop the Rain After playing Woodstock John went home and wrote Who’ll Stop the Rain
  15. Sam Cooke – Shake/A Change Is Gonna Come A Change Is Gonna Come speaks for itself. What a beautiful song. 
  16. Queen – We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You Two of Rocks biggest anthems was released in 1977 and you could not go anywhere without hearing both
  17. Beach Boys – Wouldn’t It Be Nice / God Only Knows God Only Knows is one of the most beautiful sounding songs ever. 
  18. Buddy Holly – Peggy Sue / Everyday Peggy Sue is probably the song Buddy is most remembered for…Everyday is a great song in itselfBuddy was a huge influence on The Beatles. 
  19. Beach Boys – I Get Around/Don’t Worry Baby I Get Around went to number 1 but Don’t Worry Baby is the reason this song is on the list.
  1. Elvis Presley – Mystery Train / I Forgot to Remember to Forget Two classics by Elvis. Mystery Train’s guitar sound is just haunting.

Honorable Mentions

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Up Around the Bend / Run Through the Jungle

Ricky Nelson – Travelin’ Man / Hello Mary Lou

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Bad Moon Rising / Lodi

Chuck Berry – Sweet Little Sixteen / Reelin’ and Rocking

Jimi Hendrix – Purple Haze / The Wind Cries Mary

Sam Cooke – Bring It on Home to Me / Having a Party

Ritchie Valens – Donna / La Bamba

John Fogerty – Rock and Roll Girls / Centerfield

Sly & the Family Stone – Stand! / I Want to Take You Higher

Beatles – Hello Goodbye / I Am the Walrus

Beatles – Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down

Buddy Holly – Oh Boy/Not Fade Away

Beatles – We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper

Rod Stewart – Maggie May / Reason to Believe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Superfly – 1972

Monday night I went to see this 1972 movie at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville. It was like being in a time warp and back in 1972. This movie has padding and some wooden acting but you can tell where Quentin Tarantino was inspired. I’ve always liked the movie and seeing it on the big screen made it that much better.

They filmed it on the cheap with some real criminals in the movie to add authenticity. The character “KC” was a pimp in real life and the famous car from the movie is, in fact, KC’s car. The car is no longer with us…it was seized by the IRS when KC got into trouble.

“Fat Freddie” “Charles McGregor” in real life was a reformed criminal. He helped on the realism and went on to appear in more blaxploitation films in the 1970s. He also ended up going to schools and counseling children on the dangers of a life in crime.

The highlight of the movie, of course, is the music. Curtis Mayfield’s soundtrack is great. Curtis does appear in the movie playing in a bar.

The movie’s budget was under 500,000 dollars but it did gross over 30 million at the box office.

One quote got a laugh from the audience…and it was because of the mention of an eight-track. You’re gunna give all this up? Eight Track Stereo, color T.V. in every room, and can snort a half a piece of dope everyday?! That’s the American Dream

I’m glad they didn’t clean the film up too much. It had some grainy elements and it fit the atmosphere perfect.

It’s not a great, great movie but the story is good with a nice twist… and it did make a cultural impact.

U2 – Love Rescue Me

I bought the Rattle and Hum album when it came out in 1988. This song became my favourite of the album. It wasn’t a hit or even a single but the song stood out and Bono’s voice cut through with the lyrics.

The song was written by Bono and Bob Dylan.

This is Bono talking about the creation of the song to Rolling Stone magazine in 2010.

Bono wrote the song in the late Eighties while staying in the Beverly Hills mansion where, strangely, the Menendez brothers would later kill their parents. The song apparently came to him in a dream, with Bob Dylan singing it. When Bono met Dylan shortly afterward, he asked Dylan if it was one of his songs. “No,” Dylan said. “But maybe it could be.” They wound up finishing the track together, and Dylan even sang background vocals.

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/video-u2-dust-off-love-rescue-me-after-twenty-years-235200/

 

“Love Rescue Me”
Love rescue me
Come forth and speak to me
Raise me up and don’t let me fall
No man is my enemy
My own hands imprison me
Love rescue me

Many strangers have I met
On the road to my regret
Many lost who seek to find themselves in me
They ask me to reveal
The very thoughts they would conceal
Love rescue me

And the sun in the sky
Makes a shadow of you and I
Stretching out as the sun sinks in the sea
I’m here without a name
In the palace of my shame
Said, love rescue me

In the cold mirror of a glass
I see my reflection pass
See the dark shades of what I used to be
See the purple of her eyes
The scarlet of my lies
Love rescue me

Yea, though I walk
In the valley of shadow
Yea, I will fear no evil
I have cursed thy rod and staff
They no longer comfort me
Love rescue me

Sha la la…sha la la la
Sha la la la…ha la la…
Sha la la la…sha la la la
Sha la la la…sha la la
Sha la la la…sha la la la
Sha la la…
I said love, love rescue me

I said love
Climb up the mountains, said love
I said love, oh my love
On the hill of the son
I’m on the eve of a storm
And my word you must believe in
Oh, I said love, rescue me
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah…

Yeah I’m here without a name
In the palace of my shame
I said love rescue me

I’ve conquered my past
The future is here at last
I stand at the entrance
To a new world I can see
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me
Love rescue me

Bob Marley – Stir It Up

This song got me into Bob Marley. He wrote this song in 1967 and recorded it that year and released it as a single. It was later covered by Johnny Nash in 1972 and went to 12 in the Hot 100. Bob Marley and the Wailers re-recorded it in 1973 for the “Catch the Fire” album. The Nash version was Bob’s first success outside of Jamaica.

It has been said that Bob Marley wrote this song for his wife Rita.

Bob Marley on Johnny Nash

“He’s a hard worker, but he didn’t know my music. I don’t want to put him down, but Reggae isn’t really his bag,” he said. “We knew of Johnny Nash in Jamaica before he arrived, but we didn’t love him that much: We appreciated him singing the kind of music he does – he was the first US artist to do reggae – but he isn’t really our idol. That’s Otis or James Brown or Pickett, the people who work it more hard.”

 

 

“Stir It Up”

Stir it up; little darlin’, stir it up. Come on, baby.
Come on and stir it up: little darlin’, stir it up. O-oh!It’s been a long, long time, yeah!
(stir it, stir it, stir it together)
Since I got you on my mind. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh) Oh-oh!
Now you are here (stir it, stir it, stir it together), I said,
it’s so clear
There’s so much we could do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Just me and you.

Come on and stir it up; …, little darlin’!
Stir it up; come on, baby!
Come on and stir it up, yeah!
Little darlin’, stir it up! O-oh!

I’ll push the wood (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
then I blaze ya fire;
Then I’ll satisfy your heart’s desire. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Said, I stir it every (stir it, stir it, stir it together),
every minute:
All you got to do, baby, (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Is keep it in, eh!

(Stir it up) Oh, little darlin’,
Stir it up; …, baby!
Come on and stir it up, oh-oh-oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up! Wo-oh! Mm, now, now.

Quench me when I’m thirsty;
Come on and cool me down, baby, when I’m hot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)
Your recipe is, – darlin’ – is so tasty,
When you show and stir your pot. (ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh)

So: stir it up, oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up; wo, now!
Come on and stir it up, oh-ah!
Little darlin’, stir it up!

[Guitar solo]

Oh, little darlin’, stir it up. Come on, babe!
Come on and stir it up, wo-o-a!
Little darlin’, stir it up! Stick with me, baby!
Come on, come on and stir it up, oh-oh!
Little darlin’, stir it up. [fadeout]