This copy of Leon Russell’s debut solo release, 1970’s Leon Russell was a generous gift from one of my wife’s aunts, and for reasons unknown, happened to find its way to the top of the spin pile. Sadly, this is my only exposure to this acclaimed and lucrative songwriter, which upon now, my second spin, has perked my interest into the Grammy award winning artist’s six decade career. This artist’s collaborators include, but are certainly not limited to, The Rolling Stones, Jan and Dean, The Beach Boys, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (the last five who appear on this release.) Heavily driven by Russell’s railroad-like piano, Leon Russell brings with it heartfelt highs (A Song for You), and foot-tappin’, booty-shakin’ lows (I Put a Spell on You). A considerably enjoyable listen, Leon Russell comes highly recommended.
There were a solid few months, some several years back, where all I’d listen to was Creedence on vinyl. Around this time I was finishing up the stellar discography of studio albums (of which there are seven: self titled, Bayou Country, Green River, Willy and the Poor Boys, Cosmo’s Factory, Pendulum, and the often forgotten, Mardi Gras). 45s were fairly easy enough to come by, and this one from 1970 was a spoil from my travels… Travelin’ Band b/w Who’ll Stop the Rain. Both essential CCR numbers at any rpm.
So, you don’t want to shell out $75 – $230 for Bernard Herrmann’s original motion picture soundtrack to Vertigo (current market value on Discogs)? I understand. Believe me. Getting a solid copy of this 1958, 7-track must-have can be a killer on your monthly record budget. As an alternative, might I humbly suggest this bootleg copy from 1970? The artwork is different (and a bit better in my opinion), and the exact same 7-tracks can be had for as little as $14.25! If bootlegs, or, you know, the color green isn’t your thing, there is also a Netherlands-only release from 1977 with yet another alternate cover (multiple Kim Novak heads surrounding a stilled hand… for those of you into the macabre). That one is available for as low as $9 on Discogs. So, if saving money without sacrificing the eerie quality of Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo is more your speed, there are options before you.
The Other Side of Abbey Road is a delightful little interpretation by legendary jazz guitarist George Benson of 1969’s famed Beatles album, Abbey Road. Released via CTI Records just a year after the original, The Other Side of Abbey Road features just five tracks, but takes careful consideration to combine up to three individual Beatles tracks into one Benson montage (take Something / Octopus’s Garden / The End, for example). George Benson’s guitar work is second to maybe Harrison himself, and as a whole The Other Side offers a fresh take on a classic, overheard album. Certainly not one to pass up.
Five great songbooks from the poster boys of pop-folk-rock, Simon & Garfunkel. Complete parts for lead and rhythm guitar and bass for 11 of Simon & Garfunkel’s hits in Songs by Paul Simon – For Guitar, “easy-to-play” arrangements for piano for the entire Bookends album, and Music for Groups, containing lead & rhythm guitar, combo organ, piano, bass and voice! At only $2 a pop, it stands to reason one would logically acquire all five books. Offer expires Dec. 31, 1970, so don’t delay! Bring the joy and pain of Simon & Garfunkel to a casual dinner party near you. Order your copies now!
Much has been written about Paul McCartney’s debut solo album, 1970’s McCartney. Most notably, Paul’s refusal to delay the Apple Records release in order to follow previously planned titles… like The Beatles’ Let it Be. I’ve given this record two spins from two different turntables within the last 12 hours, and though I’ll admit my experience with solo Beatles projects are gravely “less than,” I quite enjoy the playful, often unfinished rawness of McCartney. Certainly not an album that will receive heavy spinning, but a fun journey, if even for its historical significance.
Originally titled Virgo’s Fool, Van Morrison’s fourth studio offering titled His Band and the Street Choir, brought with it Mr. Morrison’s most successful, solo single. No, it wasn’t Brown Eyed Girl (which is what I’d assumed it to be), but instead, the looming and luxurious Domino. This 12-track album clocks in at just under 42 minutes, and with everything Van the Man released through 1972 (with Saint Dominic’s Preview) is essential, lazy day listening material.
Live Album (aka the Grand Funk Railroad live album) was released by Capitol Records in the summer of 1970. Though the gatefold cover shows the band performing at the Atlanta International Pop Festival (fourth of July weekend), none of Live Album’s tracks were recorded there. A little food for misguided thought. Also present at the festival were It’s a Beautiful Day, Procol Harum, B.B. King, The Allman Brothers Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Spirit, and Mott the Hoople. Sounds like a dangerous time. It’s no wonder none of the band’s songs from this performance were included on the record.
Neil Diamond struck it rich with his 1970 live album, Gold. This is a 1973 reissue, but the material is the same as that on the original 1970 album (for those caring to know such things). The material was recorded on July 15, 1970 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles (a great, and relatively small venue). It’s a great listen, but don’t take my word for it. Extinct trade magazine Cashbox had this to say in October of 1969: “On stage Diamond radiates the same excitement that has made pop stars from Sinatra to Presley, and it’s a sensation that can’t be described, only felt.”
Was this how it was to be young again, circa: 1940 or 1941? Time Life Records certainly thought so back in 1970 when this 3x LP comp was released. 30, unoriginal (read: covers… or impostors) tracks span the popular swing sound during this two-year period, highlighting works from Duke Ellington, Harry James, Artie Shaw, Les Brown, Glenn Miller, and the like. If you’re in the mood (see what I did there?) for original swing era recordings, The Swing Era: The Music of 1940-1941; How It Was to be Young Then is NOT for you, but if you’re satisfied with some unobtrusive background instrumental ditties, then this box set may be your bag.
You know, when one gets older, one finds the inherent need to dibble-dabble in the piano rag greatness of Scott Joplin, as delightfully depicted by pianist, Joshua Rifkin on Nonesuch Records’ 1970 release. I guess, nothing else needs saying, after that prominent display. Please do carry on about your Thursday evening. Cheers.
All this time, I thought Mr. Garfunkel wrote Bridge Over Troubled Water, but apparently, it was Mr. Simon. Perhaps it was Mr. Garfunk’s singing that threw me off, but none-the-less, I learned a bit of music history today in prep for this post. S&G’s last, and most prolific single continues to linger in the lore of pop-classic-rock-radio euphoria, and it’s only been something like, 46 years…