With CCR, Hendrix, Dylan, and original compositions by Neil Young, the 1980 soundtrack to the Hunter S. Thompson laugh-riot, Where the Buffalo Roam, is classic, classic rock. Bill Murray, aka Mr. Thompson even does a goofy-ass version of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Needless to say, this comp is worthy of any and every Gonzo out there.
Bob Dylan, for me, has never been the pedestal-placing monarch that many people view him as. I’ve always respected Robert Zimmerman, the Minnesota native, and have conveniently dodged his raspy snarls when hand-selecting my life’s playlist. I certainly have nothing against his revolutionary impact on pop music, or his distinctive brand of folk-rock, I guess I just never really got around to it. With the (more than) understood philosophy of “too little music, not enough time,” the bellowing observations of Mr. Dylan never made the cut. He’d been Chopped before ever entering my personal music kitchen, for those of you who are fans of The Food Network.
An opportunity presented itself back in (date) that would have been unbelievably stupid to pass up. My mom scored free tickets to a Bob Dylan performance in Madison, WI, and kindly offered them to me. Using the term scored as a drug reference when referring to my mother is humorous to me, and kind of appropriate for ol’ Bob’s transcendent vibe. Anyway, to make a short story even longer, my show-going companion and I got the time of the show mixed up (by a good couple hours) and we arrived just as ol’ Times They Are A Changin’ had started his 2nd encore. He played All Along the Watchtower, something else I didn’t recognize, and then he was gone.
Perhaps if I’d been more of a fan (or one at all), I’d have made sure of the correct time, but never the less, I can truthfully say, I’ve seen Bob Dylan.
When the internet goes down at the family B&B under the bellowing roars of a violent, Midwestern thunderstorm, The Groove takes an unscheduled backseat. Completed, but no way to transfer (without retyping from my phone), is a write up about the mishap surrounding my Bob Dylan experience, but instead, all I can offer is a poorly phone-o-shopped fanning of my ticket stubs. Don’t take your wifi for granted, kids.
One word… Superposter. It’s not just your routine poster. Standard posters are for coupon cutters and puddle jumpers. Superposters… now, that’s the bees knees, you dig? Got a neighbor with a bum knee who can’t will himself to the kitchen to boil an egg? Give ‘em a Bob Dylan clown head Superposter. Want to grease the wheels with your kid’s 2nd grade math teacher because your kid keeps bringing home C’s? Give Mrs. Fractionstein a Moby Grape Superposter. Before you know it, little Suzysucksatmath will be merrily skipping home with her justly deserved B-. (Allow three weeks for delivery. Offer expires 12/30/69.)
Superposters… putting ordinary posters to shame since the late 60’s.
So much can be said about this celebrity-singing-covers compilation. Essays that inspire men towards intergalactic travel, lifesaving breakthroughs in medicine, and profound human rights activism have been written, studied, and taught from this album (no evidence of this exists). Yes, many words have been spoken, but none pertaining to this album approach the colossal distinction of nobility, decorum, and heartfelt enthusiasm as the following two, majestic words: William Shatner.
William Shatner. The name alone is powerful enough to move mountains, but the man himself… you see, is no mere “man” at all. Not in the common use of the word, anyway. He’s somewhat of a Superlative-man (please picture a striking red “S” on the broad chest of this transcendent man). He’s someone who can create galaxies with his thoughts, rectify world peace simply by offering a slight smirk, and, as evident from this album, is able to sends both The Beatles and Bob Dylan to shame-town by outperforming their classic hits, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds and the timeless, Mr. Tambourine Man.
Aside from the obvious highlights already mentioned, this GOLDEN album features Leonard Nimoy singing a Creedence Clearwater Revival track, Mae West performing Twist and Shout, and Andy Griffith tackling House of the Rising Sun. The term eclectic was reinvented when this album was released.
William Shatner is a man transformed; a star that may die, but whose light will burn on for lifetimes to come. Golden Throats, although it only contains two of his brilliant works, is a beaming example of this. There may be 14 “songs” on this album, but for me, it’s a single with 12 bonus tracks. Golden Throats comes HIGHLY recommended.
1. Frank Zappa.
2. The Mothers of Invention were originally called The Soul Giants, but changed their name to The Mothers (on Mother’s Day 1965?), before settling on their full title for their debut album, 1966’s Freak Out!
3. Like your mother, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention promote the consumption of vegetables. From Call Any Vegetable, The Mothers explain, “This is a song about vegetables. They keep you regular. They’re real good for ya.” Don’t become irregular. Eat your veggies!
4. Staunch fans of pets, and reptiles in general, the 1970 reinvention of the Mothers included three former members of The Turtles, Mark Volman, Howard Kaylan and Jim Pons.
5. Frank Zappa.
6. Also similar to your mother, these Mothers promote the healthy balance of a nutritional diet, aquatic exercise, and proper education. In the epic Brown Shoes Don’t Make It, we hear, “TV dinner by the pool. I’m so glad I finished school.” Listen to your mothers. They know what’s best for you.
7. The band’s Producer, Tom Wilson, made a name for himself by his acclaimed work with Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, The Animals and The Velvet Underground.
8. Frank Zappa.
The Prudent Groove would like to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there (regardless of your personal prune preference)!
For the next 30 posts, or until I get bored, the post number will correspond with the year in which the post’s subject was released. It could be an album review, a song highlight, or an insert advert. The choices are by no means the best of any given year, nor are they my favorite. They are instead a representation of the digable grooves in my collection, broken down by year. With me? Ok, cool.
For 1970 (post #70), I’ve chosen CCR’s (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Long As I Can See the Light/Lookin’ Out My Back Door 45. CCR had some driving, Southern Rock-inspired jams in their heyday, and Long As I Can See the Light is NOT one of them. This is not to say it is inferior in any way. On the contrary. With its simple lyrics and low-key, slow-rollin’ drawl, Long As I Can See the Light reminds us that we can always go back to where we came from, so long as the offer is still extended. We all, at one point or another, feel the need to move on… to explore the vast unknown of uncertainty. But we’d like not to dismiss the comfort of returning home, when it becomes undeniably necessary.
I can’t hear Lookin’ Out My Back Door and not picture the Dude smokin’ a jay and banging the roof of his car to Doug Clifford’s beat. It was used perfectly in The Big Lebowski, but given the song’s brilliance, I’d imagine this song would fit perfectly in any film that featured it.
My favorite line is, without question, “A dinosaur Victrola listening to Buck Owens.” In a song bursting with visual abnormalities (“A statue wearing high heals” or “Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band” for example), the image of an old Victrola shouting Buck Owens ditties always makes me chuckle. It’s easy to picture John Fogerty mentally returning to a happy place during the drug-induced hallucination he sings about in this song, and it’s generous of him to take us along on that ride.
I could have easily focused on Zeppelin III, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround – Part One, Dylan’s Self Portrait, McCartney’s solo debut, Joni Mitchell’s Ladies of the Canyon, or even Bitches Brew, but for me, 1970 screams Creedence Clearwater Revival.