The Turning Point

TurningPointMy first John Mayall album, The Turning Point was, for me, indeed just that. Recorded live on July 12th, 1969, The Turning Point featured Eddie Kramer at the recording engineer helm (of Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix fame), with Mr. Mayall acting as producer, album art director, and a stellar offering on keyboards, tambourine, slide guitar, harmonica, and vocals. The multi-hat-wearing Mayall kills the harmonica blues sound for what feels like a room of 10,000 eager fans, and should be deemed necessary listening material for any fan of modern blues rock. The Turning Point may not be the best place to start, given Mayall’s extensive library, but it sure is a damn entertaining ride.

R O C K

RockIt’s crazy to imagine a world where Led Zeppelin’s IV was not only new, but was also featured alongside Jerry Stiller & Anne Meara’s Laugh When You Like. I think I found this sleeve tucked inside Rich Grech’s The Last Five Years (from ’73) which is, an amazing blues / classic rock collection. Had some free time this past weekend and dug through some of the lesser spun albs. You’ll recognize Rich Grech from Traffic, Ginger Baker’s Air Force, and Blind Faith if the name escapes you. Short story shorter, it’s well worth the $1.70 a seller over at Discogs is asking.

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IIWithout question, (yet still, arguably), the WORST back cover to any major album release of any, and all time. Now, there is certainly room for judgment and viable speculation, but k’mon! No track listings… no suggestive band photos… no credits… no nothing! “Look within” I suppose was the point, as well it should have been, but once that (now obvious) objective has been made, the art for Zeppelin II’s album ass is forever implanted (ass humor) in Groove history, or at the very least, made known to the casual passers by in a leisurely, and nonthreatening manner.

The Mud and the Blood and the Mole

BloodReleased on Mr. Jourgenson’s 13th Planet Records, Ministry’s 10th studio album, 2006’s Rio Grande Blood finds ol’ granpaw Jourgenson and crew picking up where they left off with the first in the Bush-bashing trilogy, 2003’s Houses of the Mole. Where as the latter pays homage, if only in name, to Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy, the former gets the root of its title from ZZ Top’s sophomore album, Rio Grande Mud.
I hesitate to say that Ministry’s music has evolved over the past three decades, as they seemed to have hit a creative plateau around 1988 – 1992, but that in no way means that this wave, and the band’s current one, are anything shy of ass-kickin’, spit-shootin’, name-takin’ industrial metal.

Beg Bri Blu

BluesCover distracted, ditsiness aside, The Beginning British Blues is a hint of British Blues history the laypeople (especially including myself) may not have otherwise been hip to. Bridging the Eric Clapton gap between The Yardbirds and Cream, the momentary glimpse of Clapton’s collaboration with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers seems to be the bulk of the focus here. With back sleeve write-up by Jimmy Page (together with Miles Road, a duet with Mr. Clapton), The Beginning British Blues is a hidden treasure of historical significance, something this guy here just discovered he needed to possess.

A Halfhearted (Politician’s) Promise for Tomorrow

FourJust like how function trumps fashion, so too shall quality (eventually) trump quantity here at The Prudent Groove. For too long I’ve been lacksadaisically (it’s a word… I think) thumbing my procrastination button and parading through an inferior product (since day one). So, as a mission statement (if only to myself), I, out-of-turnly proclaim, that tomorrow’s focus will showcase a much more thought out analysis (read: sarcastic observation).

What you see here (obviously), is an 8-track cassette of Led Zeppelin’s fourth album. Acquired today for a cool $1.99, this lil’ jammer will squat within the vacant garage currently residing in our living room in the shape of an empty (wood-paneled) 8-track player. Gone (and thoroughly missed), is my red cassette copy of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., and in its place, and abridged version of Zeppelin’s most commercially proclaimed outing.

“Do you own an 8-track player?’ – Record story Guy

“Have you read The Groove?” – Me (to myself, and several hours later)

Teamwork Tuesday

ZepIIStuck at work and running on minimal sleep, I opted for a few extra moments of shut-eye and neglected to photograph an album for today’s post. Teamwork being tonight’s theme, I enlisted the help of my SO to pick any record in the collection, take a picture of it, and send it my way. Having free reign of nearly 3000 records, she (my SO) sent over the picture to the left, and with it, a little story. Much to the dismay of my loving and beautiful SO, I’ll share that story with you now…

(Sent via text) “This was the first Zeppelin album (read: cassette tape) I listened to. I think it was 7th grade. Some of the boys had a “band” and were going to play Stairway to Heaven at a gathering of some sort and they asked me to sing. I realize that’s not on this album, but it’s a little trivia for you :). I ended up not singing :(.”

(Then, asking her why she didn’t sing, I thanked her for writing today’s post. She added) “It’s not even on the record! I don’t remember why. I didn’t have a lot of rehearsal time with them and we didn’t plan it out well… being 12 and all. I think they ended up playing Kashmir instead? Or else they tried Stairway but the guitar solo was less than fabulous? I forget. It’s been, like, 20-some years! Uhggggg I can’t believe it’s been that long.”

And this has concluded, the first ever… Teamwork Tuesday.

Wait… is it a Speed, or is it a Book?

33.3The 33 1/3 book series by Bloomsbury Publishing is a perfect collection of nerd-focused musical insight into the historical happenings of the development and recording of some of the most essential albums ever released (depending on whom you ask, of course… judge me not by this collection, you will). With 90 books currently published, and many more in the works (including upcoming releases that will warrant almost certain purchasing by yours truly… Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables; Freedom of Choice), my (current) collection of a measly 17 (or 5.29%) books from the series is, I feel, a decent start, and acts as a non-audio musical oasis of printed, historic pleasure.

I’ve finished The Village Green Preservation Society, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Led Zeppelin IV, Paul’s Boutique (working on my third time through… it’s that good), Use Your Illusion I and II, and Double Nickels on the Dime, and am currently in the wee pages of Let it Be. (Check out the 90 titles here.)

If you’re in the mood for a quick, compact, in-depth analysis of some of the more quintessential albums of modern day rock (generally), look no further than 33 1/3. They’re cheap, and they look majestic all lined up on a bookshelf, or so I tell my significant other.

You Never Forget Your First

Baby PhonoIt’s not every day an obsessive-compulsive collector is reunited with his first turntable. Today was that immortal day. While on holiday in the muggy bayou that is (currently) Southern Wisconsin, I (actually, my father found it) discovered a crucial piece of my record loving history, this late 70s, Disco Mouse, Sears, Roebuck and Co. phonograph.

Still in working, albeit cosmetically challenged, condition, this little guy provided countless hours of Pac-Man adventures, abridged versions of my favorite Star Wars, and Star Wars related fantasies (think The Ewoks Join the Fight), and spun my very first picture disc, 1977’s Main Street Electrical Parade. (It was most recently the spinner of Louie Louie by The Kingsmen, Volare by Dean Martin, and Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Oh how times have changed.)

A collector exhausts many a turntable throughout their lives. Some rest in unrepaired ruin, while others lay in storage for over 30 years, waiting to once again offer a plethora of new memories.

Many thanks to my folks for introducing me the wonderful world of recorded music.

Happy 77th Birthday, Mr. Holly

Buddy Holly LivesToday, Charles Hardin Holley would have been 77 years young. In the 22 years he walked this Earth, the legendary trailblazer, in the most modest of senses, achieved, in terms of profound influential force, more than any other artist ever to wade in the fervent pool of rock and roll. The Stones, the Beatles, and the giant led balloon would certainly not exist, in any fathomable form, had Buddy Holly not first set foot upon that timeless and immortal stage.

The GreatI don’t listen to near as much Buddy Holly these days. This will be amended… starting today.

Happy 77th Birthday, Mr. Holly!

1970: Long As I Can See the Light/Lookin’ Out My Back Door

Light LabelFor 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.

Back Door LabelI 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.

Do You Take Sugar? One Lump or Two?

SugarAlternate titles to today’s post are 1) The Groove Gets Nostalgic, 2) My Undeniable Infatuation With This Song, and the Reason My Father Hated It, and 3) So What If I Had Def Leppard Posters Up on My Walls as A Kid.

Def Leppard. It took me a few years to realize how much of a rip-off their name was, or, to put it more lovingly, how much of a COINCIDENCE it is that their name mirrors the mighty Led Zeppelin. If you’ve never seen this mind-blowing parallel, here it is:

Def Leppard

Led Zeppelin

Notice 1) the three letter first word, 2) the second letter to the first word being an E, 3) the first word having one syllable, 4) the second word containing EPP, and 5) that I may be obsessing over this a bit too much… nah!

My father, whose favorite band was Led Zeppelin, always seemed to have it out for Def Leppard and specifically the song, Pour Some Sugar on Me. This may have been because it was a striking departure from the music of his youth, but more likely it was because I played this song… ad nauseam… everyday… for like, two years! Can you blame me? I was eight! I know, I’m still making my round of apologies.

Pour Some Sugar on Me was the Stairway to Heaven of my youth. It spoke to me in a language I’d never heard, but instantly understood. I wanted to share my feeling of exceeded joy with any and everyone who would listen. More times than not, my biggest audience consisted of one individual… my cat.

One could say I got burned out on this song. A sensation, at the time, I’d never experienced. I’ll still give the ol’ girl a spin now and again. And when I do, I’m back in my bedroom, frantically trying to learn the lyrics, and understand what “sugar” actually meant.

I won’t go into how I used to hide my arm in my t-shirt and pretended to drum like Def Leppard’s Rick Allen. That’s an embarrassing revelation for another time.

Happy Valentine’s Day, from The Prudent Groove

We (I) here at The Prudent Groove would like to wish everyone a fantastical Valentine’s Day! In the spirit of good faith (and good musical taste), I offer these Prudent Groove Valentines for you to print out (not that I think you actually will). What you do with them, and who you give them to is prudently up to you. For those of you who find yourself on the 45rpm end of today’s festivities, PAIR UP! Here’s hoping your Valentine’s Day will be prudently groovy!

Sincerely,

Vice President of The Prudent Groove Foundation of America (current member total: 1).

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