Tag Archives: 1971

Joni Mitchell ‎- River (1971)

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Nothing more suitable than a moody version of ‘Jingle Bells’ to help with a Christmas hangover. Released on side B of Joni Mitchell’s landmark long player Blue (which turns 50 in 2021), ‘River’ is the second best song (the other) about the singer-songwriter’s breakup with Graham Nash. In early 1970, she took a trip to Europe to skate away (“along the river”) during which she broke up with Nash and felt remorse that they would be apart the following Christmas. I promise to be a bit more upbeat tomorrow.

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Bob Marley ‎- Trench Town Rock (1971)

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It’s a Friday at the end of a strange week. One can always rely of Bob Marley to tell you that  every little thing gonna be alright. Bob Marley also exclaimed that the one good thing about music, when it hits, you feel no pain. ‘Trench Town Rock’ was self-produced by the Wailers and released as a single on Marley’s own Tuff Gong label in 1971. The sound adopts the production techniques of Lee “Scratch” Perry, with whom they had been collaborating at around that time. Bob Marley’s vocals and guitar licks are offset by Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh’s harmonies. It would change reggae music forever. Have a great weekend.

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T. Rex ‎- Jeepster (1971)

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It is oft said that Electric Warrior was the album that kick-started the UK’s glam rock craze. Its success was built on Bolan’s flamboyance, those electric guitar licks and some infectious, back-to-basics songwriting. The combination may have been unprecedented, but the parts were already out there. One example is its second single ‘Jeepster’, which is clearly lifted off the fine work of Chess Records producer and bassist Willie Dixon. He wrote the source material ‘You’ll Be Mine’ for Howlin’ Wolf. When producer Tony Visconti heard Bolan’s version of the song, he loved the distinct energy so much that he captured the stomping, hip slapping and rattling microphone and left it all in the production for full effect.

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The Doors – L.A. Woman (1971)

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L.A. Woman was Jim Morrison’s sixth and final studio album with The Doors. It was released in April 1971, three months before he died in Paris mysteriously. With the release, Morrison took his intense, powerful singing to new levels. The title track and ‘Riders on the Storm’ are standout moments in the history of rock. The former gets the nudge today because of the cult of “Mr Mojo Risin’ – I saw his face in the window of gallery this weekend. I’ve given up trying to find an image of the artwork. Instead, I show the album’s original inner sleeve. The woman on the telephone pole crucifix was an 18-year-old Cher. Have a good week.

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Bill Withers – Harlem (1971)

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Good morning. It’s been a lovely weekend, but ain’t no sunshine gonna make up for the news that Bill Withers has gone. R.I.P. Bill. We’ve lost a giant of soul and there was no one better at that folky soul thang that he did. But as good as ‘Lean On Me’, ‘Just the Two of Us’ and others are, here’s something a bit more gritty. The song ‘Harlem’ opened his fantastic debut Just As I Am. Bobby Womack would have been proud to pen and belt out this one. I particularly liked the choice of string instrumentation – Booker T. Jones produced the album. Have a good week all.

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Carole King ‎- It’s Too Late (1971)

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A late start this morning… too late. In 1971, Carole King helped popularise a particular female singer/songwriter sound with the extraordinary success of her album Tapestry and the permanent airplay of chart-topping ‘It’s Too Late’. King wrote the song with Toni Stern, a painter and lyricist from Laurel Canyon. Despite the collaboration, it is believed that the sentiment of the song was directed at James Taylor, who was ‘good friends’ with King and played on Tapestry. King never confirmed the rumours and Taylor later dated and married Carly Simon who had a similar heart-of-the-sleeve moment with ‘You’re So Vain’.

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George Harrison – What Is Life (1971)

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I can’t mention George Harrison in a week and not revisit the treasure trove that is his 1970 album All Things Must Pass. Harrison originally wrote this for Billy Preston who was one the early artists on the Beatles’ Apple label. But the song was clearly more rock than gospel and he kept it to himself. Insanely though, ‘What Is Life’ was released as the B-side to ‘My Sweet Lord’ in the UK. Have a great weekend.

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Harry Nilsson – Gotta Get Up (1971)

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“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes”. When selecting a theme tune for her semi-autobiographical TV series Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne was struck by the “buoyant doomsday quality” of Harry Nilsson’s famously troubled life – and more specifically the opening track off his 1971 album Nilsson Schmilsson. Have a great week.

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The Who – Behind Blue Eyes (1971)

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From one pair of blue eyes to another. Pete Townshend wrote ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ in 1971 to help explain how lonely it can be in the limelight. The song is Roger Daltrey’s favourite track by the band; and in a large part, I think that’s because he does such a good job on lead vocals, perfectly complementing the acoustic guitar. Like their other tracks I’ve posted on this blog, this song also featured on The Who‘s 1971 classic album Who’s Next.

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Steve Kuhn – The Meaning Of Love (1971)

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‘The Meaning Of Love’ features on Steve Kuhn’s self-titled 1971 long player. While the album is a little experimental, the tempo of this song is simply beautiful. Have a great weekend.

 

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The Rolling Stones – Moonlight Mile (1971)

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Finishing the week on a very high note, ‘Moonlight Mile’ is an astonishing song. It closes The Rolling Stones’s definitive 1971 album Sticky Fingers on a sombre yet euphoric note. Listen to the those gorgeous string and piano arrangements in the second half. The Stones’ next record Exile On Main St. would continue and expand the sound established here. Have a great weekend.

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Leonard Cohen – Famous Blue Raincoat (1971)

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After over 6 years of daily blogging, you don’t get many more opportunities to post your favourite songs of all time. ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ is from Leonard Cohen’s third album, Songs of Love and Hate, released in 1971. It’s a about a love triangle between Jane, Leonard, his “brother”/his “killer”. The famous blue raincoat in question is a Burberry that Cohen bought in London in the late 1950s. A slightly less cool fact is about that hook line that accompanies the lyric “Jane came by with a lock of your hair, she said…”. It is identical to the one used by writers Hammond and Bayer Sager for the chorus on Leo Sayer’s ‘When I Need You’. It still makes me mad.

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Marvin Gaye – Inner City Blues (1971)

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Marvin Gaye’s ‘Inner City Blues’ off 1971’s What’s Going On.

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The Who – Won’t Get Fooled Again (1971)

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For me, the climactic finish to The Who’s classic album Who’s Next is all about Pete Townsend. Firstly, there’s his decision to use the synthesizer throughout, and then, his delivery of the most awesome power chords… sweeeet. Even Roger Daltrey could only scream. In 1971, these guys were on fire. Have a great weekend.

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Bob Marley & The Wailers – Don’t Rock My Boat (1971)

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Rather later than normal, I bring you Bob Marley & The Wailers. The sounds helps soothe the sickness that’s pestered me for the last couple of days. “I Like It Like, I Like It Like.” ‘Don’t Rock My Boat’ was originally released in 1968 in a rocksteady style. By 1971, the group had hooked up with Lee Perry and resurrected the track with a stripped back sound and Marley’s new-found soul. This version of the track first appeared on their Soul Revolution album.

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