Marvin Gaye’s ‘Inner City Blues’ off 1971’s What’s Going On.
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.
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.
Now for the sound of some old school soul. In 1971, the Coasters had a minor hit with Leiber and Stoller’s ‘Love Potion No. 9’, a song about an aphrodisiac bought from a gypsy with a gold-capped tooth. The cheeky lyrics must have caused a bit of a stir back in 1959 when the song originally penned. Have a great weekend and don’t kiss everything you see.
Better known as Baby Huey, James Ramey was the front man to The Babysitters. He was just 26 years old when he died in 1970. The long player The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was released posthumously on Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom Records in 1971. Produced by Mayfield, the album featured ‘Hard Times’ – a track that’s up there with the Superfly’s best as one of the most influential and sampled slices of deep funk. Have a great weekend.
There’s going to be a certain groove to this week, prior to the festivities of next. When a couple of Miles Davis collaborators, jazz guitarist John McLaughlin and foremost fusion drummer Billy Cobham got together with keyboard pioneer Jan Hammer, they created something quite mind-blowing. ‘You Know, You Know’ features on jazz-rock album The Inner Mounting Flame. The workout was notably sampled by Massive Attack (‘One Love’) and Mos Def (‘Kalifornia’). Billy Cobham was a drumming machine before such things existed.
Featuring on the gloriously plotted album Naturally, J.J. Cale’s ‘Magnolia’ may not be as well known as ‘After Midnight’, but it is as good. Many successive acts have included hymns to Cale is their sets, including a straight cover of this song by Jeff Beck, and much of the more Appalachian output of Lambchop.
1971 was a melting pot. Across the board, there was a fusion of genres. It was also was the year that Booker T. & the M.G.s released their last album on Stax with their classic lineup – bassist Duck Dunn, drummer Al Jackson Jr., guitar hero Steve Cropper and the hammondmeister Booker T. Jones. The album opens with its title cut – a swirling jazz funk workout. Despite the eight-minute length, the quick fade leaves a void. Glorious stuff! (MOMENT ALERT: Jackson’s drums at 2:33 quickly followed by Booker T’s hammond crescendo.)
‘Me And My Woman’ completes Roy Harper’s breakthrough album Stormcock, released on EMI. 1971 was the year of Led Zeppelin IV, Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Pink Floyd’s Meddle. Despite the high bar, Stormcock stands cheek by jowl with its formidable contemporaries. Harper’s sound manages to be both acoustic and progressive. And as if you needed any more proof than this song, Joanna Newsom and Fleet Foxes have spoken of the influence that the album has had on their work. What’s more, the first part sounds more than a little like Radiohead’s ‘How To Disappear Completely’.
Before the success of her solo hits ‘Les Fleur’ and ‘Lovin’ You’, Minnie Riperton was the heavenly soprano that bejewelled the output of Rotary Connection. The band was the rock-soul-jazz fusion experiment of producer Charles Stepney and Marshall Chess (son of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess). The world was robbed of Minnie in July 1979; she died of cancer aged 31.
The album was Nilsson Schmilsson, the song was’Coconut’ and the lyrics were “You put the lime in the coconut and drink them both up.” But more importantly for this week’s posts, Harry Nilsson wore a gorilla suit in the video. Have a great weekend. Carnival sounds next week – the World Cup is here!
Jon Mark and Johnny Almond played guitar and woodwinds, respectively. They had cut their teeth playing with the talent incubator that was John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, In 1970, they formed the Mark/Almond Band and turned their back on guitar-based blues rock in favour of jazz riffs. Their eponymous debut album featured the extended two chord jazzy jam ‘The City’.