Tag Archives: 1972

Townes Van Zandt – Pancho and Lefty (1972)

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townes-van-zandt

Americana hero, John Townes Van Zandt died on New Year’s Day 1997 ravaged by 52 years of hard living. Typically, it was his early death that piqued the interests of artists and critics alike. However, it wasn’t first time people had paid their respects to his songwriting. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard all covered his song ‘Pancho and Lefty’. The song was originally released as a single on Tomato Records in 1972, but would also feature on 1977’s Live At The Old Quarter – a live set recorded over five nights in Houston, Texas in July 1973.

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Jim Croce – Time In A Bottle (1972)

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Jim Croce 1972

Singer-songwriter Jim Croce, 30, was killed on 20 September 1973 when his single-engine plane hit a tree on takeoff from a strip in Louisiana. His untimely death and a dose of irony, helped propel the song and its message to the top of the charts. The song originally featured on You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, his debut album for ABC Records.

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Jorge Ben – Taj Mahal (1972)

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Jorge Ben 1972

1-2-3, “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”. ‘Taj Mahal’ featured as the final track on Jorge Ben’s 1972 album ‘Ben’. Have a great weekend.

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Marvin Gaye – “T” Plays It Cool (1972)

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Marvin Gaye 1972

Check out the groove – it’s a Friday! The hustle, the cool, the break. ‘”T” Plays It Cool’ featured on Marvin Gaye’s album Trouble Man. For once, it’s not his vocals that transcend. Multi-instrumentalist Gaye plays the drums and creates possibly one of the most sublime breaks ever pressed to vinyl. The bubbling synthesizer is a nice modernist touch too. This was 1972. Have a great weekend.

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Slapp Happy – Blue Flower (1972)

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Slapp Happy

Slapp Happy was a German/English/American group formed by Dagmar Krause, Anthony Moore and Peter Blegvad (the tall one). Before moving to England in 1974, they recorded their avant-rock debut Sort Of in Wümme, West Germany. The signature tune ‘Blue Flower’ lifts a hook from the The Velvet Underground’s ‘Femme Fatale’, but they also plough their own furrow with the careful use of Krause’s distinct vocals. ‘Blue Flower’ would be covered by Mazzy Star and Pale Saints.

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The O’Jays – Back Stabbers (1972)

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The O'Jays

Philadelphia International Records was founded by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff in 1971. A year later, they had signed The O’Jays and the Philly soul love train was up and running. Before Gene McFadden was telling everyone “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” with his longtime songwriting collaborator John Whitehead, he wrote the sensational ‘Back Stabbers’. Sampled over the years by everyone from Tavares to Angie Stone, this slice of proto disco is moody, lush and full of Latin rhythms. This was Philly pushing the boundaries of Motown. Have a great week.

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Bobby Womack & Peace ‎- Across 110th Street (1972)

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Bobby Womack

Written by Bobby Womack and Jay Jay Johnson and performed alongside Peace, ‘Across 110th Street’ is a killer slice of soul funk. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

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David Bowie – Soul Love (1972)

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Ziggy Stardust

I carry on into the weekend to hear the real deal. ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ is one of those rare albums that doesn’t really have a weak moment. ‘Five Years’ is the perfect opener; and then this happens: “Stone love – she kneels before the grave/A brave son”. ‘Soul Love’ enthrals – the handclaps, Bowie’s rhythmic vocals, the sax and Mick Ronson’s singing guitar.

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Alice Clark – Never Did I Stop Loving You (1972)

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Alice Clark

Check out the multi-dimensional vocals on this classic cover of Juanita Fleming’s ‘Never Did I Stop Loving You’. The song featured on Alice Clark’s eponymous 1972 long player. Like the rest of the album, this is a sublime piece of R&B arranged over a jazz melody. Soul for soul aficionados. And as for the 10-15 seconds from about 1m45s, those particular vocals would become a goldmine for house music producers a quarter of a century later.

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T.Rex – Baby Strange (1972)

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T.Rex

Another B-side from 1972, ‘Baby Strange’ had to play second fiddle to ‘Telegram Sam’, the first of two number one (UK) releases from T. Rex’s The Slider. I have tagged B-sides in this blog, as I revel at how one man’s trash could have been another’s treasure. When an artist is on fire, they may have no b-game to offer on a flip side. Marc Bolan would brag about his ability to write hits on his way to the studio; and there’s no complexity in this song’s two-chord riff. However, it’s the clever chorus that serves to remind us that Bolan would find it hard for evermore to reach his creative heights of 1972.

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Darondo – Didn’t I (1972)

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William Daron Pulliam

This might be my soul find of the year. I had not heard this track until last month. William Daron Pulliam’s recording history is thin, but in 1972 he penned and released ‘Didn’t I’. “Darondo” released the song as a B-Side to ‘Listen To My Song’ on the Berkeley-based Music City label. It’s a great way to start the week. Have a goodun.

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Paul Simon – Peace Like A River (1972)

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Paul Simon

My first introduction to cuíca was at the behest of by parents and their liking for Paul Simon. Simon had the good sense and choice to involve Airto Moreira on percussion for much of his eponymous 1972 album. Take ‘Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard’, you can hear the monkey drum throughout. Not so the second track on the flip side, ‘Peace Like A River’, but hell it’s a great song.

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Al Green – Love And Happiness (1972)

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Al Green again

It’s the weekend. Well almost. ‘Love and Happiness’ featured on Al Green’s 1972 long player I’m Still in Love with You. It was released as a single on London Records in 1973 this side of the pond, a few years later stateside. Green had come a long way since his 1967 debut Back Up Train. The open secret was the voice.

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Odyssey – Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love (1972)

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Royce Jones

Before Royce Jones joined Steely Dan, he shared vocal duties with Billy Pierce and Kathleen Warren during his time at 7-piece folk-funksters Odyssey (not to be confused with their namesake, the disco trio from NYC). On ‘Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love’, Warren also plays piano and vibes, Warner Schwebke plays bass, Don Peake and Don Dacus play guitars and Gene Pello plays drums. In 1972, the song featured on their only album on Mowest, the commercially disastrous Californian arm of Motown. But this song is a classic rare groove.

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Lou Pride – I’m Com’un Home In The Morn’un (1972)

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Lou Pride

Until DJ Ian Levine widened the gap between the sets of the Blackpool Mecca and the Wigan Casino by playing modern 70s records at the former, the UK’s Northern Soul scene was about the syncopated beat of a 1960s soul stomper. This was intentionally disconnected from the 1970s funk that was filling the dance floors of the UK’s capital. But then there was a track like Lou Pride’s ‘I’m Com’un Home In The Morn’un’. Its release on Suemi Records was extremely rare, which always enamoured Northern Soul connoisseurs. But it was able to incorporate a fast tempo and the jazzy groove of early funk to earn its place on any of the aforementioned dance floors.

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