“I’ve been told that you’ve been bold with Harry, Mark and John.” Lou Reed’s ‘Satellite Of Love’ was first released on his standout album Transformer, but was originally written during the final days of The Velvet Underground. Reed’s solo career was given a huge boost when team Bowie decided to work with the ex-VU star to make him shine as brightly as possible. Bowie and Mick Ronson had given their hero a new lease on life. Ronson played both piano and recorder on this track.
DJ Koze’s most recent work has me thinking about other examples of hypnotic sound. Derrick May once described techno as sounding like Kraftwerk and George Clinton stuck in a hotel lift. Just imagine if those Germans were to stumble across the JBs instead. Listen to the precision of Bootsy Collins’ bass playing on ‘Talking Loud and Saying Nothing’. This is as a tight and mesmerising as funk gets. A relentless rhythm overseen by the taskmaster extraordinaire Mr Brown.
With ‘Never Did I Stop Loving You’, ‘Don’t You Care’ took the the Acid Jazz scene by storm in the 1990s. Both cut for Alice Clark’s eponymous 1972 album, these recordings are key pieces of early 1970s soul from a singer at the peak of her powers. Have a great weekend.
Released in May 1972, Honky Château was Elton John’s fifth studio album and the one that started to propel the singer-songwriter to rock star status. Where the Side 1 featured ‘Rocket Man’, Side 2 served up the classic ‘Mona Lisas & Mad Hatters’. But more amazing than all of that, this is the first Elton John track on this blog. Yup, that’s right.
With Greetings From L.A., Tim Buckley is pure californication. He had been sleazy before, but the seven tracks on this album were full on sex. The album’s closing track ‘Make It Right’ grooves away the night with a disco-like set of accompanying strings. “Come on and beat me, whip me, spank me, come on make it right again,” he begs, with a rawness that would make Robert Plant swoon.
“Hey you! You’re losing your Vitamin C”. Despite the quirky lyrics, Can’s 1972 song ‘Vitamin C’ is best known for its kick-ass bass line and the precise drumming of Jaki Liebezeit, co-founder of the krautrock pioneers. The track featured on their 1972 album Ege Bamyasi and has been a staple sample since the era of block parties.
Osbourne Ruddock (aka King Tubby) was one of the original purveyors of the remix. The fact that that his domain was reggae and dub music is neither here nor there, the man was a mixologist. By 1972, his influence was being acknowledged by others in their growing experimentation. One example appeared as a B-side to Pat Satchmo’s ‘What’s Going On’; the Prince Tony-produced ‘Tubbys In Full Swing’ was credited to singer Lloyd Young and Carey ‘Wildman’ Johnson. A radio announcement, a few false bars of the Staples Singers’ ‘I’ll Take You There’, followed by Kerry, a drum roll, an organ and a trombone instrumental. Reggae was a-changing. Have a great weekend.
Donald Fagen, Walter Becker and friends have never really rung my bell. Like a number of bands from before my time, it has been the musical references of others that have gifted some insight. ‘Peg’ had been sampled by De La Soul on 3 Feet High And Rising. More recently, ‘Kid Charlemagne’ was sampled by Kanye on Graduation. But still, their penchant for jazz rock and disdain for rock gods like Led Zeppelin were never going to endear me. But I’ll give Steely Dan this one, the intro on ‘Do It Again’ is something to behold. It featured on 1972 album Can’t Buy A Thrill. R.I.P. Walter Becker.
‘I’m Still in Love with You’ is the title track off Al Green’s fifth studio album, released in October 1972. Both the song and the album were produced by Willie Mitchell. The combination was deep, complex and soulful. Next week, I will feature a single sound before a summer hiatus over August. It better be a good one. Have a great weekend.
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.
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.
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.