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Vol. XIII No.23 - Sunday November 16, 2014 - Saturday November 29, 2014


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Life at 33 1/3   By Carl Meyer

 

The album classics of 1969 part 2

The Rolling Stones, Let It Bleed (Decca) - Released:
December 5, 1969

Second in an unbroken four album run of bona fide Stones classics. Harder, funkier, grittier and more erotic than “Beggars Banquet”, and with a dash of Americana to boot. Darker in its moods too as it captures the end of the 60’s spot on: “Oh, a storm is threat’ning my very life today” (The opening line of “Gimme Shelter”).

Side 1 is a perfect ride, they touch all the bases that would characterize the best of their 70’s output. Side 2 is more uneven, “Midnight Rambler” is too long and more unpleasant than groovy, and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” is their most overrated track by far, a pretentious attempt to create their own “Hey Jude” (the melody itself is nothing but the same phrase on repeat). I love “You Got The Silver” though, and “Gimme Shelter” is so strong you want it to last forever.

Contents: Gimme Shelter/Love in Vain/Country Honk/Live with Me/Let It Bleed/Midnight Rambler/You Got the Silver/Monkey Man/You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin (Atlantic) - Released: January 12, 1969

They took the blues and turned it into the sound of the future. The depth and dynamics of this recording was stunning for its time, and it still sounds as fresh and powerful today.

The group’s versatility is already on display, even though the heavy electric blues is dominating the proceedings. They sculpted the arrangements different from any band before them, and the captivating alteration between calmness and explosion was effectively enhanced by the room ambience the group exploited so wonderfully.

Contents: Good Times Bad Times/Babe I’m Gonna Leave You/You Shook Me/Dazed and Confused/Your Time Is Gonna Come/Black Mountain Side/Communication Breakdown/I Can’t Quit You Baby/How Many More Times

Jethro Tull, Stand Up (Island) - Released: August 1, 1969

Ian Anderson: “This was Martin Barre’s first album with us, and it marks the turning point in our music, away from the blues and toward progressive rock. It is a very broad, eclectic album…” A great album. My absolute favourite is “We Used To Know” (nicked by the Eagles and turned into “Hotel California”).

Contents: A New Day Yesterday/Jeffrey Goes to Leicester Square/Bourée/Back to the Family/Look into the Sun/Nothing Is Easy/Fat Man/We Used to Know/Reasons for Waiting/A Thousand Mothers

In The Court Of The Crimson King, King Crimson (Island) - Released: October 10, 1969

The most influential progressive rock album of all time, the title track and “Epitaph” are epic beauties, while the opening track is the noisiest, scariest piece of metallic industrial rock you’ll ever encounter.

Contents: 21st Century Schizoid Man (including “Mirrors”)/I Talk to the Wind/Epitaph (including “March for No Reason” and “Tomorrow and Tomorrow”)/Moonchild (1.”The Dream” 2.”The Illusion”)/Court of the Crimson King (including “The Return of the Fire Witch” and “The Dance of the Puppets)

Fleetwood Mac, Then Play On (Reprise) -
Released: September 19, 1969

Released when they were the hottest group around, quite a surprising record as it displayed a broader stylistic range than the two preceding albums that were both exponents of traditional electric blues. The melancholy state of mind of both Danny Kirwan and Peter Green is very apparent.

Contents: Coming Your Way/Closing My Eyes/Fighting for Madge/When You Say/Showbiz Blues/Underway/One Sunny Day/Although the Sun Is Shining/Rattlesnake Shake/Without You/Searching for Madge/My Dream/Like Crying/Before the Beginning

Fairport Convention, Unhalfbricking (Island) - Released: July, 1969

Fairport dug deeper into traditional British folk music on their next album, the masterpiece “Liege & Lief”. But “Unhalfbricking” will always be my favourite, and it’s got “Who Knows Where The Times Goes?” on it.

Contents: Genesis Hall/Si Tu Dois Partir/Autopsy/A Sailor’s Life/Cajun Woman/Who Knows Where the Time Goes?/Percy’s Song/Million Dollar Bash

Nick Drake, Five Leaves Left (Island) - Released:
September 1, 1969

He wrote sad songs of extraordinary beauty and performed them with a soft, whispery voice, mainly accompanied by his own, restless acoustic guitar. This is his debut, unique pieces of melancholy, like watercolour paintings of autumn. Drake left us in 1974 and only made three albums.

Contents: Time Has Told Me/River Man/Three Hours/Way to Blue/Day is Done/Cello Song/The Thoughts of Mary Jane/Man in a Shed/Fruit Tree/Saturday Sun
 


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The album classics of 1969 part 2
 

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