Influenced, Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 5.6: Wings – Wings At The Speed Of Sound

Wings came into my life because of “Live And Let Die”.

I knew Paul and Linda McCartney were in the band but had no idea who else was.

A quick Wikipedia search showed that Denny Laine is on vocals, acoustic/electric/bass guitars, piano and harmonica, Jimmy McCulloch is also on vocals and acoustic/electric/bass guitars and Joe English is on vocals, drums and percussion.

Let Em In

A door bell like sound starts off the song before a simple drum groove with a locked in bass line rolls in with piano chords on each start of a new bar.

It’s soul noir in vibe.

The McCartney’s are welcoming you in to their house. Paul is on vocals here.

The Note You Never Wrote

Written by the McCartney’s with vocals from Denny Laine.

I like this.

It is typical of the era, with hints of blues, gospel and soul all wrapped up in a ballad like groove with various 70’s sound effects lightly playing in the background. Subtle and not overpowering.

She’s My Baby

It’s a skip for me. The feel good upbeat feel of the song and the title just don’t resonate.

Beware My Love

The acoustic riff in the intro. Press play to hear it.

And it goes through many musical movements. When you get the 2 minute mark it’s almost unrecognisable. But I like it. The 70’s acts all experimented with structures and different musical movements.

Both the McCartney’s share vocals here.

Wino Junko

Great title, it sounds like a Sammy Hagar owned pub.

Written and vocals by Jimmy McCulloch.

I like the acoustic guitar strummed riff. It rolls along nicely, giving space for the vocal melody to lead.

Silly Love Songs

It is one of the most listened songs from the album at 60.6 million streams. But its soul ballad rock just doesn’t connect.

Vocals are provided by the McCartney’s and Laine.

Cook Of The House

The sound of a frying pan starts it all off. Before a 12 bar blues riff kicks in and Linda McCartney starts singing.

Time To Hide

My second favourite just behind “Beware My Love”.

Written and sung by Laine.

The groove on this song connects immediately. Just listen to McCartney’s bass lines. It rules while the guitar just plays chords.

The lead break that kicks in after the harmonica solo is simple, more or less playing the chords with a single note on the higher strings. Yet it works so well. “Play for the song, not for the glory” comes to mind here.

Must Do Something About It

It’s a skip for me. Vocals are provided by drummer Joe English.

San Ferry Anne

It’s got this traditional sea pub groove happening with vocals from Paul.

But it’s a skip for me.

Warm And Beautiful

A piano riff starts it off, a mixture of “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be”. But it stays in that piano and vocal sound for the full 3 minutes and it does get a boring.

Vocals are provided by Paul.

I’ll finish this off with this Wikipedia entry from the Rolling Stone review which described it as a “Day with the McCartneys” concept album. The introduction, “Let ‘Em In” was perceived as an invitation to join the McCartneys on this fantasy day, with explanation of their philosophy (“Silly Love Songs”), a lunch break (“Cook of the House”), and a chance to get to know McCartney’s friends (Denny Laine in “The Note You Never Wrote”, Jimmy McCulloch in “Wino Junko”, etc.).

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Music, My Stories

1976 – Part 5.5: Tangerine Dream – Stratosfear

Tangerine Dream didn’t exist in my world until a mate mentioned to me how Steve Harris said in an interview that they are an influence. Since I couldn’t confirm it and why would my mate need to make stuff up, I seeked them out.

Stratosfear

The ambitious 10 minute opener. A repeating synth lick keeps building. Just think of how the synth pattern sounds in “Stranger Things”.

It’s nothing flashy as the synths are the dominant instrument. The guitars finally kick in around the 7.30 mark for some boring and uninspired leads. But they only last for 15 seconds. The drums are low in the mix and it makes me wonder if a human even played em. Did drum machines exist in 1976?

There is this repeating synth percussion pattern that reminds me of Tool and the pattern at the start of “Eulogy”.

At 8.40, a strummed and shimmering arpeggio guitar pattern begins with the synth playing a little lead. It could be used for mindfulness.

But when the song finished, I said to myself, that is 10 minutes I will never get back.

For a title track and album opener, it is the worst track I have heard by far. And I can’t believe I wrote that many words about it.

The Big Sleep In Search Of Hades

It could have come from a sword and fantasy movie. It’s cinematic, just under 5 minutes. But it’s a skip for me.

3AM At The Border Of The Mars

The synth plays a riff that sounds like water dripping from the tap and hitting the metal sink surface. The violin and harmonica sound western like, but the eerie synth patterns makes it all feel other worldly.

Invisible Limits

At 11.29 in length I wasn’t expecting great things. And i was right.

By the end I was thinking, what did Steve Harris like about this to influence him?

Was it the explorative song structures or the futuristic soundscapes?

I didn’t know it at the time that “Stratosfear” was the seventh studio album.

And I always thought that Tangerine Dream was British, but they were German. I also presumed that it was a traditional band, with guitars, bass, synth, vocals and drums, but that wasn’t the case either. Its three dudes playing the Moog Synthesizer, smoking a lot of weed and taking a lot of acid.

Listen at your own risk.

And my mate told me he made it all up just to sound cool.

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1976 – Part 5.4: Slade – Nobody’s Fool

“Nobody’s Fools”. Not the Cinderella song, but the sixth studio album by Slade within a 10 year period. It was released in March 1976 and produced by Chas Chandler who was immortalised by his work with Jimi Hendrix on the first three albums.

Slade didn’t exist for me until Quiet Riot covered “Cum On The Feel The Noize” and “Mama Were All Crazee Now”. At the point in time I knew of them, but never listened to them. This would change as the 90’s rolled around and then peer to peer sharing and finally streaming. 

If you expect to hear a balls to the wall rock album then this album is not for you. There is some loud rock, but overall, there is soul, R&B and other popular styles.

Doing this review retrospectively, it’s always cool to read what people said about it at the time it was released. It’s pretty obvious that British fans didn’t like it when their acts tried to break in to the U.S market. When artists normally attempted this, the fans would accuse them of selling out. This happened with Slade. And it didn’t help matters when they band kept saying that they moved to the U.S to rejuvenate and get new ideas as they felt stale in the U.K.

So it’s no surprise that this album is Slade’s first to not reach the UK Top 10, and to drop out of the chart after a chart run of only four weeks. It would be their last album to make a UK chart appearance until the 1980 compilation “Slade Smashes!”.

Meanwhile, the U.S press praised it, but it didn’t translate to the breakthrough they wanted.

But the album stands up today. Its variation is what makes it entertaining.

The album’s cover was created to coincide with the band’s 10th anniversary, showing the band adopting the same positions as they had on the cover for their 1970 album “Play It Loud”.

Slade is Noddy Holder on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Dave Hill on lead guitar, Jim Lea on bass and Don Powell on drums. All tracks are written by Noddy Holder and Jim Lea and the album is produced by Chas Chandler.

Nobody’s Fool

The piano is dominant and its more soul rock than hard rock/glam rock. Think Rod Stewart and “Maggie May”. And I like it especially the Chorus. It’s arena rock and no one can tell me any different.

Lea wanted “Nobody’s Fool” to be a “twenty-minute epic” but that takes balls to do and the only one who had Balls to do songs like that was Jim Steinman and the only one silly enough to perform them was Meatloaf. But with over a 100 million albums sold worldwide, I guess the fools were the labels who rejected them.

Anyway I digress.

Do the Dirty

“Play That Funky Music White Boy” and any riff from Joe Walsh comes to mind when the intro kicks in. Its funky, its dirty sounding and it rocks.

How could the fans not like this song? 

Let’s Call It Quits

It’s bluesy and sleazy. After it became a UK hit, it was served a writ. Allen Toussaint, felt the song was similar to his “Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)”. The case was settled out of court with the band giving Toussaint 50% in song writing royalties, though Lea maintained that he has never heard Toussaint’s version before or since. But the version that everyone knows is from Three Dog Night. And that version came out in 1974, and it got a lot of airplay, so this could be the version that Lea heard. 

To me this is a standard blues track musically and as Keith Richards said, “you can’t copyright the blues”. But in this instance the Chorus vocal melodies do sound similar.

Also when you hear the vocal delivery on this song, you can hear from which vocalist, Kevin DuBrow modelled his vocals on.

Pack Up Your Troubles

Sit around the campfire acoustic country about leaving all your troubles behind and heading into the hills with your liquor and wine. It’s adventurous and I like it.

In for a Penny

It’s very Beatles like. “Penny Lane” and “Eleanor Rigby” come to mind.

It is also the only Slade track to feature the accordion and the guitar playing from Dave Hill is more decorative than riff heavy.

And don’t let the accordion deter you, the song is a psychedelic pop rock masterpiece.

Get On Up

It’s back to their hard rock roots. 

Hearing this today, all I am hearing is how much Kevin DuBrow borrowed from Noddy Holder in vocal tone, phrasings and lyrical rhymes. Then again, Holder borrowed from a lot of others as well and that is how music evolves my friends. We all take from what has come before to create something new. 

L.A. Jinx

I love the clean guitar strummed pattern. Its funky, groovy, and it rocks.

Lyrically the song deals with bad luck the band seemed to suffer whenever they played in Los Angeles like their gear blowing up or getting electric shocks.

Press play to hear the whole interlude section. 

And the star of the song are the vocal melodies from Noddy Holder. Unique and original and still rooted in hard rock territory.

Did Ya Mama Ever Tell Ya

It’s reggae like but with a lot of soul rock thrown in and lyrics that deal with nursery rhymes and a lot of innuendo.

Scratch My Back

Another rock track in similar form to “Get on Up”. 

I’m a Talker

It sounds like another song that I can’t think off right now, but hey, that’s why I love music. This one is acoustic, fast strummed, very folk-rock, campfire like.

All the World Is a Stage

The drum groove sets up this melodic rock track before melodic rock was a thing. It moves between minor key verses and major key choruses.

Since I am listening to this on Spotify, it is the Expanded Edition with Bonus tracks.

Thanks for the Memory (1975 non-album single)

It was a sign of things to come and the sound to come. 

Raining In My Champagne (B-side of “Thanks for the Memory”)

It’s better than the A side in my opinion. Maybe because it sounds like “Twist And Shout” in the Chorus.

Can You Just Imagine (B-side of “In For a Penny”)

A throwback to the sounds of the 60’s.

When the Chips are Down (B-side of “Let’s Call It Quits”)

In the end, this was the album that Slade hoped would break them into the U.S mainstream, instead, this is the album that put Slade out of the mainstream business worldwide, until their 80’s comeback.

But don’t be a fool and ignore it. The band was adventurous and yet they still made it sound like Slade because the songs were written and recorded in between small tours of the U.S with acts like ZZ Top.

And you can hear their blues boogie translate to the grooves here. And at least they learned how to spell properly.

Press play. 

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1976 – Part 5.3: Heart – Dreamboat Annie

The debut album from Heart, released in September 1975 for all Canadian music lovers via Mushroom Records. It then got a U.S and international release in 1976.

The band for the album was made up of Ann Wilson on lead vocals, Nancy Wilson on electric and acoustic guitars, Roger Fisher on electric guitars, Howard Leese is on a lot of different instruments, Steve Fossen on bass and Mike Derosier on drums for two songs, with Dave Wilson, Duris Maxwell and Kat Hendriske providing drums on the other tracks.

Mike Flicker is producing. As Heart got bigger so did Flicker’s career.

But the Heart story doesn’t just start in 1975. It goes back almost a decade.

In 1967, bassist Steve Fossen formed the band as The Army, along with Roger Fisher on guitar, Don Wilhelm on guitar/keyboards and lead vocals, and Ray Schaefer on drums.

In 1969, the band went through some line-up changes and took on a new name, Hocus Pocus. Between this period they took on the name “White Heart”.

By 1973, the band was Ann Wilson on vocals, Steve Fossen on bass, Roger Fisher on guitars, Brian Johnstone on drums, and John Hannah on keyboards and they had taken the name Heart.

Ann’s sister Nancy joined circa 73/74 and the sisters quickly established themselves as the main songwriters.

Magic Man

A simple groove and Ann Wilson’s iconic voice. It’s almost psychedelic and progressive.

Dreamboat Annie (Fantasy Child)

It’s a dreamy acoustic arpeggio riff to begin with, before it morphs into some serious acoustic folk rock playing from Nancy Wilson.

Crazy On You

Press play to hear the riff and the infectious vocal melody. This is what Hook City sounds like.

Soul Of The Sea

Another dreamy washy acoustic guitar riff forms the centrepiece. Almost “Albatross” like. The structure of verse and chorus is not here. It feels like verses and various gateways to progressive like movements, more mood and atmospheric like than a million notes per minute.

Dreamboat Annie

Flamenco like acoustic arpeggios are its foundation.

White Lightning And Wine

Its greasy and sleazy blues.

Love Me Like Music (I’ll Be Your Song)

Country folk rock. Even in the title.

Sing Child

Press play to hear the intro riff.

How Deep It Goes

More dreamy/smoking weed acoustic folk rock.

Dreamboat Annie – Reprise

It continues with the dreamy acoustic guitars. Campfire folk rock.

In the end, the standout track here is “Crazy On You”. It’s melodic rock at its best. Then press play on “Magic Man” for its rock groove and vocal melody. If you are still interested, crank the blues rock of “White Lightning and Wine” and finish it off with the dreamy trilogy suite of “Dreamboat Annie” songs.

In Australia, the album went Gold. In Canada in went 2x Platinum and in the U.S it went Platinum.

The success of the album indirectly led to a break between the band and label.

The band tried to renegotiate their royalty rate to be more in keeping with what they thought a platinum band should be earning. Mushroom wasn’t interested so instead of paying the band more in royalties they used the money earned from the band to take out a full-page ad in Rolling Stone, to mock the band, with a special dig to Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Not long after the ad appeared, a radio promoter asked Ann about her lover; he was referring to Nancy, thus implying that the sisters were incestuous lesbian lovers. The encounter infuriated Ann who went back to her hotel and wrote the words to what became one of Heart’s signature songs, “Barracuda”.

The band then signed with Portrait Records.

But Mushroom wasn’t done yet. It’s a big no-no in label land to let an act leave and make money with another label. So Mushroom said that the band was still bound to the contract, which meant they had to deliver two more albums. The band refused and Mushroom released “Magazine” with incomplete tracks, studio outtakes and live material and a disclaimer on the cover in 1977.

The band got a federal injunction to stop distribution of the 1977 edition of “Magazine”. Most of the initial 50,000 pressings were recalled from stores. The court eventually decided that the band could sign with Portrait, however they did owe Mushroom a second album. The band returned to the studio to re-record, remix, edit, and re-sequence the recordings.

“Magazine” was re-released in 1978 and sold a million copies in less than a month.

P.S. 

Mushroom Records went bankrupt by 1980 although an Australian arm of Mushroom did survive well into the 2000’s.

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1976 – Part 5.1: James Gang – Jesse Come Home

It’s the last studio album by James Gang, released in 1976. Joe Walsh was 5 years into his Eagles slot and the band had continued on with a variety of line-up changes.

Their first album in 1969 was recorded as a power trio consisting of Joe Walsh (guitars, lead vocals), Tom Kriss (bass), and Jim Fox (drums). One of my favourite guitarists Tommy Bolin recorded two albums with the Gang called “Bang!” (released in 1973) and “Miami” (released in 1974) before he accepted the Deep Purple offer.

Only drummer Jim Fox remains. This album is the only one recorded with lead guitarist Bob Webb and keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. Giallombardo was in the Gang’s first ever line up with Fox, however he had left prior to the recording of their first album.

The cover features an atmospheric painting of the folk hero riding off into the sunset, an image which fans had identified as evidence that the band had known this album to be its last.

The players on this album are Bob Webb on guitars and lead vocals on three tracks, Phil Giallombardo on keyboards and lead vocals on the other 6 tracks, Dale Peters on bass guitar and Jim Fox on drums.

I Need Love

Written by keyboardist and co-vocalist Phil Giallombardo.

A simple syncopated bass and kick drum groove starts off the song. It’s almost funky but I feel like its hard rock.

The vocal melodies are overused.

Some of the critics said that the playing is uninspired but these guys can play and groove as evidenced here.

Another Year

Written by guitarist and co-vocalist Bob Webb. It’s a typical 70’s cut, with a dreamy acoustic guitar shimmering with some emotive leads that remind me of “While My Guitar Gently Sleeps”.

Feelin’ Alright

Written by the band, it’s also the most streamed track at 196,915 streams on Spotify. Press play to hear the lead break.

Peasant Song

Written by Phil Giallombardo, it’s a piano ballad with strings and this song feels like a bad Hollywood movie soundtrack, and it doesn’t connect at all.

Hollywood Dream

Written by Bob Webb and I like the rhythm and groove of the blues. It’s almost metal and its forgotten at 46,590 streams on Spotify.

Love Hurts

Written by Andrew Gold who was an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. He played on a lot of albums from other artists and wrote songs for artists as well. He died in 2011 at age 59 from heart failure.

It’s is an overused title.

The piano is back again, so far removed from the funk and blues of what the band was known for.

It’s a skip for me.

Pick Up The Pizzas

An instrumental track written by Bob Webb. A terrible title for one of the best riffs on the album. Press play and enjoy another forgotten track.

Stealin’ The Show

When Bob Webb writes a track there is guitar on it. On this one the acoustic guitar is back and Bad Company comes to mind.

When I Was A Sailor

The closer, at 6 plus minutes long and written by keyboardist Phil Giallombardo. This song is more Styx than James Gang.

The album is forgotten, with most songs being streamed less than 50,000 times. Especially when you compare those numbers to the Joe Walsh penned tunes like “Funk #49” with 47.382 million streams on Spotify and “Walk Away” with 29.297 million streams.

In the end, this album is just a bunch of musicians who wanted a record deal. Unfortunately for them, it was under the name of James Gang, which would always be known as Joe Walsh’s band, even though he wasn’t a founder. But the label still saw value in the project, however they also pulled the plug on it after the album stiffed.

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1976 – Part 4.9: Genesis – Wind And Wuthering

Why wait a few years for a new album when the new version of the band became successful with its new singer?

Released in December 1976, the band of Phil Collins, Tony Banks, Mike Rutherford and Steve Hackett remained unchanged, however trouble was brewing on the horizons.

Success leads to the need to create more success. And for Genesis, they had four competent songwriters who thought they all had the songs to create more success. The question was, which songs would get chosen and which songs would be left out.

Eleventh Earl Of Mar

Written by Tony Banks, Steve Hackett and Mike Rutherford. Its progressive, competing with bands like Yes for complex time changes and yet it still sounds like foot tapping rock and roll.

That section that starts with the words “I’m fighting, gravity falling” is my favourite and while brief, the vocal melody from Collins is memorable.

It refers to the historical figure of John Erskine, Earl of Mar, a Scottish Jacobite.

One For The Vine

At 10 minutes, it’s not for everyone. Written solely by Banks, the keys dominate the track.

I like the section from about the 4.40 minute mark. It’s almost soundtrack like something which The Alan Parsons Project would do a lot with his instrumentals. And the quietened down section at 7.21 fits well after the long instrumental passage.

Your Own Special Way

Even though the song is written by Rutherford in open tuning, it’s a typical Phil Collins song. It also reminds me of Coheed and Cambria and a song from the “No World For Tomorrow” album.

Wot Gorilla

An instrumental which Collins brought to the band and one that he said is one of his favourite tracks as it brought in his influences of jazz fusion.

Meanwhile Hackett felt that the song was “good rhythmically, but underdeveloped harmonically” and didn’t want it on the album in place of his song “Please Don’t Touch” which Hackett would later use for his solo album of the same name.

All In A Mouse’s Night

Written by Banks, it’s a silly song lyrically about a 10 foot mouse with big teeth however the music reminds me of a section in Dream Theater’s “Six Degree Of Inner Turbulence” song.

Blood On The Rooftops

Written by Hackett and Collins, I like the classical/flamenco style guitar from Hackett to start off the song. Listen closely and you will hear a bit of “Dee” from Randy Rhoads there. Then again, classical is classical so everyone is borrowing from the same masters.

Banks and Rutherford have said that this was Hackett’s best song as a member of the group.

Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers…

Written by Hackett and Rutherford, it’s an instrumental which is in two parts. The guitar playing from Hackett is very flamenco finger picked liked and good enough to rival the masters of the genre.

In That Quiet Earth

Written by the band, this is the second part of the instrumental and Collins is playing a fast jazz fusion beat which allows the rest of the band to dance over.

The heavy metal like section from 2.50 is the reason why I press play.

Afterglow

Written by Banks, this a milestone song for the band, as it proved that they could write short songs that they all liked. And a sign of the direction they would take.

The album was another success and the tour was huge with the gigs in Brazil being attended by over 150,000 people and each member needing armed bodyguards during their stay.

But Hackett was not a happy camper.

The writing process for the album was argumentative and having his songs removed was also contentious. So once the tour ended, Hackett left the bend to pursue a solo career.

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1976 – Part 4.8: Genesis – A Trick Of The Tail

It’s their seventh studio album, released in February 1976 on Charisma Records. But Genesis didn’t exist for me until the 80s version of the band had mainstream success at the same time that Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel had super successful solo careers.

Who hasn’t played air drums to “In The Air Tonight”?

This album was the first to feature then drummer Phil Collins as the lead vocalist following Peter Gabriel’s departure in late 1974, midway through the tour for the album “The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway”. Management and Gabriel’s bandmates wanted him to stay. It was more of a business decision as they were in debt to their label and his departure could jeopardise their chances at getting funding for future recordings.

Following the end of the tour, guitarist Steve Hackett recorded a solo album, “Voyage of the Acolyte”. And the other members weren’t sure if the band would continue. But they reconvened in July 1975.

While some members contemplated calling it quits, keyboardist Tony Banks had other ideas. He took the songs he had written for a possible solo project and decided they should be used on the new Genesis album. They started writing for a new album, however without a lead singer. An anonymous ad in the music paper Melody Maker for a “Genesis type singer” received 400 plus replies. But nothing came of it and they entered the studio without any idea as to who would sing the songs on the album.

Eventually, Collins was persuaded to sing “Squonk”. The performance was so strong, that the lead singer position in the band was put to bed, with Collins singing lead on the rest of the of the album.

Phil Collins is on drums, percussion, lead and backing vocals. Steve Hackett is on all things guitar related. Mike Rutherford is on bass guitar and Tony Banks is on all things keys related.

Dance On A Volcano

Written by the band.

I like the intro, a fusion of rock and blues and it’s a touch progressive as it moves between the verse and chorus. It was also the first song written for the album.

Entangled

Written by Hackett and Banks.

It’s got this chord in the song, in which they play the G# as the root note on the low E string, and an then an F# and A# on the 4th and 3rd strings with the open B and open E strings ringing out.

The first time I heard a chord like that was in the song “Another Day” from Dream Theater on their 1992 “Images and Words” album, but then when I started to go back and listen to the influences of Dream Theater, I started to hear that chord in the music of Rush and then Genesis, to name a few.

Squonk

Written by Rutherford and Banks.

I like the music feel on this. It was pretty obvious the band was trying hard to write their own “Kashmir”.

Lyrically it is based on the North American tale of the Squonk which, when captured, dissolves in a pool of tears.

Mad Man Moon

Written by Banks, it sounds like it could be interchanged with an ELP album. Its indulgent with the piano and if that is your thing, then this song is perfect for you.

Robbery, Assault and Battery

It’s like a theatre song, mostly written by Banks, while Collins, who also contributed to the writing, sang the song in character, inspired by his earlier role as the “Artful Dodger” in “Oliver!” before he became a professional musician.

If you like theatre music, then you will like this song.

Ripples…

It’s a combination of a 12-string guitar piece composed by Rutherford and a piano-led middle section written by Banks. “Tears” from Rush comes to mind, which is more superior.

A Trick of the Tail

Written by Banks it’s the best song on the record. It took form as a song many years before the band recorded it.

He was inspired from reading the novel “The Inheritors” by William Golding and “Getting Better” by the Beatles, and wrote about an alien visiting Earth. The pop rock of what Genesis would become in the 80’s is all here, albeit a bit more quirky than the 80’s polish.

Los Endos

The closer written by the band. It pays homage to the progressive past of Genesis while bringing in enough influences of where the band would go in the later years.

Collins came up with the basic rhythmic structure, inspired by his work in the side project Brand X and the song “Promise of a Fisherman” by Santana.

Banks and Hackett wrote the main themes, including reprises of “Dance on a Volcano” and “Squonk”, and Collins sang a few lines from “Supper’s Ready” (from the 1972 album “Foxtrot”) on the fade-out, as a tribute to Gabriel. The opening piece was actually recorded for a completely different song called “It’s Yourself”, which was later released as a B-side.

The track became a live favourite, and it continued to be played throughout.

Post album release, the group went out on tour with Collins as the front man and Bill Bruford as the additional drummer, and the resulting performances in the US raised Genesis’ profile there.

Chart wise, it charted high in both the U.S and U.K markets.

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1976 – Part 4.7: Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More For The Road

It was my first purchase.

Steve Gaines joined, making it a three guitar team again, with Allen Collins and Gary Rossington. Ronnie Van Zant is on Vocals, Leon Wilkeson on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell on Keyboards. Sam McPherson is on harmonica. JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines and Leslie Hawkins are the backing vocalists.

“One More from The Road” is a live album compiled from a few shows.

It’s also the only live album from the classic era of 1970 to 1977. And an essential album to own.

Workin’ for MCA

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant which more or less sum up the crap record deal they had with the label.

Slickers steal my money since I was seventeen
If it ain’t no pencil pusher, then there’s got to be a honky tonk queen
Well I signed my contract, baby, now I want you people to know
Every penny that I make, I wanna see where my money goes

The creative accounting from the labels. What they give you, they get back tenfold. Bon Scott comes to mind when he sang, “getting ripped off”.

I want you to sign the contract
Want you to sign the date
Gonna give you lots of money
Workin’ for MCA

I Ain’t the One

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant about a love affair between a whiskey swilling brawler and Daddy’s rich girl.

Saturday Night Special

Written by Ed King and Ronnie Van Zant.

How can you not like the intro and verse riffs?

Press play and enjoy.

Searching

My favourite song from the “Gimme Back My Bullets” album and written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. The tempo is slightly increased and this version is my definitive version.

Travelin’ Man

Written by Ronnie Van Zant and Leon Wilkeson.

The intro bass riff from Leon Wilkeson gets me interested straight away.

Simple Man

A classic written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Also check out Shinedown’s cover in the 2000’s. Brent Smith delivers a stellar vocal.

Press play on this to hear the harmony lead breaks.

Whiskey Rock-a-Roller

Great song title, written by Ed King, Billy Powell and Ronnie Van Zant.

It was a rite of passage to consume whiskey and listening to rock and roll. The song is about hitting the road to the rock and roll show.

The Needle and the Spoon

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

I like the intro on this. And the verse riff that comes in is a cross between “Searching” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

How good is that intro riff?

Its heavy and full of groove.

Tuesday’s Gone

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant and man didn’t Zakk Wylde take a lot of licks from this. As soon as I heard it, I thought of “Road To Nowhere” and a few songs from the Pride and Glory album.

A classic. The leads alone hook me in.

Gimme Three Steps

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, it’s a 12 bar blues with a bit of country rock thrown in.

Call Me the Breeze

Written by J.J. Cale. Everyone was covering Cale around this period. Simple 12 bar blues rock and roll and they blew another amp in the process.

T for Texas

Written by Jimmie Rodgers and the “new fella” Stevie Gaines was introduced. And it’s more soloing over 12 bar blues chord progressions.

Sweet Home Alabama

The hit, written by Ed King, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant. Inspired by Neil Young’s song “Southern Man” which was seen as a diss to the south. This didn’t impress Ronnie Van Zant and he meant every word when he sang, “well I hope Mr Young can remember, a Southern Man don’t need him around”.

And during the performance, Van Zant, interjects over the solo, “there are plenty of good people in the South, so make sure you tell Mr Young about it”.

Crossroads

A Robert Johnson cover that Eric Clapton has made his own, but Lynyrd Skynyrd also deliver a pretty mean version full of energy and power.

Free Bird

The big closer written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant. At almost 12 minutes long, it’s not for the faint hearted. The guitar interplay in the massive outro solo section is worth the price of admission.

For a first purchase I became an instant fan of the band.

And they reformed during this late 80s early 90s period so when I was getting into their old stuff, I had new content to listen to as well.

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A to Z of Making It, Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 4.6: Lynyrd Skynyrd – Gimme Back My Bullets

If it wasn’t for Zakk Wylde, I wouldn’t have gone and purchased any Lynyrd Skynyrd. His love for Southern Rock, was on show for the “No More Tears” album. Check out his leads in “I Don’t Wanna Change The World”, “Road To Nowhere” and “Mama I’m Coming Home”.

In the interviews Zakk conducted with the Guitar Mag’s, he spoke about a technique called chicken’ picking that he picked up from learning Southern Rock songs and he demonstrated great knowledge on Southern Rock and the 70’s bands associated with the movement.

Then he dropped the debut “Pride and Glory” album a few years later, which is basically an amalgamation of Black Sabbath and Southern Rock. And it made me a fan, so I went searching for Southern Rock bands.

Enter “Lynyrd Skynyrd”. The story of the band should be a Netflix TV series. Working for MCA, the worst label in the business, the band was never going to make a profit regardless of how successful they became and how many records they sold.

The band for this album is Ronnie Van Zant (RIP) on Vocals, Gary Rossington and Allen Collins (RIP) on Guitars, Leon Wilkeson (RIP) on Bass, Artimus Pyle on Drums and Billy Powell (RIP) on Keyboards.

Guitarist Ed King, quit the band before this album, making them a two guitar band instead of three. King would pass away in 2018 due to various health issues.

There was a saying that the Wilkeson and Pyle (and before Pyle it was Bobby Burns) set a groove, which Collins, King and Rossington danced over. And Pyle has been ostracised from the organisation due to being a sex offender while original drummer Bobby Burns died in a single car crash after hitting a mailbox and tree on a sharp bend, Things don’t end well for these guys.

But the biggest tragedy was the plane crash on the “Street Survivors” tour.

Van Zant, new guitarist/vocalist Steve Gaines, backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray all died in the crash. The survivors had been seated toward the back of the plane and all of them were seriously injured with broken bones, crushed arms, sever facial disfigurements and severe burns.

And the plane was earlier inspected by Aerosmith’s tour crew for the band to use on their 1977 tour but it didn’t pass the Aero’s safety inspection.

But before the tragedy, the Skynyrds debauched their way through the U.S on the backs of whiskey, brawling and great music.

“Gimme Back My Bullets” is studio album Number 4, released on February 2, 1976. It reached number 20 on the U.S. albums chart and was certified gold on January 20, 1981 by the RIAA.

Gimme Back My Bullets

Written by Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The staccato like count in reminds me of the “Back In Black” intro. After that, a funky blues rock riff kicks in, before the Southern Rock chord progression kicks in

Every Mothers Son

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff grabs your attention straight away, an amalgamation of “Sweet Home Alabama” and blues rock songs like “Shooting Star”.

Trust

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It reminds me of The Rolling Stones and I like it.

(I Got The) Same Old Blues

Written by J.J. Cale. Every artist was covering his songs.

The 12 bars groove is heavy, yet funky. The slide guitar is simple yet effective.

Double Trouble

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

It follows the trend set with “(I Got The) Same Old Blues”. And the name used by Steve Ray Vaughan, could have come from this song. The blues on offer here is similar to what SRV would play, just more amped up and more technical.

Roll Gypsy Roll

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

The acoustic riff to start it is campfire like, and riding on the greyhound to leave town was a rite of passage for the youth once upon a time. These days, the kids are over 30 and still at home.

Searching

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.

My favourite song on the album. Musically and lyrically. Rossington and Collins steal the show here.

Cry For The Bad Man

Written by Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Ronnie Van Zant.

It starts off like a Kinks song crossed with “Mississippi Queen”. And I like it.

All I Can Do Is Write About It

Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant.
Zakk Wylde basically took this song and wrote “Road To Nowhere”.

Press play and enjoy it.

It’s listed as “not their best” album, but if you like southern rock, you shouldn’t skip it and I see it as an underrated album.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

1976 – Part 4.5: The Mahavishnu Orchestra – Inner Worlds

The Mahavishnu Orchestra were a jazz fusion band formed in New York City in 1971, led by English guitarist John McLaughlin.

The group underwent several line-up changes throughout its history across two stints from 1971 to 1976 and 1984 to 1987.

The first line-up which consisted of musicians Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer, Jerry Goodman, and Rick Laird, the band received its initial acclaim for its complex, intense music consisting of a blend of Indian classical music, jazz and psychedelic rock, and its dynamic live performances between 1971 and 1973.

After the original group dissolved, it reformed in 1974 with a new cast of musicians behind McLaughlin:

“Inner Worlds” came out in 1976. It’s the group’s sixth album release and it would be the last album by them for nearly ten years, when leader and guitarist John McLaughlin re-formed the group in 1984.

All in the Family

The song is written by John McLaughlin who also plays guitar and guitar synth. Stu Goldberg is on all things keys related.

Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and the star of the song is Narada Michael Walden on Drums, congas, bass marimba and shaker.

And the reason why Walden is the star is because the song opens with a drum solo before it moves into a fast jazz like beat. Its chaotic as all the instruments come in and somehow it all makes sense. Progressive rock is the best way to describe it.

There is this section between 3.25 and 3.45 in which McLaughlin and Goldberg play this fast unison lead line and I like it.

Miles Out

It’s written by John McLaughlin who plays all things guitar and a special instrument called the “360” systems frequency shifter. It’s actually not an instrument, but an effect. These days, it would be in a stomp box, but back then it was a pretty large unit.

You hear it in action in the Intro and throughout the song. Stu Goldberg is on the Mini-Moog and Steiner-Parker synthesizers, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden on drums.

I like the bass intro from Goldberg, it’s creepy like, and funky. McLaughlin plays a staccato like guitar riff, which is more funk and reggae like. When he activates the frequency shifter, it sounds chaotic but the drumming of Walden is super-fast, technical and on point. Somehow it makes sense.

In My Life

Written by John McLaughlin and Narada Michael Walden.

John McLaughlin is on 12-string acoustic guitar, Stu Goldberg is on backing vocals, Ralphe Armstrong is on bass and Narada Michael Walden is on the piano and drums, along with the lead vocals.

It’s a poor song and the lyrics are very childish, like seriously, they sing “thank you for the fish in the sea”. A skip for me.

Gita

Written by John McLaughlin and it’s another song with vocals that doesn’t connect with me.

Morning Calls

A short one minute piece, written by John McLaughlin who plays guitar synthesizer and Narada Michael Walden who plays organ.

It sounds Oriental and Celtic like but it’s another skip for me.

The Way of the Pilgrim

Written by Narada Michael Walden and it’s got some intricate instrument sections, but this far in, these kind of passages are starting to sound same same.

River of My Heart

Written by Kanchan Cynthia Anderson and Narada Michael Walden.

There is no guitar on this, with Ralphe Armstrong on double bass and Narada Michael Walden on Piano, Lead Vocals and Percussion.

But it’s a skip for me.

Planetary Citizen

Written by Ralphe Armstrong, this song could have been on a Stevie Wonder album. It’s got that blues, jazz funk fusion happening.

And are you ready to be a planetary citizen?

Lotus Feet

Written by John McLaughlin. I like this instrumental.

There is a guitar that plays arpeggios and a MiniMoog playing a lead break with percussion as the foundation.I

It sort of reminds me of “Albatross” from Fleetwood Mac, the Peter Green version of the band.

Inner Worlds

The title track. Part 1 is written by John McLaughlin and Part 2 by Stu Goldberg. But it’s a bit of mess and that Frequency shifter gadget is just noise to me, however it would have been cool to have that whooshing effect back in the day.

In the end, there are better Mahavishnu Orchestra albums, which we will get to as I work my way back through history.

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