Steppenwolf- Steppenwolf 7

Saturday is rocking along with this album I got for $1.20.  Steppenwolf, best known for “Born to Be Wild” and ” Magic Carpet Ride, formed in Los Angeles in 1967, but 3/5’s of the band were Canadian.  Jerry Edmonton, Goldy McJohn, and singer John Kay were in a popular Oshawa band, Jack and the Sparrows.

Steppenwolf 7, oddly enough, was the band’s 5th studio album.  Released in 1970, the album had the group’s trademark sound.  It features hard rocking songs , big grooves, and loud guitar. Despite not having any singles that would break the Top 40, this is a pretty decent album.

Kay was born in 1944 in Tilsit, East Prussia, Germany (now Sovetsk, Kaliningrad Oblast, part of the Russian Federation). A year later, he and his mother fled during the Soviet advance during the Evacuation of East Prussia.  The train got stuck in Arnstadt, which was at the time occupied by Americans but would soon become Soviet occupied East Germany.  They fled over a heavily guarded border into West Germany in 1949 and then immigrated to Canada in 1958.  Kay recounts this experience in the song “Renegade” and for that reason, I am using this as a sample.

Satisfactory little record.

Grand Funk Railroad- Live Album

Here we are with more rock and roll on the weekend.  This time, there is is this double record I got for $3 from Capitol.  I got it to get more rock on the blog.

As my neighbor put it ,Grand Funk Railroad was something in their day (that day would be the 70’s). This was their fourth album and the first live disc.  Released in 1970, it came out before the massive success of “American Band”.  The band were no slouches though with a pretty impressive sales streak on prior releases.

Furthermore, this album, recorded at various gigs in Florida, features no overdubs, re-mixing, or audio engineering.  Here is full form is the bands early live show in all its glory or at least four sides worth anyway.

The album was panned by critics but a commercial success.  Critics of the 1970’s were pretty constantly off base on rock anyway.  The record went to #5 on the Billboard charts as well as # 17 on the US RnB charts, which is quite a accomplishment. It would also go Gold a week after release.

For a sample, I went with “Mark Say’s Alright”, a shout out to the guitarist/singer Mark Farner. I went with this because it was short, at least relatively to a lot of the tracks on the record.  I must also state that both records were warped horribly.


Humble Pie- Rocking’ The Filmore East

Happy first Saturday of 2018.  This month, I put rocking records to end the week. So here is this, a double record I got for a dollar.

Humble Pie was one of the first super groups (experts vary but I give that distinction to Cream).  Formed in Essex, UK in 1969, the group consisted of Steve Marriot of Small Faces, Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth, Jerry Shirley from The Apostolic Intervention, and Peter Frampton from the Herd. The band had pretty good success on both sides of the Atlantic .

Frampton left in 1971, to be replaced by Clem Clempson.  Further success followed until the band’s breakup in 1975.  Several reformations under various incarnations would follow.

This was the band’s first live recording, recorded in May of 1971 and released 1971.  It would also be their first Gold record.  Frampton would leave the band for bigger fame shortly before its release.  Consisting of an hour long set from the Filmore East in New York, the album tears through mostly covers from Ida Cox, Dr John, Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon among others as well as  one original song.  Apparently, Marriot and Shirley were quite high when they mixed the album and took most of the audience sound out of the first mix so back to the mixing desk they went.

I went with Ray Charles’ classic “Hallelujah” as a s ample, mostly because the record was in rough shape and this was the only track that did not skip.

Satisfactory record.

Southside Johnny and the Ashbury Jukes- Heart of Stone

If my calculations are correct, this is post #900.  Wish I put a better album out for the event. Well not so much better but one that I liked more.  Don’t get me wrong, it is just there are two categories for New Jersey rock and roll musicians: Springsteen and not Springsteen.  Well,  I got this for the deep Springsteen ties.  It was only $2.

Johnny Lyons, known as Southside Johnny, was born in Neptune in 1948.  He rose out of the Jersey Shore scene that produced The Boss.  Although they have continued to make appearances and put out records, the groups most prolific period was the 70’s, where they released three albums which were met with some level of critical success.  According to Wikipedia, the band did a whole lot of consulting work on various movies.

This record was the groups third, released by Epic in 1978.  As like its predecessors, it was produced by E Street member and future Soprano, Steven Van Zant.  The title track is a cover of a Springsteen number. The rest of the tracks are either written or co-written by Van Zant, who also plays guitar on the album.  He is joined by another E Streeter and ex-Conan bandleader, Max Weinberg.

Pretty decent album all together and it got a very good critical response. One critic called it the best album Bruce Springsteen never recorded, but that may be a bit unfair.  At the heart of if (no pun intended), it is what I imagine, a pretty good representation of Jersey rock.  It also is a good show of the vast array of influences on Van Zant,  “Talk To Me” was the single off this effort. Incidentally, Johnny injured his hand after recording and could not tour in support if this album.  As a result sales were below expectations and the band and Epic parted ways.  Van Zant would also move on to a more full time role with Springsteen.

For a sample, I went with “This Time Baby’s Gone For Good”.

Decent enough record.  Satisfactory.

The Beach Boys- Beach Boys Concert

If you are expecting to read a lot on this post, please note that it is the end of the week as well as the end of the month (in theory) for the blog.  So I would put those expectations aside.  On the plus side, I have gotten way ahead in writing these.  You can say getting caught up is my opioid.  Anyway, I got this for ONE DOLLAR!!!! ONE DOLLAR!!!! I thought it was going to be all scratched up but it was in great shape.  It even still had the insert pages which seem to get torn out on records like this.

This record was The Beach Boys first Live record (seventh overall). It was also (fun fact) the first and only Beach Boy’s record to hit #1.  I found this a hard fact to believe but it is true.  Released in 1964 and recorded from two concerts at Sacramento’s Civic Memorial Auditorium (in 1963 and 1964), this is the only live Beach Boys’ record to feature the complete original line up, as Brian Wilson would stay studio bound around the second half of the sixties.

Really good little record with a lot of energy.  Wikipedia suggests that there were a lot of overdubs and edits but I find it irrelevant.  It is a good mix of early Beach Boys hits as well as popular songs of the day including covers by The Rippington’s, Jan & Dean, Dion, Dick Dale, and Chuck Berry.

For samples, living in Texas, I obviously went with “Long Tall Texan” which reminds me of the stage show at The Texas Tumbleweed restaurant I used to go to as a kid (which apparently is greatly defunct). I also liked “Monster Mash” an already novelty number made even more so by Mike Love. Finally, I went with “I Get Around” just so you can hear all the teenage girls in the audience lose their collective lunch.

Still can not believe thsi was only one dollar.  Top Rated.  Good bye week.  Good bye Month.

Amageddon- ST

Happy Saturday.  This record was $5.  I bought it, despite already having a copy which I bought for $10, because I really wanted to post it and at the time, I was really sticking to my journalistic guns of keeping records at $5 or less.  Such idealism.  Anyway, it was my pal Hugh who first turned me on to this record.  He played the first track and made me guess who the lead singer was.  This is also one of the records I found laying around my apartment on Christmas last year when I had company over the night before and I woke up to a place in massive disarray.

Keith Relf, born in Richmond, Surrey, UK in 1943, had one of the more interesting careers in music, if not one of the more underappreciated.  As the lead singer of the Yardbirds, his efforts were overshadowed by his more famous band mates, namely, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page.  After the group’s demise, Relf first took up with his sister and Yardbird Jim McCarty in the acoustic group Renaissance (a version of which has been posted on this blog).  However, after producing other artists, he formed this super group of sorts in 1974 with Martin Pugh and Louis Cennamo of Steamhammer as well as Bobby Caldwell of Captain Beyond.

Armegeddon released on album (this one) and played two shows before disbanding.  Relf, who was working on reforming his version of Renaissance, would die of accidental electrocution in 1976.  He was 33 years old at the time.  This record would be his last recording.

But here we are with this, which is a hard driving rock and roll album that is really comparable to anything his ex-Yardbird band mates were doing at the time.  The album was a critical success, but since there was no tour behind it, it really did not sell.  So, it has been relegated to a special place in the annals  of the history of 70’s rock.

For a sample, I went with one of the shorter songs, “Paths and Planes and Future Gains”.  It should be noted that the opening song posted above, “Buzzard” is my favorite song on the album.

Great album.  Top Rated.

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition- Rollin’

Starting another month of Donkey Show with this record I got for $2.40.  A lot of good songs on this.  So we are into September. Plus it is Labor Day, so when you read this, I am at home doing nothing (or perhaps getting even further ahead in writing this blog).  That is if we still have a country when this post comes out.  Let’s see how this month plays out. I am good and ahead of the game as far as post writing goes.  However, still erring on the side of brevity so if you have any questions, I would suggest Google.

This record is from The First Edition, a band formed in 1967 from members of The New Christy Minstrels who wanted more freedom from a constricting repertoire .  Led by Kenny Rogers, who played bass and vocals, and Terry Williams, guitar and vocals, as well as Mary Arnold on vocals and occasional actor Micky Jones on drums, the band had some decent hits including “I Just Dropped In” and ” Ruby” blending the worlds of psychedelic pop and country together.    I did not realize this but when the band disbanded in 1976, there was some doubt as to if Rogers could maintain a solo career.

Well, during the height of their fame, they had their own TV Show, Rollin, produced by CTV in Canada.  As a counterweight to the Sonny and Cher Show with decidedly more rocking acts, the show began to paint the band as TV personalities rather than musicians, to the ire of certain band members.  Anyway, it ran from 1971 to 1973 with generally good ratings.

This album, released in 1973, features songs from the show as perfromed by the group.  There are songs that feature individual vocal performances by Rogers, Williams, Arnold, and guirist Jim Hassell, as well as an instrumental rocking piece on keyboards by Gene Lorenzo, Bach’s “Joy (Jeso, Joy Of Man’s Desiring), an arrangement that had been a hit for Apollo 100.  Pretty decent stuff.  A whole lot of Beatles’ content.

Well, from this record, here is the band with “Get Back”.  Also, might as well give Kenny some spotlight with “The Long And Winding Road”.

Probably could have done with some original content, but this perhaps defeats the purpose of this record, which is satisfactory.

Iron Butterfly- Ball

This was $3.  I got it at the SW-Hilton record show some time back.  Probably had a Saturday post in mind for it when I bought it.

This was Iron Butterfly’s third album, released in 1969 hot on the heels of their Inna Gadda Da Vida success. It went Gold and spawned to minor singles. This would be the last studio album from what was considered their classic lineup.

Not feeling typing anything more and will probably go out to buy a new mouse tomorrow.  I know what you are saying, you don’t type with a mouse but trust me, a lagging  mouse makes putting these posts together almost miserable.

Well, no need to feel any more misery with this post.  Here as a sample is “Real Fright” which combines a snappy drum, a poppy bass line, a snarling guitar and the intricate keyboards the band is known for.

If you want to know more about the album or the band, I would suggest your search either.  Critics called it an ambitious album.  Obviously, when you follow your biggest hit, there is going to be some critical response.  That being said, I think it is quite good myself. Satisfactory.

Jerry Lee Lewis-Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues

Woo hoo!! Saturday.  Let’s fly thru this.  This was $2.  Too many good songs to pass up.  Also after 2-1/2 years of doing this blog, I still hate typing the word rhythm.  I mis-spell it every time. Anyway, you can not go wrong with ending the week with Jerry Lee Lewis.

This record, released by Sun in 1969 was a repackaging of songs recorded earlier with Sam Phillips.  At the time, The Killer was going thru his county period (which I felt was even better than his rock and roll days). He was very hot during this period and the new owner of Sun, Shelby Singleton, wanted to capitalize on this so they put out a series of compilation records like this.

A lot of good rock and roll/ rockabilly songs on here. Most of these songs weer made famous by others including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Ray Charles.  Also, I kind of do take offense for taking songwriting credits for “C.C. Rider”.  But other than that, every song is pretty much a classic.  So I went with “Little Queenie”.

Top Rated Record.

The Dave Clark Five- I Like It Like That

This is the last post of the month, which by default gets the least love.  Trying just to get it done.  This was $3.00. Yes, I fully realize that today is the 150th birthday of Canada, yet, I picked out this record ahead of schedule without consulting my calendar.  So unless I change my mind between the time this is written and when you are reading this, well, sorry.

I had mentioned how I felt shortchanged by the DC5’s movie Catch Me If You Can (Having A Wild Weekend in the US), which payed again on TCM last night.  I mean, it was very well received and really good in the way it dealt with heavy themes as compared to other pop vehicles but the failure to include any footage of the band playing instruments that I can remember as well as casting the band members as other people other than the musicians they were kind of broke it for me.  As a side note, Dave Clark was the drummer of the band.  For someone who likes their albums, I am slightly embarrassed not to know that.

This was the 7th album released in the US as well as 7th in two years.  Coming out in 1965, pretty straight forward British Invasion rock and roll.  Showcasing their Tottenham Sound, the album is pretty good.  Really killing it with the boiler plate adverbs today.

For a sample. I went with the soulful ” I Need Love.”  Satisfactory record. And with that another month of Donkey Show is in the can.