Tonight on Six of One (9 PM Eastern/8 Central):
Featured artist: The dBs
Tribute to #69
The best of International Pop Overthrow
Tribute to John Du Cann
OTR: Bob and Ray
Hollywood Report: George Sanders
A song parody
Radio Free New Jersey:
Sadly, John Du Cann, formerly of Atomic Rooster (1969-1971), Daemon and Hard Stuff has died of a heart attack. Du Cann also had a solo hit with “Don’t Be a Dummy” in 1979. I will pay tribute to Du Cann during tonight’s “Six of One” netcast. I reviewed Atomic Rooster’s “Devil’s Answer” single here.
Raspberries' "Overnight Sensation" 45 RPM single.
Raspberries had their roots in two popular Cleveland bands of the late 1960s: The Choir and Cyrus Erie. The Choir consisted of Dann Klawon, Wally Bryson, Dave Burke, Dave Smalley and Jim Bonfanti, and had an extensive repertoire of original songs, including “It’s Cold Outside”, which became a #1 hit in Cleveland and even charted nationally, peaking at #68. The Choir endured several lineup changes, although the core members Bonfanti and Smalley remained in the band until Smalley was drafted and sent to Vietnam. In the meantime, Cyrus Erie, formed by brothers Michael McBride and Bob McBride, became the better draw after Eric Carmen (guitar, vocals) joined in 1967. Carmen persuaded guitarist Wally Bryson, who had just left The Choir, to join Cyrus Erie. This lineup recorded a single, consisting of two Carmen/Bryson originals, for Epic Records. Soon afterwards, Bryson returned to The Choir, and Cyrus Erie disbanded. Carmen and Dann Klawon then formed a new act called The Quick, and recorded two singles for Epic that had little success. After discussions between Carmen and Bonfanti about forming a band, the first lineup of Raspberries came together with Eric Carmen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano), Jim Bonfanti (drums), Wally Bryson (lead guitar, lead vocals), and John Aleksic (bass guitar). Soon Aleksic left the band and soon former Choirs member Dave Smalley, who had just returned from Vietnam, joined the band on rhythm guitar, with Carmen switching to bass. The group made a demo, and after a major label bidding war, they were signed to Capitol Records. Their first single, “Don’t Want to Say Goodbye”, dented the Billboard singles chart (#86), but the second single, “Go All the Way”, reached #5 nationally, was awarded a gold disc and eventually sold over a million copies. This helped boost sales of their debut album, “Raspberries” (1972), which spent 30 weeks on the Billboard album chart. Subsequently, Carmen and Smalley switched instruments, with Carmen becoming the rhythm guitarist and Smalley becoming the band’s bass player. The band’s second album, “Fresh”, was released in October 1972, and spawned two more hit singles: “I Wanna Be With You” (#16) and “Let’s Pretend” (#35).
Tensions within the band developed at Carmen’s creative dominance, which seemed to dwarf the contributions of Bryson and Smalley. Their next album, “Side 3” (1973) saw a change in musical direction for the band, with a more raw, aggressive sound than its predecessors. The album spawned two minor hits: “Tonight” (#69) and “I’m a Rocker” (#94), as well as one single that did not chart (“Ecstasy”). After this album’s release, Smalley was ejected from the band, and Bonfanti left soon afterward. The two were replaced by Scott McCarl (bass) and ex-Cyrus Erie drummer Michael McBride. This lineup released “Starting Over” (1974) which would record the band’s fourth and final album. It also spawned the single “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” b/w “Hands on You”. This is today’s featured single.
“Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” is definitely one of the high water marks of Eric Carmen’s career, an epic-scale production number in which the song’s main protagonist sings about wanting to hear his song on the radio: “Well I know it sounds funny/But I’m not in it for the money, no/I don’t need no reputation/And I’m not in it for the show”. The track starts off with the songs melody played on piano (in the style of Barry Manilow), which is soon joined by an impressive wall of sound, signaling that while “Side 3” was an effort by the band to shed their teenybopper image by showing that they could rock as hard as anyone else, “Starting Over” was more about impressing the listener with top-notch production. The instrumentation is diverse (there’s a brief saxophone solo here), yet all of it works towards creating a lush musical soundscape; the Beach Boys-esque vocals towards the end are also a nice touch, as is the false ending before the song comes thundering back and fades away. The way Carmen seemingly effortlessly weaves together the song, moving from verse to chorus to bridge back to the chorus again, is impressive, and a testament to the evolution of his songcraft from the days of such relatively simplistic (though admittedly enjoyable) tunes such as “Going All the Way”. The song itself became a hit record, peaking at #18 on the Billboard singles chart.
The B-side of the single, “Hands on You”, is quite a different kind of song, with lead vocals handled by Wally Bryson and Scott McCarl, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar and some strange tape loops of people clapping and making sundry noises. While the song is not as much of an achievement as “Overnight Sensation”, nor is “Hands on You” mindless pap or filler; it suggests that this incarnation of the band could step back from the grandiose leanings of such tracks while keeping the quality of songwriting high. While this album turned out to be their last, the band was by no means phoning it in, as proven by the high quality of even minor tracks on “Starting Over” such as this one.
The single (catalog #: 3946) was released on Capitol Records in 1974. As far as I know, no picture sleeve was issued with the record, but some copies were issued with a red and brown (or blue and yellow) Capitol Records sleeve. This would turn out to be the band’s last major hit as a subsequent single, “Cruisin’ Music”, failed to chart. The band broke up in April 1975, and Eric Carmen went onto success as a solo artist. Three of the original members (Bryson, Smalley and Bonfanti without Carmen) reunited for the album “Raspberries Refreshed” (1999), which attempted to recreate their original sound. In November 2004, the Cleveland branch the House of Blues opened with a Raspberries reunion concert; this led to a well-received mini-tour in 2005 which started at Chicago’s House of Blues. A date from the 2005 tour was recorded and released as a double CD and DVD called “Live on Sunset Strip” (2007).
Thanks to Blair and the good folks at RFD, Six of One now has an archive and RSS feed. You can also find links to the archive and RSS feed on the sidebar. Now all I have to do is remember to keep uploading new shows.
Travelin' Band 45 RPM single
It had to happen eventually. I’ve been meaning to cover a Creedence Clearwater Revival record for several weeks now, but I’ve always been able to come up with another idea that put Creedence onto the backburner. Well, no more: I don’t have any new ideas today; therefore, Creedence Clearwater Revival gets its due. The band started when John Fogerty (guitar), Doug Clifford (drums) and Stu Cook (bass) met in junior high school and started playing instrumentals together. Soon, they began backing up Fogerty’s older brother Tom (then the band’s lead singer). By 1964, the band (now christened The Golliwogs) to Fantasy Records, and independent San Francisco jazz label which had released Vince Guaraldi’s hit single “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” in 1962. The band’s future was murky when in 1965 John Fogerty and Doug Clifford were called up by the draft board; Fogerty enlisted in the Army Reserve while Clifford did a stint in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. The band released a few singles as The Golliwogs with Tom Fogerty as the lead singer, but these singles went nowhere. The band did not find its direction until John Fogerty took over singing and songwriting duties. By 1968, Fogerty and Clifford were discharged from military service, and the new owner of Fantasy Records, Saul Zaentz, gave the band an opportunity to record a full-length album, providing that they changed their name. They settled on Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the self-titled debut album was a huge success, buoyed by the first single from the album, “Suzie Q (Part 1)” b/w “Suzie Q (Part 2), a recover version of Dale Hawkins’ 1956 rockabilly hit, which reached number 11 on the Billboard charts. 1969 was a banner year for the band, as they released no less than three albums and four hit singles. In early 1970, the band did not have a new album to release (having released “Willie And The Poor Boys” only two months earlier); nonetheless, they released a new single: “Travelin’ Band” b/w “Who’ll Stop The Rain”, which is today’s featured single.
This single is actually one of the rare instances in this blog of a true “double A-side” single, with each song getting equal billing. It’s also a prime example of CCR’s ability to release tightly-focused radio-friendly pop songs with broad appeal, even as they displayed an ability to record lengthier pieces (such as the 11 minute version of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”). “Travelin’ Band” starts with a blaring horn section (a sign that the band’s musical palette was expanding), and a melody that sounds suspiciously similar to Little Richard’s “Good Golly Miss Molly” (in fact, the band ended up getting sued by the song’s publisher, a suit that was eventually settled out of court). But this song is no mere clone of the Little Richard song; it may be derivative, but it packs a powerful punch into a 2 minute pop song. John Fogerty’s vocals seem to be informed by Richard’s gospel-influenced delivery, as he sings enthusiastically about a band on the road: “737 comin’ out of the sky/Oh! wont you take me down to Memphis on a midnight ride”. The instrumental breaks are brief yet don’t waste a note: first we get an extremely intense guitar-sax break, then we get a guitar solo with slide flourishes. Fogerty’s screams on the record are screams of infectious enthusiasm that could easily rival James Brown and of course Little Richard himself. “Travelin’ Band” was the more popular of the two songs on this single, reaching number 2 on the Billboard singles chart.
“Who’ll Stop The Rain”, on the other hand, was a more thoughtful, serious song, and does not seem to be derivative of any pop record, although it does not stray far from the folk rock template. The song features an acoustic melody and rather melancholy textures, and one can understand how the more fun-sounding “Travelin’ Band” would be the bigger hit; nonetheless “Who’ll Stop The Rain” is a great song in its own right. The acoustic guitar riff that opens the song is a catchy one that indicates that CCR by this point was a road-tested rock band with a proclivity for roots music rather than a traditional folk band. The lyrical content is dreamy and murky: “Long as I remember the rain been comin down/Clouds of mystry pourin confusion on the ground”. Some have interpreted this song as an anti-Vietnam song (the “rain” presumably representing the forces of war); this is not an unreasonable interpretation, since the band was anti-Vietnam even though they were more apolitical than many of the bands of the time. Still, I tend to think that the malaise referred to in the song is more universal than that; the line about “[f]ive year plans and new deals, wrapped in golden chains” seems to indicate a general cynicism about any government that promises prosperity and unlimited rice pudding for everyone. There is also the possibility that the song was influenced by Woodstock (CCR did play there, even if they weren’t in the movie or soundtrack); there is a lyric in the song that could be a reference to the festival and the rain which intermittently plagued it: “Heard the singers playin, how we cheered for more/The crowd had rushed together, tryin’ to keep warm”. And the song could be about both: inspired directly by Woodstock, yet referring indirectly to the troubles, both perceptible and tangible as well as imperceptible and intangible, which plagued the nation in 1970. Released not too long before the Guess Who’s “American Woman”, it seems worthwhile to compare the two, and while “Who’ll Stop The Rain” is a song that gently prods us to think about the current state of affairs (assuming that we look beyond the literal meaning of the lyrics for a more figurative and substantial meaning), “American Woman” sounds more like a slap in the face with its reference to “war machines and ghetto scenes”. Whatever the case may be, evidently there was a lot going on in popular music around this time.
“Travelin’ Band” b/w “Who’ll Stop The Rain” was released squarely in the middle of the CCR juggernaut, and the band would release two more albums before Tom Fogerty left the band in early 1971. John Fogerty decided to let Clifford and Cook have an equal voice in songwriting duties, and the release of “Mardi Gras” in 1972 and the lukewarm reception it received from critics and fans alike seemed to confirm that John Fogerty was the real force behind the band, which broke up in October 1972. John Fogerty was the only former CCR member to release any notable material after the break up; he had a hit with “Centerfield” in 1984, and after putting his musical career on hiatus for a number of years, returned with the Grammy-winning “Blue Moon Swamp” in 1997 – his first new album in over ten years. The death of Tom Fogerty in 1990 put an end to any talk of a CCR reunion with the original members, although Clifford and Cook had for a time appeared as “Creedence Clearwater Revisited” (due to a legal dispute with John Fogerty, they couldn’t use the Creedence Clearwater Revival name).
The single (catalog #: Fantasy 637) features the orange-red and green Fantasy label which was used on all the original CCR singles from 1968 to 1972. [The top of the label is orange-red in the shape of a flower, and has “FANTASY” in block letters across the top; the track information is across the bottom.] No picture sleeve was issued with this single, at least not in the United States.
Creedence Clearwater Revival performing Travelin’ Band live
John Fogerty performing Who’ll Stop The Rain (not CCR)
Who’ll Stop The Rain (music + still photo of the band)
"Lucky Man" single with Cotillion paper sleeve.
In 1969, Keith Emerson the keyboardist for The Nice and Greg Lake was the bassist for King Crimson. On two separate occasions in 1969, the two bands shared the same venue (the 9th Jazz and Blues Festival on August 10, and Fairfield Halls in Croydon on October 17). After playing a few of the same concerts, Emerson and Lake tried working together and found their styles to be not only compatible, but complementary. They decided to form a band, and sought a drummer. Before eventually settling on Carl Palmer, the two approached Mitch Mitchell, who was uninterested but who passed the idea to Jimi Hendrix. For a time, rumors swirled of a supergroup featuring Hendrix, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and such plans apparently stood a chance of being realized, but Hendrix died before they could join forces. Instead, the band would record their debut album as a trio, with Greg Lake doubling as lead guitarist and bassist. “Emerson, Lake and Palmer”, released in November 1970 on Island Records (King Crimson’s record label), was essentially a collection of solo tracks. Nevertheless, their debut album incorporated many elements that would become part of their signature sound, such as the inclusion of extracts from classical music artists like Bach, Janáček, and Bartók. It also included “Lucky Man”, a song which was released as a single with “Knife Edge” on the B-side. This is today’s featured single.
“Lucky Man” was originally recorded to fill time on side two of the album, at the request of their record company. It was written by Greg Lake for the acoustic guitar when he was twelve years old, and was not well-received by either Emerson or Palmer. However, the two agreed to cooperate on the recording of the track, and it ultimately proved to be one of their most commercial and accessible songs. It employs a relatively simple guitar melody (G-D on the verses, and A-Em-D-Dsus4-D-Dsus2-D on the chorus). The lyrics, not really achieving a Dylanesque level of sublimity, refer to a man who had it all, but gets killed in a war: “He had white Horses/And ladies by the score/All dressed in satin/And waiting by the door/Ooooh, what a lucky man he was”. The result is a rather folksy-sounding ballad that is unlike the other tracks on the album. But the very popularity of this song ensured that ELP would record similar ballads on future albums. The song begins with Lake playing acoustic guitar, but about one and a half minutes in, an electric guitar joins the musical accompaniment. But the pièce de résistance is reserved for the song’s coda, in which Emerson unleashes his Moog synthesizer, and delivers a superb keyboard solo, the third layer of the musical wall of sound created by ELP here. “Lucky Man” would become one of ELP’s signature tunes, one of their most popular songs, and reached #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.
One of the picture sleeves issued with the "Lucky Man" single.
The B-side of this single, “Knife Edge”, is probably the second best-known song from ELP’s debut album. It opens with three chords, then leaves Lake on bass (with a standard G-D-A-E tuning) unaccompanied on the verses, with the dam bursting on the chorus (with Emerson’s keyboard playing a prominent role). The song’s lyrics depict a man on the verge of a mental breakdown: “Just a step cried the sad man/Take a look down at the madman/Theatre kings on silver wings/Fly beyond reason”. The song’s melody complements these lyrics well, conveying a dark atmosphere, and shifting expertly between the quiet parts and the louder parts, mirroring a shift in the main protagonist’s mind between calm and disquietude. There is a bridge section in this song that begins about two and a half minutes into the track which incorporates themes from classical music, before the final verse and the coda (which incorporates a turntable-coming-unplugged finale). On this track more than on any track on the first album, ELP comes closest to realizing the potential of the heady art rock they were forging, and thus “Knife Edge” stands out as the outstanding achievement of the band’s first long player.
The single (U.S. catalog #: 45-44106) was issued on Island Records in the U.K. and Cotillion Records in the U.S. (as shown in the accompanying photo). In some countries, the single was issued with a picture sleeve (one such picture sleeve is also shown in an accompanying photo). The success of “Lucky Man” was only the beginning of a fertile period for Emerson, Lake and Palmer, a period which saw the release of four studio albums (“Tarkus”, “Trilogy”, and “Brain Salad Surgery”, in addition to the debut album) and two live albums (1971’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” and 1974’s “Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends”). Emerson, Lake and Palmer became practitioners of the sub-genre of symphonic rock. After the release of “Welcome Back My Friends”, ELP took a 3-year hiatus to reinvent its music, but in the meantime they lost touch with the changing music scene. Their last studio album of the 1970s, “Love Beach” (1978) was a commercial and critical disappointment (even the band admitted it was only released to fulfill a contractual obligation), although it did eventually go gold. In the early 1980s, Carl Palmer joined the supergroup Asia (“Heat of the Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell”). When Emerson and Lake decided to reform ELP, Palmer declined, and they recruited ex-Rainbow drummer Cozy Powell. This lineup released one moderately successful album, “Emerson, Lake and Powell” (1986). Keith Emerson and Greg Lake ended their short-lived reunion after the supporting tour. Emerson next formed the band 3 with Robert Berry taking Lake’s place on bass, this time bringing Palmer back into the fold. The resulting album, “To the Power of Three”, was largely unsuccessful, and 3 soon folded. In 1992, Emerson, Lake and Palmer reunited and issued and album, “Black Moon” (1992). Their 1992/1993 world tours were successful, and the band issued a follow-up album, “In the Hot Seat” (1994). The band toured worldwide in 1996, 1997 and 1998, but in significantly smaller venues than the ones in which they had previously played. The band has not toured since 1998, nor have they released any new material since 1994, but rumors of an upcoming tour have surfaced. The band will play a one-off fortieth anniversary reunion concert at the High Voltage Festival in Victoria Park on July 25, 2010.
November 20th’s show (#245) was cancelled due to personal reasons. Since three shows have been cancelled this year for one reason or another, I’m going to try to do something a bit unusual in an effort to catch up: three shows in three days. The schedule for this week looks like this:
November 25: NRBQ
November 26: The Rolling Stones, Part 2
November 27: Bomp! Records
Each show will be a three-hour show with a live segment in the third hour. During Wednesday’s show, I will be playing Arlo Guthrie’s Thanksgiving Day classic, “Alice’s Restaurant”. You can listen to the netcast live by clicking on the link on the left sidebar. Each show will be netcast at 11 PM EST/4:00 AM UTC.
Once again, I’ve made changes to the m0n0wall system (installing an Intel Pro 100 card, and thus the URL of Six Appeal Radio has changed to http://220.127.116.11:8000/sixappeal.m3u
Good news: the m0n0wall system is up and running. But as a result, my cable provider’s DHCP server assigned a new IP address. So the new URL for Six Appeal Radio is http://18.104.22.168:8000/sixappeal.m3u