As promised, this week sees my second selection of albums from the Seventies, all of which were a part of the vast collection of vinyl that I amassed. There is no particular theme or connection to them, though it does appear that I was gravitating towards singer-songwriters and American music in those days!
First one this week is from someone of whom I’ve been a fan since the earliest days, both in the duo and as a solo artist:
Apologies for the rap introduction – it’s on the official video, so I had to let it sneak in! That was from Paul’s eponymous second solo album, released in January 1972. I went to university in September of that year and, naturally, the album went with me! It was #1 in the UK and #4 in the US, and is still a favourite of mine to this day – it’s hard to think of a better one that he made, though Graceland has to be up there too. This track was the second single from the album, reaching #15 in the UK and #22 in the US. Despite my crack about rap, I love the video for the song: it is full of life, as befits the tune. Mind you, I’m not sure if the line about “Rosie, the Queen of Corona” has stood the test of time into this year!
This week’s second tune is also from an album that went to uni with me, and is also still a favourite:
That was on Rod’s third solo album, Every Picture Tells A Story, which was a #1 album in both the UK and the US, as well as in several other countries. It was released in May 1971 and was the album that made him a huge star. His previous two solo efforts were both excellent, but it wasn’t until this one that things took off for him – and how! The video is actually taken from his 1993 album Unplugged… and Seated, but as it is so good I didn’t think you’d mind if I cheated a little: the interplay with Ronnie Wood, who had been with Rod in The Faces and played on the original version, is fun to watch. This song was never released as a single, though it was actually the B-side to I Know I’m Losing You. It was very much a radio hit, though: I recall it being played often on Johnnie Walker’s Radio 1 show, which was on during the lunch break in my uni days.
I think my next tune could genuinely be termed ‘obscure.’ The video is one of those static audio-only jobs, and has amassed just over 250 views in six years! The band – Fishbaugh, Fishbaugh and Zorn – made two albums, only one of which was released, and this is one of the tracks from that:
The album came out in 1971: I bought it after hearing this song on the radio, and played it to death. Unfortunately, it also appears to have represented the death of the band, too, as their record company dropped them before the second album could be released. Apparently this song was released as a single but fared no better than the album. The two Fishbaughs were a married couple, Gary and Paula, and Zorn was Pete Zorn: Gary and Pete met whilst both were playing with the New Christy Minstrels. Pete was a multi-instrumentalist who enjoyed a long career as part of Richard Thompson’s backing band, as well as being a member of the Albion Band and Steeleye Span – the latter until his death in 2016. He was much in demand, having also played with Gerry Rafferty, Show Of Hands, Elaine Paige and Barbara Dickson, to name just a few. In view of the band’s short-lived career and almost instant obscurity I’ll admit to being a little surprised to have found this on YouTube, but I’m glad I could share it with you – I always thought those lovely harmony vocals deserved a wider audience.
This next one comes from a little later – 1976 to be exact. The band is a longstanding one, having released their first album in 1969 and still going today. This was the title track of their ninth album:
It’s a shame that the video faded out, as the full album version of the song lasts another couple of minutes, but hopefully that gave you a taste of how good it is. I was by this time very much into what was known as ‘country-rock,’ having progressed via the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Gram Parsons and others through to the Eagles and Poco. I think I made some wise musical choices! The album reached #59 in the US and #54 in Australia, but didn’t chart here. The song was also released as a single and charted in the same two countries, at #94 and #51 respectively. It was also covered by Emmylou Harris as the title track of her 1981 album Cimarron: unsurprisingly, her version is lovely. The song was inspired by lead vocalist Rusty Young’s reading of an Oklahoma tourist brochure about a beautiful lady called Rose Dunn, who was given this nickname during her younger years, at the end of the Wild West days. Think ‘milkshakes bringing the boys to her yard,’ and you won’t be far off the mark. The other vocalist may look familiar to you: he is Timothy B Schmit, who left Poco not long after this to join the Eagles.
Back to the UK for my next tune. You may have heard the tragic story of this guy, but have you listened to the beauty of his music? If not, I think you should, as you’ve been missing out:
Nick Drake only lived to 26: he died in 1974 from an overdose of the antidepressant drugs he had been prescribed. The coroner recorded a verdict of “Acute amitriptyline poisoning – self-administered when suffering from a depressive illness.” His family, including his sister, Gabrielle Drake – the actress – have always refused to accept that he committed suicide, and I’d prefer to believe them, though some of his friends at the time were of the view that ‘he had given up on life.’ Either way, his is a sad story. Nick released just three albums during his lifetime: this is a track from the second of those, Bryter Later, from 1971 (not 1970, the video is wrong). I love this video: it is a great fit for Nick’s beautiful, delicate music. He sold very few albums while alive, and suffered severe stage fright that curtailed his career as a live performer. However, since his death there has been a resurgence of interest in him and his music, with the release of several albums of unreleased songs, demos and outtakes. One of these, Made To Love Magic, from 2004, even made the UK albums chart at #27, and produced two top forty singles. Many of his songs have been used in tv shows and movies, and even adverts. There is also an excellent book about him, Deeper Than The Darkest Sea, written by Trevor Dann, which offers a sympathetic appraisal of his life and music.
I didn’t want to leave you on a downbeat note, so here’s a rousing finale for you:
That is still the best musical equivalent of a ‘Dear John’ (or ‘Dear Jane’) letter that I know. It was the opening track on the Eagles’ third album, On The Border, released in 1974 – an album that got a lot of play during my uni days, like all of today’s choices (apart from Poco – which was too late). As you can probably guess, if you haven’t already worked it out, I’ve been a big Eagles fan since they started – where do you think I ‘borrowed’ my blog’s name from? The album reached #17 in the US and #28 here in the UK, and this track was also a hit US single, where it peaked at #32. Strangely, to my mind, the Eagles didn’t enjoy huge chart success here until their first Greatest Hits album was released in 1976, became a massive #2 hit, and is still one of the best-selling albums of all time in this country. Go figure!
That’s all for today, and for this stage of my journey back to the Seventies. As I have said a couple of times, next Tuesday will be 1 December and I’m planning something a little different. If the demand continues to be there I’ll bring Tuesday Tunes back in the New Year – we’ll see. Those December plans also include music – no surprise there, then – and I’m intending to drop in on you a couple more times this week too, so I hope to see you again then.
Take care of yourself and those who matter to you. TTFN.