Category: Albums of the 70s

National Lampoon ‘Lemmings’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Lemmings Lament” by National Lampoon “Welcome to the Woodshuck Memorial Festival: Three Days Of Peace, Love And Death!” So began one of the funniest and spot-on parodies of the Woodstock generation with this announcement made by none other than John Belushi. Lemmings was performed as a stage show by National Lampoon in 1973, and not only launched the career of Belushi, but also introduced many of us to Chevy Chase, Tony Hendra and Christopher Guest. The show opened at the Village Gate, in New York City, on January 25, 1973, and ran for 350 performances. It included a then-unknown John Belushi performing a parody of Joe Cocker on the song...

Dr. John ‘Dr. John’s Gumbo’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Iko Iko” by Dr. John Where do you go after you’ve taken on an assumed name (“The Night Tripper”) and released four of the trippiest, psychedelic, voodoo-inspired albums in all of music history? If you’re Dr. John, you go straight back home! “I decided I’d had enough of the mighty-coo-de-fiyo hoodoo show, so I dumped the Gris-Gris routine we had been touring with since 1967 and worked up a new act—a Mardi Gras revue.” Actually, going home was probably a good idea for Rebennack, since he needed to take some time out to clean himself up after acquiring a massive drug habit while touring the world as “The Night Tripper.”...

Three Dog Night ‘Naturally’

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#828 in the Series) is Three Dog Night, Naturally Three Dog Night was a band that essentially consisted of three vocalists, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron, and Cory Wells, and four musicians, Michael Alsup on guitar, Floyd Sneed on drums, Joe Schermie on bass, and Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards, seven separate fools as we would later discover.  Performing for the most part other peoples songs, the band, named after the number of wild dogs it took to keep yourself warm if you happened to find yourself stuck overnight in the Australian Outback on a cold winters evening, and who hasn’t, was the quintessential Classic Rock cover band before the term “Classic Rock” even...

Tom Robinson Band ‘Power in the Darkness’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Long Hot Summer” by Tom Robinson Band The album was a total rallying cry…a call to arms, so to speak, where the arms were guitars and the ammunition was the lyrics. At least, that’s how Tom Robinson Band’s debut album, Power In The Darkness, struck me when I first heard it back in 1978. TRB formed in England in 1976, right at the dawn of the punk explosion. While not a true punk band, they managed to adopt the punk rock ethos and mix their political views into the mix, making a big splash in their native UK. The original lineup of the band included Tom Robinson on bass and...

Neil Young ‘American Stars and Bars’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Saddle Up The Palomino” by Neil Young American Stars And Bars was one of Neil Young’s most patchy albums, but that’s not because the material on the record is lacking. Quite the contrary, the songs are pretty much top notch throughout this “Whitman Sampler” of styles and sounds. However, the record does seem to get unfairly knocked for several reasons… For one, the record was recorded in several sessions between 1974 and 1977 with different lineups. This approach to recording doesn’t lend itself to a consistent listening experience. The entirety of the first side was recorded in April of 1977 with Crazy Horse and The Bullets (Frank Sampedro, Billy Talbot,...

Ananda Shankar ‘Ananda Shankar’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Jumping Jack Flash” by Ananda Shankar East certainly met West on Ananda Shankar’s eponymously titled first album from 1970. Ananda Shankar was first exposed to Western sounds when he traveled with members of his famous family, as they performed on concert stages across America during the 1960s. Shankar’s father was the Indian choreographer, Uday Shankar, while his more-famous uncle was the master sitar player, Ravi Shankar. Although, he Ananda also became famous for playing sitar, he did not study under his uncle, but rather studied traditional Indian music with Lalmani Misra at Banaras Hindu University. The concept for his debut album was simple, meld Western rock sounds with the traditional...

Art Garfunkel ‘Breakaway’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Waters Of March” by Art Garfunkel Art Garfunkel certainly missed his calling during his post Simon & Garfunkel solo career. If ever an artist was better suited to cut a Bossa Nova album with his gentle, smooth voice and octave range, it was Art Garfunkel. Proof positive is his recording of the Antonio Carlos Jobim classic “Waters Of March” from his second solo record, 1975’s Breakaway. “Waters Of March” was written by Antonio Carlos Jobim in both English and Portuguese (“Águas de Março”) and appeared on his 1973 album called Jobim. Although, the Bossa Nova craze was in the early 1960s, the song has since become a standard part of...

Todd Rundgren’s Utopia ‘Disco Jets’

  Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Cosmic Convoy” by Todd Rundgren & Utopia If it had come out when it was recorded, it would have been met with shrugs, or even worse, total disdain. Instead, except for those lucky few who could afford an expensive Japanese import box set, we’ve had to wait 36 years for it to finally get a legal release, and then only in the U.K.  However, if you’re a fan of Todd Rundgren and Utopia, then it was totally worth the wait. Disco Jets was recorded in 1976, directly after sessions for the album Faithful. The album found Todd Rundgren with his head firmly in the past, giving half the tune stack...

Odetta ‘Odetta Sings’

    Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – “Hit Or Miss” by Odetta Odetta! Voice of the Civil Rights Movement? Roots mama? Gospel great? Soul queen? Hip hop hottie? The answer, of course is yes! Actually, most people don’t remember who Odetta was. But if you are of a certain age (which is certainly older than I am) and was a fan of folk music, Odetta was your hero. She was an activist, actress and an influence on any folk singer worth his weight in salt…including Dylan, Baez, Belafonte, Ochs, Neil and numerous others. She was in the thick of things, right there at the March onWashingtonin 1963. Martin Luther King dubbed her “The queen of American...

Doug Sahm ‘Doug Sahm and his Band’

  Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#820 in the Series) is Doug Sahm, Doug Sahm and his Band Doug Sahm was Americana Roots Rock before the respective terms even existed.  A multi –instrumentalist child prodigy, his career going all the back to the Louisiana Hayride in the 50’s appearing with the likes of Hank Williams, Web Pierce, and Hank Thompson , Sahm was first and foremost a band leader. From his early days with The Pharaoh’s, his career defining stint with The Sir Douglas Quintet where they released the hit “She’s About a Mover” along with the California classic “Mendocino,” and the subsequent forming of the Tex –Mex Travelling Wiburys, The Texas Tornados that featured Flaco Jiminez, Augie...

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