ON THE TURNTABLE: And the year was…1970
Every few weeks I post a review of the albums I listened to in a particular year. So today is one of those postings…AND THE YEAR WAS:1970
Strange freaking year for me.January of 1970 I just turned eighteen years old, awaiting graduation from high school, applying to colleges and possible facing the military draft. No matter what transpired the night before or what each morning brought upon us, we partied on.My job at the cassette factory recently closed so I had to find gainful employment to keep my obsession of attending live shows and buying recorded music. I found not one job but two; One working in a boat yard part time after school and full time on the weekends, as well as working evenings as a substitute cleaner/custodian in the local schools when called upon, which was regularly.That custodian gig paid off big time years later, but that’s another story altogether.I graduated high school in June, worked the summer, and headed off to college in September. There I immediately landed on the college radio station doing Friday night 11PM to Saturday 7 AM as well as an occasional afternoon show.
1970 Music: in no particular order or favor:
To me NEIL YOUNG’s third album “After The Gold Rush” (August 70)was better than CSNY’s (March 70)“Deja Vu” but not nearly as exciting as Neil’s “Everybody Knows…”. It’s 1970, so “…Gold Rush” is the perfect collection for the 8-track tape players we all installed in our cars. One copy of “Gold Rush” moved from one friend’s cars to other friends cars. Perfect “pot smoking music” was how it was once described.
After I and II the new LED ZEPPELIN album had to entitled “ III”.They are original…or maybe not, anyway “Immigrant Song” kicks it off, on from there it was electric, acoustic,electric back to acoustic. Cool stuff. The tune“Since I’ve Been Loving You” was copped directly from the obscure “Grape Jam”. Robert Plant was good friends with BOB MOSLEY of MOBY GRAPE so Zep stole from every one, being unscrupulous,unmerciful, but good.
VAN MORRISON’s “Moon Dance” was another staple on the ole turntable, as well as the new turntable/stereo which I had updated at this time. I now had an actual stereo system with true speaker separation… And loud,too.
THE WHO- “Live at Leeds” I bought this (vinyl), threw it on, cranked up the stereo and almost blew out the windows to my room.Simply said, it’s “DA ‘HO”…played it a 1000 times.
THE BEATLES “Let It Be” well… everyone bought this. No biggie here for me, I did buy it but hardly ever played it. I did buy the “Naked” version years later and must say I like the Naked better.
TRAFFIC: “John Barleycorn Must Die”-Summer of ’70, six songs, thirty five minutes, bravo. I was so glad BLIND FAITH was over and TRAFFIC together for another go round. This was a quite different TRAFFIC sound and another great tape to bring out with the boys on the corner.
Two from ELTON JOHN, “Elton John” and “Tumbleweed Connection”- After seeing ELTON JOHN (the trio) open for LEON RUSSELL @ Fillmore East, I was sold, this guy would be huge, but how huge I did not know.
BAND OF GYPSYS “Band of Gypsy’s”-I appreciated his uniqueness, his innovative approach but still was not a huge fan as were most of my friends. Don’t get me wrong, his first album was a gem, and “Electric Ladyland”, wow. Then I wanted to go to this FILLMORE EAST show, New Years Day 1970, even had tickets but that’s another story. After I got this album, I really regretted not going and had a higher appreciation of the artistry known as HENDRIX.
THE DOORS- “Morrison’s Hotel”, this is their fifth album. Their fourth sucked, horns and all. This was a “return to the blues” so said one reviewer. Which blues, I’ll never know. Better than “Soft Parade”, I’ll give you that.
CSNY “Deja Vu” Funny how I liked most of the tunes, except the Graham Nash ones. To this day, I still laugh at the words to “Our House”.With “Two cats in the yard”…”flowers in the vase”…yuck, this is rock and roll, Graham.
T.REX- “T.Rex”(1970 release) After reading about T. Rex and DAVID BOWIE in MELODY MAKER I contacted the record company and received a copy of the album for the radio station in January 1971. I took it home on the winter break and never brought it back.
DEREK and THE DOMINOS-“Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” I saw the band at FILLMORE EAST in October before the album was released. November ,we get it at the radio station, and I throw it on in the lounge. “Little Wing” grabbed my attention, then that “Layla” tune was kinda special. We saw the band again in December at Suffolk Community College (another story), they never played “Layla” but we did on the station, constantly. During one of my overnighters I played the entire album along with the original version of some of the blues numbers.
THE GRATEFUL DEAD- “Workingman’s Dead” and “American Beauty” both were heavy rotation on my show and in my room.
MILES DAVIS: “Bitches Brew”- “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” followed by DR JOHN’S “ Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” can get one in a bit of controversy with the radio staff, especially when you are the new guy (me) and the offended party is the outgoing “thinks he is a big shot Assistant Program Director”, a guy who regularly plays a “Melanie Half Hour”. I still swear he removed “Bitches Brew” from the record library. Smart me, I’ll bring my own and play it again, just for fun.
Speaking of fun…THE STOOGES “Fun House” was not welcomed at my parent’s home nor at the radio station…no fun zone, I guess. Nor was the VELVET UNDERGROUND’s “Loaded” welcomed but I played “Sweet Jane”, “Who Loves The Sun” and “Rock & Roll” to no end. Throw in the MC5 “Back In The USA” and one can see why I was hosting a very late night radio show. rather than “the Breakfast Hour”.
And then there was THE KINKS “Lola Versus Powerman and The Money Go Round”, JETHRO TULL’S“Benefit”, VAN MORRISON’s “His Band and Street Choir” wonderful follow up to “Moon Dance”,
WOODSTOCK “TheSound Track, JOE COCKER’s“Mad Dogs and Englishmen”, ROD STEWART’s “Gasoline Alley,THE BEACH BOYS “Sunflower” and of course SPIRIT “Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus”.
Funny, by Spring of 71 I was in charge of the record library at the station, a true benefit for any record collector, AND was doing Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, with a weekend show… 16 hours total air time…AND NO HOLDS BARRED.