“My immediate King Sunny Ade memory is summertime 1983, way the hell up the trails of the North Shore mountains. The acid is kicking in nicely and Motron decides to put Synchro System on the blaster. The now sound of Nigeria suddenly imposed upon the melting, lysergic edge of western civilization. And it worked, like displaced tourist music, which is generally what you want whilst tripping the beyond within. The live show was also transcendent a few weeks later, Commodore Ballroom, the King and twenty-odd of his African Beats working grooves within grooves within … well, you get the picture.” (Philip Random)
1969 ended badly for the Rolling Stones at a free concert in Northern California, a place called Altamont — a man murdered directly in front of the stage. But that was only after Brian Jones got booted from the band he’d founded, then drowned in his swimming pool, or was he murdered, too? And meanwhile, Keith Richard just kept slipping deeper and deeper into the fool’s kingdom known as heroin. And yet the Stones still found time to record Let It Bleed, maybe their single greatest slab of vinyl, with Monkey Man a track that managed to not get played to death on commercial radio. Too bad, too ugly, too good.
The Solid Time of Change has been our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we’ve tried to begin to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.
The final stage of the journey went as follows:
Yes – And You and I
King Crimson – Court of the Crimson King
Genesis – Supper’s Ready
King Crimons – Starless
Beatles – A Day in the Life
Yes – Close to the Edge
If you’re late discovering all of this and wish to start at the beginning …
Randophonic airs pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options usually available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page. We have no clear plan for what shall happen next beyond more superlative noise in some form or other …
The Jeff Beck Group’s Truth was the other big deal British blues based hard rocking debut album of 1968 from an ex-Yardbird. Unfortunately for Mr. Beck, the more noted one came from Jimmy Page‘s new outfit Led Zeppelin, because as the history books now have it (and they’re not wrong) Led Zeppelin went on to conquer the known world and the Jeff Beck Group didn’t. Which really shouldn’t take anything away from Truth, because it’s all strong, all cool, all good, from lead off track Shapes Of Things (a smart rethink of a previous Yardbirds hit) onward. And yes, that’s Rod Stewart (still pretty much unknown in 1968) ripping up the lead vocal.
“The second Violent Femmes album is the one for me, the serious one. Songs of doom and murder and apocalypse and madness and, in the case of Black Girls, f***ing. Which pissed some people off at the time. They called it sexist and racist, but nah, it was just Gordon Gano telling the truth about some of the crazy sh** he got up to when he was young and horny. And man, did they rock it live! Normally just a three piece (and scaled down at that), the Femmes dragged out some horns and things went wild, delirious even. Horny indeed.” (Philip Random)
“The Big Music is the first Waterboys song I ever heard and it didn’t do much for me. It felt too on the nose, and anyway, wasn’t Big Music U2’s thing? But a decade slipped past and I guess I found it serving a different purpose. More of a statement of intent (from Mike Scott in particular) than some half-baked U2 rip-off. Because the Waterboys had since proven themselves entirely their own unique beast, and pagan at that, like the wild crash of surf on a northern shore, at sunset, everything turning blood red. I actually saw that happen once, off Ireland, while listening to a different Waterboys track. Proof that gods exist, and here they were showing off at the edge of things. And they’re still at it, by the way. The Waterboys, that is. I can’t speak for the gods.” (Philip Random)
“It’s true. I wouldn’t be compiling this list if it wasn’t for Bob Dylan’s Like A Rolling Stone. Push comes to shove, it’s still probably the single record I’d grab if the house was burning down (which it is, by the way). Because it marks the moment at which the Apocalypse got interesting to me, when the big story I care about kicked into gear. It’s the snare shot to be specific, the one at the very beginning. That’s what did it – kicked the proverbial door wide open, and it’s all been wild urgency ever since. But you’ve already heard that record at least a thousand times, so it doesn’t qualify for this list. But I bet you haven’t heard the live version, from 1974’s Before the Flood, Dylan and the Band raving it up like the anthem it is, saving the world one night at a time. Because everything just keeps on exploding. Same as it ever was.” (Philip Random)
“Somebody told me a while back that Monsoon‘s Ever So Lonely was the first official World Music hit, whatever that means. Because it’s not as if they had a World Music chart back in 1982. Do they even have one now? I hope not. I mean, it’s all world music anyway, isn’t it? Which isn’t to say Ever So Lonely wasn’t one of the freshest things I’d ever heard when it first crossed my path. Not just the purity of the melody and Sheila Chandra‘s then sixteen year old vocals, but it was also a darned fine production, good strong beat, a joy to dance to, and the clubs were where I first heard it, the extended (and better) club mix, everybody going ecstatically off the planet altogether.” (Philip Random)