372. guns guns guns

Anyway you look at it, the Guess Who (straight outa Winnipeg) were the closest thing Canada ever had to a Beatles. Hell, they even outsold them in 1970. But this is two long years later. They’ve lost Randy Bachman, ace guitarist, co-founder and key songwriter, but they’re still rockin’ profoundly up and down the north side, working that giddy sense of freedom that only a superlative live band can attain. And they’ve still got Burton Cummings just sober enough on Guns Guns Guns to lay down some of the finest vocals that this planet will ever hear. Godspeed mother nature, Godspeed.

GuessWho-1973-hangingOUT

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374. inside looking out

“It’s like that classic Spinal Tap line when it comes to Grand Funk Railroad, there being such a fine line between clever and stupid. And certainly, based on some of their liner notes, there was more than a little stupid in Grand Funk. Yet they do most emphatically nail it with Inside Looking Out. The clever, that is. Actually, call it genius, and note the use of the present tense. Because that’s what genius does. It transcends time, surfs impermanence, negates stupidity. Particularly when it’s delivered as loud and proud as Mark Don + Mel deliver it here. Ass is kicked.” (Philip Random)

GrandFunk-billboard

411. where is this dream of your youth?

“The Strawbs original recording of Where is This Dream of Your Youth? is nice enough, a nifty little bit of folk pop, but it’s Rick Wakeman‘s sustained live freakout on the Hammond organ (found on 1970’s Just a Collection of Antiques + Curios) that hooked me, and keeps on hooking me, just keeps going, going, going through the decades – peaks and valleys and all manner of long haired freaky looking people grooving along in smoke filled rooms, smelling of incense and wacky tabacky. Because groovy still meant something in those days, with a new decade dawning, the revolution at hand. Or so it must have seemed.” (Philip Random)

Strawbs-Wakeman

415. carry on

“The original version of Crosby Stills Nash + Young‘s Carry On is entirely okay. It makes its point. The revolution may have peaked but, man, we’re still on the edge something beautiful, man, so nothing else to do but carry on, man, to peace love and understanding, man. Live however, captured on 1971’s 4 Way Street, you actually believe it. Love is coming for us all. War shall be forever banned. Richard Nixon will not be re-elected in a year’s time by the single biggest landslide in history, America will not keep mucking around in Vietnam for four more bloody years. It’s the jamming, of course. Neil Young and Steve Stills facing off (with rhythm section Fuzzy Samuels and Johnny Barbata in strong support) riding the wave to heaven’s gate itself, leaving the original song far behind for at least ten minutes. Meanwhile in a hotel in Las Vegas, Hunter Thompson is glimpsing through ancient eyes what he’d come to call the high water mark. These things are not unconnected.” (Philip Random)

CSNY-1971-studio

444. this time tomorrow

“I still get into this argument. The Kinks are great, no question, but they’re not Beatles- Stones-Who-Led-Zeppelin great, mainly, I guess, because they never truly cut it as an album band, certainly not that consistently. And yet, their 1970 long-player Lola vs the Powerman + the Money-go-round Part 1 (now there’s a mouthful) is the only place you’re going to find This Time Tomorrow (on original vinyl anyway). Because it never got a single release, never showed up on any Best Ofs. Which means, you do need to own that vinyl, because if you’re anything like me, it will save your life for a week or two in late winter 1996, give glue to a world that is otherwise not holding together.” (Philip Random)

Kinks-1970-TVstudio

457. pali gap

“On a bad night, with the wrong kind of ears, Pali Gap just sounds like more Hendrix noodling. The rhythm section locks into a groove, the great man proceeds to wander. But on a good night, with the right kind of lightning tearing up the sky, it’s a secret door to one of the Lord’s own mansions. Or as old friend Chris once put it, ‘With Hendrix sometimes, it’s not the notes he’s playing, it’s what they’re suggesting, except he plays so many f***ing notes, it’s impossible to grasp even a fraction of what he’s suggesting.’ So all the more reason to play Rainbow Bridge one more time (even if it has nothing to do with the movie of the same name).” (Philip Random)

JimiHendrix-rainbowBridge

459. we can work it out

“In which a still quite young Stevie Wonder takes an entirely optimistic Beatles nugget straight to church and sort of saves us all. I suppose I may have heard it at the time (1970) percolating away in some pop radio background (while riots were no doubt tearing sh** up not so very far away). But it would be the 1990s before it slotted into the regular pop summertime playlist – all goodness and light, with children playing, birds tweeting, only occasional explosions.” (Philip Random)

StevieWonder-1970-live

480. sitting

“Every generation has its pluses and minuses. Born in 1959 means you pretty much missed the 1960s entirely, except from an outside-looking-in little kid’s perspective. Turn eleven in 1970 and you’ve got the Beatles breaking up, Bob Dylan going into hiding, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin all dead within three months. On the other hand, turn thirteen in 1972 and you had the likes of Cat Stevens riding high not just in charts but also in terms of serious artistic cred. Here was a guy laying it all out for you, direct from his cosmic soul — the nebulous and paradoxical truth about this, that, life in general. All just a maze of doors which opened from the side I was on. I still believe that. I still keep opening doors.” (Philip Random)

CatStevens-1972-London

497. carry on till tomorrow

“The Badfinger story didn’t end well. But let’s not hang on that. Let’s focus instead on how glad I am that they existed, how superb so much of their music was. And for many, that started with Carry On Till Tomorrow (epic and sad and the definition of Beatlesque) running through the opening credits of The Magic Christian – the one where Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr join forces to prove (over and over) that everyone has their price.” (Philip Random)

Badfinger-MagicCROP