“Derek and the Dominoes‘ only studio album was a 1970 release, but it didn’t cross my teeny bop consciousness until summer 1972 when they finally got around to releasing Layla as a radio single. Which led to my friend Malcolm getting the album, which mostly went way over our heads – all that loose jamming (and the drugging behind it) being more for the older kids. But I’d eventually come back around to it maybe twenty-five years later, particularly stuff like Key To The Highway where misters Eric Clapton (already well into a heroin addiction), Greg Allman (due for a fatal motorcycle accident), Jim Gordon (fated to go mad and murder his mother) and essential others sort of lay back and go long, delivering the news of what is to be genuinely free (you’ve got the key, you’ve got a vehicle, you’ve got an open road – what more could want?) for almost ten minutes anyway.” (Philip Random)
In which Jesus loses his cool when he discovers the sacred temple of Jerusalem has been taken over by the moneychangers, goes all punk rock on things. But seriously, when this Original London Cast recording gets to humming (not to be confused with the okay-but-just-not-as-good movie soundtrack), it’s as cool as funky as rockin as any dozen satanic offerings. Of course, it helps having Deep Purple’s soon-to-be front man Ian Gillan playing the title role, leaving no sonic scenery un-chewed.
Performance, the movie, needs to be seen. It’s the one where Mick Jagger plays a sort of Satanic rock star who’s messing with the mind of gangster who’s on the lamb, mainly out of boredom, it seems. But that sells it way short. Look no further than the soundtrack and the inclusion of a song like Wake Up N*****s by the Last Poets. It has no particular reason to be in the movie. Other than to be that cool, that on the mark of what was really going down in 1970, with the pulse of revolution very much in the air.
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.
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)
“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)