479. highway blues

“I probably heard Roy Harper at the time, Highway Blues jangling away on one of the cool FM radio stations that I was just starting to really explore in 1973. So much of that sort of long haired cosmic truth telling at the time. But it would be the 1980s before I really discovered Lifemask, going through my mid-decade retro-phase (that’s never really ended, it’s true). It was Mr. Harper’s voice that hooked me, the loose, confident freedom of it. Whatever he was on about, you were glad he was getting it out, making sense at least to himself out on that lonely highway.” (Philip Random)

RoyHarper-1973-heashot

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488. Hard Hearted Alice

The last Alice Cooper album anybody needs to own is Muscle of Love, because it’s the last one featuring the Group: Mike Bruce, Glen Buxton, Dennis Dunaway, Neal Smith and a guy named Alice (who sang lead, sometimes wore dresses, and was known to smash baby dolls to pieces). Past that, it would just be Alice (and whoever) going increasingly showbiz and irrelevant. But Muscle of Love – that’s an entirely okay collection. Less conceptual than previous offerings, and perhaps a little more civilized, it nevertheless shows an outfit that knows how to craft relevant rock music. With Hard Hearted Alice a comparatively ethereal offering (albeit sinister) about life on the road apparently.

AliceCooper-1973-group

489. snow in San Anselmo

“The first time I ever heard Snow in San Anselmo, it was my first night in a new apartment, all my stuff still in boxes and whatever. Though I did have my cassette player unpacked. And there on the windowsill, like it had been left specifically for me, was a  homemade Van Morrison tape, care of the previous tenant whoever he was. Moondance on one side, Hard Nose the Highway on the other, with the Hard Nose side cued up. So when I put it on, a little too wired to sleep, too tired to do anything else except just listen, the first song that came up was Snow in San Anselmo, like an offering out of all the chaos of my life, the universe, everything. Like it was meant to be. Thanks, whoever. Eternal thanks.” (Philip Random)

VanMorrison-1973-live

493. lazy

“Memories of John Masterson, the older guy who lived next door, and definitely a wild one. He had a souped up Datsun 510 that he loved to bomb around in, so he’d give me rides places just to have an excuse to open it up, burn rubber, go FAST. And I swear he always had the same 8-Track playing, which was Deep Purple Made In Japan, and it always seemed to be the same song. Not the obvious one, Highway Star. Nah, John Masterson was hooked on Lazy, from its lazy indeed beginning onward through the riffing and rocking and erupting. The All Time Heavy, he called them, and I wasn’t going to argue, not at 90 mph down a back road near the docks.” (Philip Random)

DeepPurple-1972-live

 

498. dancing with the moonlit knight

“It’s true. In 1973, Genesis were the definition of sophisticated, underground cool. Certainly too cool for local Vancouver radio which barely played them. But you heard about them anyway from various cool older brothers and sisters, or saw an occasional photo in something like Creem magazine. It was always about the live show, like Alice Cooper but completely different, not for teeny bops. And then I finally heard them and it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. How could it be? It was unlike anything I’d ever heard before. So delicate and then not. So powerful and strange. The album was Selling England by the Pound. The first song was Dancing with the Moonlit Knight. Like dropping the needle into a dense and beautiful dream that you probably weren’t ready for, but here it was anyway. Something to do with England being in big trouble. The Pound was falling, the empire was fading, it was the worst of times, it was the very best of music.” (Philip Random)

Genesis-1973-GabrielLiberty

511. midnight ravers

“Dedicated to old friend James who got badly traumatized by all the hippies who dominated his camp the summer he spent tree planting. All they ever wanted to do after a long day’s work was smoke their brains and listen to Bob Marley, maybe bongo along, and urge him to chill whenever he wanted to hear some Clash or Sly and the Family Stone, or even the Beatles. So he ended up coming to hate all of the great man’s music. Except Midnight Ravers. For some reason, he could never quite give up on Midnight Ravers.” (Philip Random)

BobMarley-1973-live

517. a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

“It doesn’t look promising on paper. Bryan Ferry (aka Mr. Suave) taking on Bob Dylan’s 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis inspired whole-world’s-gonna-end-tomorrow-so-I-guess-I’ll-just-write-all-my-songs-tonight apocalyptic masterpiece, turning it into a gospel infused dance number with a big arrangement. But it actually works, and damned well. Miracles never cease, I guess. And the rest of the album‘s pretty strong, too. All covers, all at the very least fun.” (Philip Random)

BryanFerry-1973-whitejacket

542. tonight’s the night [1]

“The title track of Neil Young’s sixth studio album is completely concerned with heroin and the damage done, souls consumed, lives ended way too soon. It says 1975 on the cover (and it was actually recorded a couple of years earlier) but I didn’t find it until at least ten years after the fact, yet grimly perfect timing nevertheless, such is junkiedom — it never goes out of style. Which isn’t to say Tonight’s the Night is all one sustained dirge – the album that is. But that said, it never forgets what it’s about, always more shadow than light, always more nasty than nice.” (Philip Random)

NeilYoung-1973-home

553. starf***er

“Speaking of songs that proudly contain the f-word (and pre-date so-called gangsta rap) I remember first hearing Starf***er at a friend’s place when I was maybe fourteen. He’d bought the brand new Stones album Goats Head Soup (now there’s a title for a pop record) because he liked Angie, the big deal single. But Starf***er (labelled Star Star on the record cover, but we never called it that) quickly became the essential track, cranked as loud as possible even when his churchgoing parents were around. Which still sort of puzzles me. Did they just not hear it? Or maybe that’s what all rock and roll sounded like to them, just one long invocation to f*** like rodents. I guess for some decent folks, the world has always been ending.” (Philip Random)

RollingStones-goatsHEAD