Camel being a so-called second tier Prog Rock outfit (in other words, not King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd or ELP), Nimrodel (found on their second album Mirage) being epic in all the right ways. It starts with a parade, it works all manner of moods and changes, it’s actually inspired by Lord of the Rings, but at less than ten minutes (even including the parade) it doesn’t overstay its welcome. But rather it takes you to a green-tinged planet way off at the edge of time. Smooth and beautiful and even strong when it needs to be. It must’ve been 1974.
It’s 1969 with the Euro hippie underground is in a state of serious flux and eruption in the wake of all the uprisings and insurrections of 1968. Nevertheless, Can (four German weirdoes and their American singer, poet, frontman who will soon go at least slightly mad) find a few moments to throw down a strange little ditty about the Upduff family and their troubled trip to Italy. WARNING: if your grandma dies while traveling in a region populated by well organized car theft rings, don’t wrap her up in a tarp and tie her to the top of the car.
Die young and rest assured, some record industry hack will make damned sure no recording that bears your name will remain lost on any shelf. Which, in the case of Gram Parsons, is a good thing, as it got us this straight up, true as nature take on Merle Haggard’s ballad about a guy who’s due to hang tomorrow, and he’s as ready as he’s ever gonna be. All credit to the rest of the Flying Burrito Bros, too, of course.
“It says 1974 on the cover but Brian Eno‘s second solo album Taking Tiger Mountain (by strategy) will always be pure 1981 for me. Weird and oft times jagged pop was pretty much perfectly in synch with the times and thus not at all afraid to just dissolve into abstraction if necessary. Which was fine by me given all the acid I was taking. I needed those dissolutions, like at the end of The Great Pretender when the crickets (or whatever they are) just take over, suck us into the insect realm, alien and strange.” (Philip Random)
“In which Queen, from before most of the world had a clue who they were, unleash an astonishing mix of heavy licks, mad harmonies and wild mood swings all in service of some high fantasy concerning a mythical Queendom called Rhye. Which, if you were maybe fifteen, confused about pretty much everything, stuck in the mid-1970s, was exactly what the Universe needed you to hear.” (Philip Random)
Neil Young, reluctant rock star, still smarting from the heroin deaths of two good friends, sits on a vague beach on a vague day and plucks his banjo, waxing skeptically (if not cynically) about the nature of the game he’s playing. Apparently they were imbibing a lot of strong hemp product during the recording of this album. You’d never know.
Speaking of that Indonesian monkey chant that Vic Coppersmith-Heaven had so much fun with in the early 1980s, here’s Jade Warrior from almost a decade previous, taking it on from a more acidic angle. Jade Warrior being one of those outfits that made the pre-punk 70s such a endlessly cosmic delight, dropping a steady diet of instrumental non-hits, that mostly tended to just float along, with occasional eruptions.
“Here Come the Warms Jets, Brian Eno’s 1974 solo debut, didn’t find me until early 1981, but the timing was nevertheless perfect, as I was gobbling lots of psychedelics at the time, imposing apocalypse on everything I’d ever accepted or believed, opening great holes in my brain and soul that only purposefully deranged dada-POP such as Dead Finks Don’t Talk could adequately fill.” (Philip Random)
The post Brian Eno, pre valiumized Roxy Music captured in full live force, taking an okay sort of half-country experiment from their first album and pumping it full of all kinds of delirious drama. Stick with it through the violin solo, the conclusion is as big and rich and mercurial as love itself. From 1976’s Viva! which was in fact recorded on Roxy’s 1974 tour.