December 31, 2012
Four Jacks And A Jill were from South Africa and consisted of vocalist Glenys Lynne, bassist Clive Harding, guitarist Til Hanneman, guitarist Bruce Bark, and drummer Tony Huges.
They were very popular and successful in their home country but only had one big hit in the United States. “Master Jack” was released during early 1968 and peaked at number 18 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It did much better on the CASHBOARD Singles Chart reaching number five.
“Master Jack” was a gentle fusion of pop asnd folk. Four Jacks And A Jill are still active in their home country.
December 30, 2012
Many people believe the rock and roll era officially began when “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley And The Comets topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during 1955. That was not the first rock and roll song however, nor was it the first hit by Bill Haley.
Bill Haley formed the Comets during 1952 and they remained his backing band until his death in 1981.
Big Joe Turner released “Shake, Rattle And Roll” during the summer of 1954. It topped the Rhythm & Blues Charts for four weeks and crossed over to the Pop Chart where it peaked at number 22. It remained in the Top 40 for 27 weeks.
Bill Haley added guitars, a thumping bass line, and a saxophone and released his own version several weeks after Turner. His single reached number seven on the BILLBOARD Pop Chart. Some people consider it the first rock song to become a big hit.
December 29, 2012
The Intruders were a soul/r&b vocal group formed during the early 1960s. They consisted of Sam Brown, Robert Edwards, Philip Terry, Eugene Daughtry, and Robert Ferguson.
They has a number of singles reach the BILLBOARD Pop and R&B Charts but their biggest hit by far was the smooth soul single “Cowboys To Girls.” Released during the sping of 1968, it reched number six on the Pop Chart and number one on the Rhythm & Blues Chart plus sold over one million copies.
It was one of the first singles produced by he legendary team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. It helped them to find funding to start their Philadelphia International label.
A version of The Intruders is still touring today.
December 29, 2012
“Frre Bird” by Lynyrd Skynrd has ben a radio staple for almost 40 years. Not bad for a single that reached number 19 on the BILBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during late 1974. A live version of the song reached number 38 during 1978.
It as part ballad and part up-tempo guitar solo by lead guitarist Gary Rossington.
Among its honors have been: 1) Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s list of one of The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock And Roll. 2) Number three on Guitar World’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos. 3) Number 193 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. 4) Number 26 on VH1’s list of Greatest Hard Rock Songs.
And my respone to that list —- Can’t argue!
December 27, 2012
Roland Ken Lavoie, better known by his profesional name Lobo, has just entered the sixth decade of his career. His most successful decade was the 1970s when he placed 16 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAINE Pop Singles Chart.
His signature his was “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo.” It was a gentle folk/pop song that was radio friendly. It first reached the BILLBOARD Pop Singles Chart May 3, 1971, and eventually peaked at number five.
He never had a number one pop hit but “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo” topped the BILLBOARD Easy Lisening Chart as did three other of his singles.
December 26, 2012
Tery Knight recorded with his band, The Pack, 1965-1967. They had a number of local hits in the state of Michigan. The closest they came to a national hit was “I (Who Have Nothing),” which reached number 46 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during late 1966.
They were basically a raw garage band that while energetic, was not smooth enough for wide commercial success.
Guitarist Mark Farner and drummer Don Brewer were members of his band for a spell. They would form the neclues for Grand Funk Railroad who would sell tens-of-millions of albums during 1970s. Knight would be their manager for a while until he was fired by his former band mates.
December 25, 2012
Steve Miller has had two distinct periods in his career. His early career, 1968-1970, produced five albums of excellent blues and psychedelic rock that formed one of the better bodies of work of the era. Beginning in 1973 he went in a pop rock direction that elevated him to huge mainstream commercial success. He released two albums in between those two periods, Rock Love (1971) and Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden (1972) that found his music on hold. He was not quite ready to leave his past behind but unwilling to embrace his pop future.
Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden is many times a forgotten album in the Steve Miller catalogue. It was one of his least successful and paled next to The Joker album, which would be released the next year. Still, there was some good music to be found on the release. While the first side of the original vinyl release was not cohesive and only average at best, the last four tracks on the B-side was one of the better stretches of music of his career. “Love’s Riddle,” “Fandango,” “Nothing Lasts,” and “Journey from Eden” make the album still worth seeking out as the music just floats by.
“Love’s Riddles” is a love song of loss while “Fandango” is a light bluesy romp. “Nothing Lasts” contains poignant and sad melodies and lyrics. The album ends with the near seven-minute “Journey from Eden.” The use of strings helped to accentuate his guitar playing. In fact, all four tracks are driven by his superior guitar virtuosity that became less apparent as his career progressed and the focus centered more on his lyrics and melodies.
The other tracks were less successful. “Enter Maurice” is a goofy track, the type that would be done a lot better in the future. “High on You Mama” tries to go in a funky direction but gets bogged down. “Heal Your Heart,” with additional guitar work by Jesse Ed Davis, and “The Sun is Going Down” are mellow and mundane jam songs. None of the tracks are bad but none rise above the norm.
Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden is a laid-back affair that is worth a listen due to the last four songs. It may not have the instant gratification of his pop oriented releases, or the excitement and energy of his early albums, but was a fitting conclusion to the first part of his career.
Article first published as Music Review: The Steve Miller Band – Recall The Beginning…A Journey From Eden on Blogcritics.