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album reviews

Pink Floyd

Dark Side Of The Moon EMD Int'l

One of Britain's most successful and long lived avant-garde rock bands, Pink Floyd emerged relatively unsullied from the mire of mid-Sixties British psychedelic music as early experimenters with outer space concepts. Although that phase of the band's development was of short duration, Pink Floyd have from that time been the pop scene's preeminent techno-rockers: four musicians with a command of electronic instruments who wield an arsenal of sound effects with authority and fine... | More »

Deep Purple

Made In Japan

Deep Purple have had a rough time gaining and retaining the status of being Kings of the Heavy Metal Set, and with the release of their last album, Who Do We Think We Are?, many critics rejected the fawnish fivesome for (1) trying to step out of their league with electronic-cum-Yes gizmos and melodic lines or (2) staying within the confines of their initial blockbuster, Deep Purple in Rock. If you're expecting something new in terms of either approach or material from Made In Japan, you ... | More »

T. Rex

Tanx

Many double albums could be distilled to quality single LPs. This one album might have made a good EP, since there are four worthwhile tracks, but the remaining nine are flights of Bolan's fantasies that might be interesting to his numerous devotees but less so to more casual listeners.   The three best tunes are all on the first side. "Tenement Lady" is composed of two minisongs, the first being an up-tempo rocker and the second a string-laden ballad. One verse is quaintly mov... | More »

Jefferson Airplane

Thirty Seconds Over Winterland Grunt/RCA

It's a pretty good rock & roll album illustrating all the various strengths and weaknesses of this latest model 'Plane. As a live concert album (recorded last year in San Francisco and Chicago) it compares favorably with Bless Its Pointed Little Head, the 'Planes four-year-old previous recorded gig and one of the most understated and successful live albums of the Sixties. Of course long gone are Marty Balin, whose energetic vocalizing was once this band's most vital si... | More »

May 10, 1973

Bee Gees

Life In A Tin Can RSO

As purveyors of pure pop pleasantries over the past six years, the Bee Gees have few rivals extant and their popularity has continued virtually unabated. But after an initial barrage of arresting singles and a generally solid album track record (up to their fine double set Odessa), their music has declined. With elaborate orchestral arrangements and a preponderance of big ballads, Bee Gees' material was always just a step away from the dreary MOR slush mainstream. They usually managed to... | More »

Eagles

Desperado WEA

If they gave a Grammy for the best interior gatefold cover, this one should be nominated. It is the best since For The Roses, but for hardly the same reason. There they are, the four Eagles and their outlaw compatriots Jackson Browne and John David Souther, tied up on the ground at the mercy of their lawmen roadies, producer Glyn Johns and a couple of deputized friends. The photo is an alleged reenactment of the capture of the Dalton gang in the late 19th century. After shooting this picture,... | More »

John Cale

Paris 1919

Like Frank Zappa, John Cale is a fascinating, mercurial figure. Everything he has done over the years — from his electric viola work and his development of destructive sound effects for the Velvet Underground onward — bears witness to a formidable intelligence and a commitment to what remains viable in the avant-garde tradition. Last year, Cale released his first Reprise album (following two excellent albums for Columbia), The Academy in Peril, which Warners justly called their fi... | More »

The Stooges

Raw Power

The Ig. Nobody does it better, nobody does it worse, nobody does it, period. Others tiptoe around the edges, make little running starts and half-hearted passes; but when you're talking about the O mind, the very central eye of the universe that opens up like a huge, gaping, suckling maw, step aside for the Stooges. They haven't appeared on record since the Funhouse of two plus years ago. For awhile, it didn't look as if they were ever going to get close again. The band shuffle... | More »

April 26, 1973

Tom Waits

Closing Time

Singer/songwriter/pianist Tom Waits is more than a chip off the Randy Newman block. Though he sounds like a boozier, earthier version of same and delights in rummaging through the attics of nostalgia, the persona that emerges from this remarkable debut album is Waits' own, at once sardonic, vulnerable and emotionally charged. His voice is self-mocking, bordering on self-pity, and most of his songs could be described as all-purpose lounge music ... a style that evokes an aura of crushed c... | More »

Dr. John

In The Right Place

The greatness of Mac Rebennack, alias, Dr. John, also known as John Crieux, rests on his command of the musical use of idiomatic expression. Not a technically well-endowed singer, nor a great songwriter, he leaves his mark through the discipline and control he exerts over all that he touches. Every note seems in retrospect the product of a decision, the result of a selection based on an intuitive feeling for what works and what doesn't, what is right and what is wrong, what is finally th... | More »

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
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