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album reviews

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 »

Jerry Lee Lewis

The Session

What we have here is the four-sided sequel to Chuck Berry's phenomenally successful London Sessions — except that Chuck has been replaced by Jerry Lee Lewis. It is an enjoyable, if overstuffed record, filled with genuine interplay between Lewis and the English rock stars who accompany him. It is also a very minor piece of work, in no way as good as Lewis' original Memphis singles nor his Nashville country albums. And the preponderance of overly familiar material cuts down on t... | More »

April 12, 1973

Deep Purple

Who Do We Think We Are

Jeez, what an unsettling album! For the life of Reilly I can't understand how Deep Purple evidently lost the macho glory which made their In Rock LP such an Owsleyan mindfuck. Now that was an album — its kamikaze guitar and organ runs sped toward insanity with blazing intensity. It was rather melodic, too, for those who keep track of such things. The group's tried thrice to renew the assault on the senses, but each time they've come off like a fouled imitation of their ea... | More »

Bob Marley and the Wailers

Catch a Fire Tuff Gong/Island

The Wailers are a group from Jamaica who have been influenced as much by white rock & roll and, apparently, country and western, as the Encino aristocrats have been influenced by the blues. The result is a blend: Lilting tunes of hypnotic character headed by super-progressive lead guitar work, Motown variations, and cowboy nuances, all backed by the tricky Jamaican beat that serves to keep the decibel level in a moderate range, thereby forcing the audience to be seduced by the charms of t... | More »

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

More Song Stories entries »
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