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album reviews

John Lee Hooker

Endless Boogie [Beat Goes On]

The black blues legends playing with the white up-and-comers. I guess Sonny Boy Williamson II started it all about six years ago with his Live With the Yardbirds album. Successive years have seen a record-rack full of similar efforts ... from Muddy Waters, Lowell Fulsom, Furry Lewis and Otis Spann .. all resulting in quasi-successful albums that at times effectively blended the old urban, Texas/Chicago post-war Fifties sounds with the post-wah-wah generation. The best of them allowed the old ... | More »

Carole King

Tapestry Ode

Carole King's second album, Tapestry, has fulfilled the promise of her first and confirmed the fact that she is one of the most creative figures in all of pop music. It is an album of surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy. Miss King's past accomplishments have become something of a pop music legend. She and her former husband and lyricist, Gerry Goffin, were one of ... | More »

Carole King

Writer

Carole King's second album, Tapestry, has fulfilled the promise of her first and confirmed the fact that she is one of the most creative figures in all of pop music. It is an album of surpassing personal-intimacy and musical accomplishment and a work infused with a sense of artistic purpose. It is also easy to listen to and easy to enjoy. Miss King's past accomplishments have become something of a pop music legend. She and her former husband and lyricist, Gerry Goffin, were one of ... | More »

April 23, 1971

The Rolling Stones

Sticky Fingers Rolling Stones Records

SIDE ONE "Brown Sugar": It begins with some magical raunch chords on the right channel. In the tradition of great guitar intros ("All Day and All of the Night," "Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown," and "Satisfaction" itself) it transfixes you: instant recognition, instant connection. Suddenly the electric guitar is joined by an acoustic guitar on the left channel, an acoustic that is merely strumming the chords that the electric is spitting out with such fury. It washes over the electric to no app... | More »

April 15, 1971

Black Sabbath

Paranoid Vertigo

A young girl's voice. She is dressed in a nun's habit. The boy turns and faces her. She proffers a chalice of cervical exudate and he drinks from it. She gets down on her knees and elbows, como peros, and tosses the nun's hem above her posterior. On each naked buttock is the scrawled sign of Ashirikas; "Fuck me, Rolf." The boy whips out a 10" personal vibrator, adorned in waterproof acrylics with the image of the Nazarene. He intones the words "nuk Khensu tenten nebu" and appro... | More »

Alice Cooper

Love It To Death

[It came on the radio in the late afternoon and from the first note it was right: Alice Cooper bringing it all back home again. God it's beautiful it is the most reassuring thing that has happened in this year of the Taylor Family...] Ever since they ceased to be the Nazz, a fairly normal Yardbirds/Who derivation in the manner of Count V, and became instead Frank Zappa's vision of American youth's sexual uncertainties gone berserk, Alice Cooper have endured more than their fai... | More »

April 1, 1971

Carly Simon

Carly Simon

If you are prone to scouting Woolworth's 89¢ record sales, you may someday come across a remaindered early Sixties minor masterpiece called The Simon Sisters (Kapp KS-3359). It's well worth buying. Lucy and Carly Simon had clear, almost identical madrigal club voices which they applied to folk songs, producing exquisite harmonies. After that first album, nothing was hear of the Simons except for a feeble rumor that Albert Grossman was planning to market Carly, the younger siste... | More »

Captain Beefheart

Mirror Man

Captain Beefheart still plays to a relatively minor following, but most of them believe, as I do, that he's one of the four or five unqualified geniuses to rise from the hothouses of American music in the Sixties, an innovator whose instinctive idiomatic syntheses and wildly original approach to composition and improvisation preview an era of profound changes in popular music. Statements like that would be extreme anywhere else, but only Cap has managed to fuse the loose ends of rock, ja... | More »

Jimi Hendrix

The Cry Of Love Reprise

Maybe it's just my imagination, but the Jimi Hendrix section of my local record bin seems to have been growing at an astonishing pace lately. In recent weeks, we've been offered a bland semi-jam with Lonnie Youngblood (who?) on Maple Records, a collection of ancient tapes with the Isley Brothers (a product of Buddah, from whom it would have been nice to say that they should've known better), and a large assortment of bootlegs, all seemingly taken from the same series of Los Ang... | More »

March 18, 1971

B.B. King

Live In Cook County Jail

Virtually every attempt to update the style of recordings of the great blues artists has been horribly misconceived. Chuck Berry playing with the Steve Miller Band, Wolf and Muddy being forced to record with idiot hard rock bands, Otis Rush and Freddie King having to bear the weight of arrangements and production imposed on their music instead of coming out of it–none of these sessions has been worth the time, effort and money that went into them. Only B.B. King has stood above this ae... | More »

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
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