Vinyl Memories | 076-100

076 | 19 NOVEMBER 2021

Flick the Dust Off | The Flying Burrito Brothers | The Gilded Palace of Sin | A&M AMLS931 | 1969

I first discovered the Flying Burrito Brothers in the early 1970s after hearing their live album The Last of the Red Hot Burritos, which was quite a different band from the four-piece recorded here on the band’s debut album, with only one original member present.  Gone was the band’s charismatic leader Gram Parsons, who along with Chris Hillman, (that original member) had left The Byrds to form the band with pedal steel player ‘Sneaky’ Pete Kleinow and bassist Chris Ethridge.  Continuing in the vein of what The Byrds achieved with the seminal Sweetheart of the Rodeo album the year before, the Flying Burrito Brothers brought together the lyricism of Country Music with the energy of Rock Music to create a new form of music.  Having been brought up with the ever present sound of Hank Locklin, Eddie Arnold and Jim Reeves, it took me a while to adjust to listening to just about anything associated with Country Music.  The Byrds, Poco and The Flying Burrito Brothers, were my way in, which would lead to an enduring love of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Emmylou Harris.  Crucial cuts here include “Christine’s Tune”, “Sin City”, “Dark End of the Street” and the astonishingly accomplished “Hot Burrito #1”, which Gene Clark chose to rename “I’m Your Toy” for his 1987 album So Rebellious a Lover with Carla Olson and even later, Elvis Costello.

Singled Out | George Harrison | My Sweet Lord | Apple R5884 | 1970 

During the early months of 1971 you couldn’t go anywhere to escape the  lilting chorus of “My Sweet Lord”, which spilled out over the airwaves like honey, with its acoustic guitars, allegedly six of them, played by Eric Clapton, Pete Ham, Tom Evans, Joey Molland, Peter Frampton and Harrison himself, who also played the iconic slide bits, ringing out just about wherever you went.  With its strong spiritual message, intended for Harrison’s chosen Hindu god Krishna, the song would be universally claimed by everyone for their own purpose, choose what your religious persuasion might be.  The song unfortunately ran into trouble once it’s tenuous similarity to The Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” became a potential sacred cash cow for its original author, putting something of a dampener on the ex-Beatle’s first solo single.  Nevertheless, the single would go on to become a huge hit worldwide and the biggest. selling single of the year, with one of the most recognisable two chord intros of any pop song.

Fifty Years Ago | Mott the Hoople | Brain Capers | Island ILPS9178 | November 1971

Brain Capers is the fourth album release by Mott the Hoople and according to the back cover inscription, the album is dedicated to James Dean, who had been dead for sixteen years at the time of the album’s release.  Guy Stevens was once again at the helm, a strong presence through the band’s early years.  With such suggested titles as AC/DC, Brain Damage and Bizarre Capers, the band eventually settled on Brain Capers, with a relatively simple sleeve design in vivid red and a black mask insert, which was printed on the front in some later releases.   The band at the time consisted of Ian Hunter, Mick Ralphs, Pete Watts, Dale ‘Buffin’ Griffin and Verden Allen and the LP features a couple of covers, Dion’s “Your Own Backyard” and Jesse Colin Young’s “Darkness, Darkness”, together with its originals that include the sprawling “Journey”, the Rolling Stones influenced “Death May Be Your Santa Claus” and the Dylanesque “Sweet Angeline”.  It was probably the poor reception the album received that planted the seed of bringing the group to an end, until that is, the unexpected rescue plan courtesy of an unlikely source, but that’s another story.

077 | 26 NOVEMBER 2021

Flick the Dust Off | Tom Waits | Closing Time | Asylum SYL9007 | 1973

Closing Time was the first Tom Waits album that I discovered, though not until a few years after its initial release, when I heard a local folk/blues singer called Roy Machin perform “Martha” at the Rockingham Arms in Wentworth sometime in the early 1980s.  This prompted me to immediately seek out one or two of the early Waits albums, the first being this, then The Heart of Saturday Night then resting for a while on the superb double live set, Nighthawks at the Diner.  Anyone coming to the music of Tom Waits post Swordfishtrombones (1983) would probably not recognise the early Waits material, which is more conventional than the experimental music that would later follow; coming to Waits at this transitional moment was somewhat challenging.  Already deeply in love with such songs as “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”, “Grapefruit Moon”, “Closing Time” as well as the aforementioned “Martha”, which I always imagined could have been played on the upright piano featured on the cover, there was always the notion of falling behind with some of Waits’ more advanced musical experiments.  Witnessing him perform “16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six” on The Tube one Friday night in October 1985 was both exciting and bewildering at the same time, especially to someone still romantically involved with the magnificent “Martha”.

Singled Out | The Who | Join Together | Track 2094 – 102 | 1972

This was one of the most played singles on the jukebox that I used to pour coins into at the Speedy Bar on St Sepulchre Gate in Doncaster, which stood at the entrance of the Trafford Way subway (now gone), the building now occupied by a beauty business, sandwiched between a barber’s and a funeral parlour.  The bar was a frequently visited establishment that I would go to after work in the early 1970s, where one or two of us had become devotees of The Who and would engage in several discussions about the band and their then current album releases, including Quadrophenia, Odds and Sods and The Who By Numbers, while listening to “Join Together” on repeat, a single that was evidently written the night before it was recorded along with its follow up “Relay”, both songs originally intended for the aborted Lifehouse project, the originally planned follow up to Tommy.  The single involves a Jews Harp intro, with several harmonicas, an unusual combination for a pop song at the time.  There is a promotional video of the band miming to a playback in the studio, which shows both Roger Daltrey and Keith Moon playing Jew’s harps, while Pete Townshend and John Entwistle are seen playing both chord and bass harmonicas respectively, though Townshend apparently played the lot.

Fifty Years Ago | Jonathan Edwards | Jonathan Edwards | Atlantic ATL40282 | November 1971

After several support slots for the Allman Brothers Band in the late 1960s, Jonathan Edwards signed to Capricorn Records, the band’s own label, and released his self-titled debut LP in November 1971.  The Minnesota-born, Virginia-raised singer/songwriter touched a nation that was still going through the latter stages of a messy war in South East Asia with a dodgy leader at the helm, with the release of the jaunty country single “Sunshine”, a song of possible hope and optimism.  The song appeared to resonate with an audience hungry for good news, the single going on to reach number four on the Billboard chart around the same time.  Having played in a band with Joe Dolce on lead guitar, Edwards joined a plethora of singer/songwriters across the US, at one point joining Emmylou Harris for her album Elite Hotel, which led to a deal with Warner Bros and two further albums Rockin’ Chair and Sailboat.  Edwards continues to write, record and tour and calls Portland, Maine home.

078 | 17 DECEMBER 2021

Flick the Dust Off | Frank Zappa | Hot Rats | Reprise 44078 | 1969

The first time I heard Frank Zappa’s music was in the early 1970s when I bought the Mothers of Invention’s second LP Absolutely Free (the name of the album not the price tag) from Ken’s Swap Shop on St Sepulchre Gate in Doncaster.  I was one of Ken’s keenest swappers.  The concept was simple; you would take in a couple of discarded LPs and swap them for a new one, with the smallest exchange of cash.  My paper round only paid £1 a week, so the cash flow was limited, even in 1971.  This would lead to a world of Zappa for the next forty-odd years.  I particularly enjoyed Hot Rats because it was more about the music than the humour, one of the things that has frequently irritated me about Zappa over the years.  This LP is a fine example of jazz/rock fusion with some astonishing guitar solos courtesy of Zappa himself.  The only ‘Mother’ to appear on this LP was Ian Underwood.  “Willie the Pimp” also features a cameo by Captain Beefheart.  It’s one of the most re-visited of all Zappa’s albums in the collection and it continues to resonate today, ‘Hot Meat, Hot Rats, Hot Zitz, Hot Wrists, Hot Ritz, Hot Roots, Hot Soots…’  What’s not to like?

Singled Out | The Move | Tonight | Harvest HAR5038 | 1971

I don’t know how true it is, but legend has it that Roy Wood wrote the 1971 pop song “Tonight” for the then current middle of the road band The New Seekers.  The Move had gone through various changes since their inception in 1965 and had scored a number of successful singles on Regal Zonophone, such as “Fire Brigade”, “Blackberry Way” and “Flowers in the Rain”, the very first song to be played on Radio 1 in 1967.  By 1971 however, the band had been reduced to a trio made up of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, who signed for the Harvest label and released a trio of hits including “Chinatown”, “California Man” and the heavily acoustic “Tonight”.  There is a video from 1971 featuring this line-up miming to the song, with possibly the only film or photographic footage of Lynne without his familiar shades on and Roy Wood doubling on acoustic and electric lap slide guitar for the now familiar, if not iconic, instrumental break.  

Fifty Years Ago | King Crimson | Islands | Island ILPS 9175 | December 1971

Even fifty years on, King Crimson’s fourth album (in less than three years), can be a little challenging, no less so than when I first heard it while still in a school uniform.  Escaping the three minute pop songs of The Move, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Kinks to engage in what we now recognise as the beginnings of Progressive Rock came with a strong sense of adventure, which demanded only time and patience and no particular need to identify with any tribe.  The band’s debut and its follow up, In the Wake of Poseidon opened doors musically, with some experimental jazz leanings present on their third outing Lizard, yet it was with Islands that demanded a little more consideration. The opening opus “Formentara Lady”, weaves effortlessly between classical cello scrapes and jazz improvisations, each serpentining around Peter Sinfield’s sweet sage and strange herb lyrics, which takes some getting used to.  Later though, there are some fine Beatles moments, certainly throughout the slightly discomforting “Ladies of the Road”, which opens the second side, the crafted harmonies hinting at a highly melodic sensibility just dying to crash through all the avant-garde noodling.  The sax plays a major role throughout the album, indicating a nod towards Soft Machine, yet at times the album can just as easily veer over to classical territory, certainly during the “Song of the Gulls” interlude and then some of Keith Tippett’s piano and Paulina Lucas’s soprano runs on the title track, which closes the album.

079 | 24 DECEMBER 2021

Flick the Dust Off | Joe Ely | Honky Tonk Masquerade | MCA MCF 2832 | December 2021

The 1970s produced some of the most stomach-churning country and western records ever to infiltrate national radio and the top 40 charts.  All the Tammys, Dollys, Kennys and Glenns made country music famous again but for all the wrong reasons.  It made me shudder just to think about it.  I was almost embarrassed to admit I actually liked country music, but it had nothing to do with the above.  While the garbage hit the high chart positions, the likes of Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely almost went unnoticed.  Ely’s band The Flatlanders produced a period defining moment, recalling the early days of honky tonk music with the same sort of sexiness as Hank Williams.  I caught Joe Ely in concert much later, who was actually supporting Robert Cray, and ‘Fingernails’ was probably the highlight of the night.  Honky Tonk Masquerade was Ely’s second album and was praised by critics, later being cited in the 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.  I’ve heard it, so now I can die.

Singled Out | Free | Wishing Well | Island WIP 6146 | 1972

Whether right or wrong, good or bad, sensible or stupid, I was straight out of school in 1972 aged just 15 and thrown into an adult world of pubs, bedsits and the bohemian underworld of a Northern English town. Records topped the list of priorities at the time and my own particular record buying habit was informed by the radio, the music press and the jukeboxes in the local underground pubs that I would regularly visit at the weekend. Although the pop charts were loaded with pap in those days (as in any other period really), the proprietors of the establishments I would frequent had the good sense to load their jukeboxes with decent stock.  In Doncaster those pubs would be the Silver Link on Bradford Row, Beethams on St George Gate, The Blue Bell on Baxtergate and The Yorkist on St Sepulchre Gate.  During this time, the single that was played almost on repeat was “Wishing Well” by Free, one of the band’s last singles before their final split. Like the smell of patchouli oil and the sight of maroon corduroy loons, the sound of this single takes me right back there.

Fifty Years Ago | David Bowie | Hunky Dory | RCA SF8244 | December 1971

Towards the end of 1971 and the beginning of 1972, I would look forward to hanging around at a mate’s house, watching and listening to his band’s rehearsals – he was the drummer and his older brother was the lead guitarist, who never once spoke to me.  The band’s repertoire included Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”, the Beach Boys’ “Student Demonstration” and Joe Cocker’s version of Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady”.  As the months went on, a new band member was drafted into the band’s ranks, a strange gangly blonde-haired youth, whose overt camp affectations would soon become easily his most immediately recognisable trait.  I never did know the youth’s real name but his nickname remains memorable in that it couldn’t possibly be repeated today, unless referring to a cigarette, and even for that purpose, the word is now very much redundant.  Not only did he bring a new musical sensibility to the band, he also brought along a couple of David Bowie songs for the set, including “Changes”, which we all now know is the opening song to Bowie’s fourth album.  It’s strange to think now, fifty years on, that Hunky Dory was famously the album that many fans returned to only after discovering The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars six months later, having been all but ignored previously.  It was all a bit too glam for me back then. I was still getting my head around Yes, whose Fragile album was released around the same time.  Bizarrely, Rick Wakeman played on both.  Nevertheless, Hunky Dory remains my favourite Bowie album to this day.

080 | 31 DECEMBER 2021

Flick the Dust Off | Various Artists | Picnic | Harvest SHSS1&2 | 1970

Other than the radio, sampler LPs provided the only economical way of keeping abreast of the sort of music I was interested in back in the late 1960s early 1970s.  The volume of new tracks being played on John Peel’s radio programme would create for me a dilemma at the record shop the next day.  The only way to have a bit of everything on a teenage budget at this time was to browse the samplers and even then, the double LPs would cost slightly more.  After saving up for a couple of weeks, the choice of adding this double LP to my collection was made all the more easier due to it being on the Harvest label, EMI’s prog rock imprint.  Most of the artists on the label were already familiar to me, including Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and the Edgar Broughton Band.  This sort of sampler LP would introduce me to new acts such as Kevin Ayers, Michael Chapman and Roy Harper, all slightly familiar by name only, but also completely new acts such as Quatermass, Forest and The Battered Ornaments.  The memorable thing about parting with my hard earned 29s/11d, was that while everyone around me was listening to “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep”, I was getting down on an eclectic mix of traditional folk, hard rock, psychedelia and completely obscure stuff that would make my dad’s face contort with pain; and all thanks to the Harvest label and Mr Peel.

Singled Out | Paul Simon | Mother and Child Reunion | CBS S7793 | 1972

Recorded in Kingston, Jamaica with Jimmy Cliff’s backing group, Paul Simon’s first single as a solo artist since “I Am A Rock” in 1965, came as a bit of a surprise after seven years spent with Art Garfunkel in the hugely successful duo Simon and Garfunkel.  Simon was interested in Reggae music and had previously tried his hand at the genre in the earlier song “Why Don’’t You Write Me”, which appeared on the hugely successful Bridge Over Troubled Water album released a couple of years earlier.  With “Mother and Child Reunion”, the title allegedly inspired by a chicken and egg dish on a Chinese menu, Simon managed to create a more authentic feel, largely due to the guitar playing of Hux Brown and Jackie Jackson’s bass, two of Jimmy Cliff’s sidemen who were also long serving members of Toots and the Maytals.  The single, which also featured Cissy Houston, appeared as the opening track to Simon’s eponymous second solo album released in the same year of 1972.

Fifty Years Ago | George Harrison | Concert for Bangladesh | Apple STCX3385 | December 1971

When I first added this three disc box set to my burgeoning collection back in the early 1970s, it was probably the most expensive record I had bought up to that point.  I was forst of all bewildered at the sheer volume of the applause following George Harrison’s introduction to Bob Dylan’s short set.  It seemed to me that the engineer had increased the volume directly after the ‘quiet one’ brought on this ‘friend of us all’.  Dylan wasn’t a friend of mine, although this introduction and the six songs that followed helped me on the way to becoming a faithful follower a little later.  The Dylan side wasn’t my least played side, even back then, that particular honour going to Ravi Shankar, whose request for no smoking during the set I took literally, and waited until the middle of “Wah Wah”, which opened side two, to light up my Camel.  I was drawn to buying the album after seeing the film, which at the time featured all the key players including Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Leon Russell, Badfinger and Ringo Starr to name a few.  The records seem to have stood the test of time even though the box they came in hasn’t.

081 | 14 JANUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | King Crimson | In the Court of the Crimson King | Island ILPS911 | 1969

With one of the most distinctive and instantly recognisable sleeves in the history of popular music, King Crimson’s debut LP from 1969 is widely regarded as the first progressive rock album, though this might be contested by Sgt. Pepper obsessives.  In the Court of the Crimson King, with its slightly pretentious subtitle ‘An Observation by King Crimson’, was released on the Island label and often finds its way into the rare issues boxes in second hand record shops, with second mortgage level price tags depending upon the label.  The striking sleeve was designed by Barry Godber, who died shortly after the album’s release, it being his one and only album cover.  Album sales were helped along by the band’s high profile appearance at the Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park concert, which drew a crowd of up to half a million people and a few dead butterflies.  As with much of the music springing from the deep well of Prog, there’s plenty of jazz rock noodling and an abundance of mellotron on this undisputed classic in the genre.

Singled Out | Penguin Café Orchestra | Music for a Found Harmonium | Editions EG EGO22 | 1985

I first heard this quirky little tune in the 1986 Australian cult film comedy Malcolm, together with one or two other tunes provided by the same band, notably “Telephone and Rubber Band”, which peppered the equally quirky film.  “Music for a Found Harmonium” would later be picked up by folk musicians such as Sharon Shannon and Andy Irvine and is now performed regularly in the folk world, usually as a demonstration of musical dexterity, although much of the original’s appeal is lost in the replaying.  The tune should really be played on a harmonium, and preferably one that has been found.  I saw the orchestra perform the tune at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 1996, a year before founder Simon Jeffes died of an inoperable brain tumor.

Fifty Years Ago | Paul Simon | Paul Simon | CBS 69007 | January 1972

Despite its title, Paul Simon was in fact Simon’s second solo album, his first, The Paul Simon Songbook, having been released just under seven years earlier.  By the time of its release, Simon had already dissolved his long time partnership with Art Garfunkel, just after the release of the duo’s final album Bridge Over Troubled Water a couple of years earlier and had embarked on a solo career, taking the opening song “Mother and Child Reunion”, said to be named after a chicken and egg dish on the menu in a Chinese restaurant, to the top ten in both the UK and US singles charts.  The song is also memorable for introducing reggae to new audiences.  Paul Simon was the first of Simon’s solo records to find its way into my collection shortly after its release and was later joined by many others, notably There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in1974 and Graceland in 1987.

082 | 21 JANUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Muckram Wakes | A Map of Derbyshire | Trailer LER2085 | 1973

Muckram Wakes was initially a Derbyshire-based trio, which comprised John Tams, Roger Watson and Helen Watson, with additional musicians Philip Langham and Graham Cooper who gathered together a selection of traditional songs, with a handful of original songs written in a traditional style for their debut Bill Leader produced LP released in 1973.  Muckram Wakes went through several changes in their short existence with many notable singers and musicians passing through their ranks, yet there’s little doubt that A Map of Derbyshire was their finest statement, which served to promote folk music in that particular region of the country.  The unusual band name comes from Muckram, a small township in the region of Somercotes where Tams originates  and Wakes, the northern word for a fair or holiday.  Among the songs included on the LP are the well known “Spencer the Rover” and “Poor Old Horse”.  In 2013, the Derby Folk Festival invited John Tams and The Derbyshire Volunteers to stage a performance of the entire LP and demonstrated that a good forty years had done little to soften the power of these songs.  A relaxed ensemble filled the Great Hall while a handful of singers and musicians took it in turn to take the spotlight, including Helen Hockenhull, who as Helen Watson appeared on the original recording, as well as Derby’s own Lucy Ward.  Festival patron John Tams sat at the side of the stage and introduced each of the performances clutching a copy of the original LP in his hands, while reminiscing about the recording and the circumstances surrounding that particular period.  The concert provided something memorable for the players and the audience alike and once again demonstrated precisely what these songs meant to the people of Derbyshire back then and continue to mean to the people today.

Singled Out | The Monkees | Alternate Title | RCA 1604 | 1967

The first single I bought with my own hard earned cash.  Well that’s not quite true, it was bought with the record voucher I won when I took part in the popular children’s TV show Whistle Stop back in 1968.  As an 11 year-old, The Monkees was everywhere in my world, the four familiar faces on the bedroom wall, their names inscribed in various places on my school exercise books and rucksack, their records beginning to find their way into the radiogram.  The TV show was compulsory viewing and like the Beatles before them, we all had to choose a favourite.  Mickey Dolenz was the most zany of the bunch, so I gravitated towards the former child actor.  Dolenz takes the lead on “Alternate Title”, a single that underwent a name change due to nervous British record company executives, who worried themselves to distraction over the original title American Scouse Git, though it’s unclear which of those words might be considered the most offensive at the time.

Fifty Years Ago | Ry Cooder | Into the Purple Valley | Warner K44142 | January 1972

When I first saw Ry Cooder on the Old Grey Whistle Test back in 1972, I became totally obsessed with his music and in particular his bottleneck guitar playing style, which led to seeking out other such players including Lowell George, Duane Allman and Bonnie Raitt.  At the time, I didn’t know “Vigilante Man” was a Woody Guthrie song, I didn’t even know who Woody Guthrie was.  Neither did I know who Ry Cooder was, although his name had been cropping up in the music press and I had one of his tracks on the Warner Bros Fruity sampler LP, the one with the round sleeve to match the record.  Here, I thought, is a guitar player appearing on the TV in an empty darkened studio, wearing a piece of cloth on his head and a shirt, which looked for all intents and purposes as if someone had vomited on it, while running the chopped off neck of a beer bottle up and down the neck of a very attractive guitar.  I couldn’t even decide whether he was singing in tune or not, all I knew for sure was that it was worlds away from Sweet’s “Little Willy”, a song that was at the same time seen on Britain’s only other rival music show.  After seeing this very ordinary looking dude, who looked like he had a glass eye (he did), sitting next to Bob Harris on my then favourite TV show, I went out and bought this album, mainly for “Vigilante Man”, but then to discover such gems as “Billy the Kid”, “Denomination Blues” and “Teardrops Will Fall”.  I only ever got to see Ry Cooder the once, on stage with David Lindley at the Manchester Apollo sometime in the 1990s.  Cooder remains one of greatest sources of musical eclecticism to this day.

083 | 28 JANUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Nitty Gritty Dirt Band | Will the Circle Be Unbroken | United Artists UAS 9801 | 1972

In 1972 the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released a three disc LP under the title of Will the Circle Be Unbroken, the name of which comes from a song from the Carter Family’s prolific repertoire.  The idea for this ambitious project was for the band of young musicians to meet with some of the most well-known musicians who made their mark on country and old time mountain music over the three preceding decades, including Doc Watson, Merle Travis, Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff and Earl Scruggs.  Even in 1972, the clean cut older generation appeared to be slightly bemused by the hippie-ish look of the young band, Acuff even describing them as ‘a bunch of long-haired West Coast boys’.  The former stars of the Grand Ole Opry had no problem demonstrating their chops in the studio though, with each of the songs on the LP being either first or second takes.  The other important aspect of these recording sessions is the inclusion of studio chat between songs, all of which has been left on the recordings for posterity.

Singled Out | Ian Dury and the Blockheads | What a Waste | Stiff BUY27 | 1978

When Prog Rock was allegedly finally pushed out of the way to make room for Punk in the mid-1970s, some discerning music fans, myself included, required something to fill the void, other than three chords played badly by angst-ridden teenagers who had no previous musical experience.  We were forced to look for something as musically dextrous as Prog but without the excesses, excesses that were probably Prog’s undoing, and also something fashionably cool but not specifically throwaway.  The music that eventually found its feet under the banner of New Wave seemed to provide the solution.  Ian Dury and the Blockheads were not only new and exciting but was also an extremely tight band both live and on record.  Their 1978 single “What a Waste”, backed with “Wake Up and Make Love With Me”, would go on to demonstrate precisely how tight and the single soon found its way into the little orange singles box.

Fifty Years Ago | Captain Beefheart | The Spotlight Kid | Reprise K44162 | January 1972

Released in January 1972, Captain Beefheart’s sixth studio album was the first to be credited solely to Captain Beefheart, completely avoiding any mention of the Magic Band, who were obviously still very much present on this album.  Returning to a more blues-based music, the songs on The Spotlight Kid appear to utilise much simpler arrangements to those on his two previous records, Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby, therefore the album being generally thought of as his most accessible to date.  Joined by Bill Harkleroad and Elliot Ingber on guitars, Mark Boston on bass, John French on drums and Art Tripp on marimba, the Captain allegedly resorted to the same sort of bullying tactics present on the Trout Mask sessions, with a particular resentment towards Bill Harkleroad, who was at one point thrown into a dustbin.  Though the music was largely blues-based, the inclusion of the marimba provided a unique angle as exemplified on “Blabber and Smoke”.

084 | 4 FEBRUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Bert Jansch | Rosemary Lane | Transatlantic TRA 235 | 1971

Being such an obsessive fan of Bert’s seventh album, I once placed a square of stencilling film over the sleeve of this album and carefully cut out the romantic image, then screen printed the design onto a shirt, which I then wore until it fell off my back sometime in the late 80s.  Rosemary Lane was released in 1971 and contains a collection of originals, such as “Tell Me What Is True Love”,  “Nobody’s Bar” and “Bird Song”, together with one or two traditional songs, “Reynardine”, “Sylvie” and the title song among them.  I lucked out on the LP stakes when a fellow Bert fan invited me over to sift through a bunch of LPs that he had just acquired from the widow of another Bert fan.  We sat in the middle of the room sorting through the records and one after the other, he passed over the duplicates.  With every ‘got this one’, Mick handed over one gem after the other.  This was the start of an obsessive collection of some of the most treasured records in my record collection.  Although I met Bert on one or two occasions I never did get to interview him, which is regretful.

Singled Out | Thin Lizzy | Whisky in the Jar | Decca F 13355 | 1972

Once considered a one hit wonder band, before their stretch at being one of the biggest live draws on the rock scene in the late 1970s, Thin Lizzy’s introduction into our consciousness was via their re-working of an old seventeenth century Irish folk tune made popular some years earlier by The Dubliners.  It apparently began as ‘a lark’ and then released as a single in 1972, becoming the band’s first hit.  Although seen by much of the Irish community as a travesty, the song’s commercial appeal saw the single reach number six on the British charts.  It may have been a bit of light relief in the studio for the young Phil Lynott and co, but it remains one of the most recognised pop versions of an old folk song, mainly due to its infectious guitar riff throughout.  I imagine that Phil Lynott, who died in 1986, would be just surprised as anyone to find that the song still often pops up on the radio every now and then.

Fifty Years Ago | Neil Young | Harvest | Warner KMS2277 | February 1972

“Heart of Gold” was one of the most often played songs of 1972, the almost Dylan-like harmonica sound drawing many new ears to the songs of Neil Young, despite the singer having already released a couple of solo albums, not to mention a further two with Buffalo Springfield, one with Crosby Stills and Nash and a combined effort with Crazy Horse.  Young was no newcomer, yet it felt as if his music was only just coming to our attention by the time “Heart of Gold” reached number ten in the British singles charts and number one in the US in April 1972.  I bought the double soundtrack LP Journey Through the Past around the same time as Harvest, which contained some of the studio rehearsals for the Harvest sessions, providing a glimpse into the world of Neil Young, notably the song “Alabama”, one of the key Harvest tracks.  Not only does the album feature guest appearances by James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and Crosby Stills Nash, it also features the London Symphony Orchestra on a couple of tracks, which always felt out of place in an otherwise country-inflected rock album.

085 | 11 FEBRUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Amazing Blondel | Fantasia Lindum | Island ILPS 9156 | 1971

There have been at least three distinctive Blondel periods in my life, first the initial discovery of the band back in 1972, then the re-discovery around 1979 and then finally the re-re-discovery, when the original trio reformed for a handful of gigs.  The first of these discoveries occurred in the early 1970s when I found the band’s fourth LP England languishing in Ken’s Swap Shop on St Sepulchre gate in Doncaster, a second hand shop that always seemed to stock interesting cast offs.  I thought the three musicians looked the coolest on the planet, despite their strong inclination for period costumes on their album sleeves.  The re-discovery occurred just after I moved into my first house with my new wife, where I soon discovered that our next door neighbour was also a big Blondel fan, who had four of the band’s LPs.  We competed to see who could play “Seascape” the loudest through the walls.  I subsequently discovered all the band’s albums and soon found myself seeking out all the rarities as well.  The final re-re-discovery was when the original trio of John Gladwin, Eddie Baird and Terry Wincott reformed to play a few gigs in the late 1990s and I was finally able to see the band for the first time live on several occasions.  Fantasia Lindum includes one of the band’s most impressive moments in the “Fantasia Lindum Suite”, which takes up the entire first side, culminating in the heart stopping vocal crescendo of “Celestial Light”.  Simply gorgeous.

Singled Out | Fleetwood Mac | Man of the World | DJM DJS 620 | 1969

After the success of such records as “Black Magic Woman”, “Need Your Love So Bad” and the band’s first number one single “Albatross”, signs began to emerge that the band might be in trouble, with the release of this delicate and mournful ballad, which demonstrates a more fragile side of singer/guitarist Peter Green.  Things were indeed going pear-shaped for the band, which eventually saw Green’s withdrawal from the public eye, and also the disappearance of Jeremy Spencer, who on a visit to the States, apparently went out to buy a magazine and never came back, having joined a religious cult.  It was during these years of personal difficulties that led to the eventual transition from one of the UK’s leading blues bands to one of the world’s most prominent stadium rock bands, leaving their blues roots behind in favour of a more West Coast soft rock sound, now familiar to many from their later albums.  “Man of the World” remains one of the band’s saddest ballads ever released.

Fifty Years Ago | Allman Brothers Band | Eat a Peach | Capricorn 2CP 0102 | February 1972

My initial introduction to the Allman Brothers Band came by way of two memorable sampler LPs from the early 1970s, two records released on two different labels, “Black Hearted Woman” on Atlantic’s Age of Atlantic and “Stand Back” on the Warner Bros release, Fruity, released on one of the few ill-conceived and highly impractical circular sleeves (they roll off the shelf).  The latter song is included on the band’s double LP set Eat a Peach, an album made up of both studio and live takes.  Three months prior to the release of the album, Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident, hence the bulk of the album being taken from live recordings.  The album also features one of the band’s best known songs, “Melissa” among some of the more bluesy material.

086 | 25 FEBRUARY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Martin Simpson | Grinning in Your Face | Topic 12TS430 | 1983

From the late 1970s until the early 1980s, I had been tinkering with some of the blues guitar styles I obsessively learned from my small collection of Brownie McGhee and Big Bill Broonzy records.  I read Paul Oliver books by day, played the guitar in the evening, dreamed of being a blind blues singer from the Mississippi Delta through the night and then discovered Martin Simpson, who everything changed.  I didn’t immediately set fire to my guitar, but instead, went in search of some of the folk clubs iun my area, the most likely place to find this young guitar player from Scunny, which was just up the road from where I lived.   It didn’t take long to find him.  The first time I saw him was at the Rockingham Arms in Wentworth where he played a green guitar, which he referred to as his Fender Snot-ocaster.  I then saw him with June Tabor, then with an American singer who I recall having a gigantic tattoo covering her entire back.  This was a new world for me.  I wanted so badly to be able to do this myself and so I listened to Martin’s version of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” several hundred times before having the audacity to enter my first folk club at The Three Horse Shoes in Doncaster to play it.  It was the second song I ever played in a folk club.  It was ambitious and I do remember getting my fingers all tangled up in the middle of it, but at least I tried.  Many years passed and I’ve now seen literally dozens of performances by Simpson, but I still think of Grinning in Your Face as the defining moment for me personally.  I now see Mr Simpson occasionally in Sheffield who chats to me like an old mate.  Funny how these things happen.

Singled Out | Cat Stevens | Matthew And Son | Deram DM110 | 1966

With a title based on the name of his own tailor, Henry Matthews, the single “Matthew and Son” was one of Cat Stevens’ most recognisable hits of the 1960s.  With a strong social commentary running through it, based in no small part on the fact that his current girlfriend at the time was working long hours in a large firm, which was then considered almost like slave labour, the message in the song rang clear to a young working class audience, who helped the single race up the British charts in 1967, eventually reaching number two.  Although Cat Stevens went on to record a string of singer-songwriter based albums more suitable for bedsit audiences up and down the country and further afield, it was this pop hit, a contemporary of the kind of songs the Kinks were known for, that set the young songwriter on the path to success.  I distinctly remember the song being played regularly at Doncaster Top Rank every Saturday morning when the night club opened its doors to screaming kids, along with hits by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.

Fifty Years Ago | Nick Drake | Pink Moon | Island ILPS9184 | February 1972

Nick Drake’s third and final album is memorable for several reasons, most notably for being extremely short, by today’s standard it would probably be considered an EP or a mini album at best.  It’s also noted for being almost entirely made up of one voice, one guitar with the exception of a few piano keystrokes on the title cut, whereas its predecessors Five Leaves Left and Bryter Layter involved guest musicians and a much thicker sound.  Nick Drake’s days were numbered when he allegedly dropped the master off in a plastic bag at the Island office, something that has been subsequently contested by those in the know.  Most of the eleven songs on Pink Moon are short, the exception being “Things Behind the Sun” which stretches to almost four minutes.  It’s also reported that there was another song on the original master that didn’t quite make the cut, an instrumental version of “Plaisir d’amour” a French love song written in 1784 by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, which had it been included, would have been the only non-original composition to appear on any of the three official album releases in his short career.  With Drake’s subsequent re-evaluation amongst a younger audience, it’s hard to believe that Pink Moon, along with the other two LPs, were all but ignored back in the day.

087 | 11 MARCH 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Ry Cooder | Get Rhythm | Warner Bros WX121 | 1987

Back in 1987, it seemed like we had endured a rather long wait for Ry Cooder’s latest solo album, a good five years since his previous release, The Slide Area of 1982, but not quite as long as the wait until his next, Chávez Ravine, which wouldn’t appear for a good eighteen years after Get Rhythm.  The album is a veritable mish-mash of styles, and as the title suggests, Get Rhythm is packed with an assortment of differing rhythmic textures, such as the opening title song, written by Johnny Cash and featuring Cooder’s old sparring partner Flaco Jiminez, on accordion, to the quirky acoustic bottleneck guitar of Chuck Berry’s “13 Question Method”, which sounds as fresh today as it did back in 1987, when it was spun regularly on my weekly hospital radio show.  There’s also some tongue-in-cheek moments such as the sneering “I Can Tell By the Way You Smell” and the fun-filled “Women Will Rule the World”, from the pen of Raymond Quevedo, the noted Calypsonian from Trinidad.

Singled Out | Canned Heat | Going Up the Country | Liberty LBF15169 | 1968

Memorably played at the infamous Woodstock festival in 1969 and then used both in the film and the original soundtrack that followed, Al Wilson’s “Going Up the Country” was Canned Heat’s fifth single release, one of three singles released by the band in 1968, which just scraped into the UK top twenty.  Though credited to the band’s guitarist Al Wilson, the song was adapted from an early blues song by the Texas bluesman Henry Thomas, which was first released way back in 1928.  The song is perhaps best known for Jim Horn’s flute flurries, which gives the song a distinct folky feel, which in turn fits perfectly with Wilson’s trademark fragile vocal.

Fifty Years Ago | Deep Purple | Machine Head | Purple TPSA7504 | March 1972

When Deep Purple’s Machine Head tour rolled into town on 28 September 1972, I had my chin on the edge of a vibrating Sheffield City Hall stage, while I waited, with eager anticipation, for the band to come on stage.  Those behind me grew steadily more impatient, with several calls for “Wally” and one or two sharp digs in the back from those who wanted to take my prime place.  The album had been released six months earlier, giving me plenty of time to acclimatise myself to such songs as “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin’” and the mighty “Smoke on the Water”, which not only has one of the best guitar riffs in rock music, but also name checks Frank Zappa and the Mothers, when nothing else in the Top 40 did.  When the band appeared, my chin left the stage and I became possessed for the next hour or so as the band, which at the time included Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice, chucked out the best of the Machine Head album, one or two from both Fireball and Deep Purple in Rock and a couple of notable singles.  The most memorable moment for me though, was when Jon Lord reached for the bottle of Guinness standing on top of his organ, took a swig then reached down to give me the bottle.  I was fifteen, fearless and flattered as Jon Lord gave alcohol to a minor.  When Jon died in 2012, part of my youth also died with him.

088 | 18 MARCH 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Dick Gaughan | Handful of Earth | Topic 12TS419 | 1981

After the Prog Rock years, a hardcore Blues period and an initial flirtation with Folk Rock back in the 1970s, along came the 1980s.  John Lennon was dead, the guitar was growing impatient for an audience and I was about ready to investigate the strange world of the folk club.  I located the most local radio station that I could find that boasted having a folk show, which happened to be Bob Hazelwood’s weekly show on Radio Sheffield in this case and it was there that I first heard the opening few bars of Dick Gaughan’s take on an old traditional ballad “Erin-Go-Bragh”.  Shortly afterwards I found myself at another folk club held at the Rockingham Arms in Wentworth, near Rotherham, making small talk with a wide-jawed Scotsman as I waited for show to begin, only to discover half an hour later that I had in fact been chatting to the man I’d heard for the first time on the radio the week before.  I realised at that moment that I had discovered Dick Gaughan and Handful of Earth became a firm favourite LP and it changed the way I think about traditional folk songs and is one of the reasons I still listen to it.

Singled Out | Stealers Wheel | Everything’l Turn Out Fine | AM AMS7079 | 1973

Stealers Wheel was a Scots band formed in 1972 in Paisley, by former school friends Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty and initially had within its ranks Rab Noakes, Roger Brown and Ian Campbell, although by the time the band signed a record deal with A&M Records, those three had left.  Rafferty soon followed, leaving Luther Grosvenor to deputise and pretty much leaving Joe Egan at the helm.  The band’s initial couple of albums were produced by the famed American songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  Rafferty returned to the fold for the band’s second album Ferguslie Park, which included two follow up singles to the earlier “Stuck in the Middle”, the highly memorable “Star”, written by Egan and “Everything’l Turn Out Fine”, co-written with Rafferty.  Strangely, despite many good songs,  Steelers Wheel are perhaps defined by “Stuck in the Middle”, presumably due to its appearance in a pivotal moment in Tarrantino’s Reservoir Dogs.

Fifty Years Ago | Jethro Tull | Thick as a Brick | Chrysalis CHR 1003 | March 1972

For unapologetic fans of Jethro Tull, Thick as a Brick was the eagerly awaited release after the acclaimed Aqualung, released twelve months earlier.  With tongues firmly in cheeks, the band deliberately spoofed up the very concept of concept albums, emphasising Prog’s penchant for over-long magnum opus-like productions, simply by reducing the set list to just the one song, albeit split in two for the purpose of the LP format.  Had the CD been around in 1972, God only knows how long these tunes would stretch.  Wrapped in a twelve-page tabloid, Thick as a Brick was a Folk Prog album that didn’t take itself too seriously, its content being an adaptation of an epic poem by a fictional eight-year-old genius by the name of Gerald Bostock, albeit channelled through the pen of Tull frontman, Ian Anderson. To this day, my Fluffy the Duck dots have been left un-joined and will probably remain so.

089 | 25 MARCH 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Seatrain | Watch | Warner Brothers K46222 | 1973

The fourth and final album by the Californian roots fusion band, a band to have previously boasted within its ranks both Peter Rowan and Richard Greene, sees Seatrain transformed into something entirely different.  The LP was languishing in the bargain bin at Bradley’s Records in Doncaster in 1973 and I began to feel sorry for it.  It might have been the unappealing cover art together with the six strange looking mustachioed musicians on the reverse that might very well have scared possible buyers off.  Nonetheless, something obviously caught my attention and made me want to take it home and care for it, something I continue to do all these years on.  The LP features a rather tight version of Bob Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow”, together with a strange little ghost story, a delightful song from the pen of Andy Kulberg called “Scratch”.  Fortunately, despite its cheap price tag, this was the only scratch on it.

Singled Out | The Lovin’ Spoonful | Daydream | Pye 7N25361 | 1966

I am not sure when or where I first heard the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream”, but I would guess sometime in the mid to late 1960s and no doubt on the radio.  The song caught my attention at a time when any song with a whistling coda seemed to appeal to me.  I was at the time myself a daydreaming schoolboy with an irritating habit of whistling along to Richard Tauber songs.  I recall the John Sebastian song being played around the house at various intervals, bringing a spark of joy to an otherwise black and white suburban kitchen sink drama known as real life in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the mid Sixties.  The 45 was probably brought into the house by my hippie sister, when all her boyfriends seemed to look like flower children and smelled of Patchouli Oil.  John Sebastian would later embarrass himself before half a million people at the Woodstock Festival, where he walked out on stage looking like he had been vomited on.

Fifty Years Ago | Humble Pie | Smokin’ | A&M AMLS64342 | March 1972

‘Roll with me’ Steve Marriott suggests from the start, before launching into the steamy “Hot ‘n’ Nasty”, the opening song on the band’s fifth studio album Smokin’, which came along hot on the tail of the band’s blistering double live set, Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore, recorded in the summer of the previous year at the prestigious Fillmore East in New York City.  Between the release of the live album and the recording sessions for Smokin’, Peter Frampton had left the band to pursue a solo career, a successful one for a while, being replaced by Clem Clempson on guitar.  The album also featured one or two guests, not least Alexis Korner on “Old Time Feelin’” and Stephen Stills on Hammond organ and backing vocals on “Hot ‘n’ Nasty”, together with further vocals courtesy of Doris Troy and Madeline Bell.  Fifty years and it doesn’t feel in the slightest bit dated.

090 | 1 APRIL 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Vinegar Joe | Rock ‘n Roll Gypsies | Island ILPS9214 | 1972

When the jazz/blues outfit Dada first came to my attention back in 1970, when a track from the band’s debut album appeared on the Age of Atlantic sampler album, I would have been completely unaware of Elkie Brooks, who wouldn’t pop up on my radar until the band morphed into Vinegar Joe shortly after the arrival of Robert Palmer to their ranks.  The cover of Vinegar Joe’s debut self-titled album was illustrated in plasticine in a similar fashion to the aforementioned sampler album.  A short lived band, Vinegar Joe launched the careers of both Brooks and Palmer who both went on to enjoy successful careers, yet neither musician ever really demonstrated the raw, almost feral stage presence of Vinegar Joe’s early days, opting for a more MOR image, certainly in the case of Brooks.  Released under the watchful eye of Ahmet Ertegun in the US (Atlantic) and Chris Blackwell in the UK and elsewhere (Island), Vinegar Joe’s brief blip on the radar remains memorable, as does the lively cover artwork, a rare live shots only Hipgnosis design.

Singled Out | John Prine | Illegal Smile | Atlantic K 10530 | 1972

I first became aware of John Prine in the early 1970s when I heard the song “Sam Stone” on the Old Grey Whistle Test, accompanied by a poignant black and white promo film.  The song was included on the 1972 sampler album The New Age of Atlantic, along with such diverse acts as Loudon Wainwright III, Buffalo Springfield and Led Zeppelin. The song first appeared however on Prine’s self-titled debut LP from the year before.  It was this particular song that led to the discovery of other great songs such as “Angel From Montgomery”, “Paradise” and “Hello in There” as well as the opening song “Illegal Smile”, which was subsequently released as a single on the Atlantic record label, backed with “Quiet Man” from the same album.  Contrary to popular belief, according to Prine, the song is not about substance abuse, but has more to do with smiling at things that others don’t necessarily normally smile at.

Fifty Years Ago | Richard Thompson | Henry the Human Fly | Island ILPS9197 | April 1972

I didn’t get around to Henry the Human Fly or for that matter, any Richard Thompson album until the early 1980s, having an aversion to Thompson’s voice; it was one of the longest periods of taste acquisition known to man.  Despite this blatant refusal to accept the voice, I couldn’t avoid the fact that what we had in Thompson, was a superb guitar player and an equally superb songwriter, whose involvement with Fairport Convention couldn’t possibly be ignored.  I would therefore return to Thompson’s solo albums and the albums he made with his then wife and musical partner Linda, to try and break through my own musical prejudices.  I think it’s the only time I have really made an effort to come to terms with a voice I don’t particularly enjoy. Once Thompson’s voice slipped within my own personal taste parameters though, possibly midway through Hand of Kindness, there was no turning back.  I borrowed Henry from a friend and then worked my way in.  Over the next fifty years, or at least from the mid-1980s onwards, I have worked my way through all of Thompson’s albums and have grown to love his voice as well as his writing and his musicianship, and I still pop Henry onto the turntable every now and then to remind me of just how important this musician is to music appreciation.  He rarely, if ever, lets me down, even when he does Britney.

091 | 8 APRIL 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Groundhogs | Split | Liberty LBG83401 | 1971

In 1970, as I prepared to embark on my predictably troubled teenage years, my record collection was still very much in its infancy.  I was already showing dissatisfaction with the music that infiltrated the pop charts, being not in the least bit concerned about where love actually grows, despite Edison Lighthouse’s eagerness to tell me.  If a record by Lee Marvin could get to the number one spot, there was no further hope as far as I was concerned, a notion exacerbated further by Clint Eastwood talking to the trees on the other side.  The rock world beckoned and with a little help from my older sister, more specifically, the hippie boyfriends she brought home, my ears began to let in the good stuff.  I first heard the sound of the three-piece blues outfit Groundhogs at the Monday Prog Rock night at the Top Rank in Doncaster, where the confused DJs would always manage to slip in the odd blues number.  “Split – Part 2” was one of the mainstays of the playlist during these nights and it wasn’t long before the record joined my collection.  I’m sure neither guitarist Tony McPhee, bassist Peter Cruikshank or drummer Ken Pustelnik considered themselves anything other than a blues band, nevertheless, their music seemed to fit in well at the Rank every Monday night.  According to McPhee, the lyrics for this album were inspired by a panic attack he experienced back in 1970.  The album also features probably the band’s best known track “Cherry Red”.

Singled Out | The Beach Boys | Heroes and Villains | Capitol Records CL 15510 | 1967

During the early part of the 1960s, The Beach Boys cornered the market when it came to recording Chuck Berry-styled rock and roll songs with a surfing theme and would become one of the world’s finest vocal bands, with their inimitable sibling harmonies.  As the decade progressed though, the band, led by the workaholic Brian Wilson, sought to rival The Beatles with their attention to detail and pursuit of discovering new sounds and styles using the studio as their main tool.  “Good Vibrations” opened up the doors for adventure with a song that was not only adventurous but also completely accessible in the current pop market.  These experiments continued with the help of Van Dyke Parks on the follow up single “Heroes and Villains”, which was intended to appear on the band’s next album Smile.  Although the album was put on indefinite hold, the song was released as a single and then appeared on the band’s next album Smiley Smile instead.  I spent many hours trying to work out Brian Wilson’s genius vocal arrangements on this hugely experimental single.  I’m still none the wiser.

Fifty Years Ago | Arlo Guthrie | Hobo’s Lullaby | Reprise MS2060 | April 1972

Completely accessible country-inflected fourth album courtesy of Arlo Guthrie.  Only a couple of years earlier, a stoned Guthrie got up on a dodgy looking stage in Bethel, upstate New York, to tell the audience that everything was ‘far out’ and that he had been rapping to the fuzz and that New York Thruway was closed (man).  Woody Guthrie’s hippy son was always a charismatic counter culture figure, largely due to his starring role in Arthur Penn’s screen adaptation of Guthrie’s engaging Alice’s Restaurant story, despite his almost unintelligible rapport with the masses at the most iconic of all festivals.  For Hobo’s Lullaby, Guthrie surrounds himself with the cream of session men, including Byron Berline, Ry Cooder, Doug Dillard, Richie Hayward, Jim Keltner, Spooner Oldham and Clarence White among them, together with Linda Ronstadt adding further vocals.  Predominantly covers, the songs include material from the pens of Bob Dylan “When My Ship Comes In”, Hoyt Axton’s “Somebody Turned the Light On”, Guthrie Snr’s “1913 Massacre” and most notably Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans”, Guthrie’s only hit record, presumably due to Goodman’s radio friendly feel good lyric ‘Good morning, America, how are ya?  Strange to think this is now fifty years old.

092 | 15 APRIL 2022

Flick the Dust Off | David Bromberg Band | How Late’ll Ya Play Till | Fantasy FTSP53 | 1976

I first became aware of Dave Bromberg’s music in the early 1980s, after hearing part of a set recorded at the 1982 Cambridge Folk Festival, which was aired on Jim Lloyd’s BBC folk show, whereupon the American musician invited Alistair Anderson up on stage for some instrumental wizardry.  I’d previously heard the name, mainly through his association with Bob Dylan and his contribution to some of his recordings, but his own music had eluded me up until that point.  Around the same time, I heard a couple of friends duet on “Kaatskill Serenade” at a Doncaster folk club, a Bromberg original from this album, which was probably the main reason for going out to buy it.  A double LP set, the album consists of a studio disc and a live one, which features such blues standards as “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Come in My Kitchen” and Blind Willie McTell’s “Dying Crapshooter’s Blues”.  The album also contains the entertaining sixteen minute “Bullfrog Blues”, which gives an indication of Bromberg’s rapport with his audience.  More recently I was backstage at the Cambridge Folk Festival with both Bromberg and Loudon Wainwright having a relaxed chat; it was the closest I ever got to breaking the rules and taking out my camera for a quickie.

Singled Out | Donovan | Sunshine Superman | Pye 7N – 1724I | 1966

I like Donovan.  There, I said it, which isn’t usually a cool thing to admit to.  I think most of the people who don’t particularly take to him have their judgment clouded by continually comparing him to Dylan.  I have never compared him to Dylan, despite all the nonsense surrounding his appearance in the Pennebaker film Don’t Look Back.  I think of Donovan as a pop singer, who made some of the most melodic and tuneful pop hits of the mid to late 1960s, “Sunshine Superman” chief among them.  Perhaps I don’t go out of my way to catch any of Donovan’s concerts these days, nor is it common to see Cosmic Wheels or Essence to Essence on the turntable, but any of the late 60s singles on the jukebox will do for me any day of the week.

Fifty Years Ago | Wishbone Ash | Argus | MCA | April 1972

Rock journalists seem to frown upon any mention of the name Wishbone Ash, yet I make no apologies for admiring this band, which I first heard on the John Peel radio show in 1970, when the noted arbitor of taste played the memorable guitar riff of “Lady Whiskey”.   A couple of years later, this admiration grew after hearing the band’s third album Argus, which soon became something of a ‘must have’ item back in the early 1970s, an album chock full of highly melodic rock classics that would continue to make up the bulk of any Wishbone Ash gig for years to come, some of which I was only too pleased to attend, whichever Wishbone Ash I happened to come across that is.  Fall outs, lawsuits, whatever, there is still no sound quite like it, though my personal preference will always be for the band’s first four albums, this being perhaps the band’s crowning achievement.  I once sat down with Martin Turner, for an hour of reminiscing, which was both enlightening and much fun.  It was rather like interviewing the Artful Dodger. 

093 | 22 APRIL 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Plainsong | In Search of Amelia Earhart | Elektra K42120 | 1972

I first became aware of Plainsong through the ads in the UK music press back in the early 1970s.  After signing to Elektra in 1972, the newly formed band set about recording a fine debut album that we would still be talking about fifty years later.  Taking as its theme the story of the doomed adventurer Amelia Earhart, who disappeared during her attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, In Search of Amelia Earhart was initially thought of as a concept album, yet on closer inspection, the links are tenuous.  There’s a healthy mix of originals and covers (before we used the irritating term ‘covers’), including a Paul Siebel song (“Louise”), a Dave McEnery song (Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight”) and another by Jerry Yester and Judy Henske (“Raider”), which closes the album.  Perhaps the most noteworthy song on the record is Ian Matthews’ “True Story Of Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight”, which delves further into the rumour of Earhart’s espionage exploits.  Despite having a smash hit with a ‘cover’ of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” with Matthews Southern Comfort, this album is arguably Matthews’ finest post Fairport achievement.

Singled Out | All About Eve | Martha’s Harbour | Mercury EVAN 8 | 1988

There was always something otherworldly about Julianne Regan’s performance of “Martha’s Harbour”, All About Eve’s highest charting single from 1988.  Regan, who earlier played bass in the band Gene Loves Jezebel, probably never lived down the much repeated cock up on Top of the Pops, when the band couldn’t hear the pre-recorded tape they were meant to be miming to and therefore still sitting there motionless before a live audience waiting for their cue half way through the song.  Such was the bizarre stupidity of the BBC’s insistance of not being allowed to play live on the show.  Still, this moment, which is difficult to erase, doesn’t really alter the fact that “Martha’s Harbour” is an astonishingly good song.

Fifty Years Ago | Graham Nash David Crosby | Graham Nash – David Crosby | Atlantic K50011 | April 1972

Graham Nash David Crosby is the first album by the partnership of  Crosby and Nash, released on Atlantic Records in 1972, after the break up of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young a couple of years earlier, though both had already recorded and released solo albums by then, If I Could Only Remember My Name and Songs for Beginners respectively.  The album features several high profile contributions, notably Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead, former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason and some of the best session musicians working on the West Coast, including Danny Kortchmar, Leland Sklar, and Russell Kunkel, who would go on to achieve much success with the likes of James Taylor, Carole King and Jackson Browne.  If some of the duo’s later work left a lot to be desired as the 1970s wore on into the Punk era, Graham Nash David Crosby remains one of the duo’s most commercially successful albums.

094 | 29 APRIL 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Incredible String Band | Wee Tam | Elektra EKS74036 | 1968

Getting to know the Incredible String Band’s recorded output came in a somewhat random order, from my first discovery of Mike Heron’s “Mercy, I Cry City” on an Elektra sampler LP to buying my first full length ISB LP Changing Horses from a second hand shop in Doncaster, then eventually to collecting the lot.  Both Wee Tam and The Big Huge came as two single American imports, though the two LPs were in fact released as a double album in the UK back in 1968.   This is the fourth album by the band, which offers a varied selection of songs and styles, with founders Robin Williamson and Mike Heron at the helm, together with sporadic appearances by girlfriends Rose Simpson and Licorice McKechnie.  I believe the cover shot was taken in Franz Zappa’s garden.

Singled Out | East of Eden | Jig-a-Jig | Deram DM297 | 1970

I was completely indifferent to folk music in 1970 having just recently discovered Jimi Hendrix, Cream and Led Zeppelin.  It was pretty much wall to wall rock after finally putting aside my Monkees singles.  To me, folk music was The Spinners and The Corries and a little Yetties thrown in, or at least that’s just about all we heard on the radio at the time.  East of Eden’s “Jig-a-Jig” however, offered something a little more energetc and vibrant, with a few traditional dance tunes thrown together, a little along the lines of what Fairport Convention was up to at the time, bringing together traditional folk songs and melodies with a rock and roll beat, and doing a much better job of it, certainly on “A Sailor’s Life”, a feature of the Unhalfbricking album and then again on the Liege and Lief record, so this single was probably just considered a novelty item and not taken too seriously.

Fifty Years Ago | Stephen Stills | Manassas | Atlantic K60021 | April 1972

Of the three members of the recently evaporated Crosby Stills and Nash team, Stephen Stills was the one to follow his rock instincts and focus on a more rock oriented sound, pretty much leaving the vocal harmonies behind and bringing the electric guitar back to the fore.  With barely an in-focus photo on this album sleeve, accompanying poster and inner sleeves, the double album set is bluesy in places, notably on “Jet Set (Sigh)”, and the acoustic closer “Blues Man”, a tribute to the recently departed Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman and Canned Heat’s Al Wilson.  With each side bearing its own heading, The Raven, The Wilderness, Consider and Rock and Roll is Here to Stay, Manassas comes across as a bit of a mish-mash of ideas, with plenty of copuntry twang, bluesy grooves and moments of Gospel-drenched soul.

095 | 6 MAY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Shirley Collins and Davy Graham | Folk Roots New Routes | Decca LK4652 | 1964

There’s something a little bit odd about the cover of this classic folk LP from 1965.  There’s an unusually large gap between the singer and the guitar player, a gap that turns into a chasm on the black and white studio picture on the reverse.  You get the feeling these two are not close, and by a good margin.  Strangely enough, the music also seems worlds apart; the quintessentially English female folk voice on the one hand and the super cool jazz inflected guitar on the other.  So why does it work so well?  Despite the LP eluding any notable success in sales upon its initial release, Folk Roots, New Routes soon became an enormous influence upon all the notable singers and musicians that followed, Collins being a major influence on Sandy Denny, Maddy Prior and Jacqui McShee, while Graham assumed God-like status for all the guitarists that followed, including Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and Jimmy Page just to name a few.

Singled Out | Mike Heron | Call Me Diamond | Island WIP6101 | 1971

“Call Me Diamond” is the opening song on Mike Heron’s debut solo LP Smiling Men with Bad Reputations, released in 1971.  Still with the Incredible String Band at the time, Heron appears to stretch out musically once again, this time to explore a more rockier edge, with one or two soul-drenched moments.  The saxophone takes a hold from the start on “Call Me Diamond”, courtesy of South Africa’s Dudu Pukwana, which is enhanced further by one or two Fairporters, Dave Pegg on bass and Simon Nicol on guitar and Mike Kowalski on drums.  Heron delivers a surprisingly soulful Wilson Pickett vocal, revealing yet another side to Heron’s by then very familiar singing voice.  Some of this influence would appear in later Incredible String Band material as the Seventies wore on.  

Fifty Years Ago | Rolling Stones | Exile on Main Street | Rolling Stones Records COC 69100 | May 1972

For the recording sessions of the Rolling Stones tenth album release, the band relocated to France, renting a villa in Nellcôte, while living abroad as tax exiles.  Exile on Main Street was released as a double LP set in 1972 and featured an array of musician friends such as Nicky Hopkins, Bobby Keys, Jim Price and Jimmy Miller with guest appearances by the likes of Billy Preston, Dr John, Al Perkins and Gram Parsons.  Despite lukewarm reviews at the time, the album has subsequently been regarded as one of the best albums the band has produced in its six decade existence.  At the time of its release, the NME put out a free flexidisc promoting some of the material on the album, with a specially recorded blues intro by Mick Jagger, which despite the poor quality of the sound, as was the case with cheaply produced flexi discs, I found myself playing it over and over at the time and it still resonates today.

096 | 13 MAY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Boz Scaggs | Boz Scaggs | Atlantic K40419 | 1971

After leaving the Steve Miller Band, Boz Scaggs sought the assistance of his old friend Jann Wenner, editor of Rolling Stone Magazine, who helped secure a recording contract with Atlantic Records, the first release for the label being his eponymous second album, which could be described as a ‘blue-eyed soul classic’.  Following his actual debut LP simply entitled Boz, recorded in Sweden six years earlier, this second album was recorded at the Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals and was produced by Scaggs and Wenner, along with Marlin Greene, who employed some of the studio’s skilled session musicians, most notably slide guitarist Duane Allman, credited as Duane ‘Slydog’ Allman on the sleeve, whose contribution cannot be overstated.  The album is both gritty and deeply soulful, with a nod towards Scaggs’ country and blues roots, especially on such songs as Jimmie Rodgers’ “Waiting For a Train” and the twelve-minute blues workout, “Loan Me a Dime”.

Singled Out | Ronnie Lane and Slim Chance | How Come | Warner GMS011 | 1973

Written by Ronnie (Plonk) Lane and Kevin Westlake, “How Come” is the debut single by the former Small Faces/Faces bassist, with his new band Slim Chance, which included within its ranks Benny Gallagher (accordion) and Graham Lyle (mandolin), who went on to enjoy a successful career as a duo in the 1970s.  Sounding strangely enough just like a Faces song, with Lane’s slightly Rod Stewart influenced vocal, the song soon became a recognised pop radio single throughout the year, reaching number 11 on the UK charts.  It goes without saying that Ronnie Lane left us far too early, where in the summer of 1997, the musician succumbed to pneumonia, after suffering from multiple sclerosis for many years.  His musical legacy is stuff of legend.

Fifty Years Ago | Flying Burrito Bros | Last of the Red Hot Burrito | A&M AMLS 64343 | May 1972

One of a bunch of American LPs I discovered in the cardboard box under the record player at a Pal’s flat back in the early 1970s, a box that also included a couple of Little Feat albums, several Todd Rundgren LPs and the odd Jackson Browne.  With Gram Parsons now pretty much out of the picture, the Flying Burrito Bros underwent several line-up changes, a few of which are illustrated on the inner gatefold sleeve with only Chris Hillman remaining from the original band.  The Last of the Red Hot Burritos is notable for its guest appearances, including Country Gazette’s Byron Berline on fiddle, helping out on one or two stomping bluegrass workouts, including the exhausting “Orange Blossom Special” and “Dixie Breakdown”, which also features Hillman’s soaring mandolin and Kenny Wertz’s informed banjo playing.  Though this was evidently marketed as the last of the Burritos, there was more to come later in the decade.  It was however the album that led me to the earlier albums, The Gilded Palace of Sin and Burrito Deluxe among others.

097 | 20 MAY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Planxty | Words and Music | WEA 240101-1 | 1983

Planxty was a band I first came across in the folk section of the rock press back in the early 1970s and therefore it instantly became a band I pretty much ignored until 1983, when Planxty reformed and released arguably their best album, coincidentally at a time when my folk buttons were being seriously pushed.  In one respect, Words and Music stands out due to the fact that it was the band’s final album before they called it a day for the second time, just after its release and then again, it just might stand out simply because it’s so good.  The band released six albums between 1973 and 1983, during their sporadic ten years together, when the core line-up consisted of Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Dónal Lunny and Liam O’Flynn, being joined occasionally by the likes of Matt Molloy, Johnny Moynihan and Bill Whellan among others, even Paul Brady at one point.  Words and Music has a fairly democratic presence, with Christy Moore taking care of Dylan’s “I Pity the Poor Immigrant” and “Lord Baker”, while Andy Irvine provides the traditional “Thousands Are Sailing” and a stunning arrangement of Si Kahn’s haunting “Aragon Mill”, which features some superb uilleann piping courtesy of Liam O’Flynn during its instrumental prelude “Accidentals”.

Singled Out | Procol Harum | A Whiter Shade of Pale | Deram DM126 | 1967

If the big question surrounding Procol Harum’s 1967 smash hit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” was always along the lines of ‘what’s it all about then?’ – the short answer might possibly be, that it really doesn’t matter, certainly not for the band at any rate.  The songs’ bewildering lyrics helped give ther band their one and only number one smash, a song that went on to sell over ten million copies worldwide.  Basically written about a typical Swinging Sixties party, the song leans heavily towards Bach, while the mystifying lyric borrows from a variety of places, including Chaucer, party gossip and an obligatory girl leaves boy story.  None of this really matters as “A Whiter Shade of Pale” stands as a beautiful piece of psychedelia, its sole intention is perhaps to just wash over the listener, which in my case, it certainly does, and often, even fifty-five years on.

Fifty Years Ago | Elton John | Honky Chateau | DJM DJLPH 423 | May 1972

This is album number five for the famed British singer songwriter, released in 1972.  Following on from the previous year’s Madman Across the Water and just ahead of 1973’s Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player, Honky Château boasts a couple of hit singles, the New Orleans influenced “Honky Cat” and perhaps one of Elton’s biggest numbers “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to be a Long Long Time)”, which would go on to be used as the title of the dismal 2019 biopic, albeit reduced to two words ditching the cumbersome subtitle.  The album was recorded at the Château d’Hérouville, an 18th century French château fifty miles north of Paris and is remembered for being the first of Elton John’s major worldwide hit albums.  Ed Caraeff’s cover shot shows a rare bearded singer, looking somewhat moody and comparatively restrained, giving little in the way of any advanced warning as to the flamboyant superstar he would shortly become.

098 | 27 MAY 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Silly Sisters | Silly Sisters | Chrysalis 1101 | 1976

I first came across Maddy Prior and June Tabor’s collaborative LP Silly Sisters in the Sound and Vision department of Doncaster Central Library in the mid 1980s, a good ten years after the LP was first released.  Prior to this, folk music of this kind held little interest for me in the mid 1970s as Punk allegedly pushed Prog’s nose out of place.  By the mid-1980s though, even the New Wave began to sound spectacularly old and there was little on the radio to spark the slightest interest and so a five year period of tunnel-visioned commitment to the blues began to let in the songs and tunes of the British folk scene and a new adventure began.  Silly Sisters was one of the LPs around at the time that focused on songs, each treated to a strong arrangement and fine musicianship from the cream of the British and Irish folk music community, including Nic Jones, Martin Carthy, Andy Irvine and Tony Hall.

Singled Out | The Kinks | Autumn Almanac | PYE 7N.17405 | 1967

The Kinks produced many great singles in the mid to late 1960s, any of which could be chosen for this series of Singled Out records.  After the early rock singles such as “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night”, Ray Davies began writing social commentaries, with a more acoustic feel, which both reflected the times, the places and the mood of the 1960s, but with some degree of kitchen sink reality.  “Autumn Almanac” however, showed a more whimsical side to his writing, which seemed to parody the band in a sort of Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band fashion, complete with brass band and typically English sing-a-long midsection, with football on Saturdays, roast beef on Sundays and holidays in Blackpool.

Fifty Years Ago | Randy Newman | Sail Away | Reprise K44185 | May 1972

When I first saw Randy Newman perform this song on the Old Grey Whistle Test, the singer resplendent in his Marc Bolan flowery shirt and wavy locks, I couldn’t quite believe my ears.  ‘Is he kidding?’ I would ask.  ‘He’s being ironic’ they would respond.  But Americans don’t do irony do they?  Randy Newman is the exception to the rule and much of his early work is loaded with humour, years before comedians would attempt to dissect Alanis Morissette songs.  Sail Away is perhaps Newman’s boldest statement, with a handful of memorable songs that are still remembered and performed fifty years on from its initial release.  Perhaps its success was due to the fact that several of the songs had already been released by other musicians, notably “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear”, a hit for Alan Price five years earlier and “Dayton, Ohio – 1903” having been recorded by Billy J Kramer in 1969.  It wouldn’t stop there though, with Tom Jones warbling a fairly unconvincing “You Can Leave Your Hat On” for the 1997 film The Full Monty.  Randy Newman would go on to build a healthy career in film soundtracks.

099 | 3 JUNE 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Loren Auerbach and Bert Jansch | After the Long Night | Christabel Records CRL 001 | 1985

Loren Auerbach recorded her debut LP in 1985, with future husband Bert Jansch by her side.  I first heard the record during one of my initial delves into a friend’s healthy record collection around the same time, a fellow Bert fan, whose generosity was crucial at the time, not only for loaning me much of Bert’s recorded output, but also actually giving me several LPs to keep, many of which are prized items in my collection today, including Jack Orion and Rosemary Lane.  I knew little of Loren Auerbach back then and not much more today, other than the fact that Loren married Bert in 1999 and died from cancer just a couple of months after Bert’s untimely death in October 2011, the couple being quite sadly ill together.  When Bert played his final solo set at the Cambridge Folk Festival in 2004, my son and I were there right in front of the stage, hugging the safety barrier and I recall Loren helping Bert set up, supporting him as she always did, and at one point as she knelt beside him, looked out over the crowd, our eyes eventually meeting and giving me the same smile she wears on the cover of this LP.

Singled Out | Prelude | After the Goldrush | Dawn DNS1052 | 1973

Prelude were, and still are, a vocal harmony group from the North East of England, originally consisting of husband and wife team Brian and Irene Hume, together with Ian Vardy on guitar.  Despite only reaching number 21 and number 22 respectively in both the British and American Billboard singles charts, the a cappella version of this Neil Young song remains one of the song’s most memorable versions and is still played regularly on radio today.  According to Brian Hume, the single came about by accident after the group sang it while waiting for a bus.  It sounded so nice that the band added the song to their live set and almost as an afterthought, put it on their debut album, which in turn led to a sort of novelty single.  Hume claims that the version that the band perform in their set to this day, sounds no different to the song they sang in that bus stop back in the early 1970s.

Fifty Years Ago | Bridget St John | Thank You For… | Dandelion 2310-193 | June 1972

Bridget St John’s third album and her last for John Peel’s Dandelion Records, saw the husky-voiced British singer songwriter mix her own originals with one or two covers, such as Bob Dylan’s “Love Minus Zero/No Limit” and Buddy Holly’s “Every Day”. Joined by members of the band Quiver, who would later join forces with the Sutherland Brothers, together with friends John Martyn, Rick Kemp and Dave Mattacks amongst others, Bridget delivered what could be described as her first folk rock album, yet maintaining some of the pastoral feel exemplified in her previous two records.  The LP also features versions of the traditional “Lazarus” and “Silver Coin”, penned by Hunter Muskett’s Terry Hiscock.

100 | 10 JUNE 2022

Flick the Dust Off | Dick Gaughan | A Different Kind of Love Song | Celtic Music CM 017 | 1983

Coming after arguably Gaughan’s finest album A Handful of Earth, with the collaborative album Parallel Lines with Andy Irvine sandwiched between, A Different Kind of Love Song sees Gaughan taking a political stance with some fine song writing of his own, mixed in with some carefully chosen non originals, such as Joe South’s “Games People Play” and Ewan Maccoll’s “The Father’s Song”.  Once again Leon Rosselson’s songwriting is featured as on the previous LP, this time with the controversial song “Stand Up for Judas”, which effectively reversed the perception of the gospels.  The title song, written by Gaughan, is almost an apology for writing and singing songs of a more political nature, in fact I recall some reviewers at the time wishing for the Labour Party to be re-elected as soon as possible, so that Gaughan could get back to singing traditional material.  The album is also notable for its fatter sound, helped along by the inclusion of a full band including Dave Pegg’s familiar folk rock bass contribution.  Possibly the stand out song is Gaughan’s meditation on war, with the powerful “Think Again”, though the sentiment has soured slightly as the Russians definitely do want war forty years on.

Singled Out | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Soldier Blue | RCA2081 | 1971

As a 13 year old schoolboy, the hot topics of the day would usually centre around the movies some of the older looking boys and girls managed to get into the theatres and see, and wearing those triumphs very much on their sleeves in the school playground the next day.  One day it would be Candy, the next day Straw Dogs or A Clockwork Orange.  Some of these X-rated films became stuff of legend, usually for either its sexual content or its violence.  One such film was Soldier Blue, the American Revisionist Western directed by Ralph Nelson and starring Candice Bergen, Peter Strauss, and Donald Pleasence, which was inspired by events of the 1864 Sand Creek massacre in the Colorado Territory.  Up to this point, Western heroes had been typically portrayed by John Wayne or Clint Eastwood, cowboy heroes, whilst the noisy Indians galloped around collecting scalps.  Almost overnight I became aware of the plight of the Native American and that we had actually been sold down the river.  Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote and performed the theme song to the film, a moving performance with a strong message.  The American establishment declared the film anti-American and therefore the film and the song sank without a trace, however the Canadian singer managed to have a top ten hit with the song in the UK.

Fifty Years Ago | Jethro Tull | Living in the Past | Chrysalis CJT 1 | June 1972

Released between Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, in July 1972, the Living in the Past double album set is a kind of ‘story so far’ compilation release, not so much a greatest hits, but a hotchpotch of singles, outtakes, live cuts and obscurities.  Lavishly packaged for its time, the album is dressed in a fabulous gatefold sleeve complete with colour booklet, presented like a photograph album, with a variety of band shots either on stage, at play or at ease.  Some of the most memorable singles are included on the album, including “Witches Promise”, “Life’s a Long Song” and the title track, memorable for its “Take Five” time signature and infectious bass line.  Among the singles, there is a representative track from each of the band’s first four albums, notably “Locomotion Breath” from Aqualung and “Song for Jeffrey” from the band’s 1968 debut This Was.  Two extended live tracks are also included, recorded at a charity concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.