Category: Music – early 70’s

Summer Sun – Jamestown Massacre



 

Although this song was never a big hit nationally, it enjoyed success in the Chicago area (the band was from Illinois) and Hawaii, my exposure to it probably came from WFIL in Chicago, one of those stations I loved to reel in at night from Yarmouth, Maine. The website Jamestown Massacre History had this to say about the band’s start:


“Glenn Messmer (drums), Mark Zapel (bass) and John Gilleran (guitar & vocals) founded The Jamestown Massacre in 1967. Hailing from Downers Grove, IL, they agreed to play at Downers Grove Youth Center monthly in exchange for rehearsal space. In 1968, V.J Comforte (lead vocals) and Dennis Carlson (lead guitar and vocals) joined the band, along with Naperville resident Dave Bickler (lead vocals, flute, harmonica & trumpet). In early 1969, Jeff Quinn (organ, trumpet & vocals) from Glen Ellyn was recruited to round out the lineup.


From 1968 to 1974, Jamestown Massacre played at nearly every teen club, youth center, high school and college in and around Chicago. The band featured excellent vocal harmonies and prided itself on the ability to play a wide variety of styles of music, copying original artists very closely. Through challenging songs made popular by Three Dog Night, Chicago, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Deep Purple, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Led Zeppelin and the Beatles, “The Massacre” generated a loyal following while honing their musical skills.


During this period, Jamestown Massacre was also developing its own material and unique sound. In their first recording session at Chicago’s Paragon Studios in August 1970, they recorded two original songs. Concurrently, they then began work with a local advertising jingle producer on commercials for Schlitz Malt Liquor and Nestlé’s Crunch. From late 1970 to 1971, the Band did numerous recording sessions at Chicago’s famous Chess Studios, and in the summer of 1971, released its first single on the Destination label called “Comin’ Home to You.”


In the spring of 1972, the group traveled to Detroit and recorded six tunes, one of which was “Summer Sun.” The song was quickly released locally on the LUV label and was soon after picked up by Warner Brothers records and sold around the world. “Summer Sun” was a major hit not only in Chicago, but also in other markets across the United States including Hawaii, where it held a number one chart position for six weeks. In as far away as Japan, “Summer Sun” reached #18 on the major Tokyo radio play list.”


If the name Dave Bickler doesn’t ring a bell, you would also hear his voice on several Survivor songs, including their biggest hit “Eye Of The Tiger”. After singing with Jamestown Massacre, Dave would join forces with Jim Peterik (Ides of March) to form Survivor.


One of the best examples of sunshine pop music that I can think of, still love to play it!


Face In The Crowd/Reminiscing – Little River Band



Australia’s Little River Band produced some great music over it’s run – Cool Change, Reminiscing, Lonesome Loser, Night Owl, just to name a few. This song was originally on their “No Reins” LP in 1986 and it’s always been my favorite LRB song. The angst and wistfulness of the lyrics and the changes in tempo make this a great song. Released as a single in the States in July of 1986 but never charted. Written by original band member Graeham Goble, who also wrote the band’s best known hit “Reminiscing”, one of the 58 songs he wrote that have gotten airplay in the States. Here’s what Goble had to say about writing “Reminiscing”:


 “I loved watching old black and white movies, and I always also loved the music of Glenn Miller and Cole Porter, that whole era of writing, and it was my attempt to write a song to depict the romantic era. It came out very quickly, I wrote it in about half an hour. Even though a lot of people think it sounds complicated, on the guitar it’s very simple to play. It nearly never got recorded – when the time came to record it, the keyboard player I wanted to use, Peter Jones, was out of town, so we cut the band track with a different keyboard player. It didn’t work. A few days later when we tried it again with a different keyboard player, again it didn’t work, and the band was losing interest in the song. Just before the album was finished, Peter Jones came back into town, the band and I had an argument because I wanted to give Reminiscing a third chance. Peter played on it, we cut it, and finished it, and sent the album to Capitol. Capitol said that they couldn’t hear any singles on the album, and didn’t know what to release. Five weeks later, someone at Capitol’s New York office said ‘You’re all crazy, Reminiscing is a smash.’ Capitol put it out, and it just immediately caught on fire, and became our highest chart hit.”


“It’s quite staggering; you don’t realize you’ve written something like that until it happens, until it’s history.”




Cherchez La Femme – Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band



From Wikipedia: “Cherchez La Femme” (French for Seek the woman) is a song that was written and performed by Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band with lead vocals by Cory Daye in 1976. The music was written by band-leader and pianist Stony Browder Jr. and John Schonberger, Richard Coburn (né Frank Reginald DeLong; 1886–1952), and Vincent Rose; with lyrics by Browder Jr.’s brother and bassist August Darnell. The song’s full title is “Whispering”/”Cherchez La Femme”/”Se Si Bon” [sic]. Cherchez La Femme became the group’s biggest hit.”

If you asked me what my favorite song was from the disco era, this would easily be the choice. I just can’t sit still when this song comes on. The three song medley includes “Whispering”, a 1920 #1 song by Paul Whiteman and Se Si Bon” was a #8 hit for Eartha Kitt in 1953 as “C’est Is Bon”




I’m A Train – Albert Hammond

 

 

You just never know what will be on YouTube and what won’t – there are several versions of this! Albert Hammond was a better songwriter (He wrote “The Air That I Breathe” by the Hollies) than singer – his only bonafide hit was “It Never Rains in Southern California”, it reached #5 in 1972 – this one was his 2nd biggest charting song and it didn’t break the top 30. “I’m A Train” is totally mindless but it’s just a fun song to sing along with – it has great energy and always puts me in a better mood! Mary is not a big fan of this at all so it’s one of those songs I play really loud – but not when she’s around 😉
The version below is by The King’s Singers, a British a ceppella group formed in 1968. A fun group that tackles all genres of music.

 

 


Thirteen Questions – Seatrain

 

Another member of my “druggie” music Hall of Fame. I was at college in Boston when this one was playing on the radio, the album was “Marblehead Messenger” and I thought this group was a local Massachusetts band that was picked up by WRKO &WMEX, but that’s not the case. They are actually a band from California and 2 of the members were also part of the Blues Project with Al Cooper (they did relocate to Marblehead, Mass. after their second LP) The lyrics paint an interesting picture, which I’m sure adds to the mystique portrayed by the drug culture: “Deep in the darkest hour of a very heavy week,
Three Earthmen did confront me, and I could hardly speak.
They met me in a hurry, they left me tired and sore,
And when I’m fit for wishing, I hope they’ll come no more.
When I’m wishing, I hope they’ll come no more.

Standing by the exit, with one eye on the door,
I listened to them argue. I asked them “Why? What for?”
They showed me 19 terrors, and each one struck my soul,
They threw me 13 questions, each one an endless hole.”

This single reached #49 in 1971 off their Seatrain album, produced by George Martin


Sauvecito – Malo

 

 

 

Sauvecito is easily in my top love songs of the rock era. The melodic latin lines in it never fail to grab me. It’s still one of the few songs that I can feel goosebumps when I hear the opening notes. Malo (Spanish for bad) was a San Francisco based group that included Jorge Santana, Carlos Santana’s brother. The song, Spanish for soft or smooth, reached #18 in 1972. Personally, the song spent two weeks at #1 on my weekly top 15 the weeks of March 19th and 26th, 1972.

I love to find old clips of these groups in their prime, I found this, obviously a live clip that doesn’t quite hold the magic, at least for me, of the studio version, but well worth the watch.

 


Living Without You – Manfred Mann’s Earth Band



Manfred Mann broke out in 1964 with “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, a #1 song, 4 years later they took Bob Dylan’s “Quinn the Eskimo” to #10, then it was 8 years and a re-invented Mannfred Mann’s Earth Band that had a #31 song with “Blinded By The Light’. In between those last two their 1st release as MMEB was this song that only reached #69 in the Spring of 1972, written by Randy Newman – it’s a great “lost oldie” for those of you old enough to appreciate it 😉


When I’m Dead And Gone – McGuiness Flint

 

Another “lost” single from 1971, this one hung around for 9 weeks on the Billboard charts and peaked at #47. Tom McGuinness came from Mannfred Mann, and later Graham Lyle & Benny Gallagher became Gallagher & Lyle and had two charting songs in the mid 70s . “Oh..oh..oh..oh, When I’m dead and gone, I want to leave some happy woman living on” and I hope she’s not happy just because I’m gone 😉 Tap your foot and sing along!

Gallagher & Lyle’s hits were “Heart on my Sleeve” & “I Want To Stay With You”


Indian Summer – Audience



Here’s the original Facebook post from July 1, 2009

Another favorite from the distant past ? Summer of 1971 this song spent 5 weeks on the Billboard charts but only peaked at #74. An English band with otherwise strange musical tastes, this has always put a smile on my face. Mary isn’t excited about it, probably because of the chorus line that says “Friends say we aught to marry, I smile and shake my head. One wife will make you happy, 2 will make you dead” Actually Mary is number 2 and if she stays around until I’m gone, I will be happy. ? Very catchy tune!

I am happy to report here in January 2017 that Mary is still hanging out with me and so far I’m still alive and doing quite well.

Audience was a British “art rock” band, all the members had met in a semi-professional soul band named “Lloyd Alexander Real Estate”. I assume that the name refers to the American author who wrote the 5 book series, “The Chronicles of Prydain”,in the mid 60s, read and enjoyed those many moons ago. But that may just be free association and not the gospel truth.


Resurrection Shuffle – Aston, Gardner & Dyke

 

 

My original Facebook post from July 2009:

Back to 70’s “druggie music” ? A one hit wonder from Ashton, Gardner, & Dyke that spent 10 weeks on the Billboard charts in 1971, peaking at #40, another band from England with a devil may care approach to music. If you are a fan of this song, check out this video from youtube, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the Tom Jones version that I didn’t know existed until tonight (not the world’s biggest TJ fan here).


 

 

“Put out your tongue
Put your head in the air.
Make a “V” sign
And you just don’t care.
Now you feel free
You gotta loose control.
All Gods children gotta
Little bit of soul.”

As I ‘m posting this in 2017, I’ll add another version with the same intro, I didn’t know this existed til today, but I am an Osmond fan: