Tuesday, April 30, 2013

David Uosikkinen's In The Pocket: I Ain't Searchin'

I stumbled on this video a while back, and being a fan of The Hooters, I was intrigued by David Uosikkinen's In The Pocket project of “The Essential Songs of Philadelphia.” One of the songs was In The Pocket’s rendition of The American Dream’s “I Ain’t Searchin’” -- our Tasty Licks Tuesday selection for today.

The original version of “I Ain’t Searchin’” was recorded by the Philadelphia based band in 1970 and was produced by Todd Rundgren. It is said that it was Rundgren’s first attempt at producing a record. The single, which appears to be somewhat of a rarity, was released on the short-lived Ampex Records label as a single. While it wasn’t a national hit, it was favored selection in the City of Brotherly Love.

Nick Jameson, the songwriter and former member of The American Dream, also released a solo version of “I Ain’t Searchin’” in 1977 that appeared on his “Already Free” LP. “In The Pocket’s” rendition of the tune is a little grittier than the older versions of the song. It was recorded on November 6, 2012.

While David Uosikkinen's In The Pocket had a floating lineup, the personnel on this rendition includes Uosikkinen (drums) and Eric Bazilian (vocals, guitar, and harmonica) , Steve Butler (guitar and backup vocals), and singer/songwriter Cliff Hillis (bass and backup vocals). Uosikkinen played in both The Hooters and Smash Palace and is joined by guitarists from both bands: Bazilian from The Hooters and Bulter from Smash Palace.

Eric Bazilian and the author

The tune was recorded live in the studio, and if you pay attention to Eric Bazilian’s gold-top Les Paul, he is playing with a broken string, but that did not deter him from completing the task.  He also is using a dropped D tuning (DADGBE).  Butler, who plays the first lead break on the cut, used standard tuning. I had a chance to meet both Uosikkinen and Bazilian in 1986 and had an opportunity to talk to Eric in depth about his music. Uosikkinen's surname, by the way, is pronounced Wah-sik-in-en.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

IRS Records: The Stand

Due to the passing of Richie Havens and George Jones this past week, I am a little off with my Fourth Week Label Special on I.R.S. Records. Typically, I try to feature seven records from a particular label from Sunday through Saturday; however, with the circumstances, I am adding an extra Sunday post in order to have at least six representations from the label of distinction.

Our final I.R.S. cut comes from 1983 and was an uncharting single that eventually was released on The Alarm’s LP “Declaration” as an edited version. “The Stand’s” post-apocalyptic lyrics were inspired by Stephen King’s novel with the same title.

The song was authored by Eddie MacDonald, Mike Peters, and Dave Sharp. Mike Peters sang lead and played harmonica on the tune.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

George Jones: Six Foot Deep, Six Foot Down

For the second time in one week, we are suspending our Fourth Week Label Feature on I.R.S. Records due to the death of a musical superstar. Yesterday, the world lost one of the top country musicians to have ever stood in front of a microphone – George Jones. Jones, who began his career in 1954 following a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps, may have been one of the few and perhaps the only performer that had hit records for six decades.

Because of his unusual nose, Jones was nicknamed “The Possum.” He also gained the nickname “No Show Jones” because of his frequent absences at the venues where he was booked. In addition, Jones also had problems with alcohol, cocaine, and often exhibited a violent temper.

Despite his shortcomings, Jones was a revered performer. No one could turn a country tune like George; and at the right moment, he could drop his voice down to the lower register - a signature of his sound.

While today’s song may be a little irreverent, I believe this 1990 recording is fitting for the occasion. Unfortunately “Six Foot Deep, Six Foot Down” didn’t chart, as it was released at a time the country music scene was skewing younger and its sound was changing. It was the second of two singles from his “You Oughta Be Here With Me” album.

Goodbye George, and we hope you show up for the funeral, but leave the riding mower in the garage though.

Friday, April 26, 2013

IRS Records: Jeanette

I debated on whether to do this particular song, but since “Jeanette” was the flip side for The English Beat’s single “Save it For Later,” I decided to go for it. The band’s actual name was The Beat; however, trademark restrictions prevented this name being used in North America and Australia.

In North America, they were known as The English Beat and in Australia, they were The British Beat. I’m not sure of the situation in Australia, but an American band had already been using the name “The Beat.” In a turnabout, the U.S. band had to use the name The Paul Collins’ Beat outside of the U.S. In 2012, both bands untied for a tour named, “Two Beats Hearting as One.”

Despite its campy lyrics, “Jeanette” was probably my favorite tune from their third and final album, “Special Beat Service.” Although the album charted at #39 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart, The English Beat did not get much airplay on US radio. In fact, most ska bands failed to make a mainstream dent in America. It’s a great album, and to its tribute, I used to have a poster for the album positioned on the ceiling in my bed room.

According to Dave Wakeling, Jeanette "was an archetype, but there was somebody, evidently her name was Jeanette. It wasn't a friend of mine, but a friend of somebody else's in the group who did have a Ronettes' style haircut, like a big beehive hairdo. And she was the initial inspiration for the song. But then it sort of got written about an archetype, I suppose. Sort of a rich girl that might want to hang around musicians. Like a trustafarian or something."

My favorite part of the song is the accordion parts played by session musician Jack Emblow. My second attraction to this tune was Saxa’s saxophone parts. Dave Wakeling and Ranking Roger, who both later formed General Public, provided the vocals.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

IRS Records: Goo Goo Muck

Being from Pittsburgh, I remember the original version of the song “Goo Goo Muck” recorded by Ronnie Cook. It was a selection that was played by “Mad” Mike Metro on WZUM and it was one of the tunes that he found at National Record Mart in a bin of discarded 45s. NRM was the parent owner of WZUM radio.

Cook's “Goo Goo Muck” eventually made it onto one of Metro's Mad Mike's Moldies albums. I’m indebted to Jay Brooks, who was with Elektra Records for finding me a copy of the original back in the 1980s. To hear Cook’s version, see my tribute to “Mad” Mike and Goo Goo Muck from back in 2009.

In 1981, I was pleasantly surprised that The Cramps had redone the tune for their album Psychedelic Jungle. Released as a single by I.R.S. Records, the song was so different that it failed to chart – much like the original by Ronnie Cook.

The Cramps interpretation was like a marriage of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Gene Vincent. I love it; but, who wouldn’t love a band with members named Lux Interior, Poison Ivy, King Congo Powers, and Nick Knox. They were bravely original.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

IRS Records: Our Lips Are Sealed

The first substantial hit on I.R.S. Records can be credited to the Go-Go’s and their 1981 recording of “Our Lips are Sealed.” The single was from their debut LP “Beauty and the Beat.” While it charted at #20 on the Hot 100, it did better on two divergent charts: #15 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks and #10 on the Hot Dance Club Songs. While it occasionally happened, typically there isn’t much crossover from the rock charts to the dance charts and vice versa.

“Our Lips are Sealed” was cowritten by guitarist Jane Wiedlin and the lead vocalist for the Fun Boy Three: Terry Hall. It was written while both bands were on tour in 1980 – a time when both contributors were briefly dating. The Fun Boy Three would later record the tune and release it as a single in 1983.

While the band initially hated the idea of the video for the song, it served as a vehicle to get their sound and their name to the world and served as a fitting introduction to the Go-Go’s. As with most of their songs, Belinda Carlisle sang lead; however, it is Jane Wiedlin who sings lead on the bridge.

I had a chance to interview Belinda Carlisle on the phone in late 1981 and to meet three additional members of the band when they played Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio in 1982. The Go-Go’s were the headliners and A Flock of Seagulls opened the show. A Flock of Seagulls were the loudest band I’ve ever heard and that is something, as it was an outside concert venue.

The band members we met at their staging trailer after the show included Wiedlin, bassist Kathy Valentine, and drummer Gina Schock. They were a little miffed that A&M Records provided us access after the show and could have been classified as prima donnas. I’ve had the opportunities to meet numerous bands and only a handful acted in this manner. Pity.

Unfortunately, I have no photos of the occasion and can’t remember why none were taken other than we didn’t take a camera to the park, but I had done so in 1978 without any difficulty.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rest in Peace Richie Havens

We are going to interrupt our planned feature on I.R.S. Records this week due to the passing of Richie Havens. I thank some of my friends from the 1970s, Greg Rector and King Richard, for passing on to me the news of Havens' demise. I never had the opportunity to see Richie Havens live, but I did catch his Woodstock performance as recorded on film when the movie returned to the “big screen” in 1976.

Havens was a man of imposing size and with that came huge hands – when he walked out on stage at Woodstock playing as he went, he immediately made an impression. No doubt the size of his hands required him to modify his playing, which was mostly done via non-standard tunings. Live performances show him wrapping his thumb over the top of the fretboard to play open chords.

Add to this his concentration on rhythm and you have a combination for immediate live success. In 1969, he was given the opportunity to be the opening act at Woodstock. Because other artists had not arrived, he played for almost three hours. To many, this was their introduction to the guitar legend.

Unfortunately, Havens only had one hit – his remake of George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Son.” The studio version of this tune peaked at #16 in 1971. Radio stations were issued 45s that included the full length version of the song (3:43) as well as an edited version that clocked in at 2:36.  His recording of the tune was in open D. 

It took a lot of courage to release a Beatles’ classic on 45 and even gutsier for his small record label to garner a hit in the process. It was not his first Beatles single, as Havens previously had released “Rocky Raccoon” and “Lady Madonna.” Neither of the two previous Fab Four compositions charted.

Citing health reasons last year, Havens stopped touring. Yesterday, he died of a heart attack at his home in New Jersey. He was 72. Although I haven’t kept up with Havens over the years, I know the world will miss his creative genius. Thanks for the music, Richie.

Live Version from 1971

Studio Version

Monday, April 22, 2013

IRS Records: Mexican Radio

I played today’s selection from I.R.S. Records for my family last night and they hated it. As for me, I’ve always loved Wall of Voodoo’s semi-hit from 1983: “Mexican Radio.” In fact, I remember where I saw the video for the first time – it was at my friend Greg Reed’s home. While I was familiar with the song, I had not seen the video – the classic scene is lead vocalist Stan Ridgeway’s head emerging from a bowl of beans.

The band’s name was a take on Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” when someone remarked that early recordings by members of the band sounded more like a “Wall of Voodoo,” and the name stuck. “Mexican Radio” was inspired by the high powered AM radio stations out of Mexico that were aimed toward American and Mexican-American audiences. Called “border blasters,” these stations were often above the 50kw maximum that was imposed upon US stations and could have a transmitter output upwards of 500kw.

While “Mexican Radio” was a big MTv hit, it was not such on American radio and peaked at only #58. Although, it did much better in Canada (#18), New Zealand (#21), and Australia (#33). Still, I love this tune – it must be my warped sense of musical taste.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

IRS Records: The One I Love

For our April Fourth Week Label Special, what better choice for the month when American tax filings are due than I.R.S. Records. Founded in 1979 by Police drummer Stewart Copeland’s brother Miles Copeland, III, I.R.S. Records stood for the International Record Syndicate and quickly became a haven for punk, new wave, ska, and alternative bands.

In the US, the label was originally distributed by A&M, but switched to MCA from 1985-1990, and thereafter to EMI. All of the original I.R.S. recordings distributed by A&M remained as part of the A&M catalog.

The meaning of R.E.M.’s first mainstream hit, “The One I Love,” is often misconstrued as a tribute to someone who had been left behind. This interpretation seems logical on the surface with the lines, “This one goes out to the one I love; this one goes out to the one I’d left behind.” The next line, “A simple prop to occupy my time,” appears to contradict the predisposed meaning of the song. The word the band is wailing is "Fire," by the way.

Although the band had been together since its founding in Athens, Georgia in 1980, they had not had a hit until this 1987 hit. They signed with I.R.S. Records in 1982 and “The One I Love” was their tenth single with the label and 11th overall. It charted on the Hot 100 at #9 and was #2 on the mainstream rock chart. All members of the band contributed to the writing of the song.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Cinnamon Girl

For our bubbling under hit for this Saturday, we turn to Neil Young and Crazy Horse from the 1969 LP “Everybody Knows this is Nowhere.” Peaking at #55 on the Hot 100, this 1970 single failed to make it to the Top 40 charts, but like many of Neil’s bubbling under hits, it is still pretty well known.

While Neil sings lead on the cut, guitarist Danny Whitten sings the high harmony. Written at a time when Young had the flu and a high fever, his malady served his creativity as two other well known Young compositions, “Cowgirl in the Sand” and “Down by the River,” were also penned during this illness.

Neil used one of my favorite non-standard guitar tunings on “Cinnamon Girl” – double dropped “D” tuning which tunes both “E” strings down a whole step to a “D.” The result is the following configuration DADGBD.

While the lyrics are rather unusual, they are sung over the crunching guitars of Young and Whitten and the respective driving bass and drums of Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina. I always thought this would make a great commercial bed for Cinnabon with the lyrics rewritten to refer to “my Cinnabon girl”or even as “my Cinnabon swirl.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Beach Boys: In My Room

If you are wondering where I’ve been for the past several days, I have taken a new job and I am back at my alma mater, Kentucky Christian University, in Grayson, KY. My five years here in the 1970s were crucial to my development – I honed my own musical skills as a student and got my start in broadcasting at the college’s radio station – a career path I followed for 20 years.

When I think of those years, one song comes to mind because of two of my classmates. The Beach Boys’ tune “In My Room” was a flip side that I learned to love. A friend of mine, Kevin Yeager, used to sing it while practicing his guitar and another student, Bruce Templeton, was the consummate Beach Boys fan and played their records quite often.

“In My Room” was the “B” side to “Be True to Your School” and was composed by Brian Wilson and Gary Usher. Its inspiration came from the fact that Brian’s own bedroom was his inner sanctum and became a place where his creativity had flowed. While it was released as a “B” side in 1963, many radio stations flipped the single and “In My Room” charted at #23 while the “A” side made it to the #6 position.

On the recording, Brian Wilson played bass and sang lead and backing vocals. He sang the lead on the verses while Mike Love sang lead on the song’s bridge. Joining Brian Wilson and Mike Love on backing vocals were rhythm guitarist David Marks and Brian’s brothers Carl and Dennis. Carl played lead guitar and Dennis was the drummer. Marks was the youngest member of the band being 15 at the time this song was recorded.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Peaked at 15: When I Was Young

Today’s selection is our final look at songs that peaked at #15. During spring 1967, Eric Burdon and The Animals released the semi-autobiographical song “When I Was Young.” The song was written by all of the members of the band, which at this time Eric Burdon was the only remaining original member.

Notable in the song is the inclusion of John Weider’s violin and the Indian inspired riffs played by Weider and guitarist Vince Briggs. In the original video of the song, the whammy bar transition from E to D was accompanied by a film of a Supermarine Spitfire diving – setting the stage for the opening verse that referenced Burdon’s father being a soldier in World War II.

While the single did not appear on an album at the time, it contained the same lineup as their next LP, “Winds of Change,” that contained the hit single “San Franciscan Nights.” Besides Burdon, Weider, and Briggs, the rhythm section contained Danny McCulloch on bass and Barry Jenkins on drums. Besides Burdon, Jenkins was the only member who had some tenure with The Animals, as he replaced John Steel in early 1966.

Burdon was never the best singer in the world, but his style has a unique charm to it that embodies working class Britain – a little rough around the edges.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Peaked at 15: China Grove

Day six of our Second Week Special of songs that peaked at #15 and our journey takes us back to 1973 and The Doobie Brothers’ recording of “China Grove.” The song was named for China Grove, Texas – a suburb of San Antonio although the connection to the real town is rather weak.

Tom Johnston, who wrote the tune, had a working title of “Parliament.” It is said that it was named for a brand of cigarettes that Johnston was currently smoking. It is not unusual for songwriters when writing the music prior to the lyrics to have a working title that fits the melody line. One of the better known examples was Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday,” which had the working title of “Scrambled Eggs.”

The Beatles’ tune appeared under the title of “Scrambled Egg” on the album “George Martin and his Orchestra Play Help! and other Instrumental Versions of The Beatles Songs by their Brilliant Recording Director.” Unfortunately (or fortunately), “China Grove” only appears under that title in all of the tune's recordings. It was featured on The Doobie Brothers’ third album “The Captain and Me.”

“China Grove” was the follow-up single to “Long Train Runnin’” – another Tom Johnston composition that did somewhat better on the charts by peaking at #8.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peaked at 15: Tempation Eyes

Day five at our look at songs that peaked at #15 features a classic from The Grass Roots – “Temptation Eyes.” Written by the songwriting team of Dan Walsh and Harvey (later Michael) Price, this 1970 hit was one of the duo’s favorite tunes.

I’m not sure of their relationship was with ABC Records or with Steve Barri, but there was a connection as all of their early compositions for other were recorded by ABC artists and were usually produced by Steve Barri. Later in the seventies, Walsh and Price contributed a song for Yvonne Elliman on RSO – which was also produced by Steve Barri.

Producer Barri’s connection to The Grass Roots goes back to their inception when he and P.F. Sloan recorded the first demos as The Grass Roots for Dunhill Records. Several different incarnations of The Grass Roots existed until Barri and Sloan found the band The 13th Floor to become successful version of The Grass Roots. In time, Rob Grill joined this latest incarnation of the band and became their lead singer and bassist.

Grill remained in the band until 1977. He later rejoined in 1980 and stayed with The Grass Roots until his death in 2011.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Peaked at 15: Won't Get Fooled Again

A few years ago I reconnected on Facebook with Jim Mycyk. We had gone through all 12 years of school together and I hadn’t seen him since running into him at the Carnegie Library in Pittsburgh in 1978 – five years after we had graduated. During our more recent Facebook reunion, he asked me what band was my all time favorite. I didn’t hesitate and quickly replied “The Who.”

Although I was a colossal Beatles fan and my record collection has numerous examples of other bands, The Who has always spoken to me in a special way. This can be attributed to the songwriting and guitar calisthenics of Pete Townshend, the impeccable vocals of Roger Daltry, the solid bass lines of John Entwistle, and the over-the-top drumming of Keith Moon.

My favorite Who LP has to be their magnum opus, “Who’s Next.” This album, which evolved from Pete Townshend’s “Lifehouse” project, contains gems such as “Bargain,” “Behind Blue Eyes,” “Going Mobile,” “Baba O’Riley,” and of course “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It is the latter tune that has made it into our Second Week Special this week, as “Won’t Get Fooled Again” peaked on the American charts at #15.

It was the fourth most popular Who tune in the US being eclipsed by “I Can See for Miles” at #9, “See Me, Feel Me” at #12, and “Who Are You” at #14. Like “Baba O’Riley” and “Who Are You” which became theme songs in the CSI pantheon of TV shows, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” had resurgence in popularity in the last decade as being the theme for “CSI Miami” – my least favorite of the three CSI shows.

Characteristic of this song (as well as “Baba O’Riley”) is Pete Townshend’s use of an EMS VCS3 synthesizer as a key portion of the song’s intro and the glue that holds the song together. While he used the synthesizer/sequencer functions of the VCS3 on “Baba O’Riley,”Townshend utilized this modular synth’s processing for his Lowrey organ.

He pumped the Lowrey through the VCS3's low frequency oscillator and a voltage control feature while playing, as Townshend says, “very simple chords.” It worked very well giving the organ a pulsing effect. Add some reverb and a killer guitar track and a classic was born.

Check out YouTube as there are audio examples of the main instrumentation for this tune that are isolated. It is interesting to listen to the organ, guitar, and drums without the rest of the tune – pure genius.

Single Edit

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Peaked at 15: Out In The Country

Day three of our salute to songs that peaked at #15 brings us a number from Three Dog Night’s “It Ain’t Easy.” This was one of the first albums I received as a member of the Capitol Record Club which was a Christmas present in 1970. My version of the album was actually pressed by Capitol Records under license from ABC/Dunhill – with the old style Dunhill label - not the ABC/Dunhill label. 

The 1970 release had two hit singles, the number one “Mama Told Me Not to Come” and its follow-up, “Out in the Country,” which peaked . . . wait for it . . . at #15. “Out in the Country” did somewhat better on the Adult Contemporary chart showing up just shy of the Top 10 at #11.

Composed collaboratively by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, “Out in the Country’s” charm is in the instrumentation: the double tracked guitars of Mike Allsup and the organ of Jimmy Greenspoon. All three lead singers of the band (Chuck Negron, Cory Wells, and Danny Hutton) sing the melody in unison. Nice clean stuff.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Peaked at 15: Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again

The Fortunes’ comeback hit from 1971, “Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again,” is our second featured selection that peaked at #15. In the US, The Fortunes only had two hits previous that charted within the Top 40: “You’ve Got Your Troubles” at #2 and “Here it Comes Again” at #27. Both songs charted in 1965.

During their dry period in the US, The Fortunes became vocal presence of Coca-Cola singing the “Things Go Better with Coke” and the “It’s the Real Thing” jingles. “Here Comes that Rainy Day Feeling Again” was penned by British songwriters Roger Greenaway, Roger Cook, and Tony Macaulay. Greenaway and Cook produced the single and previously had co-written their biggest hit “You’ve Got Your Troubles.”

The production is very “pop” oriented and contains a glockenspiel as the signature instrument in the intro,  between lines in the verses and during the chorus and reprise; however, it is absent during the bridge.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Peaked at 15: Darling Be Home Soon

Well, it’s officially the second week of the month and for this April’s second week special I decided to pick songs that peaked at “15.” Why? In the US April 15th is the ominous date when taxes must be filed, so 15 seemed like a good number for the present month. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Darling Be Home Soon” was penned by John Sebastian for inclusion in the 1966 film “You’re a Big Boy Now.”

Sebastian wrote all of the music on the soundtrack album which also includes “Darling Be Home Soon.” In 1967, Kama Sutra Records released the tune as a single. You guessed it – it peaked on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #15. In addition, it was one of four songs that Sebastian performed as a solo act at Woodstock in 1969.

I love the orchestration on this recording; however, I wished Sebastian’s vocals were across both tracks and not just in the left channel. Besides all of that, how many songs can you name that use the words “dawdled” or “tottled?” Not many I am certain.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Hollies: Tell Me To My Face

Every once in a while I’ll use the Saturday Bubbling Under category to feature a song that was never released as a single and did not receive any or much airplay. Today’s tune takes us back to late 1966 to release of the fifth North American album by The Hollies. Known as “For Certain Because . . .” elsewhere, the album was rebranded as “Stop! Stop! Stop!” for the Imperial release in the US and the Canadian Capitol version.

The album produced two single hits, “Stop! Stop! Stop!” and “Pay You Back with Interest”; neither of which are the subject of today’s post. “Tell Me to my Face,” a little known cut featuring Graham Nash on lead vocals, has the distinction of being today’s selection. I became familiar with this cut due to a later cover of the song by Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg from the album “Twin Sons of Different Mothers.”

Hearing Fogelberg and Weisberg’s version in 1978 prompted me to seek out the original as I was not aware of the cut. The song also had been recorded by Keith in 1967 and was a minor US hit, but I don’t remember his version at all. Keith’s cover is interesting, but I believe the original is the best of the three releases.

“Tell Me to My Face” was co-written by Allan Clarke, Tony Hicks, and Graham Nash. The production is sparse, which leads to its overall charm. The tune features Tony Hicks on what I believe is a Vox Mando-guitar. The pitch is right and it has double course strings, but I cannot find anything to verify my suspicions.  

The All Music Guide to Rock considers “Tell Me to my Face,” as “one of the best ‘60s album tracks.” I would agree.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Creedence Clearwater Revial: Born on the Bayou

For today’s Friday Flipside, we head back to early 1969 when Fantasy Records issued the single “Proud Mary” from Creedence Clearwater Revival’s album “Bayou Country.” While “Proud Mary” peaked at #2, its flipside, “Born on the Bayou” was nearly as popular although it never charted.

The epitome of the swamp rock sub-genre, CCR often opened their shows with “Born of the Bayou” and its characteristic E7 chord. The song was the lead track on the “Bayou Country” album. Both song and album titles led the public to believe the band was from Louisiana; however, they originated in San Francisco. The “hoodoo” in the lyrics is a supernatural being – perhaps a ghost.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Aerosmith: Dream On

Did you miss me? I took a few days off this week as it has been a busy one, but hopefully I am back for a few days without a break. Being that it is Thursday, it’s time for our Thursday Repeats and Threepeats feature. Originally released as Aerosmith’s third single in June 1973, “Dream On” was a local hit in Boston and other cities in New England; however, it failed to generate a great deal of national interest.

The original single, which clocked in at 3:25, peaked in ’73 at #59. After a string of non-charting singles but success in Album Oriented Rock radio, Aerosmith began to get some mainstream attention in 1975 when “Sweet Emotion” placed at #36 on the Billboard charts. In 1976, Columbia reissued “Dream On” as the full length album version at 4:28. My friend John Sellards informed me that the promo version of the single had both the 4:28 and 3:25 versions as options for radio play. 

While the first issue of the single listed an intro time of :13, the reissue has the intro designated as :00 – indicating that on the second issue of the single that Columbia intended that the song’s beginning be played without announcer interruption. I wonder how many stations did that. I’m sure many stations took advantage of a good portion of the :38 intro; however, the first :13 seconds as in the original edit would have sufficed most front selling of the tune.

Sometimes waiting is best. The second issue of “Dream On” peaked in 1976 at #6. To take advantage of the recent popularity of the single, Columbia reissued the debut Aerosmith LP with the addition wording of “Featuring ‘Dream On’” on the cover. Vocalist Steven Tyler played the piano on the cut.

1973 Single Edit

Having not heard the original edit for several decades, I hadn’t remembered how this version sounded. It appears that, not only was it chopped; it had a slightly different mix as well.