A few years ago, I was the in-house ATG boomer blogger bringing out of my vaults what you might either still be enjoying (occasionally at least) or might have missed. I won’t say how old I am but I used to listen to the latest from The Beatles, Temps, Four Seasons, Dave Clark Five, etc. beamed to my little red two-transistor radio from WNEW and from Cousin Brucie (before he was pickled). You can consider me a possibly cool geezer – I’m listening to Bastille, HAIM and Kishi Baski these days (though also a sucker for Coldplay). To begin again, I’ll reprise a few from my original posts.
First some prog rock – Yes. Yes, Yes. Quintessentially prog and perhaps a bit heavy for some, their 1983 release 90125 was anything but. Cuts “Owner of a Lonely Heart,” “Hold On,” “It Can Happen,” “Changes” and “Leave It” offer great riffs and just fly. (Yes has done good new stuff and will be in DC this summer at the Warner.)
King Crimson founded prog. I remember listening to In the Court of the Crimson King while stocking shelves in the A&P and being just blown away. Robert Fripp led and Greg Lake – later of Emerson, Lake and Palmer – did vocals. From their 1981 “comeback” album, “Frame by Frame.”
Back in the early 70s, a few times a week after work on the night crew, Wally and I would sit in my car in the parking lot for a smoke. He introduced me to War and The World Is a Ghetto. Hard to place War with their mixture of rock, jazz and soul. Progressive funk? Wally and I would wonder about if the world was a ghetto — how could we get out?
The music I return to over and over is what I played on my 8-track, in my Dodge Challenger with the great sound system (it was like driving inside the speakers). Cruising at night or parking for a smoke at Buzz’s corner, it was usually Jethro Tull, Genesis or Robin Trower. Trower was lead guitarist for Procol Harum. But he channelled Jimi Hendrix and left the group to found his own with excellent vocals by James Dewar. It’s blues rock and the albums from 1974-78 are part of my deep memory core. I expect that by the time I don’t even remember my name, I’ll still have these rolling through my brain. Two offerings from Bridge of Sighs (WARNING: This is really 70s stuff): the title track and “Too Rolling Stoned.” (Note: Dewar passed but Trower will be in DC this fall and, as long as he isn’t doing the vocals, I’m going.)
There are groups perhaps still so well-known that I will generally pass over. But some from the deeper depths: Stephen Stills (CSN&Y and Buffalo Springfield) brought blues and Tex-Mex country to the music with his singing and guitar. Try “Treetop Flyer.”
Another is Santana. Carlos Santana has been making music since Woodstock. But cuts you may not have gotten into yet include “Waiting” (from 1969 and how can you beat R&R congas?) and the fusion jazz-rock “Song of the Wind” from 1972. Great driving music, though you’ll need to remember to keep on the road and under the limit.
And from the Carlos Castenada days of the original Fleetwood Mac: “Hypnotized” and “Miles Away.”
So, onwards and backwards!