Basement Party 2

Basement Party 2

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tonight's Slabs 5/23/12

It's been a while since I wrote a post about what I was currently listening to, so I thought it was high time I did. I have listened to a decent amount of records (by Steely Dan and the Allman Brothers, just to name a few)  since the last column, so I thought I would showcase tonight's selections.

Now that cover is cosmic
I was lucky enough to find their first album in excellent condition for only $4 at my favorite local store. Now this album ROCKS! It does have some mellow moments, but most of it is ass-kicking blues-based rock similar to Zeppelin or Blue Cheer (both bands that they used to cover in their early days). The lyrics are quite different on this album as well as their main lyricist, drummer Neil Peart, did not join until their second album.

This clip features the lead-off track "Finding My Way." Right from the get-go, these guys brought the jams!

This next clip features their more well-known track from this LP, "Working Man." This song was another staple on my favorite hard rock station as a kid. I love the Zeppelin-esque breakdown in the middle. This was a song that my old band Fretbusters used to jam. It was a fun one to play!

Jeff Beck Blow By Blow
I first heard about this album on a radio request show that airs every Saturday night on Lansing's classic rock station 94.9 WMMQ, which purports to be the first classic rock station in the nation. "Larry Allen's All Reqest Saturday Night" airs from 7PM to midnight and is know for playing eclectic rock and deep cuts. During one show I heard an instrumental tune by Jeff Beck called "Freeway Jam" and loved it.

Jeff really creates the atmosphere and feel of leisurely driving down the freeway on that song. Blow by Blow is the seventh album by Jeff but the first one to consist of all instrumentals. He had some help from some fellow legends on this one, including Stevie Wonder (who wrote and played on two tracks) and the legendary Beatles producer George Martin, who turned the knobs in the control room. For $1, I got more than my money's worth. I heard Jeff Beck backed-up Mick Jagger on the recent season finale of SNL. I was unable to see it as I recently got rid of cable (plus I'm usually busy being social Saturday nights). I will have to see if it's on Hulu or NBC's web site.

Jefferson Starship Red Octopus
Released in 1975, this was the second official release by Jefferson Starship (the first being 1974's Dragon Fly). You may remember a while back I reviewed the proto-Jefferson Starship album Blows Against the Empire, which was more of a solo album by Paul Kantner than a true new band.

Two bands formed out of the ashes of Jefferson Airplane, who ceased existence in 1974. One featured members Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, and was called Hot Tuna. Jefferson Starship was the other, and featured previous Airplane members  Paul Kantner (guitar), co-singers Grace Slick and Marty Balin, and a host of new faces. One of the new members, an African-American fiddle player named Papa John Creach, had jammed with the last Airplane line-up. The band also featured guitar wunderkind Craig Chaquiso, bassist David Freiberg (ex-Quicksilver Messenger Service), drummer John Barbata (formerly of the Turtles), and keyboardist Pete Sears. Here's a group photo from the back cover:

This album is solid if not spectacular, and features one very well-known track, "Miracles." Here's a clip. This song can best be described as dreamy and MELLOW. Marty and Grace's vocals are soft yet's a tune to make love to for sure.

I hope you enjoyed this sampler of tunes I've been digging on as of late. As always, drop that needle and keep rockin'.

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