When I heard from my sister that Paul McCartney was coming to Fresno, California, I thought it must be a mistake. Why would the former Beatle come to a medium sized town, known mostly for agriculture, in the middle of California? It’s not Los Angeles, it’s not San Francisco. It’s not Silicon Valley.
Fortunately, a friend who is a concert promoter got us three tickets, at the face value price of $250. It’s a lot of money, but it would be the first, and very likely last time I would get to see a musician from the world’s most famous rock band play live. We had great seats, about 12 rows back, then 10 rows up the left side.
Might be the best rock concert I’ve ever seen. Mostly because he played so many iconic songs that I never thought I’d hear live by a Beatle. Never thought I’d see any Beatle, ever. Continue reading
One of the great things about picking up a vinyl record is discovering that a band I thought I knew had more songs worth listening to than I was aware of. Let’s Live For Today (Dunhill DS50020, stereo), has more going for it than just the hit title tune. The Grassroots were a mid to late 60s band that had three or four hits on the AM radio airwaves that I liked back then.
No, these tunes are not ahead of their time. The ‘roots sound is firmly planted in the dirt of 1960s AM pop, and I like it that way. You probably had to be listening to this music at the time to really enjoy it. I doubt anyone under the age of 50 would find it interesting now. But if you’re of the age, there’s more to the Grassroots than their hits. Of the ten tunes (five per side), I found eight to be worthwhile. Continue reading
Ah, the songs of our youth. Well, if you grew up in the sixties, or have come to appreciate the rock and roll comin’ outta Los Angeles back then. The Wrecking Crew movie will dispel any romantic notions you may have of those bands, because the bands themselves often didn’t play their own instruments on their records. Instead, a tight group of unknown Los Angeles studio musicians did. Continue reading
Most of the music biographies I read are about musicians who have passed onto the great beyond, but that’s not the case in Wounds To Bind: A Memoir of the Folk-Rock Revolution by Jerry Burgan (with Alan Rifkin). While some of the members of the band have died, Jerry is very much alive, as is the band’s lead singer, the elusive Bev Bivens.
What band, you ask? In 1965, We Five was near the top of the charts, with a great tune, You Were On My Mind (Trident T-108 and A&M SP 4111*, stereo & SP 111, mono). I’d rate it among the best songs of the 60s. The band had a few other minor hits, but nothing else like this. Continue reading
There are plenty of one-hit wonders from the late 1960s, but the Mourning Reign didn’t even get that far, at least as far as I know. Never heard of them until a few years ago, when the single Satisfaction Guaranteed appeared on a CD compilation … There’s usually a reason why one hit wonder bands never do anything further…the rest of their songs are ordinary. Continue reading
After a day of working in San Francisco recently, I took some time to peruse record stores on Haight Street in the City. Yes, the same Haight Street made famous (infamous?) during the late 1960s for drugs, free love and protests. THE Haight-Ashbury district. Haight street is record alley. There are a number of record stores on it or nearby. In one respect, the Haight hasn’t changed. Some of the stores still take on the appearance of that time, with peace symbols and tye-dyed t-shirts in the window. But that’s just for show. They’re in business to make money, not love. Two of the record stores I tried to check out weren’t going to make any money on me, however, as they both closed on a Friday afternoon! Continue reading
On rare occasion, the sands of time reveal the mysteries that have lain buried beneath them for decades. And so it is for my personal Holy Grail: What happened to the songs that didn’t make it onto Bill Graham’s swan song, Fillmore: The Last Days three LP set released in June 1972? Continue reading
For those of us growing up in the late 60s in California, one of the staples of the era was the Elvin Bishop Group. Sometimes it all comes together, a confluence of events, people and time. I think this LP was it for Bishop. Released in 1970 (Fillmore Z 30239), it was the end of flower power, although no one knew it at the time. Janis Joplin would die that year, Jim Morrison of the Doors would be dead in 1971. The Vietnam War was still raging, and in 1973 I was worried about whether I would be drafted or not. Continue reading
I’ve been looking for El Chicano’s first record, Viva Tirado, for years. It finally turned up in the dollar bin at The Thrift Box, a thrift store in the Willow Glen area of San Jose, CA. The LP (Kapp KS 3632) is all instrumental covers.
I’ve always loved the hit from this LP, Viva Tirado (penned by Gerald Wilson), but for some reason, I didn’t buy it as a teenager when it was released in 1970. Continue reading