Sunday, January 10, 2010


Ten Years After's CRICKLEWOOD GREEN, 1970 (Deram 18038) , it's title derived from an unclassified hallucinogenic plant, adorned many a stoned teen bedrooms in my youth, the picture of 70s hard stoner rock, staring back at me through a stoned haze while doing a doobie with a buddie after school while the mom was shopping or working. It's 'green' influenced album cover of stagnant collectible curios including a ponderous characterized military statue and a pair of bronzed miniature boots is as familiar to me as the light prism on Pink Floyd's DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. But I never owned it until recently. I picked the vinyl album up somewhere cheap and felt as if I had encountered a dear old friend. CRICKLEWOOD GREEN is a revered British blues rock album highlighted by Alvin Lee's fluid guitar expressing heavy blues rock and meticulous finger picking. Opener "Sugar The Road" is a snazzy bit of freewheeling rock that streams like a fast corvette on a winding mountain road, a 'roll down the windows' song if ever there was one with guitar bass drums and vocal effortlessly creating an addictive breeze of blues and rock. "50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain" is a seven minutes plus guitar layered jam that burns like a sizzling dynamite lead about to blow, and "Me and My Baby", apparently an Alvin Lee composition, if not then a blues standard, must have reached that status by now ("Me and my baby never get the blues") - it's air guitar rock heaven like you'd hear in any great blues tavern. CRICKLEWOOD GREEN has a particularly smooth mix and sound, as if the vinyl is a grade better than most, maybe due as stated in the liner notes, the music was recorded in layers of sound rather than absolute separation of instruments. Alvin Lee eventually went on to a solo career but the remaining members, Leo Lynons (bass), Chick Churchill (keyboards), Ric Lee (drums) and new member Joe Gooch (guitar and vocals) still tour and records. In 1969 Ten Years After played Woodstock and were featured in the film and soundtrack, catapulting them to fame. My VERY GOOD copy would fetch about 10 bucks on the market.

THAT PETROL EMOTION is an Irish, London based band fronted by an American vocalist, Steve Mack. I picked up the "Detonate My Dreams" CD single (Koogat) somewhere, at some time for some reason. It also includes a remix of "Blue to Black", a funk sort of dance jam, and the demo version of "Big Human Thing", a jangly pop song sounding a bit like Smoking Popes. "Detonate My Dreams" is a cool enough song with That Petrol Emotion's customary guitar onslaught. Here is the video. We're not too delighted with vocalist Steve Mack prancing around the video like a forest fairy, but the song rocks. This CD maxi-single goes for about 5 bucks.

One of the breeziest songs to flow out of the radio airwaves in 1983 was The The's "This Is The Day", from the debut album, SOUL MINING, Epic 39266, (A previously intended debut, "The Pornography of Despair", was shelved with some tracks being later released as B-sides and extras.). Although many members have filtered in and out of the British The The, the title is essentially a one man affair from writer, musician, vocalist Matt Johnson, sometimes using session players, sometimes a traditional band lineup and sometimes Johnson performed all band functions himself. The The have released six albums since their debut, their last being 2000's NAKED SELF. Interestingly, Matt Johnson has recorded several albums that have never been released but are included in all his listings of The The music. SOUL MINING could probably be found in most lists of best music of the '80s. It's industrial pop landscape full of thick synth and genuine musicianship, (Squeeze's Jools Holland lays a few mesmerizing piano runs on "Uncertain Smile", and The New York Doll's David Johanson plays harmonica on "Perfect Day") is a perfect backdrop to Johnson's brooding day-to-day survival 'too stoned to care' angst-ridden vocals. This record in Very Good condition can be bought for about 12 dollars. You can hear "This Is The Day" here -

Here's another oddball CD single in my collection, how it got there I'll never know, but there's no denying Third Eye Blind's HOW'S IT GOING TO BE (Elektra CD Single) is a fine hit song, a singable hook ridden ballad that was a major success in 1997. The unavailable elsewhere 'B' side, "Horror Show" doesn't raise this CD from a nominal market value.

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