Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills (The ’59) #064

The ’59 2018 #064: 180305

Big Brother & The Holding Company – Cheap Thrills (1968)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 10 – 1968.

Big Brother obtained a considerable amount of attention after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, and had released their debut album soon after. The followup, Cheap Thrills, was a great success, reaching number one on the charts for eight nonconsecutive weeks in 1968. Columbia Records offered the band a new recording contract, but it took months to get through since they were still signed to Mainstream Records. The album features three cover songs (“Summertime”, “Piece of My Heart” and “Ball and Chain”). It was the last Big Brother album to feature Janis Joplin as its lead singer.

The cover was drawn by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb after the band’s original cover idea, a photo of the group naked in bed together, was vetoed by Columbia Records. Crumb had originally intended his art for the LP back cover, with a portrait of Janis Joplin to grace the front. But Joplin — an avid fan of underground comics, especially the work of Crumb — so loved the Cheap Thrills illustration that she demanded Columbia place it on the front cover. It is number nine on Rolling Stone’s list of one hundred greatest album covers. Crumb later authorized the sale of prints of the cover, some of which he signed before sale.


The Bluesbreakers (aka ‘The Beano album’) (The ’59) #50

The ’59 2018 #50: 180219

John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers (with Eric Clapton) [aka ‘The Beano Album’] (1966)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. We’re currently at year 8 – 1966.

Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (a.k.a. The Beano Album) is a 1966 blues/blues rock album recorded by John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton as part of the band. It is the second album credited to John Mayall after the live John Mayall Plays John Mayall. Clapton left to form Cream after this recording, though would team up again in 1971 for the double LP Back to the Roots.

It is also known as The Beano Album (for obvious reasons from the cover photo). Clapton stated in his autobiography that he was reading The Beano on the cover because he felt like being “uncooperative” during the photo shoot.The photographer was Derek Wedgbury and the location was near the Old Kent Road in London.

Booker T & the MGs – Green Onions (“The ’59”) #024

“The ’59” 2018 #024: 180124

Booker T & the MGs – Green Onions (1962)

Green Onions was the debut album from Booker T. & the M.G.s, released on Stax Records in October 1962. It reached number 33 on the pop album chart in the month of its release. The title single had been a hit worldwide and has since been covered by dozens of artists, including the Blues Brothers and Roy Buchanan (both with Steve Cropper on guitars), as well as The Ventures, Al Kooper, The Shadows, Mongo Santamaría and Count Basie.

Three previous Stax LPs – two by the Mar-Keys, one by Carla Thomas – had been issued on Atlantic Records. Green Onions was the first album released on the Stax label. It was also Stax’s first charting album. It features only instrumental songs and features Steve Cropper playing a Fender Telecaster.

The album was included in Robert Dimery’s 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Nina Simone – Forbidden Fruit (“The ’59”) #018

“The ’59” 2018 #018: 180118

Nina Simone – Forbidden Fruit (1961)

Forbidden Fruit was Nina Simone’s second studio album for Colpix Records, the first recording company for Columbia Pictures. The rhythm section accompanying her is the same trio as on both live albums before and after this release.

It was both recorded and released in New York in 1961.

ZZ Top – First Album (Epic #360)

The Epic 2017 Project #360: 171226

ZZ Top – First Album (1971)

So, as the Jemtunes ‘Epic 2017 Project’ draws to a close, episodes 360-365 take us to the letter Z. And although there are other bands with names down at this end of the alphabet, Epic 2017 finishes with six albums from the masters of Texan 12-bar blues – ZZ Top.

Their debut studio album was produced by manager Bill Ham, and released on January 16, 1971, on London Records. Establishing their attitude and humour, ZZ Top incorporated boogie, hard rock, and Southern rock influences into their sound. Seeking inspiration from Fleetwood Mac, ZZ Top began recording the album at Robin Hood Studios in Tyler, Texas. Somebody else been shaking your tree/Neighbour Neighbour was released as a single but failed to chart.

In 1987, the album was remixed for CD release and In 2013, the original vinyl mix was released on HD Tracks in high-resolution digital download formats.

Here’s Bedroom Thang – as good a slice of 12-bar as you’re likely to hear.

Johnny Winter – The Progressive Blues Experiment (Epic #349)

The Epic 2017 Project #349: 171215

Johnny Winter – The Progressive Blues Experiment (1968 & 1969)

The Progressive Blues Experiment was the debut album from Johnny Winter, originally issued on Austin’s Sonobeat Records label in 1968. When Winter signed to Columbia Records, the rights were sold to Imperial Records who reissued the album in 1969.

Winter plays here in a trio with his late-sixties band. Several blues artists are covered including B.B. King (“It’s My Own Fault”), Sonny Boy Williamson (“Help Me”), and Slim Harpo (“I Got Love If You Want It”).

In 2005, Capitol issued a 24-bit remastered edition of this recording on CD. The album has also been released with the title Austin, Texas.

George Thorogood & The Destroyers (Epic #328)

The Epic 2017 Project #328: 171124

George Thorogood & The Destroyers (1977)

George Thorogood’s self-titled debut was released in 1977. Comprising mostly covers of blues classics, it included a medley of John Lee Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie” and “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”, the latter a song written by Rudy Toombs for Amos Milburn, and later covered by Hooker.

In 2015 Rounder released George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers, a new remix of the album featuring the three-piece band as originally recorded and mixed. It omits the bass overdubs by Billy Blough which were added after the original recording sessions. It also adds the previously unreleased Elmore James track “Goodbye Baby.