Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (The ’59) #076

The ’59 2018 #076: 180317

Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (1970)

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 12 – 1970.

With the release of Cosmo’s Factory in July 1970, Creedence Clearwater Revival hit their commercial zenith. It was their fifth album in two years and became an international smash, topping the album charts in six countries.

The band also toured Europe in 1970, playing the Royal Albert Hall to enthusiastic audiences, and had emerged as the most popular band in America by largely ignoring the trippy acid rock indulgences that were typical of the era. However, despite the band’s infectious blend of rockabilly, folk, and R&B, some peers and rock critics dismissed them as a singles band with no substance.

In a 2012 cover story, Uncut observed, “While San Francisco longhairs across the bridge scoffed at their commercialism, Creedence henceforth made a point of releasing double A-sides. And invariably both songs would have an uncanny knack of cutting through to all sections of the population.”

Singer and guitarist Fogerty, who had seemingly arrived out of nowhere, but had actually struggled with his bandmates throughout most of the 1960s as the Blue Velvets and the Golliwogs, composed the group’s songs and generally steered the band artistically, although his grip on the band – including his dubious role as manager – irritated the others, especially his older brother Tom Fogerty, who’d left the band by the end of 1970.


Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (The ’59) #062

The ’59 2018 #062: 180303

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (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.

Astral Weeks was the second studio album from Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison. It was recorded at Century Sound Studios in New York City during three sessions in September and October 1968.

On its release, it did not receive promotion from the label and was not an immediate success with consumers or critics. But things did get better and Astral Weeks’ critical standing eventually to a point where the album is viewed as one of rock music’s greatest and most important records.Critics now laud the album’s arrangements and songwriting. Morrison’s lyrics are often described as impressionistic, hypnotic, and modernist. It was placed on numerous widely circulated lists of the best albums of all time and had an enduring effect on both listeners and musicians.

Forty years after the album’s release, Morrison performed all eight of its songs live for the first time during two Hollywood Bowl concerts in November 2008; this performance was later released as a live album.

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (The ’59) #053

The ’59 2018 #053: 180222

Donovan – Sunshine Superman (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.

Sunshine Superman was the third album from folk singer-songwriter Donovan. It was released in the US in September 1966, but was not released in the UK because of a contractual dispute.

In June 1967, Donovan’s management team found a way around this by releasing the album (under its original name) but this time comprising a compilation of the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums.

Sunshine Superman was named after Donovan’s hit single released in the US in July 1966. The tracks from Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow were not mixed into stereo, with the exception of “Season of the Witch”, until the 2011 2-CD deluxe edition issued by UK EMI.

In 2017, Sunshine Superman was ranked the 199th greatest album of the 1960s by Pitchfork.

Introducing the Seekers (“The ’59”) #034

The ’59 2018 #034: 180203

Introducing the Seekers (1963)

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 5 – 1963.

The Seekers were an Australian folk-influenced pop quartet, originally formed in Melbourne in 1962. They were the first Australian pop music group to achieve major chart and sales success in the United Kingdom and the United States and were popular during the 1960s with their best-known configuration as: Judith Durham on vocals, piano, and tambourine; Athol Guy on double bass and vocals; Keith Potger on twelve-string guitar, banjo, and vocals; and Bruce Woodley on guitar, mandolin, banjo, and vocals.

Introducing the Seekers was their debut, released in 1962.

Peter, Paul and Mary (“The ’59”) #025

“The ’59′” 2018 #025: 180125

Peter, Paul and Mary (1962)

The self-titled debut album from Peter, Paul and Mary was released in 1962 on Warner Bros. Records. Released in both mono and stereo on catalog no. 1449, it’s one of the rare folk albums to have reached the No.1 slot in the US – staying there for over a month.

The lead-off singles “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” reached numbers 10 and 35 respectively. It was the group’s biggest selling studio album, eventually certified Double Platinum. It was reissued as 180 Gram vinyl in 2016 under the Waxtime Label. The Waxtime issue has 3 Bonus tracks which are side 1 track 7 – One Kind of Favor (Live), side 2 track 7 – The Times They Are A’ Changin’ (Live) & Track 8 – If I Had My Way (Live)

At the Grammy Awards of 1963, their recording of “If I Had a Hammer” won the Best Folk Recording and Best Performance by a Vocal Group Grammies.

Bob Dylan (“The ’59”) #023

“The ’59” 2018 #023: 180123

Bob Dylan (1962)

Dylan met John Hammond at a rehearsal session for Carolyn Hester on September 14, 1961, at the apartment shared by Hester and her then-husband, Richard Fariña. Hester had invited Dylan to the session as a harmonica player, and Hammond approved him as a session player after hearing him rehearse, with recommendations from his son, musician John P. Hammond, and from Liam Clancy.

Hammond later told Robert Shelton that he decided to sign Dylan “on the spot”, and invited him to the Columbia offices for a more formal audition recording. No record of that recording has turned up in Columbia’s files, but Hammond, Dylan, and Columbia’s A&R director Mitch Miller have all confirmed that an audition took place. (Producer Fred Catero, then a recording engineer for Columbia Records, claims to have the master of that session. It is not the original demo for Columbia, but a session from December 6, 1962, recorded by John Hammond, Sr.)

On September 26, Dylan began a two-week run at Gerde’s Folk City, second on the bill to The Greenbriar Boys. On September 29, an exceptionally favorable review of Dylan’s performance appeared in the New York Times. The same day, Dylan played harmonica at Hester’s recording session at Columbia’s Manhattan studios. After the session, Hammond brought Dylan to his offices and presented him with Columbia’s standard five-year contract for previously unrecorded artists, and Dylan signed immediately.

That night at Gerdes, Dylan told Shelton about Hammond’s offer, but asked him to “keep it quiet” until the contract’s final approval had worked its way through the Columbia hierarchy. The label’s official approvals came quickly.

Studio time was scheduled for late November, and during the weeks leading up to those sessions, Dylan began searching for new material even though he was already familiar with a number of songs. According to Dylan’s friend Carla Rotolo (sister of his girlfriend Suze Rotolo), “He spent most of his time listening to my records, days and nights. He studied the Folkways Anthology of American Folk Music, the singing of Ewan MacColl and A. L. Lloyd, Rabbit Brown’s guitar, Guthrie, of course, and blues … his record was in the planning stages. We were all concerned about what songs Dylan was going to do. I remember clearly talking about it.”

The album was ultimately recorded in three short afternoon sessions on November 20 and 22. Hammond later joked that Columbia spent “about $402” to record it, and the figure has entered the Dylan legend as its actual cost. Despite the low cost and short amount of time, Dylan was still difficult to record, according to Hammond. “Bobby popped every p, hissed every s, and habitually wandered off mike,” recalls Hammond. “Even more frustrating, he refused to learn from his mistakes. It occurred to me at the time that I’d never worked with anyone so undisciplined before.”

Seventeen songs were recorded, and five of the album’s chosen tracks were actually cut in single takes (“Baby Let Me Follow You Down”, “In My Time of Dyin'”, “Gospel Plow”, “Highway 51 Blues”, and “Freight Train Blues”) while the master take of “Song to Woody” was recorded after one false start. The album’s four outtakes were also cut in single takes. During the sessions, Dylan refused requests to do second takes.

The album cover features a reversed photo of Dylan holding his acoustic guitar. This was done to prevent the neck of the guitar from obscuring Columbia’s logo.

Neil Young – After the Goldrush (Epic #359)

The Epic 2017 Project #359: 171225

Neil Young – After the Goldrush (1970)

After the Gold Rush was the third studio album from Neil Young. Released in September 1970 on Reprise Records, it is one of four high-profile albums released by each member of folk rock collective Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu. Gold Rush consists mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking “Southern Man”,[4] inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay After the Gold Rush.

The album peaked at No.8 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart; the two singles taken from the album, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love”, made it to number 33 and number 93 respectively. Despite a mixed initial reaction, it has since appeared on a number of “greatest albums” lists (including mine)