The Epic 2017 Project #102: 170412
Arlo Guthrie – Alice’s Restaurant (1967)
Arlo Guthrie’s debut album is essentially all about the song ‘Alice’s Restaurant Massacre’ which dominates the whole of side 2.
“Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” is a satirical, first-person account of 1960s counterculture. It was also the inspiration for the 1969 film of the same name.
The song is Guthrie’s most prominent work, based on a true incident from his life that began on Thanksgiving Day 1965 with a citation for littering, and ended with the refusal of the U.S. Army to draft him because of his conviction for that crime. The ironic punch line of the story which is (of course) an open invitation to listeners to join together to resist the draft for the Vietnam war, goes like this …
I’m sittin’ here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough to join the Army — burn women, kids, houses and villages — after bein’ a litterbug.
The Epic 2017 project #041: 170210
Cream – Disraeli Gears (1967)
This was Cream’s second studio album, released in November 1967 and subsequently reaching No. 5 on the UK Albums Chart. It was also the group’s American breakthrough, becoming a massive seller in 1968, and reaching No. 4 on the American charts. It features the two singles “Strange Brew” and “Sunshine of Your Love”
Drummer Ginger Baker recalled how the album’s title was based on a malapropism which alluded to 19th-century British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli:
You know how the title came about – Disraeli Gears – yeah? We had this Austin Westminster, and Mick Turner was one of the roadies who’d been with me a long time, and he was driving along and Eric (Clapton) was talking about getting a racing bicycle. Mick, driving, went ‘Oh yeah – Disraeli gears!’ meaning derailleur gears…We all just fell over…We said that’s got to be the album title.
The Epic 2017 Project #032: 170201
Canned Heat – Living the Blues (1968)
Although not worth a lot, this album is still something of a rarity these days, particularly on gatefold vinyl. It was Canned Heat’s third album.
It was one of the first double albums to place well on album charts and features the band’s signature song, “Going Up the Country”, which would later be used in the Woodstock film. John Mayall appears on piano on “Walking by Myself” and “Bear Wires”, and Dr. John appears on “Boogie Music”. The 20-minute trippy suite “Parthenogenesis” is dwarfed by the album-length “Refried Boogie”, recorded live and faithfully reproduced as one track on sides three and four.
The Epic 2017 Project #019: 170119
The Beatles – Revolver (1966)
On a business trip to Liverpool early last summer, a good friend of mine took me to Shirley Street to show me the Eleanor Rigby statue, designed and made by the English entertainer Tommy Steele.
It’s a haunting tribute to the song from “Revolver’ and, although the character (originally known as Miss Daisy Hawkins) is fictitious, the idea of a lonely lady feeding the pigeons from a park bench is captured so lovingly here that you feel obliged to sit alongside her for a while when you visit.
We’re fortunate to possess an original vinyl pressing of the album in mono from 1966, courtesy of my wife’s elder sisters who were ardent Beatles fans back in the day.
Leaping Ahead Project 2016 #322: 161117
[My favourite top ten song (10)]
For Leonard – 21 September 1934 to 7 November 2016 – R.I.P