Les McCann & Eddie Harris (1969) Swiss Movement (LP) Atlantic 1537

Les McCann & Eddie Harris
Swiss Movement

Atlantic 1537
Produced by Nesuhi Ertegun & Joel Dorn
recorded June 1969
Rating:**** (Recommended)

Classic spontaneous combustion soul jazz from McCann/Harris (they’d never rehearsed or played together), the set opening with a definitive version of McCann’s signature tune “Compared to What?” (Gene McDaniels), the rest instrumental, cooking from the get-go, keeping it going from go to whoa, turning down the flame and getting a bit reflective on the cuts that close the sides.

Solid set from 1969, essential listen for fans.

— winch

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The Doors

The Doors
The Doors
Elektra (74007)
1967
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Released March 1967, reached #1 (ignored in UK)

Debut from this outfit, its blues-based sound pure L.A., a refreshing alternative to the meandering California psychedelic from Frisco.  While it gets a bit silly at times, they always manage to pull out the slack, laying down a string of solid cuts that conclude with the epic “The End.”  While, they had several solid sets, this debut was one of their best.  It serves as a good intro to this band, and it’s essential listening for fans.

— winch

The Doors
Waiting For the Sun
Elektra (74024)
1968
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)
Released August 1968 (September in the UK), reached #1 (#16 in the UK)



While this L.A. outfit had a strong beginning, cracks begin to show with this third set.  Much of the material has a dreary feel to it, perhaps capturing not only the strain of fame on this band, but also the wilting of the flowers from the summer of love.  Like all their 60s albums, this has its moments, but it’s their weakest album with Morrison.

— winch

The Doors
The Soft Parade
Elektra (75005)
1969
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)

Released August 1969 (September in the UK), reached #6 (ignored in the UK)


Perhaps recognizing that their previous album was a bit depressing, they pick up the pace and fill in the sound for this fourth set, backing the band with big arrangements and calling in plenty of guests.  While this was an improvement over the third album, many felt otherwise.  The Doors had finally found an audience in the U.K. with the third set, but they lost them again with this collection. 

The set gets a bit overblown and silly at times, but the same is true with all their albums.  This doesn’t have the dark menace of the early material, but it sees the band pulling out the slack and charging forward, something they’d continue doing in the 70s.  It’s another worthwhile listen for fans.

— winch

Deep Purple (1969) S/T (LP) Tetragramme 119

Deep Purple
Deep Purple 
Tetragramme 119 
1969
Rating:*** (noteworthy)
Released July. ’69 (Nov. ’69 in the UK on Harvest Records), reached #162 in U.S.

Produced by Derek Lawrence
Purple’s self-titled third album, the last with the original line up.  Both Simper and Evans would soon leave the band (Evans going to Captain Beyond).  As with the previous two albums, this was released on Bill Cosby’s Tetragramme label, and unfortunately for Purple, the label would fold in July of 1969, the same month this set was released.

On this album, Purple sounds like a composite of many of the heavy bands of this era (Zeppelin, Cream, Floyd, Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, King Crimson…) but the sound ends up being something unique to Purple.  While “April” foreshadows Purple’s next album (the absurd Concerto For Group and Orchestra), other cuts hint toward the semi-progressive hard rock (aka heavy metal) of their early 70s material.

When most people examine how this band influenced rock music, they look to the highly influential Machine Head era, but for better or worse, the strong influence this band had on rock music can certainly be heard at this point, on this album.

— winch

 

Girl Group 1969


girl group
Classic sides

s e l e c t i v e
(selected by winch)

 

1969

 

 

 


“Sweetheart Things” (Eddie Hinton)
Ruby Winters (Kentucky/Cincinnati)     Diamond (269B)     1969

“You Turn Me On” (Teddy Van)
The Sandpebbles (New York)     Calla (160A)     1969

“How Can You Tell Me” (Bickerton/Waddington)
“Nothing But A Heartache” (Bickerton/Waddington)
The Flirtations (South Carolina)     Deram (85038)     1969

Scott Bradford: Rock Slides (LP) 1969

Scott Bradford
Rock Slides

Probe 4509

Recommended ****
1969

As the title suggests, this is rock-influenced jazz, soul-jazz with some heavy rock leanings,opens with two Bradford compositions, the group at first easing into it like a tank rolling over rocks, but the machine quickly kicks it into gear, pounding out some chunky rock-hard rhythms, the rhythm section creating a unique and muscular motor to power the thing along, two bass players, two percussionists, Phillip Catherine pick-axing away at the rock with his guitar, the horns helping punch it home.  While there’s a lot going on, the group is obviously working on one thing, driving the music like a bulldozer through a rock quarry.  Bradford’s organ helps establish that soul-jazz groove, and Nathan Davis offers some of the most wild contributions of his career, blowing his sax like he’s John Henry swinging his hammer, swinging and spinning around the rhythms.  If it sounds like it might run out of gas on the second cut, the whole thing climaxes with the third cut, a Davis number called “Mid Evil Dance,” a cat named Vinagre coming in on Afro-Cuban percussion to help deepen the groove so he can dance around in it.  Side two gets reflective and less interesting with Nathan switching to flute, but the pace picks up again for a second Davis contribution to close the set.
While jazz-rock fusion quickly focused on increasingly annoying music in the 1970s, this is another date to show that the fusion of these two musical styles at first created lots of interesting music.  Rock is just rock’n roll, and rock’n roll is R&B, but this album suggests that rock has its own sound, something that sounds like a boulder rolling.  This isn’t a great set, but it’s got a raw rock power that’s missing from the crystalized fusion that followed the 60s.  While that stuff was like polished sapphires, this rolls out chunks of raw granite.  — winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

Product Details

Fleetwood Mac: Then Play On (1969) LP

Fleetwood Mac

Then Play On
1969

rating: **** (recommended)


These folks started out as a solid but standard British blues outfit but by 1969 they’d turned into something much more interesting.  This was Mac at its best, with all three of the classic guitarists on board (but some suggesting that Spencer didn’t actually play on this album).  This would be the end of Green’s involvement, another acid casualty, and they’d also soon lose Spencer–apparently to some American religious cult.

Green’s contributions are especially strong at this point, with the almost nine-minute version of “Oh Well” the centerpiece, perfectly capturing the manic-depression acid-fueled insanity.  This flash of mad brillance had started with the “Albatross” single late in ’68 and concluded with “The Green Manalishi.”  It’s too bad these cuts didn’t end up on this set, but this still has plenty to offer.

If you’ve never heard this extended version of “Oh Well,” you owe it to yourself to crank it and lie down, turn out the lights.  If you’re a frybrain, roll one up and fire it up at the beginning of the album so you’re flying high by the time “Underway”/”Oh Well” rolls around.  Then play on.

— winch

author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s

Ike & Tina Turner: So Fine (1969) LP

Ike & Tina Turner 

So Fine
Pompeii 6000

1969

Reissued as Too Hot to Hold

Pickwick (3284)
Rating: **** (Recommended)

 

While a few cuts are better served on earlier albums, this has more than enough to keep it rolling.  Highly recommended.

— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)

http://eight-track.com/kalamazoo.html

http://www.amazon.com/Kalamazoo-Growing-Up-Sideways-1970s/dp/0692013865/ref=tmm_pap_title_0/192-1257870-3781939