Keith Jarrett (1976) Survivor’s Suite (LP) ECM-1-1085

Keith Jarrett

Survivor’s Suite 


Recorded April 1976 in Ludwigsburg, Germany.


Produced by Manfred Eicher

**** (recommended)

One of Jarrett’s most interesting and enjoyable ECM dates from the 1970s, sounding as if the group was taking in account of what had gone down in the previous years, from Yusef Lateef to Weather Report, but moving off with their focused improvisations into their own territory, cohesive explorations and conversations, the members fueling each other as the band moves along like a caravan into the unknown.

And actually this is well aware of what had gone down long before the 1950s, back to the distant past, from New York City to New Orleans, from the deep South to the sounds of other lands from times long ago. And perhaps this is even aware of the future.

It’s certainly testimony that both Jarrett and the ECM label were important elements in the development of music in the latter part of the 20th century and into the new millennium.

— winch (author of



Triumph (1976) S/T (LP) Attic Records (LAT 1012)




Attic Records (LAT 1012)

Produced by Mike Levine and Doug Hill

*** noteworthy

Fairly awful derivative debut from this Canadian hard-rock power trio, tons more enjoyable than the superior junk they’d deliver during the decade that followed this set.

It’s really not all that different than the rest of their output, but little differences can make all the difference.

(And you have to appreciate that they take Sammy Hagar’s lead and sport their own band’s name across their T-shirts.)

Here, the influences appears to be Kiss, Grand Funk, Joe Walsh, Aerosmith, Mountain, Zeppelin, King Crimson, Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, Rush, Frank Marino, and Hendrix. In fact, they likely clocked in countless basement hours jamming tunes by those outfits because the licks and riffs and vocal delivery are clearly the five-finger-discount variety.

While 1979’s Just A Game might have featured their best sleeve, this was their best album. Fans of 70s hard rock will likely find plenty to enjoy.

–winch (author of



Elliott Murphy (1976) Night Lights (LP) RCA (APL1-1318)

Elliott Murphy

 Night Lights 


RCA (APL1-1318)

Produced by Steve Katz

*** noteworthy

This third long-player by Murphy is produced by Steve Katz (fresh from producing a string of Reed albums) and features Doug Yule (Velvet Underground), Ernie Brooks (Modern Lovers) and Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads), and on one cut a 4th-grade chorus.  It sounds very much like the arty side of mid 70s New York–perhaps a bit too much for many listeners–and appears to be heavily influenced by English artists such as Ian Hunter and David Bowie and especially by fellow East Coasters Jonathan Richman and Lou Reed.

Reportedly Murphy’s earlier albums show more of a Dylan influence, but the imprint still remains here, becoming clear on “Lady Stiletto” (which sounds like it must be about Patti Smith). While this album sounds more arty and urban than the following three artists, you can sense a connection with Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Waits, and Murphy perhaps helps shed some light on a bridge between Dylan and those three artists.

It’s easy to see why some were looking at Waits, Springsteen or Murphy as sort of the new Dylan. And these three clearly had more than that in common.  Their music was informed by American folk but clearly urban.  Each had released two albums that were praised by critics but ignored by the masses, and by 1976, all three had recently recorded a third album.  It’s also easy to see why Bruce and Tom eventually found much more success.

It’s also easy to see why folks today focus on other music from this specific time and place.

While Murphy picks some great influences, so many others from this setting were focused on creating something new–a brand-new sound rising from the corpses of the past. Most bands looked back to pre-Sgt. Pepper 1960s but also looked to create something all their own. And unlike Murphy, most were not introspective and arty.

In 1976, the Ramones released their first album, the Dictators had done that the year before, the Talking Heads were getting ready for 1977, Patti Smith was spitting about a “Piss Factory,” Blondie were doing their thing, and bands such as Suicide were clearly taking the past and making something new.
Of course, there was much more.
Finally in 1976, the parts of the world interested in the underground got a taste of what was going down on the east Coast when both the CBGB and At the Rat compilations were released. While the bands from these albums have been mostly ignored, many were clearly creating a sound that would influence every aspect of punk/independent/underground music.  And that music influenced everything else.

On the other hand, one can’t help but focus more at what was going down elsewhere on the east coast at this time, but his album by Murphy certainly has its moments, even if those moments often sound stolen.  You have to appreciate that he doesn’t hide his influences, with for example, vocal elements on “Lookin’ For A Hero” clearly coming from Velvet Underground (who had borrowed those elements themselves).
Likely folks will find this set fairly enjoyable or fairly annoying.

— winch: author of



Moments (1976) Moments with You (LP) Stang 1030


Moments with You 


Stang 1030

**** recommended

While the second side of this album is filled with forgettable attempts at disco funk produced and written by the group (Ray, Goodman, Brown), Side One is produced by Sylvia Robinson and filled with endless Carol Sager-penned gems for fans of that slow and mellow soul that came out of various East Coast cities in the late 60s and early 70s.

If you think they stopped making mellow magic once disco hit town, check out the first side on this Bicentennial-year offering.  This side doesn’t have a weak moment and might have been the best side this group offered in the ten years of their existence (1968 – 1978).  It’s also another feather in Sylvia’s many-feathered hat.

— winch (author of


Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band (1976) RCA (AFL1-1504)

Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band
Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band
RCA (AFL1-1504)
Producer: Sandy Linzer
Rating: **** (Recommended)


Probably the most charming group of the disco era, this outfit formed in the Bronx and fused 30s dance-band music with the disco sound of the 70s.  Others attempted to take disco in similar directions, but nobody pulled it off like this band.  While some songs clearly fit into the disco category, elements of the older styles are dominant in others.  It’s definitely one of a kind.

— winch


Stony Browder Jr. wrote much of the music, helped with the vocals, played guitar and piano.  August Darnell wrote most of the lyrics, helped with vocals and played bass.  Cory Daye was the lead female vocalist.  Other members included Mickey Sevilla (drums), Andy Hernandez (vibes), and Don Armando Bonilla (percussion).

The Nerves: One Way Ticket (record review)

The Nerves
One Way Ticket
Alive Natural Sound (0090)
recorded:1976 – 1979
Rating: ***** (Good Shit)
This 2008 comp provides a comprehensive overview of this classic power-pop outfit, opening with two unreleased songs recorded for Bomp Records in 1977, “One Way Ticket” (Peter Case) and “Paper Dolls” (Jack Lee), the first number flipping the theme from “The Letter” by the Boxtops, this one focusing on leaving instead out trying to get to a woman, the similarity pointing out an influence on this outfit.  It’s a great song, killer start to this set, and Jack Lee’s contribution is equally cool.  Following that pair, the set offers the four songs from their only release, a 1976 E.P. from their own Nerves Records.  All of these four songs are good, especially the first two, Jack Lee’s original version of “Hanging On the Telephone” (later a hit for Blondie) and Peter Case’s “When You Find Out.”  The other two are good too, Paul Collins’s “Working Too Hard” looking back to the Beatles as well as foreshadowing his work with The Beat.  The set also includes two killer demos from 1976, Jack Lee’s “Stand Back and Take a Good Look” showing a Velvet Underground influence (or perhaps it was just influenced by the garage groups that influenced VU).  While “Many Roads To Follow” (Case-Collins) clearly fits in with the sound of this band, the acoustic sound makes it unique.  It’s clearly influenced by the Beatles, but it’s completely American, coming out of the more reflective side of 60s garage.  While reviewers often point out the DC5/Beatles influence on this band, this acoustic number reveals something that shows in all their songs, an influence that came from the States more than England.  This group might have gotten it from England, but England got it from Middle America in the first place, and this band brings it back home.  When I listen to the Nerves, I hear this band grabbing the baton from Alex Chilton.  

The set also features post-Nerves material from the late 70s and live cuts from the Nerves 1977 tour.  Some of these come across as almost filler, but the strong cuts are plentiful, more than enough to make this album a worthwhile grab.
This band splintered into the Plimsouls and the Beat, as well as other groups, and the sound heard here influenced countless artists.  The Nerves not only set an example that many followed, they also set a bar that most bands could only attempt to reach.
— Winch
(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)