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The Crimson Supplement

Music: Up and Down the Charts 1971: A Blue Year

By Charlie Allen

The year 1971 witnessed the arrival of surprisingly few new superstars. Heroes from the days of psychedelic idolatry--the Airplane, the Dead, the Stones, John Lennon--regained their mortal human natures. The dream was over, music was de-politicized, and according to the media, students became either wonks or Jesus freaks. At concerts, the widespread occurrence of antisocial behavior, pseudo-radical disruption, and hostility toward performers seemed to reflect the pain of abandoning an essentially delusional relationship with popular music. The crash was an inevitable reaction, encouraged by many stars who combined a renewed emphasis on pure entertainment with a more frankly derivative approach.

Groups like the Rolling Stones, who have paid tribute to their rhythm and blues roots from the beginning, recently have gone one noble step further. By cooperating in recording sessions with their black mentors, by lending their names to various, more-or-less neglected saints of American blues, they have performed a gesture of both historical significance and tangible economic consequences. (Needless to say, it is an outrage that young, white bluesmen should possess such disproportionate earning power; certain old bluespeople are not even collecting their royalties on disputed copyrights for lack of legal counsel.) Actually, the idea is not new--the Yardbirds jammed with Sonny Boy Williamson years ago. What is new is the degree to which such superstars as Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood have subordinated their personalities to the style of the master. It is a labor of reverence, requiring both musical expertise and interpersonal sensitivity.

Several major collaborations of this sort were released last year. My favorite is Blue Memphis Suite (Warner Brothers), which features the incomparable singer-pianist Memphis Slim, backed by guitarist Peter Green (Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac), organist John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Duster Bennett on harmonica, Chris Spedding, Pete Winfield, and others. The performance of everyone, especially producer Philippe Rault, is absolutely flawless; the juxtaposition of early Forties blues structure with ultramodern instrumentation and arrangement completely transcends the concept of mere revival. It is a tour de force of textural and harmonic complexity within the blues idiom. On side one, expatriate Memphis Slim tells the story of his birth in Tennessee, migration to Chicago, and eventual emigration to France. Side two presents Slim's commentary on contemporary America, in such songs as "Youth Wants to Know," "Chicago Seven," and "Mason Dixon Line." This album is an all-European production and it brilliantly re-affirms the preeminence of the exploratory blues sensibility on that side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Another outstanding success in Europe was The London Howling Wolf Sessions, with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman, Charlie Watts, and others. The personality of Wolf towers over the record, which is a testimony both of the record, which is a testimony both of the power of the man and of the humility and restraint of his assistants. The sound is very clean and precise; and while the choice of material includes famous hits ("Red Rooster," "I Ain't Superstitious," "Sitting on Top of the World"), one could complain that a precious opportunity was missed to capture more of Wolf's vast unrecorded repertoire.

B.B. King, too, had his B.B. King in London album (ABCX 730). He is heard with Jim Keltner, Bobby Keyes, Ringo Starr, and Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack, among others. While perhaps not as interesting--musically or sociologically--as the Memphis Slim and Howling Wolf records, it is nevertheless superb B.B. King music, with a delightful rhythmic variety to it.

The career of John Lee Hooker, the darkest blue of bluesmen, was given a boost by his association with Canned Heat. Hooker 'n Heat (Liberty) is a double album, half of which is John Lee with the band and the other half John Lee alone or sparingly accompanied (usually by the late Alan Wilson on harp.) The alliance is natural, as Canned Heat's sound is chiefly derived from the boogie beat which is Hooker's trademark. Alan Wilson and Bob "Bear" Hite are serious blues scholars; that they are actively promoting their heritage, not merely exploiting it, makes them almost unique among American rock stars.

Leon Russell made his contribution, not in the form of paying respect to an old master, but by involving himself with an emerging talent, Freddy King. King's career has the momentum to go a long way; Russell's influence on their first project, Freddy King Getting Ready (Shelter), is a healthy combination of supervision and modesty. Co-produced by Russell and Don Nix, the album offers an excellent selection of material and powerful interplay between King's biting lead guitar and vocals, Russell's distinctive piano, and Duck Dunn's bass. Freddy King's licks have been compared to those of the other two Kings, B.B. and Albert (no relation), but he has a versatility and rock empathy which cuts the other two to bits. A second lp by Russell and King, recorded live at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, should be released soon. From all reports, it will be as exciting as Getting Ready.

Some of the best--if not most orthodox--blues music to emerge last year came from younger artists. In addition to the deaths of Otis Spann and Magic Sam, the world suffered the losses of King Curtis and Duane "Skydog" Allman last year. Allman was a guitarist of both incredible technical virtuosity and unerring taste. As a studio musician for Atlantic Records, he played on countless albums, ranging from those of Aretha Franklin to Boz Scaggs, Herbie Mann to John Hammond. He is best known, however, for his work in the Allman Brothers Band. After two good albums, a third and great album was released last year, The Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East (Capricorn). Long famous for their live performances, the Allman Brothers amply demonstrate on this double lp why they are considered by many to be the best white blues band in the world. Duane lent his talents to another monster album of 1971, Derek and the Dominoes (Atco), which also must be considered Eric Clapton's best effort in years. The tightly interwoven lead guitar work of Allman and Clapton, ranging from dense, driving chords to ultra-high register wailing, is a rock masterpiece and surely the most perfectionistic endeavor in the field of pristine white blues. Funky, it ain't. If portions of Jimi Hendrix's music represent one pole--chaos--of the blues spectrum, then Derek and the Dominoes must be the pole of order. (This contrast can be clearly seen on "Little Wing." Hendrix's version of which is loose and airy. When Derek and Co. do it, they create an air of majestic, almost martial, pomp not unlike the "Triumphal March" in Aida.)

King Curtis perished at the peak of his career. He was the king of the rock and roll sax, his studio contributions stretching back to the Coasters' hit "Yakety Yak." His last album, Live at Fillmore West (Atco), was his best by far, despite the questionable inclusion of such songs as "Whole Lotta Love" and "Whiter Shade of Pale." With a phenomenal rhythm section driving him along, Curtis displays his prodigious control of the instrument in the essential Stax-Volt rhythm and blues vein.

23. What is Elvis' full name, where was he born, and what was the name of his twin brother who died at birth?  (3)

24. All of Elvis' dates made big news in the fifties. Who was the most important woman in his life?  (1)

25. Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker, worked in a circus, before taking on Elvis and striking it rich. What was his act in the circus?  (1)

26. As Mary, South Philly, used to say, "The lyrics aren't much, but it's got a good beat, you can dance to it, I give it an 85." Who played?

a. Sleepwalk

b. Afrikaan Beat

c. Walk Don't Run

d. Love is Blue

e. Theme from A Summer Place

f. The Stripper

g. Harlem Nocturne

h. Telstar

i. Honky Tonk

j. Rebel Rouser  (10)

27. Who were the four warbling stars of TV's Lucky Strike Hit Parade in the late fifties?  (4)

28. Where do all the hippies meet?  (1)

29. What great fifties pop star penned the theme to Johnny Carson's Tonight Show?  (1)

30. Two different songs entitled "Venus" were number one hits in 1959 and 1969, Who sang them?  (2)

31. In what hits did the following receive or send letters:

a. Gladys Knight and the Pips

b. Pat Boone

c. Victor Lundberg

d. Billy Williams

e. The Box Tops

f. Brain Hyland  (6)

32. Some performers capitalize on other singers' hits by recording "answer" songs. What were the follow-ups to the songs below; who did the originals, and who were the imitators?

a. Work with Me, Annie

b. Eve of Destruction

c. Big Bad John

d. Leader of the Pack  (12)

33. The Platters' first hit was written by their manager, whose name is also a material used in book covers, not unlike leatherette. Name the song and its cddly monickered author.  (2)

34. Santana's recent hit "Everybody's Everything" was a note-for-note steal (with rewritten lyrics) of an early sixties song. Name the song and the group.  (2)

35. Who was the host on Name That Tune?  (1)

36. In a pop geography of the Land of Love, where might you find:

a. Phil Phillips

b. Harold Dorman

c. Nathaniel Mayor and His Fabulous Twilights  (3)

37. Both Gene McDaniels and Jimmie Rodgers sang about the creation of women. What were the songs?  (2)

38. Ike and Tina, Dick and Dee Dee, and Marvin and Tammi all had hits with nearly identical titles. Name all three, each with the proper duo.  (3)

39. In 1959, the Coasters had a hit that described lack of variety in television programming. What was it?  (1)

40. The following songs helped kick off dance crazes. Name the performers:

a. C'mon and Swim

b. Monkey Time

c. Locomotion

d. Boogaloo Down Broadway

e. The Twist

f. Wah-Watusi  (6)

41. What did my friend, the witch-doctor, tell me to do?  (1)

42. What names in early rock rhymed with Boney, Lawdy, Dizzy, Good Golly, and Ready?  (5)

43. What opposite parts of the city appealed to Petula Clark and the Crystals?  (2)

44. What great American poet had a Top Forty hit singing "(You Ought to See) Oliver Twist"?  (1)

45. As anyone who has seen record ads on late night TV knows, the Fifties was a golden decade for pop music, despite the influence of rock and roll. Who had big pop hits with the following songs:

a. Ricochet Romance

b. Come On-My House

c. Singin' the Blues

d. That Old Black Magic

e. Throw Mamma From the Train a Kiss

f. Doggie in the Window

g. Catch a Falling Star

h. Que Sera, Sera

i. Oh, My Papa

j. The Wayward Wind

k. Just Walkin' in the Rain

l. Day-O

m. It's All in the Game

n. Rags to Riches

o. Memories are Made of This  (15)

46. Who did the original "Piece of My Heart"?  (1)

47. Why did Elvis shake like a man on a fuzzy tree?  (1)

48. What two singers with the same last name recorded "Susie-Q" and "I Put a Spell on You"?  (2)

49. How did Dodie Stevens' boyfriend Dooley dress?  (1)

50. The Duprees had a hit with "You Belong to Me," and the Velvetones scored heavily with "Glory of Love." Who did the originals?  (2)

51. In one word, what tears Terry Stafford apart?  (1)

52. What were the one-shot hits of these forgettable groups:

a. The Hombres

b. Friend and Lover

c. John Fred and His Playboy Band

d. Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts  (4)

53. Freddie Bell and his group made a career appearing in rock movies from the original Rock Around the Clock (1954) to Get Yourself a College Girl (1964). What was the group's name?  (1)

54. Novelty and narration songs, unfortunately, were once the rage. Who perpetrated the following?

a. The Chipmunk Song

b. The Purple People Eater

c. Mr. Custer

d. Ringo

e. Old Rivers

f. Beep Beep  (6)

55. This great singer, best known for "Fever," also had hits like "Sleep" and "All Around the World." He died in prison in 1968, after serving four years for the murder of one Kendall Roundtree. What is his name?  (1)

56. Ray Charles sang of an avenue with the same name as the street Heartbreak Hotel was on. What is it?  (1)

57. What are the Everly Brothers' first names, and what team wrote most of their hits?  (2)

58. The flip side of "Rockin' Robin" was a sizable hit in its own right and later became a smash for the Dave Clark Five. What was the song and who sang it?  (2)

59. What oldie did the Marcels remake as a follow-up to their hit version of "Blue Moon"?  (1)

60. What did Eddie Cochran's congressman say to him in "Summertime Blues?"  (1)

THE GIGANTIC GROUP OLDIES MATCH QUIZ  (40)

Match the singers with their songs:

1. A Little Bit of Soap

2. Greenback Dollars

3. You Cheated

4. Western Movies

5. Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye

6. The Boy From New York City

7. In the Still of the Night

8. New York's a Lonely Town

9. Little Darlin'

10. Try the Impossible

11. Sincerely

12. Easier Said Than Done

13. I'm a Happy Man

14. My Boyfriend's Back

15. Stay

16. Cry Baby

17. What's Your Name?

18. So Much in Love

19. It was I

20. Get a Job

21. Let Me In

22. The Wind

23. Silhouettes

24. Come Softly to Me

25. Is the Moon Out Tonight?

26. I Sold My Heart to the Junkman

27. I Only Have Eyes for You

28. Two People in the World

29. Come Go With Me

30. Diamonds and Pearls

31. Don't You Just Know It

32. Let The Good Times Roll

33. Tobacco Road

34. Mule Skinner Blues

35. Chapel of Love

36. Sixteen Candles

37. I Shot Mr. Lee

38. I Need Your Lovin'

39. For Your Precious Love

40. Wipeout

Lee Andrews and the Hearts

Little Anthony and the Imperials

Jerry Butler and the Impressions

Jarmels

Eugene Pitt and the Jive Five

Kingston Trio

Harvey Fuqua and the Moonglows

Nashville Teens

Olympics

Paradons

Rays

Sensations

Shields

Shirley and Lee

Silhouettes

Skip and Flip

Surfaris

Tradewinds

Tymes

Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs

Adlibs

Angles

Patti Labelle and the Bluebells

Bobbettes

Capris

Casinos

Huey "Piano" Smith and the Clowns

Crests

Dell-Vikings

Nolan Strong and the Diablos

Diamonds

Dixie Cups

Don Gardner and DeeDee Ford

Don and Juan

Garnett Mimms and the Enchanters

Essex

Fendermen

Five Satins

Flamingos

Fleetwood

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