Released on this day in 1964! The Times They Are A-Changin’ ~ Bob Dylan

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If The Times They Are a-Changin’ isn’t a marked step forward from The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, even if it is his first collection of all originals, it’s nevertheless a fine collection all the same. It isn’t as rich as Freewheelin’, and Dylan has tempered his sense of humor considerably, choosing to concentrate on social protests in the style of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” With the title track, he wrote an anthem that nearly equaled that song, and “With God on Our Side” and “Only a Pawn in Their Game” are nearly as good, while “Ballad of Hollis Brown” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” are remarkably skilled re-castings of contemporary tales of injustice. His absurdity is missed, but he makes up for it with the wonderful “One Too Many Mornings” and “Boots of Spanish Leather,” two lovely classics. If there are a couple of songs that don’t achieve the level of the aforementioned songs, that speaks more to the quality of those songs than the weakness of the remainder of the record. And that’s also true of the album itself — yes, it pales next to its predecessor, but it’s terrific by any other standard.

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Released on this day in 1999! By Your Side ~ The Black Crowes

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Between Shake Your Money Maker and Three Snakes and One Charm, the Black Crowes evolved from a muscular, Stonesy hard rock outfit to full-fledged modern-day Southern rockers, drawing from a wealth of blues, country, folk, and rock styles to create a sprawling, fluid sound that was simultaneously traditional and distinctive. The problem was, their loose-limbed grooves tended to connect better in concert than on record, especially since they were sacrificing songs for the sake of sound, which in turn was decreasing their audience. Aware of the situation, the Crowes went back to their roots with By Your Side. Armed with a string of concise, energetic rockers, the Crowes hit harder than they had since their debut, yet they retain the sonic detail that reared its head on Amorica, adding pianos, choirs, and scores of other flourishes throughout the record. It’s a back-to-basics set performed with all of the knowledge they have gained over the years, and the result is a thoroughly enjoyable record, their most satisfying and accessible effort since The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. Not that it’s necessarily in that league — it lacks the parade of great songs that elevate that album above all their others — but it does find the Crowes in lean fighting form for the first time in years, proving that they’re possibly the best straight-ahead rock & roll band of the ’90s.

Released on this day in 1981! The Nature of the Beast ~ April Wine

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April Wine (like any good wine) got better with age, and the Canadians’ brightest moment only arrived over a decade into their career with 1981’s The Nature of the Beast. Opener “All Over Town” lurches into action on a lopsided riff before finding its awesome groove, — a groove they seldom abandon through and to the end of the disc. All-around frontman Myles Goodwyn is in top form, leading the band through some of their most aggressive material ever (“Bad Boys,” “Crash and Burn”), as well as through the band’s career-defining power ballad “Just Between You and Me.” While “Caught in the Crossfire” and “Future Tense” suffer from some cheesy sci-fi lyrics, melodic hard rockers such as “Big City Girls,” “One More Time,” and “Sign of the Gypsy Queen” (featuring Thin Lizzy-like dual guitar harmonies) pick up the slack in spades.

Happy Birthday Steve Marriott!

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Stephen Peter “Steve” Marriott (30 January 1947 – 20 April 1991) was an English musician, songwriter and frontman of two notable rock and roll bands, spanning over two decades. Marriott is remembered for his powerful singing voice which belied his small stature, and for his aggressive approach as a guitarist in mod rock bands Small Faces (1965–1969) and Humble Pie (1969–1975 and 1980–1981). Marriott was inducted posthumously into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 2012 as a member of Small Faces.
In Britain, Marriott became a popular, often-photographed mod style icon through his role as lead singer and guitarist with the Small Faces in the mid to late 1960s. Marriott was influenced from an early age by his heroes including Buddy Holly, Booker T & the MG’s, Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Muddy Waters and Bobby Bland. In later life Marriott became disillusioned with the music industry and turned his back on the big record companies, remaining in relative obscurity. He returned to his music roots playing the pubs and clubs around London and Essex.
Marriott died on 20 April 1991 when a fire, thought to have been caused by a cigarette, swept through his 16th century home in Arkesden, Essex. He posthumously received an Ivor Novello Award in 1996 for his Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and was listed in Mojo as one of the top 100 greatest singers of all time.
Black Sabbath frontman, Ozzy Osbourne, named Marriott the fourth greatest singer and Clem Burke of Blondie named him the sixteenth greatest singer and wrote under his name, “greatest rock singe. Paul Stanley of Kiss has said, “He had a great voice” and went on to say, “Steve Marriott was unbelievable”. Keith Richards listed Marriott as one of his five favourite artists of all time. Steve Perry, of Journey fame, has claimed that, “One of my favourite vocalists was Steve Marriott.” While discussing Kevin DuBrow with Billboard.com, Quiet Riot bassist Rudy Sarzo said “If there was anybody that Kevin would say ‘I try to sing like,’ it would be Steve Marriott.”

Did you know? The Beatles played live together for the last time on this day in 1969..

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1969, The Beatles (with Billy Preston), played their lunchtime rooftop gig on top of the Apple building on Savile Row in London. Lasting for just over 40 minutes it was the last time The Beatles performed live. The played ‘Get Back’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘The One After 909’ and ‘Dig A Pony’. Traffic was brought to a standstill as crowds of people gathered below and watched from windows in nearby buildings. The performance itself began at around 12pm on a bitterly cold Thursday lunchtime and lasted for 42 minutes. John Lennon ended the performance by saying “I’d like to say ‘Thank you’ on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition.”