Pretty cool Canadian folkie from Vancouver. Chart success eluded him in the US, but he had several Canadian hits with his covers of Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country,” Nilsson’s “1941” and “Rainmaker,” as well as Donovan’s “Sunny Goodge Street.” Check him out!
Pink Floyd’s second album and the last to feature Syd Barrett, who departed before the album was finished over mental health issues. Full disclosure, Pink Floyd’s most famous material, such as The Wall, has never done much for me. That said, I do enjoy their early, psychedelic output. Check out the dark, foreboding “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" and the UFO-themed “Let There Be More Light.”
This sweet-sounding R&B outfit found their stride in the early-70s with its 4th album, the Grammy-nominated “Bitter Sweet.” It is the first release by The Main Ingredient to feature Cuba Gooding Sr as lead vocalist (Gooding replaced Donald McPherson who tragically died of leukemia in 1971). The album contains their biggest hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” which spent three weeks at no. 2.
I first heard the late Kiyohiko Ozaki while visiting Tokyo in January, 2019. We were at a vinyl bar, Dogenzaka Rock, located in Shibuya (Definitely check it out if you’re there) where I asked the DJ/bartender to play the “Frank Sinatra of Japan.” He put on this album and I was completely blown away by this Japanese megastar with his soaring voice and those trademark sideburns.
Before he was the lead guitarist of NRBQ, Connecticut-native Al Anderson fronted the Wildweeds. The Wildweeds’ seminal single, “No Good To Cry,” which brilliantly blended garage rock with soul, peaked at #88 nationally, but was something of a regional sensation in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Melanie Safka is one of those prolific artists who was seemingly everywhere in the late-60s and early-70s, including the original 1969 Woodstock music festival and the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, but who does not really get enough credit today as a seminal artist of that era. I would describe Melanie’s music and sound as Donovan + Bobbie Gentry = Melanie.
The Lovin’ Spoonful’s second album, contains the hits “Daydream,” and “You Didn’t Have to Be So Nice.” Dissatisfied with the amount of covers on the group’s debut album, “Do You Believe in Magic,” lead singer John Sebastian penned all but one of the tracks on their follow-up effort, running the gambit from pop/rock to country to blues.
Recorded over a six year period (being 1979-1985), Alan Jefferson's Galactic Nightmare is a prog-electronic - progtronic? - concept album originally released exclusively on home-recorded (with Dolby C NR) C-90 cassette tapes, made available via mail order through home computer magazines and science fiction fanzines in the UK.
America had Peter, Paul and Mary, Australia had The Seekers and South Africa had Four Jacks and a Jill; after several hits in their home country, this folk rock outfit enjoyed brief international success with their breakout hit “Master Jack.” They cracked the US charts again in 1968 with “Mister Nico” and “Hey Mister,” but soon faded from the international spotlight.
“A Phonograph Opera” allegedly written after eccentric jazz composer Tupper Saussy attended a stage performance of Samuel Barber's “Antony and Cleopatra;” file this in the AM/Orchestral pop section alongside “MacAurther Park.” Though that section could also be called psychedelic music for squares, and Saussy could be called “not quite Jim Webb,” that’s certainly not a knock as “The Moth Confesses” - and it’s top 20 single, the haunting “Morning Girl” - has been one of my go-tos since I first heard it in 2006. The album was nominated for two grammy awards, and “Morning Girl” was revived in the mid-70s by Shaun Cassidy of all people.
She may be a lady, but Tom Jones, looking like a shapely exclamation mark against a dark red backdrop, with his f&*k-off belt buckle, is telling YOU he’s THE man. While the majority of the songs are not nearly as strong as “She’s a Lady” (Tom’s biggest hit) and its follow up single “Puppet Man” (Written by the incredible Neil Sedaka, who, frankly, is more of a man than Tom will ever be), Tom makes up for it by plowing through each song with the same bombast of the title track, making this a great listen. Bonus points for the covers of “In Dreams” and Gilbert O’Sullivan’s “Nothing Rhymed.”