Monday, February 2, 2009


The motorcycle photo is from James Gang Rides Again..........
The band photo is Traffic........

I don't know where to start. The amount and quality of music that I was being exposed to in 1970 is awe inspiring. It fed my spirit. It kept me alive. It was so real and vibrant and permeating that I think I existed on it. There was an overlapping of Soul, British R&B, Psychedelia, Southern R&B, Southern Rock, Folk, Blues, Bluegrass and Jazz, with a big heaping of fabulous songwriters- ah, so tasty, so satisfying.

I am a big fan of Traffic. I loved Dave Mason's "Alone Together" and when Van Morrison put out "Moondance", I learned about poetry and romance and rhythm. I was still listening spellbound to Blind Faith and even though Sweetheart of the Rodeo came out a couple of years earlier, I just got turned on to it sometime in '70. It is a true classic and epitomizes the fusion of genres possible then that are not so possible now.

I miss Gram Parsons every day.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel was the #1 song that year according to Billboard, and it truly captured the feeling at the time. The Beatles said "Let It Be" and broke up. That fall I was riding around Southside listening to Free's album "Fire and Water" and the single "All Right Now".

There are just too many songs and artists to put in a narrative. I am going to list them on the gadget device on the blog.

Each time I look at the titles and the album cover art I get a rush of sounds, smells, emotions, and associations that surround me like long lost family. This was my world. I mean, come on, could there ever be another song like "Lola" by the Kinks? or "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor, or "He Ain't Heavy He's My Brother" by the Hollies?

There was so much freedom to mix, to sample, to play, to experiment!There was an open invitation every day coming from everywhere. It reached me on the radio- even if it was a more watered down version of the live music that was the real thing. It came through to me- Joni Mitchell, Doors, The Who, Plastic Ono Band, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Crosby Stills and Nash, Neil Young, the Allman Brothers and on and on.

In the fall of 1969 I saw the Rolling Stones in Auburn. I almost didn't get to see them. I was living in Dorm K at Auburn and some nitwit set off the fire alarm the night before the concert. We were told that if the guilty party did not step forward then we would all be on lockdown.

It took only a few minutes before a horde of girls marched the perpetrator to the HouseMother like a sacrificial lamb. Ratting someone out vs. the Rolling Stones- hmm-let me see-Yeah, the Rolling Stones,

I went to see Alvin Lee and Ten Years After in Atlanta at the Atlanta Auditorium in December, 1970. It was like going through a door into an alternate universe. I am not sure I ever came back into this one after that. That was a heavy scene.

There was a concert in Birmingham sometime that year or the next that featured 6 bands (our only music festival) and one of them was Cactus I think. Someone told me that the Midnight's Voice was in operation then, but I don't recall it. I did see the Dixie Dregs there a few years later. I went to see the Allman Brothers free outdoors on the Quad in Tuscaloosa just on the spur of the moment one night. Wow.

Most good concerts were elsewhere and out of reach. I used to hang out at the Wooden Nickel (later called The Nick) but there was no live music then. We also went to the Upside Down Plaza and danced and carried on to juke box oldies.

Sometimes we just put on a stack of Moody Blues records and drifted away from Southside, Birmingham, Alabama, and the USA.

No comments:

Post a Comment