The Sunday Times Rock Revelation

LP cover

The Sunday Times Magazine released a set of 3 LPs in 1975. The bands featured were the ones they could afford, otherwise I expect that an attempt at an anthology of rock would have included The Beatles, Cream, Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc. (although it's possible that these heavyweights would have overshadowed the efforts of the other artists featured). I bought the set through the newspaper, and played them to death. They have never (to my knowledge) been released on CD, so thanks to brothers Ian and Stephen who lent an almost pristine set that allowed me to make my own digital copies.

ARTIST TRACK YEAR ALBUM
Record 1
Side 1


DOOBIE BROTHERS Long Train Runnin' 1973 THE CAPTAIN AND ME
FACES Stay With Me 1971 A NOD'S AS GOOD AS A WINK ...
LITTLE FEAT Dixie Chicken 1973 DIXIE CHICKEN
IRON BUTTERFLY Termination 1972 IN A GADDA DAVIDA
JAMES GANG Merry-Go-Round 1975 NEW BORN
ALICE COOPER School's Out 1972 SCHOOL'S OUT
DR. JOHN Right Place, Wrong Time 1973 IN THE RIGHT PLACE
Record 1 Side 2

AVERAGE WHITE BAND Pick Up the Pieces 1974 AVERAGE WHITE BAND
FLEETWOOD MAC Oh Well 1974 FLEETWOOD MAC'S GREATEST HITS
BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD For What It's Worth 1973 THE BEGINNING
SONNY & CHER I Got You Babe 1973 SONNY & CHER’S GREATEST HITS
DELANEY & BONNIE Only You Know and I Know 1969 DELANEY & BONNIE AND FRIENDS ON TOUR WITH ERIC CLAPTON
BEACH BOYS The Trader 1973 HOLLAND
Record 2 Side 1

GRATEFUL DEAD Cumberland Blues 1970 WORKINGMAN'S DEAD
RY COODER It's All Over Now 1974 PARADISE AND LUNCH
SEALS AND CROFTS We May Never Pass This Way (Again) 1973 DIAMOND GIRL
COMMANDER CODY Willin' 1974 COMMANDER CODY AND HIS LOST PLANET AIRMEN
JAMES TAYLOR Sweet Baby James 1969 SWEET BABY JAMES
VAN MORRISON Moon Dance 1970 MOON DANCE
SPARKS Girl from Germany 1972 A WOOFER IN TWEETERS CLOTHING
Record 2 Side 2

GORDON LIGHTFOOT If You Could Read My Mind 1970 IF YOU COULD READ MY MIND
BETTE MIDLER Chapel of Love 1973 THE DIVINE MISS M
JOHN SEBASTIAN She's A Lady 1970 JOHN B SEBASTIAN
TIM BUCKLEY Dolphins 1974 SEFRONIA
TONY JOE WHITE Polk Salad Annie 1975 BEST OF TONY JOE WHITE
MARIA MULDAUR Midnight At the Oasis 1074 MARIA MULDAUR
MOSE ALLISON Parchman Farm 1973 MOSE ALIVE
Record 3 Side 1

FRANK ZAPPA Peaches en Regalia 1969 HOT RATS
BACKDOOR Walkin' Blues 1973 8TH STREET NITES
JERRY GOODMAN & JAN HAMMER Topeka 1974 LIKE CHILDREN
BILLY COBHAM Spectrum 1973 SPECTRUM
LES McCANN & EDDIE HARRIS Compared to What 1972 HEAVY & ALIVE
Record 3 Side 2

GREENSLADE Catalan, 1975 TIME AND TIDE
ELECTRIC PRUNES Credo 1967 MASS IN F MINOR
YES And You and I 1972 CLOSE TO THE EDGE.

I've scanned in some of the text from the album sleeve to show here; it remains the copyright of Sunday Times Newspapers:

"Record 1

Here are the most straight forward kinds of rock - sometimes called hard or heavy rock. But within even this apparent limitation there are many melodic variations. By Side 2 of the record, the music is even more various and generally softer in mood, and you hear all kinds of influences emerging - black soul and jazz, American country styles and more.

SIDE1

DOOBIE BROTHERS: Long Train Runnin'
American quintet,subsequently increased to seven, with two drummers led by Tom Johnston. Multi-racial and all-pervasive West Coast sound. Personified by two tracks - 'Listen to the Music', and the one chosen. Ringing, lucid guitar tone opens it and sustains it. Good harmony singing of secondary importance.

FACES: Stay With Me
British band having closest rapport with audience. Compete with Rolling Stones as a concert attraction. Music sometimes raw, but this is part of its appeal to their audience. Essentially a live band featuring Rod Stewart, with scarf wound round his neck and kicking a football around the stage. His voice is hoarse (he has an abnormally large larynx).

LITTLE FEAT: Dixie Chicken
Unhysterical but boogeyish. Hardline West Coast rock. Multi-racial sextet headed by slide guitarist-harmonica player-singer Lowell George. Band amusingly named after George's small shoes.

IRON BUTTERFLY: Termination
Typical band named from the 'psychedelic' era, but more tuneful than the name suggests. Now seems rather out-dated.

JAMES GANG: Merry-go-Round
Good U.S. quintet without major reputation abroad. Nice harmony singing, and sustained drive.

ALICE COOPER: School's Out
Unearthed by Frank Zappa. Has successfully tried to be the most outrageous rock artist. Stage show includes mock execution, limbless baby, snakes etc. Latterly has concocted whole mock-rock-horror-stage-show which is music's nearest equivalent to Punch and Judy or pantomime. All this obscures genuine song-writing ability and mesmeric chords. Stage technique transfers well to record - this track sounds like a live performance, which is unusual for studio-created music.

DR. JOHN: Right Place Wrong Time
Typical heavy rock - but already the music is growing more complicated. Electronic instruments, conga drums, brass fill out the sound. Dr. John's voice is self-consciously eccentric - part of the new wave of eerie-sounding voices. Backing provided by The Meters, one of the 1970's cult bands. Allen Toussaint, almost a rock Svengali for creating short-lived hits, is heard on various keyboards and percussion, and also produced, arranged and conducted the session. Dr. John, born in New Orleans, was formerly abacking musician for Fats Domino. He is a white Black Muslim.

SIDE 2

AVERAGE WHITE BAND: Pick Up The Pieces
Six British musicians take on the ghetto music scene, funky, heavy soul with increasing following. Perhaps the most successful British band to sound so vibrantly black.

FLEETWOOD MAC: Oh Well
Group that emerged from the British blues explosion of 1968-70. Noted for personnel changes and liquid guitar playing originated by Peter Green for major hit 'Albatross'. 'Oh Well' notable for sudden mood change from solid guitar work to use of haunting flute sound.

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD: For What It's Worth
Virtually the earliest of the embryonic super-groups. From this band sprang a style of gentle, very musical harmony singing, plus a union between rock and American country sounds. Neil Young and Stephen Stills, later to reappear under the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young banner, were with this band. Another Springfield member on this track, Richie Furay, founded the underrated country band, Poco.

SONNY & CHER: I Got You Babe
One-time husband and wife team, who recorded this major hit of the 'flower power'late-60s period. Touches of Phil Specter's 'Wall of Sound' approach. Because male and female voices are here interchangeable, a prelude to unisex. Cher (Bono) now records solo and has had an on-off relationship with Greg Allman of the deep-South group, The Allman Brothers.

DELANEY & BONNIE: You Don't Know Like I Know
Delaney & Bonnie (Bramlett) were a husband and wife, hillbilly-linked team whose greatest moment of glory came when they became the protégés of Eric Clapton, Britain's most famous rock guitarist. They toured together in 1969 and made one album.

THE BEACH BOYS: The Trader
The longest-lasting band represented on this album. Emerged in major fashion in early 1960's and have maintained their position ever since by continually developing their music, whilst never losing the qualities of superb melody, extravagant voice harmonies and total belief in the private world they have created.

Record 2

Many more individual voices on this record - which by definition, indicates that its variety and contrast is greater and the approach more highly personal. There is more country-influenced rock. There are the equivalent of modern folk singers - artists who have private and social messages to put over. Many of these artists attract celebrated instrumentalists in their own right who sit in (sometimes anonymously) on the recordings.

SIDE1

GRATEFUL DEAD: Cumberland Blues
Messianic group of the great San Francisco era of the late 1960s - free concerts, Haight Ashbury etc. Dominated by the personality of singer-guitarist Jerry Garcia; another group with heavy American country influence. Still, oddly enough, a minority band - which means a following of perhaps 10 million rather than 50 million.

RY COODER: It's All Over Now
Session man who from time to time fronts his own albums - and sings. Big range of styles - here slightly tongue in cheek version of Bobby and Shirley Womack's hit. As top session man, much admired by Rolling Stones, he gathers (as is traditional) top session men around him. They include Jim Keltner (drums) Russ Titelman (electric bass)and astonishingly on one track from the same album (not this one) Earl Hines (piano).

SEALS AND CROFTS: We May Never Pass This Way (Again)
Highly melodic and skilfully harmonic Californian duo. Although in the rock idiom,their songs bridge the gap between the middle-of-the-road ballad audience and the pure rock audience. Music deceptively light, however; their songs have been recorded by soul musicians like the Isley Brothers.

COMMANDER CODY: Willin'
A band of eccentrics, seemingly given to parody of jazz and country styles. This track is in their country vein - steel guitar, harmonica, solo fiddle etc, and turns out to be an unaffected classic kind of country song about truck driving.

JAMES TAYLOR: Sweet Baby James
One of the earliest artists to prove that in the rock field you don't need to have aband to have a major international following. Highly personal songs, which sometimes find their mark, and sometimes don't. Biggest hit, 'Fire and Rain', recorded by dozens of others. Married to major singer-songwriter Carly Simon. Impressive session players on this track, including Carole King (piano), Red Rhodes (ex-First National Band, steel guitar) and Randy Meisner (bass, Eagles).

VAN MORRISON: Moon Dance
Idiosyncratic introspective solo singer. Out of Belfast, has chosen to live and work in U.S.A. Began by forming renowned band Them (in Ireland), then disappeared, and emerged totally changed. Very individual artist, with numerous influences, mostly blues and R&B, through which a lyrical Irish strain can be detected.

SPARKS: Girl From Germany
Part of 'camp' rock vogue. Feature moustached and menacing. Most of their hits have been 'novelty' numbers, full of affectations - including traces of 1930's Germanic cabaret. This track is more settled, regular rock.

SIDE 2

GORDON LIGHTFOOT: If You Could Read My Mind
Canadian - part of a circle of Canadian musicians (Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, etc.) whose music is as subtly different from American rock as the United States is from Canada. Lightfoot's voice is slightly hangdog; this, his most successful song, typifies his desire to comment on contemporary life in poetic imagery.

BETTE MIDLER: Chapel of Love
One of the most consciously dynamic contemporary female artists, offering loud clothes and vigorous attack in self-conscious parody of previous-epoch pop styles. This briefer song (immortalised 10 years ago by The Dixie Cups) is pleasantly ebullient.

JOHN SEBASTIAN: She's a Lady
Once a songwriter of extraordinary promise with his band, The Lovin' Spoonful; in mid-1960's briefly seemed as prolific and consistent as Lennon and McCartney. Compositions include 'Do You Believe in Magic?', perhaps the only successful song about rock music ever written. Since Spoonful disbanded, has been content to play the jester, appearing at occasional concerts, relying on accumulated goodwill. This 1970 fragment is among the best of his songs.

TIM BUCKLEY: Dolphins
Buckley's death in 1975 at the age of 30 robbed the music world of an original talent - slight, but passionate and unmistakable. He followed the classic pattern of folk origins, maturing into mixed rock style. This track from Sefronia typifies his heartfelt style and an underlying sadness and desperation as from someone unable to come to terms with love or life.

TONY JOE WHITE: Polk Salad Annie
Amazingly like Elvis Presley in appearance, and somewhat in voice. Has popularised a special brand of 'swamp rock', more authentic than Creedence Clearwater Revival, dealing with conventions of American Deep South - food, girls and hints of violence. This song deals - behind furry intonation - with a poor people's delicacy.

MARIA MULDAUR: Midnight At The Oasis
Hailed as the most intelligent and authentic of modern female jazz or rock or country vocalists. Origins in New York's Greenwich Village in company with Dylan, John Sebastian etc. Has made no special effort to enter hit parade, as this song did in 1974. Stage performance suggests it's folk blues which remains her strongest allegiance.

MOSE ALLISON: Parchman Farm
Live recording by an enigmatic figure poised tantalisingly between white and black music, and also between several popular styles. Can't be categorised as folk or blues, but has elements of both - and of jazz and the vocal style of Hoagy Carmichael. Has never consciously sought a public reputation, appearing usually in small clubs - but the power of his music has won approbation of many big names including Bob Dylan, The Who.

Record 3

This record concentrates on the complicated and specialised sorts of rock. The musicians enjoy cult followings, sometimes in tens of thousands, sometimes in many millions. Equally, there are detractors who say that in making rock more elaborate the artists or bands are guilty of losing the spirit of the music through pretentiousness. The first side of the record concentrates particularly on what is loosely called jazz-rock - largely musicians who grew up in the jazz tradition employing new rhythms, new ways of improvisation and the capacities of new electronic instruments like the synthesiser. The last side has representatives of the blockbuster element of modern rock - bands who use electronic instruments to such an extent that they are capable of sounding like symphony orchestras and play ambitious compositions to match.

SIDE1

FRANK ZAPPA: Peaches en Regalia
From Zappa's 'Hot Rats'; one of the l9 albums which have still failed clearly to establish what kind of artist Zappa is. Has led his band (Mothers of Invention) through bewildering varieties of mood including satire-parody of the hippie culture, denunciation of modern America and straight jazz-symphonic works. Sometimes brilliant, sometimes less so, he remains one of rock's better musicians.

BACK DOOR: Walkin'
A British trio who began life playing a kind of free jazz in a pub on the Yorkshire moors. Discovered and brought into London venues, they are now beginning to expand. Back Door's style varies from jazz-rock pieces to almost free jazz. Features unusually heavily the bass guitar of Colin Hodgkinson. This is one of their more straightforward, simple-sounding blues numbers, both danceable and intelligent.

JERRY GOODMAN / JAN HAMMER: Topeka
Good example of rock technology when it really works. Only two musicians are playing here - one on violin, one on guitar - but it sounds like many because of multi-tracking, dubbing, etc.

BILLY COBHAM: Spectrum
Musician who began in modern free jazz circles, but has moved increasingly towards rock. Like many drummer-leaders, percussion can dominate his records, but on this track, drums, sax, trumpet, electric piano etc and synthesiser - are well put together. Fine line up of support musicians, includes Joe Farrell on soprano sax and the Brecker Bros.

LES McCANN / EDDIE HARRIS: Compared To What
McCann (singer-pianist) and Harris (leading experimenter with electric saxophone) were playing on the same bill at the Montreux Festival 1969 when they made this record. Fine example of jazz and rock contributing to a new kind of expression. Equally outstanding example of popular music as direct political weapon. Recorded when disenchantment with Vietnam was at its height, words are brutally powerful. Trumpet solo by guest artist Benny Bailey.

SIDE 2

ELECTRIC PRUNES: Mass in F Minor, Credo
As their name implies (see note on Iron Butterfly) one of the earliest groups to explore use of rock in more grandiose quasi-symphonic form. Singing in Latin, as they do, would be audacious even today, let alone in the late 1960's.

GREENSLADE: Catalan
British quartet - the first, probably, to take the revolutionary decision to drop lead guitar from their line-up and to use only two keyboards which can simulate almost any instrument anyway. This track which achieved fame as a single apart from being part of an album, is one of few in rock acknowledging powerful influence of Spanish music.

YES: And You And I
Their records need the very best playing equipment to get the most out of their sounds, which are finely wrought, delicate, sophisticated and drawing on host of influences, obviously including European symphonic. Among the first bands to apply symphonic ideas to rock numbers and has since developed into virtually a symphony band. To their admirers, a band of virtuosos - Patrick Moraz has now replaced Rick Wakeman (keyboards). Integrally important is the high voice of John Anderson who is responsible for most of the lyrics.

Derek Jewell is jazz and popular music critic of The Sunday Times. He also presents Radio 3's only rock programme, the weekly 'Sounds Interesting'.

Philip Norman writes on rock for The Times and The Sunday Times Magazine.

Bruce Howell writes on popular music for The Sunday Times.

Design by David Hillman.

Cover photographs by Graham Hughes and Alain le Garsmeur. Sleeve printed and made in England by Gothic Print Finishers Ltd., London SE9 2EQ."



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