Rick Grech, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, and Eric Clapton of Blind Faith, c. 1969
Last month, we explored my favorite underground music tracks by little-known artists from the Golden Era, 1967-72. This month, I present ten rarely heard tracks by well-known artists from the same period. Much of this music was introduced to me by DJ Don Davis from WDVE in Pittsburgh. I tip my hat to my brother, Chuck, who recorded many hours of Don Davis music during his law school days.
1. “The Shield,” by Deep Purple (1969), features Jon Lord (organ), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Ian Paice (drums),
and Ron Evans (vocals). I never thought much about Deep Purple until I discovered this track. I love to play this one along with “One Way Street” by Harvey Mandel. On therising storm.net, “The Shield” is described as “a funky, loping offering with an impenetrable hippie lyric, a catchy, almost oriental organ riff, and splendid guitar work. . . .”
2. “Change of Address Jam,” by Blind Faith (1969), is a previously unreleased jam session that was included in a re-mastered CD released in 2003. Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Rick Grech take us on a 12-minute instrumental ride.
Thanks to Doug Mackey for this one.
3. “Sands of Time,” by Fleetwood Mac (1971), was written by Danny Kirwan, who sings and plays lead guitar on this 7-minute track. Some mornings Iwake up and hear inside my head Danny’s heart-soothing guitar solo breaking into the chorus, “We will go right down to the sea, bathing in light, we will be free to wander.”
4. “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave,” by Dave Mason (1970), reveals why Dave was such an important member of Traffic.
Mason’s incredible wah-wah guitar solo will haunt you in delightful ways.
5. “Laughing,” by David Crosby (1971), from LP If I Could Only Remember My Name, tells the story of a man who wants “to know the truth.” Later, he expresses hope that “I thought I found a light to guide me through,” but it was “only a child laughing in the sun.” The addicting hook in this song comes from Jerry Garcia’s pedal steel guitar.
6. “Girl in Your Eye,” by Spirit (1967), written and sung by band member Jay Ferguson, captures the hopeful vibe of the emerging West Coast scene in the late ’60s. Another soaring, yet measured guitar solo sweeps the listener to new heights. That’s why we loved the early Fleetwood Mac before the ladies joined the show.
7. “2000 Light Years from Home,” by Rolling Stones (1967), is one of the few space rock epics that actually transport the listener to wondrous, distant galaxies.
Brian Jones’ Pink-Floyd-flavored mellotron/synthesizer, Keith Richards’ guitar, and Mick Jagger’s convincing vocals—such an unusual composition and delivery. Some think it’s weird. I consider it a masterpiece. Notice the unique instrumental ending and remind yourself that you are Earth-anchored.
8. “I Can Feel Him in the Morning,” by Grand Funk Railroad (1971), shows an introspective side of the normally hard rocking band. The track begins with authentic spoken words from children describing their idea of God. When the music and singing begin, we are quickly taken to a place where the reality of war gives rise to the hope to make a better world.
9. “Over the Hill,” by Ten Years After (1968), is one of several astonishing musical pieces from the CD A Space in Time.
Alvin Lee, the genius behind this band, begins with his acoustic guitar and thoughts about “water on the brain” and “leaving the blues behind.” By the end, you will be wrapped in the solace of a string ensemble and faintly echoing electronics. It’s a nice ride and fitting conclusion to our reflections.
10. “Song for a Dreamer” by Procol Harum (1971), features the guitar genius of Robin Trower in his last album before going solo. Yes, indeed, there is much more to Procol Harum than “White Shade of Pale.” I will “see you on the other side of the moon.”
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