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Old 12-07-2014, 02:57 PM   #443 (permalink)
Nobody likes my music
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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The idea of the Classic Journal is simple really. I choose one journal which I believe has enriched the section, which is regularly updated and whose author has a lot to say and says it well, and I go through it in depth from beginning to where it is now. Obviously I can't be expected to do all this in one sitting, so each journal will cover weeks or maybe even months, depending on how large they are, and when I've finished with one I will choose another.

For the first foray into this new section I'm choosing, as I have already mentioned,

I can I think claim partial credit for at least the genesis of this journal, as I believe it was me who encouraged Unknown Soldier to begin a journal, and since it debuted back in September 2012 it has become not only one of the most consistent and informative journals in the section, but is now the go-to reference for anything related to hard rock/heavy metal of the last thirty or forty years. Here's where it all began, over two years ago now.

Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post
Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History

I’ve finally decided to put together an album by album history of hard rock and heavy metal. I’ve decided to do this on a year by year basis, with what I feel were the ten best and most essential albums for each year. The journal will be written with fairly in-depth album reviews, insights and the type of impact that these albums had if any at the time and in the future. I decided that I would do this from 1970 to present day (so a hell of a lot of albums here) but I quickly realised that the real birth of this music, probably started a year earlier in 1969 which was such a pivotal year, so for that reason my reviews will start there, despite sounding an odd place to start number wise.

The motivation for the journal actually comes from various friends of mine, who often ask me how should they get into metal and heavy music, and where should they start. As always I often say at the beginning, where it was more melodic and less heavy by today’s standards, as a I know chucking them a Sepultura or Slayer cd will have them running for the nearest exit and swearing never to listen to anything heavy ever again! So this journal will hopefully be educational and interesting to any reading and possibly even nostalgic. For me it actually allows me to put all the stuff that I’ve listened to, finally down in a cohesive list once and for all, I also hope to sneak in some albums that I may have forgotten or overlooked as well. Also for some of the years for me, it will be almost impossible to choose just ten albums, but I’ll worry about that when the time comes. The format may well change slightly as I go along but that depends on how the journal goes. So I’ll kick of position 10 for 1969 on my next entry, after inserting a 'pre-listening list'.
The first person to comment in the journal was Janszoon, who rather prophetically but accurately described this as “quite an undertaking”, and indeed it was and is. Rather more poignantly, a few posts down we have the late Howard the Duck, who quipped “Give me Manowar or give me death”. A few months later he would die of a heart attack in his native Malaysia. Sadly missed.

But to return to the journal entries themselves, the first real post by US was “Ten influential albums worth listening to”, in which he namechecked Jimi Hendrix Experience's “Are you experienced?”, Creams' “Disraeli gears”, Jeff Beck's “Truth”, Vanilla Fudge and Gun's debut self-titled, Head Machine's “Orgasm”, Blue Cheer's “Vincebus eruptum”, Steppenwolf's “Steppenwolf the Second”, Iron Butterfly's “In-a-gadda-da-vida” and Coven's “Witchcraft destroys souls and reaps minds”. Interesting collection.

The real work then got going as Unknown Soldier visited 1969, looking at the roots of hard rock with Deep Purple and Bloodrock's self-titled debuts and Grand Funk Railroad's “On time”. He then introduced his “Album of the year”, and for '69 this was “Sea shanties” by High Tide. I'd never heard of them, but he spoke very highly of them. Well he would have to, wouldn't he, to have picked this as his AOTY? Grand Funk Railroad, however, figured prominently in his picks for 1969, with their second album, “Grand Funk”, making a decent showing at number 6 and MC5's “Kick out the jams” at the next spot up. What would be his top pick for 1969? Well, before we learned that we would hear about Humble Pie “As safe as yesterday is”, Free's “Tons of sobs” and taking the second position the second Led Zep album. But at the top? That spot was reserved for their debut, making Zep one of the most influential and successful rock artistes of that year.

Before moving on into the 70s, he checked one more album that could have been included but had overtones of other subgenres and so precluded him putting it in the top ten. This would be a recurring feature throughout his journal, and still is. The first, then, of “Also check this out” became King Crimson's prog epic, “In the court of the Crimson King”. He also then ran off a list of albums that had not made the cut, shown below:
Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post
Albums that missed the cut.........
Other good albums worth checking out that were also released in 1969, but weren't quite good enough to make the top 10 and are listed below in no set order, So the best of the rest:

Humble Pie
Town and Country 1969

Almost entirely acoustic based and shows a different side of the band, with some great work by Peter Frampton. The band really wouldn't do anything like this ever again. It pains me to leave this off the list.

Free 1969

More subdued than than the debut set as Paul Rodgers would assert greater control over the band and in "Free Me" they put out one of their best ever tracks. This is great rock music for a Sunday afternoon drive.

Jeff Beck Group
Beck-Ola 1969

This album is certainly nowhere near as essential as his debut solo album, but Beck-Ola does have some good material on it and great guitaring as you'd expect from Jeff Beck.

Leslie West
Mountain 1969

Often thought of as the first ever Mountain album but this is officially classed as a Leslie West solo album. The album is highlighted by Leslie West's throaty voice and his bluesy guitar playing.

Spooky Tooth
Spooky Two 1969

Early Pacesetters, whose thunder would be stolen by Deep Purple (who beat them to the list as well) Bassist Greg Ridley would soon jump ship to Humble Pie and go on to greater success in Humble Pie.
Finally, there was “Hard, Heavy and a Classic”, with The Stooges' debut self-titled before he rushed headlong to embrace 1970.

This began with an overview of the year, listing the type of music that either faded out or became popular or dominant in this year, some of the bands and any other tidbits of information that seemed appropriate. It was a great introduction to each year, and would become standard throughout his journal.

Here's the original entry, made at the end of September 2012:
Originally Posted by Unknown Soldier View Post

If both 1967 and 1968 were the years of heavy fondling, it was 1969 that finally saw hard penetration and the baby being conceived, but it was in 1970 that the baby would truly be born and it was one hell of a birth! Led Zeppelin had already in 1969 set the yardstick of excellence for all heavy music with their two groundbreaking albums and they along with Grand Funk Railroad had become two of the biggest heavy acts around (they were already selling millions in the USA). Other talented bands which I've already mentioned in 1969, were now starting to get more acclaim amongst music fans and were becoming far more cohesive with their overall sound, despite the fact that huge sections of the music media were still deriding a lot of music at the heavier end of the spectrum. As for 1970 the year that will now be looked at, this would now see 'heavy music' gain even more momentum as the already established 'heavy acts' were now two and three albums down the line, and the heavy blues and psychedelic influences of most of these bands were now being fused into a more tighter hard rock sound. The year would also see, a whole host of very interesting new bands with some truly great albums and whilst some of these bands would never achieve the popular acclaim that they were surely due, their future influence would be highly noticeable to anybody listening to these albums. But 1970 would truly be remembered as the arrival of Black Sabbath, who would of course go on to become the most revered band in all metaldom and also be the first band to try and break out of the heavy blues and psychedelic inflluences of most of their counterparts. As a year 1970 produced even stronger albums album for album than 1969 did, with Black Sabbath's first two albums easily making the cut.
The top ten albums of 1970 then featured three self-titled in the lowest positions, with the debuts from May Blitz (who?), Stray (again..?) and Lucifer's Friend. Then came Free's “Fire and water” and at the number 6 slot, one of the most influential albums of the hard rock/heavy metal generation, as Black Sabbath unleashed their (also self-titled) debut. Album Pick of the Year was at number 5, “Kingdom come” from Sir Lord Baltimore (?) while number 4 saw Deep Purple's coming-of-age “In rock”, with the top three made up of Trapeze's “Medusa”, Zep again with their third album and at the number one spot, Sabbath's seminal “Paranoid”.

In “Also check this out” he had the Flower Travellin' Band's “Anywhere” and another slew of albums that didn't make the cut, including James Gang, Uriah Heep, Mountain, more Free and more Grand Funk, as well as others. Speaking of Grand Funk Railroad, they were to introduce a new section, the “Live Album section”, and for 1970 we had their “Live album”, while under “Hard, heavy and a Classic” this time we had “Funhouse” by The Stooges featured, as well as “Death walks behind you” by Atomic Rooster. We were now deep into October, and 1971was looming on the horizon. I''ll be looking at that and 1972, in the next installment.
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