70 FROM ’70 — PART 7

70 HAWKWIND — Hawkwind

Transitional sounds from the veteran space-rockers. Of course they weren’t veterans in 1970, more young psychedelic hippies feeling their way from free street-party gigs to the recording studio. Still, any album that opens with an endearing blues-based groove as infectious as “Hurry on Sundown” is all right in my book. After that we get some early-Floyd explorations (think “Interstellar Overdrive” on Mogadon with acoustic guitars), before more of that, with added sax. It is spacey, it does vaguely point towards the mighty Hawkwind’s direction, and it is modestly enjoyable… if a bit dated.

69 CURVED AIR — Airconditioning

Airconditioning was the first ever picture disc. I’ve never owned a copy, but reports suggest it sounded dreadful. Lots of surface noise. The music itself, however, is not at all rubbish. Sure, it is an ambitious band finding their way, but this debut is quite focussed (seven of the ten tracks are under five minutes). The drive of Darryl Way’s violin is underpinned by the Francis Monkman’s classically trained keyboard work, while Sonia Kristina’s vocals are intense but never stray into histrionics.

68 PINK FLOYD — Atom Heart Mother

Full of invention and orchestral weirdness, AHM was not a favourite of the band. Yet fans have enjoyed it ever since, possibly because there is nothing quite like it in the Floyd canon. Read more about it in a Vinyl Connection post here.

67 WISHBONE ASH — Wishbone Ash

Although the debut LP from Wishbone Ash is somewhat uneven, there are moments of rock-beauty and fabulous twin guitar work that reward a decent listen. “Lady Whiskey” is great, but the key track is the ten minute finale, “Phoenix”.

66 THE STOOGES — Funhouse

Don’t you love the indulgent addition of the Ur-prefix to indicate an influential pioneering sound? No? Neither do I. So I’ll simply observe that Funhouse is noisy, insistent, lo-fi, angry, pushy and a bit snotty. Get the drift?

65 FAIRPORT CONVENTION — Full House

After the departures of key Fairport members Sandy Denny and Ashley Hutchings, one might have expected the band to struggle. But Full House is exactly that: an album crammed with folk-rock invention and vital playing. Richard Thompson and violin player Dave Swarbrick handle the vocals admirably (try “Flowers of the Forest”) and Thompson’s guitar playing is fabulous. Key songs: “Sloth” (essential for any Richard Thompson fan) and opener “Walk Awhile”.

64 TANGERINE DREAM — Electronic Meditation

What a startling debut this is. Vinyl Connection featured it here.

An excerpt… 

Electronic Meditation is jagged and confronting in parts, discordant and unsettling in others. Imagine the interstellar improvisations of early live Pink Floyd transported out of the hippy womb of the IT club and dumped unceremoniously in a disused Berlin factory with a dodgy tape recorder and lots of attitude. There is nothing spacey or dreamy about Tangerine Dream’s debut. Yet the invention, the experimentation and the raw energy of creation leap out of the grooves. Despite the avant-garde nature of the work, it is curiously accessible for those with an adventurous spirit and a willingness to be discomforted just a little.

63 ERIC CLAPTON — Eric Clapton

After exiting superstardom, stage left, Clapton toured (more or less anonymously) with Delany and Bonnie. They released a solid album, On Tour, in mid 1970. Later, EC ‘borrowed’ some of their band, joined forces with Duane Allman, and recorded Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (more later on that one). In between he recorded his first solo album, this self-titled work. Lots of soul influences, pop brevity, brass charts, concise solos and blues-influenced songs. The cover of JJ Cale’s “After Midnight” is fun, “Easy Now” is a pretty acoustic ballad. Personal favourite is album closer “Let It Rain”.

62 DEEP PURPLE — In Rock

Hard to credit that this is the fifth long-player from the Purps. Though if we bracket Jon Lord’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra, it is the beginning of the famous Mark II version of Deep Purple. The key track, without any shadow of doubt, is “Child in Time”—still a thrilling listen. Ian Gillian (who wrote the one-verse lyric and vocal melody during his earliest rehearsals with the band in ’69) also starred in Jesus Christ Superstar in 1970. Busy chap.

61 GENESIS — Trespass

The progressive stalwarts take shape before your very ears. Crafted keyboard parts (Anthony Banks), passionate Peter Gabriel vocals, lovely 12 string guitar by Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford’s bubbling bass… Most fans consider this the ‘first’ Genesis album, overlooking the debut Genesis To Revelation (which actually ain’t half bad, for its time). Core track: “The Knife” (8’55”) with surging organ, multiple time and tempo changes, and a classic Gabriel lyric.

*

As the post title suggests, this is Part One of a series. A nail-biting, tension-wracked countdown to what this listener considers the most enjoyable and timeless albums released in 1970. 

For those interested in such things, the titles were drawn from the VC collection. The seventy finalists came from a pool of around 210 albums, and were ranked according to how much I like them in 2020. In other words, it’s  entirely subjective and incorporates such indefinables as historical interest, debut works, personal connections and, of course, the music.

*

The next part is here!

38 comments

  1. Some of these (esp. Fun House) seem pretty low, but it’s a strong year. Looking forward to the next 6 episodes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will be an idiosyncratic list, Graham. 🙂

      Like

  2. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Damn! You come out swinging, here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an ambitious project, to be sure. But I’m confident everyone will agree with the list. 🤥

      Liked by 2 people

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        I like that you called that Stooges album snotty. If I got that right. One of the first punk albums, you betcha!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    and that’s the year I was born so looking forward to getting educated some!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fantastic. Got an anniversary plan for yourself, Bill?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Shelter in place! Ha!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think “Easy Now” is my favorite on EC’s first. “Let It Rain”, “Bad Boy”, and “Bottle Of Red Wine” join the queue. Fantastic gatefold from Wishbone Ash.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. EC’s solo ‘debut’ is often overlooked, including by me! But whenever I spin it I enjoy it.
      Yes, the Wishbone Ash is a corker. Wish I had it on vinyl!

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  5. Terrific idea for a series, Bruce!
    That Deep Purple LP looks particularly delicious

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Doesn’t it, Geoff? It was hard to resist licking it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Bruce – this musical archaeological expedition is a great idea, and I enjoy your concise reviews. I grew up listening to Steeleye Span, from my parents’ collection of Olde Hippie Wax, but have only ever heard one Fairport Convention record — I gave Full House a listen online last night, and really love it. I’ll un-wrack the tension and avoid biting my nails, there’s a plague on after all, but sounds like a great series is underway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Robert. Writing short reviews is fun, but a bit of a challenge. Often the prolix narrative is easier to write! Steeleye Span’s 1970 effort was a contender – just missed out I think.
      And yes, please do whatever you need to ameliorate the obvious tension that will build over the next X weeks/months as we slowly count down the list.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Quite an assortment here, Bruce. I don’t think I ever have listened to Eric Clapton’s first album. Possibly held it in my hands, but for some reason that one missed my radar in spite of all the well-known songs from it. Thanks for enlightening me to it. And good to see Trespass listed here — almost a forgotten Genesis album when you think about it. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Assortment is a lovely word for this lot, Marty. And one I think will apply as the series continues. Glad you enjoyed some reminders! -Bruce.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. In Rock is seminal stuff for me. And I really love Fairport’s Full House. That gets overlooked cause Denny had left but it’s awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. “Sloth would be in my top 10 RT pieces for sure. Do you have ‘House Full’, Scot? The LP from that tour. It’s strong too.

      Like

      1. Yes I’ve got that too. That’s as far as I’ve got with them. Will definitely get more at some point though.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. As usual some good ones. But what do I know?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know what you like, bud. That’s enough.
      Any pique your curiosity?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah. I have the Clapton. He made J J some money on that one. Also Trespass (agree on their debut. Always thought Gabriel sounded like Roger Chapman from Family on the first couple. Maybe just me) , Floyd and Fairport. You keep nudging me to that Hawkwind band. totally missed them. Familiar with the rest and will revisit, rediscover and discover. I have to give Wishbone a go. Heard their new one and it didnt grab me. So to answer your question, yes, I’m curious.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. 1970, the year I started buying albums although I’ve only got three of these. Heard the rest back then apart from Tangerine Dream, one would have had to be pretty much way ahead of the curve back then if you dug it in 1970.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s for sure, Paul. ‘Phaedra’ was my intro to Tangerine Dream… their 5th LP!

      Like

  11. Brilliant idea, I wish I had thought of it!. Looking forward to listening to tangerine dream, I’ve never heard that album.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. That first TD is pretty different – experimental and often discordant, but fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Listening while working from home-surreal experience!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. […] Continuing the countdown of Vinyl Connection’s seventy favourite albums from 1970. The first part is here. […]

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  13. Great beginning list, I always think Trespass is overlooked as a great second album, and the Fairport is the best one in a totally unbiased opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. […] 70 FROM ’70 — PART 7 […]

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  15. All I know about Hawkwind was that Lemmy Kilmister joined them in 1971.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. … and departed in 1975. That’s correct, and a find starting point. Try Hawkwind’s ‘Space Ritual’ to hear Lemmy doing his stuff with the band.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been jamming to Hawkwind for about an hour now. Thanks for the write.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are welcome.

          Like

  16. […] this, the fourth instalment in the endless 1970 countdown (that began here), we cover entries […]

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  17. […] you commit to a large project like, say, 70 Albums From 1970 (which began here), it’s worthwhile making sure your list consists of items actually released in 1970. Not 1969 or […]

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  18. […] from Hawkwind, a British space rock band fellow blogger Vinyl Connections featured in a recent post. Hawklords’ former Hawkwind members were Robert Calvert (vocals), Dave Brock (guitar) and […]

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