1971 COUNTDOWN:  #71 — #66

After some time becalmed in lockdown waters, word has come from the poop deck of the good ship Vinyl Connection that it is well and truly time venture once more into the ocean that is “1971”. Although voyages on this varied and exciting sea have been a tad irregular, a few nautical miles have accumulated.

JANUARY 1971—50 YEARS AND TWO MONTHS AGO

JANUARY 1971 — THREE LATE ARRIVALS

FEBRUARY 1971 — PART ONE

FEBRUARY 1971 — PART TWO

SPRING 1971, GERMANY

AUTUMN 1971, MELBOURNE

1971, SINGER SONGWRITERS #1

1971—WHERE ARE WE UP TO?

1971 LIVE [PART ONE]

1971 LIVE [PART 2]

To take us through the remaining months of 2021 and cover at least some of the 50th anniversary albums, we’re resorting to that time-honoured device, the Countdown.

Here we go, then, with 71 from 1971, Part N

71  RAMASES — Space Hymns

Although this debut by Sheffield born central heating salesman Barrington Frost and his wife Dorothy is mostly remembered for featuring all four musicians who would soon become 10cc, it is truly its own record with a unique and unusual vision befitting a man who claimed (seriously) to be the Egyptian god re-incarnated. Add in the amazing six panel fold-out Roger Dean cover and you have a record that is highly collectible. 

For me, that cover art was a hurdle to appreciating Space Hymns that took many years to overcome. Because although it simply screams Prog!—the church-rocket ship, the inner image, the album being on Vertigo—it is more a carefully constructed electro-acoustic concept album full of variety and eccentricity. Sample: “Molecular delusion”. [Released 1971, month unknown]

*

70  THE BAND — Cahoots

The first two Band albums were so memorable, the bar was extraordinarily high as they entered the 1970s. Stagefright (1970) is excellent, while this, their fourth studio outing is simply good. A sense of inevitable decline permeates the rootsy arrangements and is caught in the compressed, distorted portrait of the band on the cover. The muted, autumnal tones and the sad eyes seem to convey a resignation. Having said that, there is plenty to enjoy on Cahoots, especially on side one. Highlights: “Life is a carnival” (a fine companion to the song “Stagefright”); “Where do we go from here?” (a lament for changing times). [Released September 1971]

*

69  STEELEYE SPAN — Please To See The King

The fourth LP from the British folk-rockers was something of a new beginning, with changes in personnel and a new focus on the recorded sound. Martin Carthy’s guitar and Peter Knight’s fiddle support the vocals of Maddy Prior and assorted blokes on a range of traditional and modernised songs and instrumentals. After Please To See The King, Steeleye Span went from strength to strength. Highlights: “The Blacksmith” (With his hammer in his hand, he looked so clever); “Lovely on the water” (With a gorgeous guitar part). [Released March 1971]

*

68  JEFF BECK — Rough And Ready

After two powerful albums with Rod Stewart on vocals, Jeff Beck was forced to reassess after a car accident took him out for a year during which Stewart and Ron Wood decamped to form The Faces. Rough And Ready is big, strong early 70s album rock, yet points towards the direction Beck would take. In particular, Max Middleton on keyboards signals a move towards a funkier, jazzier sound; you can hear Blow By Blow on the horizon. But the blues-rock stuff is still here, courtesy of singer/guitarist Bob Tench and drummer Cozy Powell. Highlight: “Situation” (which gives everyone a moment in the spotlight).  [Released October 1971]

*

67  THE MOVE — Message From The Country

Hands up who knows ELO (aka The Electric Light Orchestra)? OK. Keep your hand up if you are familiar with The Move. Thought so. Birmingham bred pop-psychsters The Move were driven by songwriters Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood and their demise co-incided with the birth of ELO. In fact, this last Move album was recorded alongside ELO’s debut. Message is an odd beast, covering every style from plodding blues rock via country to Elvis pastiche, with some lovely Beatlesque moments in between. Highlights: Lynne’s McCartneyesque “No Time”; “The Minister” (a delicious slice of psychedelia, albeit a bit late); “The Words of Aaron”. (The 2005 CD re-issue adds some singles and a great early version of “Do Ya”). [Released October 1971]

*

66  SANTANA — III

How the heck does any band follow an album like Abraxas? A year after that magnificent LP Santana released III which tends, unfairly, to rarely escape the shadow of its classic predecessor. Yet it is a fine record, possibly a great one. Michael Schrieve is still filling the drum seat, while second guitarist Neal Schon brings an edgy, harder sound and the whole work is just that bit dirtier, more insistent. Instead of taking the Abraxas paycheck and moving uptown to a penthouse, Santana took his band into a poorer district; part latin, part funk, all passion. Highlights: “Batuka / No-one to depend on”; “Toussaint L’Overture”. (But really, the first five Santana albums are essential.) [Released September 1971]

*

32 comments

  1. chris delprete · · Reply

    Trying to work out if your typo (ELP instead of ELO) is a typo or a subtle joke. The Move are one of my favourite bands from that time. Given the juggernaut that ELO became Roy Wood is often sidelined. All their albums had something to offer and they had such a marvellous run of singles from the mid sixties on. Jeff Beck to me is a better guitarist than Page and Clapton. I see him as so very versatile. Beck Bogert and Appice were never subtle but his guitar always rang through. Never really ‘got’ Space Hymns, it’s neither here nor there, prog or jazz rock, and ends up going nowhere. Great selection…as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Beck’s versatility is absolutely a strength. But I that some of his albums are patchy, and often lack cohesion. Maybe it is his restless spirit in action? Anyway, I did find that with Space Hymns, I enjoyed it a little more this time around. Maybe I’m just mellowing in my dotage.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris. Very welcome. And thanks for picking up that error; I don’t get a third party to proof VC posts. This wasn’t humour, though it may have been autocorrect (the bane of my writing life). It will be fixed forthwith.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, a countdown of 71 looks like a mighty enterprise to me. But at least you picked what has to be one of the best years in music. I imagine it would be harder to do an 81 of 81 or a 91 of 91! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ll have retired by then, Christian!

      It started last year with 1970, following several variants over preceding years, beginning with that fabulous annum, 1967.

      I’m actually feeling nervous as the VC holding for the years 1972 to 1974 is the biggest section of the catalogue!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    I like how you make the link between The Band’s impending decline and the autumnal look in their eyes on the cover, good one.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks mate. Appreciate the reminder to not fall into the trap of churning out anodyne summaries simply to tick albums off.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I love ELO but never listened to the Move. I’llcheckitout.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 👍
      The early Move singles are simply wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heard ’em. Loved ’em. Thanks, VC

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite an undertaking Bruce! Good on you! I’m already looking forward to the next installment.

    I disagree with you about Cahoots though. I know the first two Band albums are considered the ‘classics’, but for me Cahoots is the album of theirs I reach for most often. A really interesting production and a collection of terrific songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nicely demonstrating the point that every album is somebody’s favourite, Ryland!

      Like

  6. I’ve only heard Cahoots and Please To See The King – still forming an opinion on the latter, but #70 seems about right for Cahoots.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I reckon Steeleye Span became more and more betterer over the next few years.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, there’s a sweet point somewhere around 1973 or 1974?

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I grew up listening to Steeleye Span, “Blacksmith” is a great singalong song, don’t remember if “Alison Gross” is on this album, that’s another rollicking fun one. The way Maddy Prior et al can bend their voices around tunes like “Dogs & Ferrets” continues to please and impress me. Their“nose resonance” or whatever that kind of nasally style of singing is called, takes a bit of getting used to, but the band’s obvious enthusiasm makes it a very appealing album. Worth getting the reissue CDs for lots of bonus tracks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Blacksmith” is indeed fun, Robert, as is “Alison Gross” from Parcel of Rogues (1973). A later song I was totally hooked on for a while was a later folk-rocker, “Sir James the Rose”. Great stuff.

      I wish you hadn’t told me about re-issues with bonus tracks. I have most of their 70s stuff on vinyl and must try to be satisfied with that! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooh I love the Space Hymns cover Bruce, that’s awesome. Plus I really rate Santana III as well, I’m not saying it’s a better LP but I do find myself playing it more often than Abraxas.

    I wonder whatever happened to Dorothy and Barrington?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s up there with “Space Ritual”, isn’t it? And a lesser known Roger Dean cover too.

      If you come across the Sony/Columbia 2 CD reissue of Santana III, grab it. The second disc is a brilliant live album from the time. It’s a corker.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. PS. Sadly, the channel of the Egyptian god died by his own hand in 1978.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s sad. I had high hopes he was an accountant, or mid-ranking civil servant.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. With you brother. I want it to be that creative eccentricity is rewarded with a good pension (superannuation in Aus).

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Looking forward to the next 65 albums! What a great year for music, 1971. One of my all time favourite LP’s was released that year, in France: Histoire De Melody Nelson by Serge Gainsbourg. But I don’t know if that one made any waves in Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a spectacular year for music, as you say Guy. Gainsbourg’s album was not well known in Aus; it was several decades after its release that I finally got to hear it… watch this space1

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ha, in 1971 I was not old enough to understand or appreciate Gainsbourg, so also for me it was a few decades later. Mick Harvey did some great Gainsbourg covers, also marvellous.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. On my drive home from a swim early yesterday (Sunday) morning, the local radio station played “The Story In Your Eyes”, from the Moody Blues’ album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour. When the song had ended, the DJ started waxing poetically about what a stunning year 1971 was, music-wise. I arrived home, dispatched my swim gear, dried my hair, poured a cup of a coffee, sat down at the computer and….opened up the e-mail announcing this post. Perfection! Despite being a big ELO fan, I had never heard of The Move. Indeed, the only album here with which I was familiar is Santana, one of many discoveries among the collections of my older siblings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great story! (I suspect the number of familiar titles might well increase as we ascend the ladder, JDB!)

      Like

  12. […] (and time) were made, leaving some genres under-represented. I was mulling this over after the previous post. As I listed the previous 1971 articles it was obvious that repetition was as unavoidable as […]

    Like

  13. All of them are awesome. I have those Band and Jeff Beck LPs. Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Stop this. Im trying to acclimate to 2021 and you keep dragging me back. I wont kick and scream to hard and loud.

    Liked by 1 person

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