1971 COUNTDOWN: #49 — #45

49 JOHN MAYALLBack To The Roots

Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Keef Hartley, Don ‘Sugarcane’ Harris, Harvey Mandel, Johnny Almond… a selection of the musicians John Mayall called when he decided to make an album celebrating past alumni of his bands. The name and roster tells you all you need to know, really. Eighteen tracks of (mostly electric) blues, some numbers rough and ready, all played with fire and enthusiasm. Fans of Mayall’s transatlantic blues would love this one, both for the playing and for the fresh examples of Mayall’s perennial concerns: relationships, the peripatetic life of yer gigging musician, social change, oppression by ‘The Man’.

The 24 page booklet is brilliant, too.

Just recently John announced he was retiring from touring, though he will play some local gigs. He’s about to turn 81, bless ‘im. Highlights: “My Children” (Almond, Mandel), “Mr Censor Man” (Taylor, Hartley). [Released early 1971]

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48 DEUTERD

German born Georg Deuter is well known in New Age circles for his gentle, melodic instrumental music, the kind of thing that might accompany a therapeutic massage or a morning reverie featuring wholemeal cookies and camomile tea. Yet Deuter’s first couple of albums—and this debut, in particular—are experimental and exploratory electronic works that also include taped sounds and acoustic instruments. D is a very interesting record, though it won’t be everyone’s cup of chai. Highlight: The four-movement “Babylon” suite. [July (possibly) 1971]

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47 DEEP PURPLEFireball

Fireball was Deep Purple’s first #1 album (UK) and built on the success of In Rock, the first record with the famed Mark II lineup. The US version added “Strange Kind of Woman”, subbing out “Demon’s Eye”. Crazy move. Most people would have dropped “Anyone’s Daughter” in a second; it’s ghastly. Meanwhile, the rest of the album strongly defines the now settled style. Highlights: “Demon’s Eye”, “Fireball”, “The Mule”. [Released July (US) and September (UK) 1971]

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46 CARAVANIn The Land Of The Grey And Pink

Caravan’s third album is very much a progressive banquet, but with a nod to 1960s English whimsy in the form of “Golf Girl”. This was a single, and decidedly twee (rhyming with ‘tea’, don’t you know) but most of the rest of the LP has a lyrical and melodic lightness characterising the best of Caravan’s work. It’s almost a kind of pastoral prog, one might say; devoid of bombast but rich with great playing. Highlights: “Winter Wine”; “Nine Feet Underground”. [Released March 1971]

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45 NICK DRAKEBryter Layter

Full of rich melodies, sensitive arrangements and great guitar playing, Nick Drake’s second album is—musically speaking—his strongest. Supported by Fairport alumni Dave Pegg (bass) and Dave Mattacks (drums), this is more sophisticated than standard 1971 singer-songwriter fare, including folk and jazz elements as well as rock touches (Richard Thompson guests). The whole LP exudes a desperate loveliness, like autumn leaves that have begun to crack at the edges yet still retain deep, sombre colours. (The re-issue pictured has admirable attention to detail, including the textured cover and a facsimile ‘worn’ inner sleeve.) Highlights: “Hazey Jane II”, “Northern Skyline”. [Recorded in 1970, released March 1971]

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37 comments

  1. For me, 1971 is a rather blah music year. But in 5 years, man, I’m going to be all over this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If we all last that log, Jeff! 🤔
      Thanks for reading anyway. Who knows, maybe something might land for you from ‘71.

      Like

  2. 1971 was when I really started to buy albums and I’ve got both the Caravan and Nick Drake discs still from back then. Weirdly, I just bought the Mayall album a few weeks back in a charity shop, a bargain for six quid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul, that is an absolute winner for six quid. Worth it for the booklet alone!

      Like

      1. Very pleased with it, great booklet, clean sounding vinyl and some fine grooves

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Georg Deuter’s D sounds half way to a good idea.
    Cheers
    DD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is that called ‘damning with faint praise’ DD? 😅

      Like

  4. It just started playing now and I’m reserving judgement!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 20 minutes in and the head is nodding. The sound seems a bit harsh, probably because of the sound bar I’m listening through (and makes me wonder if Percy’s old washing machine needs a drop of oil).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been watching the documentary 1971 the Year Music Changed Everything based on the book by David Hepworth, it is amazing how many great albums came out, also it is amazing the parallels to today with racial issues and political upheaval, your series is a good companion, there is a lot of overlap but many differences as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoyed that series too, Neil (despite a very US focus and almost totally ignoring progressive music). I’m very pleased you are finding this series a worthwhile companion.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes US centric surprisingly for a book written by an Englishman.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yep. Go figure.

          Like

  7. 35 minutes in and I’m wondering if Deuter bought one of Mr Grainger’s old washing machines at a thrift shop.
    Gets a tick of approval from me if not Z.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! I’ve long thought experimental music sounds much more accessible when one is in control of the choice, volume, and duration.

      Like

  8. I always thought Bryter Laytet was 1970 – I probably need to fix my site! I’d have Bryter top ten I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s confusing, Graham. It was recorded late in 1970 and the Island label actually has that year printed on it, but the research I did suggested early ’71, probably March.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m mostly familliar with your choices here, and I approve 🙂 Mayall is really good, as most (if not all) of his albums from that era. I adore Caravan first five albums! I don’t rank them anymore, but won’t debate the fact that “Land of grey and pink” is widely considered their best.
    I think I prefer Drake’s debut, but nothing wrong with this one too 🙂
    I’ve tried to find something for me in Deuter catalogue. Without success, but haven’t checked “D”, Your description have rised some hopes it may be the one for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great, iwarti, though not entirely surprising given what we each post in Tumblr! Yes, try “D”, and also “Aum”. After that, we move rapidly towards New Age.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s really amazing how many top-notch musicians at some point were part of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Clapton, Peter Green and Mick Taylor are just a few who come to mind. It’s almost like he provided apprenticeships.

    Deep Purple remain my favorite hard rock band – the old Deep Purple, to be precise, especially on “Machine Head.” I also dig “In Rock” and “Fireball”.

    Once again, you impress me with your deep knowledge of German music. I had never even heard of Georg Deuter before. D sounds indeed pretty experimental. But based on your characterization of his later albums as being more melodic it sounds like music I might like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Christian.

      “Ecstacy” is a good Deuter to try the emerging new age style.

      You might enjoy this story from the VC archives, from the days when I first discovered German independent progressive music (aka krautrock).

      OF FLEAS AND FAUST

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for the tip. Based on listening into the first few tunes, I’m intrigued about “Ecstasy” and plan to further explore it.

        I also enjoyed your Faust story, and I’m currently listening to “Krautrock”. Other than having heard of the name, I’m afraid I know nothing about Faust.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The Faust story is fascinating. “IV” is a pretty good place to start.

          Like

  11. Yup I’m gonna need that Mayall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a good one, Aaron. Maybe you’ll get lucky like Paul Kerr (above), and find a charity shop copy!

      Like

      1. I have found Mayall in the shoppe before, we’ll see!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I support that statement for Nick Drake – this would be the strongest musically.
    But Pink Moon would still be my favourite, so sparse, so terrific

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re in good company there, Geoff. Volkswagen, to be precise! 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Deuter was into experimental electronic music? So he’s not just that “Spa Guy” only? That’s a fascinating factoid. He’s one of my wife’s favorite musicians (along with Roger Eno), and now I have something to mention at dinner. 🙂 – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hope you get some mileage out of it, Marty. The second album, ‘Aum’ is probably the one I enjoy most. Though as mentioned to Christian, ‘Ecstacy’ is a strong example of the emerging style, with some Terry Riley infuences audible.

      Like

  14. I wore out ‘Roots’

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  15. I came recently to the Caravan one – I really enjoy the side long track, I think its excellent. I find the rest of it a hard meal to keep down though, I’m afraid. Even on pink vinyl.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They struggled a little against the cloying embrace of tweeness. But instrumentally? Ace!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Some real gems there. Most of them, in fact!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess the lower the number, the more betterer? 😅

      Like

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