A new year, another trawl through some favourite fifty-year old albums, records that still have some pep in their step and are worth a listen for more than nostalgic reasons. Not to denigrate nostalgia, of course. Perfectly valid reason to look up an old friend.
The VC holding from 1972 is edging towards the three hundred mark, making for some difficult decisions. I was getting all frowny about the six dozen limit until I discovered that there were actually well over 50k album releases for the year. So this task should be a doddle.
Nonetheless, I have planned some tricksy ways to jam in extra records that are worth your time. Posts on 1972 live albums, a jazz feature, something on compilations, and other detours are on the cards.
Thanks to those who encouraged pursuing this endeavour once more. Off we go.
72 RY COODER — BOOMER’S STORY
Musicologist and Americana archeologist Ry Cooder explored many styles on his third solo album, all of them with deep roots. Choosing songs by Sleepy John Estes and Skip James as well as traditional tunes, Cooder’s voice may be not everyone’s cup of tea but it is honest and authentic and informed by his deep love for American music. There’s also his fabulous guitar playing, featured in several instrumentals. Highlights: “The dark end of the street”; “Boomer’s story”. [Released November 1972]
71 TRIUMVIRAT — MEDITERRANEAN TALES
The truth is, a top 72 progressive rock albums from 1972 could be easily compiled from the Vinyl Connection collection. The attempt to cover other, less interesting, genres as well means that we must content ourselves with some exemplars. Triumvirat were a German symphonic prog trio from Köln who released half a dozen albums in the 70s. This is their debut and it’s a thoroughly entertaining example of ‘classically informed’ prog. Being a trio with keyboard based compositions, comparisons with The Nice and Emerson Lake and Palmer were unavoidable but they do have their own European sound. Highlight: The side one suite “Across the waters”. [Month of release unknown]
70 LES McCANN — INVITATION TO OPENNESS
With three tracks across the whole LP, you just know you are in the land of the groove. And what a groove it is. Laid back but funky, soulful and jazzy, keyboard player Les McCann directs one of the most sensual sets of the Seventies. Lay across my big brass bed? Why, when there are satin sheets and velvet pillows to make things super sexy? Why, when you have Yusef Late on sax, oboe and flute?
David Spinoza and Cornell Dupree contribute their excellent guitar chops while the drumming skills of Bernard Purdie and Al (sic) Mouzon keep things in the pocket.
Highlight: “Beaux J. Poo Boo” [Month of release unknown]
There was a lot of excellent jazz released in 1972. Some will appear in the main draw while further selections will get their due in a dedicated 72 From ’72 jazz post, which is also a sneaky way to list more than seventy-two albums.
Generally speaking, better known albums appear in the upper reaches of lists such as this. Having said that, do share your own secret treasures from 1972 as we go along.
Hope you enjoy what will doubtless be a long strange trip.