Cream in 1968 had their first hit with the song “Sunshine of Your Love”. It was Cream’s only gold-selling single in the United States. It was written by Jack Bruce, lyricist Pete Brown, and Eric Clapton. What I find interesting is how the song relates to Jimi Hendrix. Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton attended a Jimi Hendrix concert at the Saville Theatre in London prior to the invention of the main riff of “Sunshine of Your Love”, which Jack Bruce created after the concert. The riff can be directly attributed to Hendrix’s style of playing, echoing in Jack Bruce’s head.
Pete Brown wrote the lyrics in that same all night session with Bruce. Clapton later added the bridge and Ginger Baker, the syncopation of African drums.
Jimi Hendrix recorded “Sunshine of Your Love” on February 16, 1969 at Olympic Studios in London. It appears on the 2010 Valleys of Neptune as a previously unreleased studio recording. The Hendrix track is an instrumental featuring The Jimi Hendrix Experience nucleus (Jimi Hendrix, Guitar, Noel Redding, Bass and Mitch Mitchell, Drums) plus Rocki Dzidzornu on percussion.
Carlos Santana recorded “Sunshine of Your Love” with Rob Thomas on vocal and Santana band backing them up on his CD Guitar Heaven. I have seen Santana perform “Sunshine of Your Love” twice live with Andy Vargas very ably handling lead vocal.
The latest recording by the Charles Lloyd New Quartet is entitled, Mirror. It is a studio recording that creates an exquisite pastoral setting that accommodates “the need and the call for some tenderness,” says Lloyd.
The dimensionality of an artist’s discussions about music as a healing force and the spirituality involved is of keen interest to me. Wesleyan is an ideal backdrop for this dialog because they have leadership ministry and world music programs. I am jazzed about the opportunity to explore these discussion with Charles Lloyd and other guests.
Harry Chapin is one of our favorite all-time singer-songwriters. We were privileged to see him perform eight times from 1974 through 1979 . His concerts were a rich mixture of fun, provocative thoughts, and pinch of balderdash.
Harry was always personable and graciously accommodated my requests for interviews several times. I’ll never forget the night he did two back to back concerts for the World Hunger Year charity at Fairfield University and afterwards came back to the college radio station to do a 45 minute interview with me over the air live on WVOF-FM 88.5. What made this interview significant was that this was the station where I conducted my “Sunday Morning Sunshine” radio show. Harry’s single was the song I used to open every show 🙂
Harry had a special quality about him, he treated you like an equal by honoring what you knew, then he would add to your collective consciousness with his unique perspectives about music and life.
His second album Sniper and other Love Songs was released in October 1972. It was a change in music direction with its added intensity and depth from Harry and his band. His Top 40 hit, “Taxi” from his first album, Heads and Taleswas riding the charts in 1972, so Sniper and other Love Songs was quite the contrast.
Sniper and other Love Songs is a mixed bag of story songs, hit singles and folk classics. “Sniper” is a gripping song that puts you in the mind of Charles Whitman, the 1966 Texas clock tower assassin. Harry’s portrayal of the sniper is eerily poetic as we find out why the sniper kills others. The voice in the sniper’s head that Harry sings about are the echoes of a mother ignoring and blaming her child for being born. The sniper’s last words, “I was, I am, and now I will be”, are an ironic triumph over a neglected life on earth which perhaps sheds the final insight into the psychology of the sniper, who is on a tortured quest for self-actualization.
Our other favorite two songs on this CD are “Better Place to Be“, which is a song that I urge you to listen to understand the aching of the human heart. “Circle” was a song Harry Chapin performed often as the encore at his concerts. We would join hands in the audience, chiming in with him and the band as their extended theater in the round.
I plan to write more about Harry Chapin on this blog, as I gather up my memories, so until that time 😉
Circle, Written By Harry Chapin, Lyrics copyright Harry Chapin Foundation
All my life’s a circle; But I can’t tell you why; Season’s spinning round again; The years keep rollin’ by.
It was my last day of public school, June 1969, I was hanging out in the gymnasium, loving the freedom before me yet dealing with the ambiguity of where was my life going? I really had a case of the blues. All around me various members of my senior class were putting up the decorations for our senior prom, which we were attending the following night.
In the middle of the gym floor was a record player, I walked over with my copy of Super Session, placed it on the platter, dropped the needle and shuffled back over to the bleachers to sit and listen. The sound of Mike Bloomfield‘s guitar and Al Kooper‘s organ filled the gym with the stinging sound of “Albert’s Shuffle” which filled my void masterfully. My angst about the future slipped away as the intensity of the music appeased my concerns. It was then I knew that music would carry me through the next phase of my existence.
Ratchet ahead 41 years to when I purchase the remastered edition of Super Session. What a tour de force to hear a cleaner, enhanced edition of this historic work. It all comes flooding back in waves of sound that envelops the listener and finds me at another major fork in the road.
Mike Bloomfield had just left The Electric Flag. Another recording that helped define the music of the 60s in terms of Texas blues mixed with R&B. Mike brought with him to the Super Session recording session two ex-Flag band mates Harvey Brooks on bass and Barry Goldberg on electric piano (Barry contributed to tracks 1 & 2).
The Super Session recording was rounded out admirably by “Fast” Eddie Hoh on drums and Steve Stills on guitar who filled in for Mike Bloomfield who left after one day’s recording to deal with his insomnia. Steve Stills was in the process of leaving Buffalo Springfield and he turned out to be the perfect complement to completing Super Session. It ended up fitting that Super Session would usher in the era of the super groups, representing a transitional portal for Kooper, Bloomfield and Stills in their respective careers.
Al Kooper in the liner notes states about Super Session, “…amazingly found itself timeless….making this one of the most rewarding projects I have ever worked on.”
There were two live recordings of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper that took place, the first was at the Fillmore West in San Francisco, September 26-28th 1968, featuring the first live recording of Carlos Santana released when he was 22 years old* This live performance also stars Elvin Bishop. It was released by Columbia Records in 1969.
Then later in the year at the Fillmore East in New York City they recorded, Fillmore East: Al Kooper and Mike Bloomfield. The Lost Concert Tapes 12/13/68 (featuring Johnny Winter)
* Carlos Santana was recorded in 1967 on Santana Live at the Fillmore in 1967 but it was not released commercially until January 1, 1997
My son, Matthew, got me a $50 gift certificate for music at Cutler’s Record Shop in New Haven. I took him to this store last year and he really liked it, which made me very happy :), as I used to hang out there frequently in my college years from 1972-74, as a matter of fact its a frequent music haunt in my travels still 😉
My wife, Rosemary told me the money was burning a hole in my pocket and she was right of course ;).
This is the first of the three recordings I purchased. I’ll write about the other two recordings tomorrow and Monday…
Herbie Hancock – Head Hunters, the Jazz Masterpiece originally released on October 13, 1973. I recall that I played Chameleonand Watermelon Manoften when I was an FM disk jockey at the University of New Haven, on WNHU-FM. I minored in music at UNH and learned a great deal from my world music college professors who all came from Wesleyan University. We analyzed Head Hunters in my jazz class extensively, which was one the freedoms of taking free form music classes that I dug in the early 70s.