Humble Pie, Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore, The Complete Recordings

Cover of "Rockin the Fillmore"
Cover of Rockin the Fillmore

There have been some electrifying live rock performances in the history of recorded music.  The early 70’s produced the best rock music recordings ever done! A favorite live show of mine from WNEW-FM progressive radio listening days and The Fillmore East was Humble Pie‘s, Performance: Rockin’ The Fillmore (1971).

Omnivore Recordings has released all four sets recorded that weekend in a four CD box set “Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore-Complete Recordings”.

 “My God, it just took my breath away,” Jerry Shirley said of hearing the new mixes by engineer Ashley Shepherd. “You feel like you’re sitting in the Fillmore East, five or six rows back. In the quiet bits, you could hear a pin drop, and in the loud bits, you can almost feel the room shaking. And all four shows caught Steve at the absolute zenith of his powers. It’s  astonishing. I’m only sorry that he, Greg, and Dee aren’t around to enjoy it with the rest of us.”

“It was amazing to hear the new mixes of these shows after all these years,” says Peter Frampton. “This really was that version of Humble Pie at the peak of its powers—playing in a venue with a wonderful vibe.”

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Pink Floyd 40th Anniversary, Unite to Darken the Moon

Wow has it been 40 years already since the release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? I remember well March 17, 1973 when that recording debuted (US release date according to Capitol Records). The FM radio station I listened to out of New York City, WNEW-FM 102.7 leaned on it strongly. I bought my vinyl LP copy on  the Saturday afternoon it was released here in the States.  On the following day, Sunday the 18th of March 1973 I was fortunate to witness Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon 1973 Tour. They performed at The Palace in Waterbury, Ct. I wrote about that experience in the blog post hyper-linked below.

Pink Floyd In Concert 1973 – The Dark Side of the Moon Tour

Pink Floyd and EMI Music will mark the 40th Anniversary of the original UK release of The Dark Side of The Moon on 24 March 2013, as fans around the globe unite to turn a specially designed moon dark. Centred around a global playback of the album on PinkFloyd.com, each memory, thought and photo tweeted as fans rediscover the album will count towards the creation of a dark side of the moon.

Starting at 00:01am GMT on 24 March 2013, for the entire day fans all over the world will be able to share thoughts and comments via twitter using #DarkSide40 and witness the impact as the volume of messages combine to turn the moon dark.

DSOTM

Storm Thorgerson

When it comes to branding and logo there may not be a more discernible icon than the Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon “Prism”.  (Well perhaps the Rolling Stones Lips might top it…) It was designed by Storm Thorgerson when he was with Hipignosis. I have been a major fan of Storm Thorgerson for decades.

I wish I could afford the deluxe edition of his collectible book, Taken By Storm, The Album Art of Storm Thorgerson by the high-end music book publishing house Genesis Publications.

Keep watching the Pink Floyd Web page, http://darkside40.pinkfloyd.com/ for the variants of the Dark Side of the Moon prism. Each day another square in the diagram gets filled in and I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon 😉

Don McLean – Tapestry

I reached into the recesses of the music of our heart to reconnect with Don McLean and his début recording Tapestry (MediaArts – October 1970). I can recall hearing Don McLean’s Tapestry being played on WNEW-FM by Scott Muni on weekday afternoons in the fall of 1970. I own the MediaArts vinyl LP Scottso would spin on the airwaves.

Tapestry is a treasure chest filled with song gems all penned by Don McLean.  The song that exhibits Don McLean’s clairvoyance prognosticating the future is the title track, “Tapestry”.  The last two lines sum up where the fate of civilization is today with the greed of oil and gas baron’s (and the consumer) laying ruin to our planet.

Every thread of creation is held in position 
by still other strands of things living. 
In an earthly tapestry hung from the skyline 
of smoldering cities so gray and so vulgar, 
as not to be satisfied with their own negativity 
but needing to touch all the living as well. 

Every breeze that blows kindly is one crystal breath 
we exhale on the blue diamond heaven. 
As gentle to touch as the hands of the healer. 
As soft as farewells whispered over the coffin. 
We’re poisoned by venom with each breath we take, 
from the brown sulfur chimney and the black highway snake. 

Every dawn that breaks golden is held in suspension 
like the yoke of the egg in albumen. 
Where the birth and the death of unseen generations 
are interdependent in vast orchestration 
and painted in colors of tapestry thread. 
When the dying are born and the living are dead. 

Every pulse of your heartbeat is one liquid moment 
that flows through the veins of your being. 
Like a river of life flowing on since creation. 
Approaching the sea with each new generation. 
You’re now just a stagnant and rancid disgrace 
that is rapidly drowning the whole human race. 

Every fish that swims silent, every bird that flies freely, 
every doe that steps softly. 
Every crisp leaf that falls, all the flowers that grow 
on this colorful tapestry, somehow they know. 
That if man is allowed to destroy all we need. 
He will soon have to pay with his life, for his greed.

© Copyright 1969, 1972 by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC. and THE BENNY BIRD CO, INC.
All Rights Controlled and Administered by MUSIC CORPORATION OF AMERICA, INC.
International Copyright Secured. All Rights reserved
MCA Music Publishing

We saw Don McLean in concert on September 21, 1975 at Stamford Catholic High School. I was covering the event as a music reporter for The Entertainer a Fairfield County, Connecticut entertainment weekly newspaper. Don McLean did two shows that night. He was brilliant. My fondest memory of the night was watching him joust with reporters and radio/television station staff at the press conference between shows about “American Pie”. His press agent asked that people refrain from asking questions about American Pie. He said Don McLean was tired of answering that question. But several reporters didn’t heed that request and they really irked Don McLean. He rebuffed them with class and dignity, yet put them in their place. I respected Don McLean too much to make that mistake.

After the press conference Don McLean signed 8×10 black and white photos for us. Don McLean was the first musician autograph I secured in my now extensive music autograph collection. We exchanged some nice pleasantries about his first album, Tapestry which he humbled and honored to discuss.

I’ll never forget that I ended up walking and talking with him on his way back to the stage in the gym from the press conference in the science room. He smiled and began to played the bridge of Tapestry on his guitar for me as we walked together. It was a charismatic feeling to hear him playing that song acoustic, finger picked as it echoed in the hallway. I thanked him for playing that choice, he smiled warmly, shook my hand and said enjoy the show. His second set that night was stronger than the first. He featured music from the LP, Homeless Brother  as I learned about the folk singer/protest connection he had with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

Al Stewart – Historical Folk Rock

I was shopping yesterday when I heard Al Stewart‘s “Time Passages” come over the Muzak sound system. I had forgotten how much I loved this song. It was a staple on the progressive FM radio station WNEW-FM 102.7 in the late 70s. This Metromedia affiliate station has left an indelible impact on my musical listening tastes.

I also reflected on the time frame when I was a college disk jockey at WVOF-FM 88.5 on the Fairfield University campus. I often played tracks from Al Stewart’s Past, Present and Future (Janus Records) on my show. The track I played the most often from this 1973 vinyl LP was “Nostradamus”

File:Pastpresetfuture.gif

Al Stewart has performed music for more than 40+ years. I especially liked his partnering with Alan Parsons as his engineer. Their first collaboration genius effort resulted in Modern Times with one of my favorite album covers.

File:AlStewart ModernTimes US.jpg

Alan Parsons and Al Stewart then produced together his two largest hits, “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages”.

Al Stewart is an artist I am hoping to finally see perform live in 2012.

The Fillmore East 40 Years On

NYC - East Village - Fillmore East: Allman Bro...
Image by wallyg via Flickr

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East on June 28, 1971. No rock hall echoes stronger in the music of our heart than Bill Graham’s legendary venue in the East Village section of NYC.

The concert that closed The Fillmore East is equally, if not more historic.  The Allman Brothers Band headlined that night, with J Geils Band as the middle act and Albert King as the opening act. Guest stars who joined The Allman Brothers Band and the other scheduled acts on stage that night included Mountain, Country Joe McDonald, Edgar Winter’s White Trash with Rick Derringer and The Beach Boys. I listened to the entire concert which was broadcast live over WNEW-FM 102.7.  The concert went from 8 p.m. on June 27th until 6 a.m. in the morning of June 28th.

This tile was a gift to the Fillmore East employees

 

There were 40 albums recorded live at The Fillmore East from 1968 through 1971. Considering there were 111 main concerts during that time frame (more if you count both early and late show events) 40 concerts was close to 1/3 of all shows that were performed there. You can see the complete list of live Fillmore East albums, sorted A-Z by recording title on this Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Live_at_the_Fillmore_East_albums

Many people associate The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East as “the” recording that captured the music live of the last night. Truth of the matter is that only when the deluxe edition of  this dual CD was released did we get to hear two tracks from June 28th, “One Way Out” and “Midnight Rider”. According to Peter Wolf, lead singer of the J Geils Band who performed that night, “the Allman Brothers started at around four in the morning. At dawn, they were still playing “Crossroads,” or something like that.” (Graham and Greenfield, 2004).

The late, great photographer Jim Marshall took the photographs for the cover of  The Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East in the alley next to Capricorn Recording Studios in Macon, Georgia. (not in the alley of The Fillmore East as many, including myself, always thought).  This is my favorite pose by the band that Jim Marshall’s unique lens captured.

There are several definitive sources of information available about The Fillmore East. I refer you to my reference section at the end of this blog post.

As we get closer to celebrating the real 40th anniversary of the closing of The Fillmore East I will update this blog post with any potential celebrations and events. Trust me  I plan to take part as fully as I can in those events.

Reference

My favorite Web site about The Fillmore East is the The Fillmore East Preservation Society. I love this Web site and the freaks who put it together!

An immensely satisfying book about the Fillmore East authored by Amalie R. Rothschild who worked for the  Joshua Light Show and was the official photographer for The Fillmore East. Her camera captured many intimate moments as they occurred during those exciting three years. Live at the Fillmore East,  A Photographic Memoir, http://www.amazon.com/Live-Fillmore-East-Photographic-Memoir/dp/1560252790


Amalie R. Rothschild’s Web Site http://www.amalierrothschild.com/Allman/index.html

Bill Graham and The Fillmore East are synonymous. This is a well written autobiography and collaboration.

Bill Graham and Robert Greenfield, 2004, Bill Graham Presents, My Life Inside Rock and Out, Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA

Garland Jeffreys

ECS on Central Park West
Image via Wikipedia

I drift back to the time when we listened perpetually to FM radio, in particular Metromedia affiliate WNEW-FM 102.7  out of New York City. The year was 1973, Rosemary and  I were newly married and living in an apartment in South Norwalk, Ct.  We were very in league with the NEW-FM disk jockeys such as Dave Herman in the morning and Scott Muni (Scottso) in the afternoon. It was Dave Herman who turned us on to Garland Jeffreys and his anthem-like song, “Wild in the Streets”. Garland’s 45 r.p.m record got a lot of airplay on the station that year, deservedly so 😉

Rolling ahead to 1977, Garland Jeffreys recorded and released Ghost Writer on A&M Records. I used to go on record buying binges to J&R Music World and other record haunts throughout NY City, sometimes buying 10-12 albums at a clip. I recall purchasing Ghost Writer in the Village and playing it extensively on my Sunday morning radio show on WVOF-FM 88.5 at Fairfield University.  I would lean strongly on “35 Millimeter Dreams”, “Lift Me Up” and “Why-O” in my playlists. I was just going through my vinyl collection recently, thinking the next time I see Garland Jeffreys I’ll ask him to sign Ghost Writer for me so I can frame it for my home office 😉

Rolling forward to October 9, 2010, we saw Garland Jeffreys perform live as part of Happy Birthday John, An Informal Celebration of John Lennon’s 70th Birthday in NY City. Here is the video clip of his poetic reading of “Help”, which was very moving to witness.

I was very honored to have a chance to talk to Garland Jeffreys on the steps of the Society for Ethical Culture before the show and again after the concert at the after party at Gibson Studios. I loved his sincerity and the sense of excitement I felt about his career revival.

I’m making a solemn pledge to spend quality listening time with  Garland’s music and his official video channel on YouTube.  I want to become more in harmony with Garland’s music in anticipation of his new recording (which is in production).  He’s stepping up his touring schedule as a result and we hope to catch him live again real soon. 🙂

Garland’s discography is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Solo

  • 1969: Grinder’s Switch Featuring Garland Jeffreys
  • 1973: Garland Jeffreys
  • 1977: Ghost Writer
  • 1978: One Eyed Jack
  • 1979: American Boy & Girl
  • 1980: Escape Artist
  • 1982: Rock ‘n’ Roll Adult
  • 1983: Guts for Love
  • 1992: Don’t Call Me Buckwheat
  • 1992: Matador & More…
  • 1997: Wildlife Dictionary (only released in Europe)
  • 2007: I’m Alive (only released in Europe)

Contributions To Others