Monday, July 27, 2020

50 Years of Music • July, 1970




See resent crash lower right corner
Source - Noozhawk.com
July 1970, at 15 I'm still too young to drive, but I've got friend Gary Hill a few years older who could borrow the family station wagon and we are off to the beach or getting our kicks on Route 166. I remember going out to the towering bridge on 166 east of Santa Maria, CA where we used to walk directly underneath the bridge girders on a narrow wood  plank and single steel cable rail walkway (most likely used for maintenance work). One time, Paul Hobbs and I started on one end of the bridge and Jeff McCarthy and Gary started on the other. We raced towards the middle, gracefully passing each other on the single plank using the cable rail and then sped to the other end. The first group back up on the road were the winners. Jeff and Gary beat us handily. Just a few years later, I drove out to that same bridge to do the walk under the bridge, and I was terrified. Yes, good ol' terror can actually keep you alive!

In my research this week for albums released in July, 1970 three strong albums perked up my memory listening to these albums fifty years ago.

Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) made five albums from 1968-1970 and were one of my wife's favorite bands during that period. When Cosmo's Factory was released in July of 1970, it could have been called, John Fogerty's Hit Factory for the sheer number of hits from that album alone. CCR is often called, swamp rock even though the band was from the San Francisco Bay Area and not the south. CCR never got the 'cool' brand like other Bay area bands like Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead, or Quicksilver Messenger Service, and some rock 'n' roll critics dismissed them. But for me, CCR was pure 'three cords and the truth' that differed from the live jam groups of that era. My personal taste today reverts back to the CCR sound and think they actually hold up better fifty years later than many bands from the 60's and 70's. I often think of CCR and Booker T. and the MG's in the same breathe, simple tunes that just hook you for life. I will also say, that John Fogerty didn't write pop drivel lyrics, he covered social injustice topics and the Vietnam War like few other hit making bands of that era. A couple years ago, I got tickets to see John Fogerty in Las Vegas a day after seeing (and being a bit disappointed with) a very famous act the night before. John Fogerty made my trip and I will say, "he blew that room away."

The James Gang rides again is the second album by the band James Gang as everybody gets introduced to Joe Walsh and his mastery of electric guitar through the hit Funk #49. Listening to this album after so many years, I was thinking maybe there are a couple more good songs here besides Funk #49. Well this album also holds up very well after fifty years, and I found several more to make the playlist this week.

1970 found the band Traffic together again after Steve Winwood had left the band in 1969 to form Blind Faith with Eric Clapton. When Clapton left Blind Faith after their first album and tour, Winwood then planned to make a solo album in 1970. After bringing in Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood to work on the solo project, he decided to scrub that and get Traffic back together again with the boys and thus, John Barleycorn Must Die was born and released in July. Listening to the entire album again was a treat, and as I have said many times in this blog, just another quality album purchased by my friend Ron Zieman and consumed by our young ears from his portable record player in his bedroom.

This week's playlist is formed by the three albums with a song from each album and then interjected with a July 1970 song by The Doors, Yes, Humble Pie, The Stooges, and Fairport Convention. Then, I finish it off with the rest of Cosmo's Factory, because I'm just diggin' CCR today!

Enjoy, and stay well my friends.



The Santa Maria Riverbed, just before you reach Route 166 heading north on the 101.

2 comments:

  1. Yes I do sort of remember that race under the bridge. Didn’t remember who won however because I had such high regard for all the contestants. Sidenote; One time when I did the Letterman show, John Fogerty was the musical guest! And little old me from Liddell or Santa Maria got to shoot the shit with him for a few minutes!

    ReplyDelete
  2. “Liddell or” meant to be little ‘ol. Methinks Steve Jobs has still got his hand in spellcheck from the grave

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