THE RETURN: K-Dillie's Super Sounds of the 70s
Last year I dedicated a post to a few of my favorite 70s jams. . . the kind of stuff you shamelessly crank up in your car on a road trip when all the music you're not embarassed to listen to starts to bore the living shit out of you. Go ahead, try putting on an Arcade Fire record 12 hours into a road trip. You've passed the cool point. Tossing that Grizzly Bear CD on may just get you a punch in the face from a grumpy travelling companion.
Here's how I described it in my K-Dilly post from last year:
While every era in music has its cheese, from the corny stuff in the '50s to the hippy-dippy shit in the 60s to the Candleboxian "grunge" of the '90s, I seem to have a soft spot for the 70s stuff.
The 70s produced a lot of bad music, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't even be afraid to say that some of tonight's music is, in some way, bad. I just don't care. This stuff isn't brain surgery. This is the 70s stuff that was custom made for a few specific activities. Drinking in your backyard. Lighting a shitload of fireworks. Watching, or participating in, a roller derby. Driving fast, especially in a Camaro.
For the entire month of September, I'm posting only the sweetest in 70s rawk. This time around, my idea was basically to construct a playlist of songs that, if played in a dingy biker bar jukebox, the kind of bar where Pee Wee Herman almost lost his life in Big Adventure, would NOT get your ass kicked.
"ELO Kiddies" by CHEAP TRICK:
What better way to start things off than with a couple of hello/ello's from Chicago's reigning pop rockers? Some of my earliest memories revolve around Cheap Trick, who -- though we may have forgotten this now -- were HUGE when I was young. Maybe it was just because I was growing up in the midwest, but the kids in my 'hood, especially the ones my older brothers' age, loved them. They had a great look, a cool name, a fantastic lead singer in Robin Zander, a goofy guitarist, and a drummer with one of the best names in the history of rock: Bun E. Carlos. "Hello There" was the song Cheap Trick played to open the majority of their shows, and it's easy to see why: it's punk as fuck. "ELO Kiddies," from the band's debut, is no slouch either, sounding like some crazy mix of Gang of Four and Alice Cooper.
"Toys in the Attic"
"Back in the Saddle" by AEROSMITH:
I have to admit, it took Guitar Hero 2 to re-awaken my love for old Aerosmith. There's a band who have not done themselves any favors (at least in my eyes) for at LEAST 15 to 20 years. "Love in an Elevator?" "Falling in Love is So Hard on the Knees?" They don't write songs anymore. . . they just go to Spencer's Gifts and lift lyrics off the worst bumper stickers they can find. Don't even get me started on all of those Dianne Warren soundtrack tunes they've been shitting out ad nauseum. But man, back in the day? Aerosmith were kinda the shit. Clock the stoned out brilliance of "Last Child," which starts out all slow like it's going to be another "Dream On," before turning into some kind of whiskey soaked porn soundtrack. (Is it a rule that Steven Tyler has to rhyme something with "sassyfrassy" on every song they do?) I was in grade school when I bought their debut album on cassette because it contained "Dream On." Once I got over that drag of a tune, I found the real gem in "Mama Kin" (so had Guns n' Roses, who covered it on the Live Like a Suicide half of their Lies EP). When I was 14 or 15, my mom and dad gave me the awesome gift of their Pandora's Box boxed set, which collected all kinds of great pre-Permanent Vacation/career revival music like "Toys in the Attic" and "Back in the Saddle." I stupidly sold the set in college, and now more than ever wish I had it back.
"Black Betty" by RAM JAM:
I can't say I own a single Ram Jam record (of course, there are only two). I honestly don't have any idea what the rest of their "catalogue" sounds like. All I know is that I'm dying to play this song on the 8-track player in a crazy souped up Camaro on a backwoods dirt road.
"Parchman Farm" by CACTUS:
Remember that scene in Ghost World, where Steve Buscemi goes to see a blues concert and is met with the white boy blues cockrocksanity of BLUESHAMMER? Yeah. That shit happened in 1970, and that band was Cactus. If scientists had to predict the sound it would make when you combine the rhythm section of Vanilla Fudge with the vocalist from the Amboy Dukes and Mitch Ryder's guitarist, they'd probably actually come really close to predicting this sound. Their debut album, which spawned this rocking but totally hilarious cover of a blues classic, gets an incredibly overstated 4.5 stars over at Allmusic.com.
"New York Groove" by ACE FREHLEY:
As a show, Entourage sucks more and more as it progresses. Lately, however, they've at least been making some interesting musical choices. Digging up this glorious glam rock anthem, off of the Ace Frehley solo KISS record. Back in September of 1978 (29 years ago, Christ!), all the members of KISS released solo albums on the same day. The only one I ever bought (again, on cassette) when I was going through my KISS phase was Ace's, which was just a bit less spotty than the rest of them but still had some great songs like "Groove" and the ode to cocaine, "Snow Blind." I'll get to KISS a post or two from now, so I'll just leave you to enjoy Frehley's take on a song that had been a hit for a band called Hello a few years before this version was released.
Alright kids, that's all for now, but stay tuned all through September for more 70s grooves. . .