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Category Archives: 1973

Can’t seem to avoid PBTHAL at this point. Every time I fall for a classic album, he’s got the prime cut lossless vinyl rip of the best pressing there ever was, crushing whatever CD junk remaster is commercially available. This is another case where there’s some junky special edition that sounds like digital fucking death, and a thirty year old vinyl that sounds like diamonds. In fact, you couldn’t even get the real, original mix of this album for over twenty years. Wikipedia sez:

During the height of ZZ Tops’ success in the early 1980s an inferior “digitally remixed” version of the recording replaced the original 1973 analog mix. The remix version was used on all early CD copies and was the only version available for over 20 years. A remastered and expanded edition of the album was released on February 28, 2006, which contains three bonus live tracks. The 2006 edition is the first CD version to use the original 1973 mix.

I understand that said comment will probably be stripped of its biased language, but its point stands!

For the FLAC version of this, and two other early ZZ Top jamz, check with the master.

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Another one from FUNK MY SOUL. I’m done biting their stylie for the night. But oh man, they have it all! This rip beats any of the CD versions I’ve heard! -Ian!

I often wonder what ever happened to the brothers who’d remained on active duty after serving in Nam and with whom I served in the mid and late seventies. Wherever I was stationed during that time period one of them was sure to be playing this album every evening. I worked with a number of them, women too – one troubled man gave me his bootleg album shortly before he died from alcohol poisoning.

We played “Back to the World” at the EM Club at the remote post in South Korea I was stationed in the mid 70’s; at the height of cold war juxpositioning and feeling like sitting ducks it seemed the thing to do especially for the many men and women among us who’d recently returned from ‘nam. Here was a popular successful singer and musician who cared about us, understood how we felt, how our returning brothers and sisters were being treated.

It’s been almost thirty years since I first heard this album, that first copy was lost long ago in a move. It thrills me to find it again as I remember dusty evenings with friends in a quonset hut barracks room singing “back to the world” with tears in our eyes as stories were told and too many drinks were drunk.

He spoke for those who served.


Curtis Mayfield-BACK TO THE WORLD (1973)
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An intricate, deliberately idiosyncratic record, assembled piece by piece, Boulders perfectly captures Roy Wood’s peculiar genius, more so than anything else he recorded. All of his obsessions are here — classical music, psychedelia, pre-Beatles pop, pastoral folk ballads, absurdist humor, studio trickery, and good old-fashioned rock & roll — assembled in a gracefully eccentric fashion. Some listeners may find that eccentricity a little alienating, but it’s the core of Wood’s music. He wrote tuneful, accessible songs, but indulged his passions and weird ideas, so even the loveliest melodies and catchiest hooks are dressed in colorful, odd arrangements. The marvelous thing is, these arrangements never sound self-consciously weird – it’s the sound of Wood’s music in full bloom. Never before and never again did his quirks sound so charming, even thrilling, as they do on Boulders. As soon as “Songs of Praise” reaches its chorus, a choir of sped-up, multi-tracked Roys kick in, sending it into the stratosphere. All nine tunes unwind in a similar fashion, each blessed with delightfully unpredictable twists. It’s easy to spot the tossed-off jokes on the goofy “When Gran’ma Plays the Banjo,” but it may take several spins to realize that the percussion on “Wake Up” is the sound of Roy slapping a bowl of water. Boulders is a sonic mosaic — you can choose to wonder at the little details or gaze at the glorious whole, enjoying the shape it forms. Wood has an unerring knack for melodies, whether they’re in folk ballads, sweet pop or old-fashioned rock & rollers, yet his brilliance is how he turns the hooks 180 degrees until they’re gloriously out of sync with his influences and peers. Boulders still sounds wonderfully out of time and it’s easy to argue that it’s the peak of his career.

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine,

Roy Wood-BOULDERS (1973)
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Another amazing find from FUNK MY SOUL, I’m telling you that blog is the BUSINESS. -Ian!

Skull Snaps were a mysterious funk group that lasted long enough to record and release a self-titled 1973 album before apparently disbanding. Since its small-time release on the GSF label, Skull Snaps has become one of the more legendary rare funk records, having been sampled countless times on rap records. Gang Starr’s “Take It Personal,” Camp Lo’s “Cooley High,” Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Hippa to da Hoppa,” Lords of the Underground’s “Funky Child,” and Diamond D’s “Sally Got a One Track Mind” represent just a handful of the tracks that have put the drums from “It’s a New Day” to use. Charly later issued the album on CD in the ’90s, to the amazement of those who had paid triple figures for the original LP.

Original vinyl copies of Skull Snaps’ one and only LP continue to exchange hands on the rare groove market for three figures. There are two reasons for this: one, it’s rare, and two, the drum breaks from the album have been feasted upon for samples so frequently that samples of the samples have likely been sampled. It’s not that the album is spectacular — it’s merely a decent early-’70s funk record from some accomplished musicians who don’t exactly leave a trademark of their own throughout its nine songs. This soul-drenched funk album is most notable for the drums of “It’s a New Day.” It’s the album’s strongest cut, and the opening drum pattern is as ubiquitous they come — you can hear it get put to re-use in well over two dozen popular rap songs. Anyone who likes hard funk will find much to like — the vocals are gruff, the rhythms are tough yet nimble (the drums are crisp and smacking throughout), and the subject matter takes on everything from pimps to romance to everyday relationships.

-Andy Kellman,

Skull Snaps-SKULL SNAPS (1973)
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Yes, I’m giving mediafire a shot again. Let’s see! -Ian!

Link Wray was one of rock & roll’s first bone fide guitar heroes, and his speaker-shredding buzzy chords were as distinctive a sound as anyone conjured up in rock’s early years. So Link’s old fans were thrown for a loop when, in 1971, the man made a comeback after several years along the margins with a self-titled album that set aside his big slabs of fretboard fuzz in favor of a loosely tight fusion of country, blues, and roughshod folk-rock. Recorded in a homemade three-track studio fashioned in an abandoned chicken coop on Wray’s Maryland farm, Link Wray lacks the muscle of the man’s legendary instrumental sides, with acoustic guitar, piano, and mandolin anchoring these sides as often as Link’s electric, and there’s a down-home mood here that lacks the switchblade intensity of Wray’s most famous music. But the rough passion of “Rumble” and “Rawhide” certainly carries through here, albeit in a different form; the plaintive howl of Wray’s vocals isn’t always pretty, but it certainly communicates (Wray lost a lung to TB in 1953), the best songs speak eloquently of the hard facts of Wray’s early life as a poor Shawnee child in the Deep South, and there’s a humble back-porch stomp in this music that’s heartfelt and immediate. (And Wray does serve up some primal hoodoo guitar on the closing cut, “Tail Dragger.”) Link Wray didn’t go over big with the man’s old fans and failed to win him many new ones, but it’s an honest and passionate piece of music that’s a fascinating detour from the music that has largely defined his career, and has aged better than the vast majority of the country-rock product of the early ’70s.

Largely recorded the same time as Link Wray’s self-titled 1971 comeback album, Beans and Fatback was more playful and harder-rocking set than the country- and blues-flavored album that announced Wray’s return to active duty. The loopy title cut started the album on a jew’s-harp-infused jug band note, and “I’m So Glad, I’m So Proud” was exactly the sort of showcase for Wray’s trademark rumbling guitar that the previous album lacked. Elsewhere, songs such as “Hobo Man” and “Georgia Pines” (the latter a rewrite of Leadbelly’s In the Pines”) followed the roots-oriented pattern of Link Wray, but with a stronger backbone and a lot more wallop; if both albums sound like they came from a studio housed in a chicken shack on a rundown Maryland farm, Beans and Fatback seems to have been born during a Saturday night rave-up, and goes a lot father toward fusing the rowdy howl of Wray’s early instrumental hits with the back-to-the-land flavor of his more personal 1971 set. If Beans and Fatback suffers in comparison to Link Wray, it’s in the lack of the deeper and more emotionally resonant undercurrents that carried the 1971 album; as good as these songs are, they don’t have the same impact as, say, “Fire and Brimstone” or “Take Me Home Jesus.” But as a pure listening experience, Beans and Fatback is plenty satisfying, and offers more rock & roll bang for the buck than Wray’s other work from this period. Virgin’s original LP release of Beans and Fatback also included a free piece of dried fatback as a “bonus” — yummy!

-Mark Deming,

LINK WRAY (1971)