“Ram On…Give this album to Somebody…Soon…Right Away…”

By Nick Arietano Jr. The Record Lover

Greetings fellow Music and McCartney fans!

Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Ram” has always had a special place in my heart. As of this writing, this has since become my favorite McCartney solo effort. I have collected many pressings and incarnations of this beautiful record, from the original 1971 release on Apple Records, to the Limited Edition Yellow Vinyl and Archive Book CD/DVD Boxed Set. The best way(s) to experience this masterpiece are The original Apple Release, The Yellow Vinyl and Archive Book CD/DVD versions. When I received the “Ram” Archive Book set for Christmas of 2017, I was blown away by the much improved sound quality on the Yellow Vinyl and Archive versions. The stereo separation is gorgeous especially on-well, the ENTIRE album. The clarity on each song is stupendous. Certain tracks like “Smile Away” and “Dear Boy” sounded compressed as though there was more to be heard on these tracks. Now you can hear the bongo drums on “Dear Boy” and the acoustic guitars on “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” (a song which makes me stop whatever I’m doing at the moment-including writing this essay-to sing along and imitate word for word the “Admiral Halsey Notified Me…” middle eight verse) are brilliant. “Smile Away” rocks in the remastered version on the Yellow Vinyl and Book Archive collections. David Spinozza’s and High McCracken’s guitar riffs are where they SHOULD be on “Smile Away”

Side two of the album begins with “Heart of The Country”, a great acoustic county ditty from Paul, and it sounds like you’re right in the studio with him. “Monkberry Moon Delight” sounds eerier than ever. “Eat At Home” is a great rocker featuring Linda’s vocals along with Sir Paul’s. The album finishes with the great “The Back Seat of My Car” and with the improved sound quality, puts me in the mood to take a day trip to anywhere my imagination takes me.

There are plenty of materialistic goodies which accompany the CD/DVD Archive edition of the album. A full page book recounting how and when the album was recorded, gorgeous 8 x 10 photos of Paul and Linda, reproductions of hand written song lyrics, and a mini book featuring shots of Paul with various sheep! It also contains bonus audio tracks (The singles “Another Day”/”Oh Woman, Oh Why”, “The Great Cock and Seagull Race”, the beautiful “Hey Diddle” and “Rode All Night”, all beautifully remastered), the “Ram” album in a true mono mix taken from the original master, and the “Thrillington” album which is a Jazz version of “Ram”, recorded in 1971, by Percy “Thrills” Thrillington (which in reality, is your friend and mine, Sir Paul). Pardon the Pun, but I was “Thrilled” to hear the Jazz version of the album-in fact, I was most excited to hear that first before the original album itself! You have to hear it yourself-no spoilers! The Bonus DVD includes a video documentary on “Ram” and the promo film for the song “Heart of The Country”. When I looked at the contents of the Book Archive Edition, I was wondering why the “Brung To Ewe By” Radio spots which Paul and Linda recorded to be played before the stations spun a song from “Ram”. The vinyl version of these promos are hard to find to this day. However, when I first put the DVD in-to my sheer delight, ALL of the “Brung to Ewe By” radio spots are included in the menu. I have memorized all of the dialogue and the “Now Hear This Song of Mine…Now Hear This!” jingles and love singing along!

So… “Ram on” …and share this album with somebody… “Smile Away” when doing so!

Your friend and Mine, Nick The RecordLover

Favorites on 45: Celebrating 55 Years of The Beatles’ “Paperback Writer”/”Rain”

By Nick The Record Lover

On May 30 1966 The Beatles released their most electrifying single to date. “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” came out of the sessions the group were recording for the upcoming album “Revolver” which would hit the record stores in August of that year. I first heard “Paperback Writer” on the 1973 compilation “The Beatles 1962-1966” and then on the 1970 Apple Records release “The Beatles Again” (Also known as the “Hey Jude” album). It was 1983-1984 when I heard “Rain” for the first time. Ringo Starr had a Radio special on 66 WNBC called “Ringo’s Yellow Submarine”. He called it his “favorite Beatle track of all time”, and he “loved his drums on ‘Rain'”. I concur. It’s my favorite B Side released by The Fab Four, and my all-time favorite record. The Beatles were yet to record any songs as powerful as “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”. It was a double A-sided single, with “Paperback Writer” reaching number one and “Rain” making the charts at number 23. When I first heard these songs on “The Beatles Again” (AKA “Hey Jude”) LP they were remixed for stereo (George Martin made the stereo mixes in December of 1969). It was in 1986 when I bought the Capitol “Star Line Super Oldies” 45 version of this single when I heard the songs in their original mono formats.

Let me tell you, it was euphoria to the nth degree. First off, “Paperback Writer” just jumped out of the speakers as never before. The guitars were more punchy sounding, there can be high-hat drum sounds (or possibly the metronome ticking) before the “Paperback Writer” refrains, and echo on the final refrain. In other words, “Paperback Wri-Wri-Wri!!” The word “Psychedelic” is used loosely when it comes to mid-late 1960s music, but this is the first single The Beatles would release with that description. In “Rain”, John Lennon takes a jab at society. No matter if it rains or shines, people will never be satisfied. We can run from the rain, or let it cool us down on a hot Summer Day, and let the Sun bring us natural light rather than shield ourselves from it. On the original mono mix of “Rain”, you can actually “see” the rain and shine, and the weather is always fine when I hear it. Let us Beatles fans rejoice when we hear the AWESOME backward vocals during the coda and fade of “Rain”.

In the immortal words of John Lennon: “Can You Hear Me, That when it rains and shines, it’s just a state of mind..Can you hear me? Can you HEAR me….?”

Nick Arietano Jr (The Record Lover)

“Creedence Clearwater Revival-The Singles Collection” Review (Vinyl Version)

By Nick Arietano Jr.

Creedence Clearwater Revival is one of the greatest and most successful American Rock ‘N Roll Bands of all time, and “The Singles Collection” proves it in more ways than one. This boxed set contains all of the songs that made the charts between 1968-1972 on the Fantasy Label as well as their first on the Scorpio label “Porterville”/”Call It Pretending” released in 1967 (the original release had the group’s name as The Golliwogs and is rather scarce in record collecting circles, so I was very happy that they included it in this set). Both of these songs were credited to T.Spicebush Swallowtail, whom in reality is your friend and mine, John Fogerty.

All 15 singles are neatly packaged in gorgeous cardboard picture sleeves, some being from other countries. These include “Suzy Q . (Pt.1)” and “Suzy Q. (Pt. 2)”, “Green River”/”Commotion”, and “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”/”Hey Tonight”.

The set also includes a beautiful full color booklet featuring an essay by former Rolling Stone Editor Ben Fong-Torres and pages of photos containing picture sleeves and promo ads for all of the CCR singles released foreign and domestic.

The Sound quality on all of the singles is superb! The Promotional “45 Revolutions Per Minute (Pt. 1)”/”45 Revolutions Per Minute (Pt. 2)” is in stereo and all of the original hit singles are featured in their AM/FM Radio Mono Formats. In my humble opinion, I much prefer the mono mixes of the singles, reason being songs like “Suzy Q . (Pt. 1)/”Suzy Q. (Pt.2)” and “I Put A Spell on You”/”Walk on The Water” just jump right out of the one channel (the feedback on “Suzy Q” in mono sounds like you’re right there in the studio next to the amp), and “I Put A Spell On You”/”Walk on The Water” sounds way more eerier and the ghostly guitar parts make me feel as though I’m watching the man “Walk on The Water” with John Fogerty.

If you’re a big CCR fan, or getting into the group for the first time, give this set a listen. It’s been brilliantly remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley CA the way these works of musical art were meant to be heard!

See you all “Up Around The Bend”! Happy Listening!

The Recordlover

Flip-Side Feature

By Nick The Record Lover

Hello Fellow Music Lovers,

Welcome to Flip-Side Feature, a new addition to my blog “Music: A Friend For Life”. Today we go back to 1962 and “Mr. Soul” himself, Sam Cooke.

I first heard “Somebody Have Mercy” by Sam Cooke on a CD compilation “Sam Cooke: The Man and His Music” from 1986. I purchased it around 1995 or so, and sang along with all of the classics (“Cupid”, “Shake”, “You Send Me”, and “Another Saturday Night”, to name more than a few). When I arrived at “Somebody Have Mercy”, I was blown away. This was one of the greatest songs I had ever heard in my young life. It sounded like it should have been an A-Side number one hit. Then I found out it was the B-Side of “Nothing Can Change This Love”.

“Somebody Have Mercy” was written by The man himself, and he pours his heart out over a woman who does him wrong no matter how hard he tries to satisfy her. When I first heard the chorus which starts off the song-“Somebody Have Mercy, and Tell me What is Wrong with Me” it brought tears to my eyes. Young love is anything but what you see in the movies. I mean dig those lyrics “I’m gonna grab me an arm full of Greyhound, and ride just as close I can…and BLOW that thing for me yeah..” Then the blues harmonica comes in and all hell breaks loose. He could have just wrote that he was “taking a bus and getting the hell out of here”, but instead it’s “An Arm Full of Greyhound”. Genius! It makes me wonder if the band just started jamming an R&B feel, and Sam just started singing away. This is indeed one of the best (if not THE best) of Sam Cooke’s underrated songs and in the original mono mix.

Happy Listening!

Nick The Record Lover

The Rolling Stones “Between The Buttons” Album Review

By Nick The Record Lover

The Rolling Stones “Between The Buttons” has become my go-to record from this group lately. I received “The Rolling Stones in Mono” CD set as a gift a few years back ( a steal for 40 bucks brand new on EBAY), and enjoyed listening to The Stones first few albums. The sound quality is so crisp and clear (much superior to the 1986 CD releases) and I have to say, bar none, these albums belong in their original mono formats. My favorite album of The Rolling Stones has always been “Flowers”, a 1967 compilation featuring the singles “Ruby Tuesday” “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and “Have You Seen Your Mother Baby, Standing in The Shadow?” It also included previously unreleased tracks: Their cover version of The Temptations classic “My Girl” and “Ride On Baby”, recorded the previous year during the group’s “Aftermath” album sessions.

I picked up the first CD release of “Between The Buttons” back in 1994-95 after watching the coming of age 1987 film “Some Kind of Wonderful”. When Eric Stoltz’s character Keith gets prepped for his big date with Amanda Jones (Lea Thompson), the opening chords start off to The Rolling Stones “Miss Amanda Jones” I was hooked. I knew it was The Rolling Stones, deciphered that it was from back in their 60s heyday, and immediately started asking what album “Miss Amanda Jones” appeared on. The ones I asked only knew it was from the movie, so I had to continue my search. When I visited Compact Disc World in Edison New Jersey, I went up to the computer and punched in the title of the song (remember when we had to do that? Oh, how times have changed) to see what album it was a part of. The picture of the “Between The Buttons” album cover appeared in the lower right corner of the screen. I said to myself, “Miss Amanda Jones” is on the same album as “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together”? I was going to buy it anyway because (A) I was (and still am) a big Rolling Stones fan, and (B) I was yet to have it in my collection. When I first heard the CD, I thought the sound quality was OK, as it read on the bottom of the case that it was “Digitally Remastered From Original Master Recordings”. “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” were mixed a tad different than the versions on “Flowers” and the recording levels of both songs sounded much lower. I wasn’t thinking so much of sound quality at the time, just that I added the album to my collection and I could finally listen to “Miss Amanda Jones” in its entirety. I gave the other tracks a listen, and loved “Connection”, “Cool, Calm, and Collected” and “Something Happened to Me Yesterday”. I remember playing this album very often throughout the mid-late 1990s, blasting “Miss Amanda Jones” and singing along with nearly every verse. I finally figured out that one of the verses is “She’s the darling of the discotheque crowd/”Of her lineage she’s rightfully proud, Miss Amanda Jones…” And that’s just since I listened to the Mono Boxed set version. Which would make that over a year ago. Since then I rediscovered this underrated Stones gem.

The mono boxed set version contains all of the UK incarnations of the Rolling Stones early catalog released in their original formats. Most of the albums were repackaged in The United States with different track listings.

Which brings me to the ultimate gist of today’s blog post. Which version is superior? The UK version (Released on January 20, 1967) in mono, the UK version in stereo, or the US version(Released on February 11, 1967) in stereo? I’ve Yet to hear the US version of “Between The Buttons” in mono (which I could assume sounds very similar to the mono released in Britain).

I really enjoy the Mono UK Mix originally released in January of 1967. All of this material was recorded between the late Summer and early Winter of 1966. The singles “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend The Night Together” were recorded in December of 1966 and released in January of 1967. The Mono UK Mix, in my opinion, is the far superior version than the US and UK Stereo. There’s more punch to the songs, especially “Connection” (which also has a longer fade in mono), as does “Cool, Calm, Collected”. “Miss Amanda Jones” jumps right out of the left channel, the way it was meant to be heard. The vocals sound more snide, and one can tell the group put their all into the Mono Mixes. Plus, it’s an album which didn’t need the single “Ruby Tuesday”/”Let’s Spend The Night Together” to make it relevant. It’s a unique and complete album that stands well on its own. It includes the great ballad “Backstreet Girl” and the Bo-Diddley inspired psychedelic “Please Go Home”. This is the second Rolling Stones album which featured all original compositions, and showcases different styles of music, and tackled more adult material featured on the great Bob Dylan inspired “Who’s Been Sleeping Here?” and the grungy “My Obsession”. Mick shines on the shuffle type ballad “She Smiled Sweetly”, and the band shows their creativity of mixing raga and honky-tonk with “Cool, Calm, Collected.”

One of my favorites to sing along with is the closing track “Something Happened to Me Yesterday.” It shows the “Bad Boys of Rock” could joke with the best of ’em, especially when the sing the refrain of “Something Happened To Me Yesterday” and Mick sneaks in the opening of “Yesterday” by The Beatles, and later on ad libs “What kind of joint is this?” This is also the first time Mick and Keith Richards trade vocals. Mick tells the story of something happening that was “Oh so Groovy” in the verses, while Keith takes the lead on the choruses “He don’t know if it’s right or wrong…”

Well my fellow music lovers, there’s my take on The Rolling Stones much under-rated “Between The Buttons. The Mono UK wins by a landslide. So to paraphrase Mick, Keith, Brian, Charlie and Bill:

Thank You very much and it’s time for me to go. So from me to you, not forgetting the “Boys in The Band”. I’d like to say, God Bless. So if you’re out tonight, don’t forget, if you’re on your bike, wear white.

Evening All!

Happy Listening!

Nick The Record Lover

“Sometimes ‘Rumours’ are great to hear”

By Nick The RecordLover

I’ve been familiar with Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” since forever. What classic rock fan has yet to hear this landmark album? Here’s the rub, though. It took me 40 years (yes, you read that right) to FULLY appreciate it. I can remember hearing the tracks “Go Your Own Way”, “You Make Lovin’ Fun”, “Dreams”, and “Don’t Stop” played on almost every FM station in 1977. I loved all of the tracks, but “Go Your Own Way”, “You Make Lovin’ Fun”, and ” Don’t Stop” were my favorites.

I’ve heard this album in many formats: The original 1977 LP, The 5.1 Surround Sound DVD audio, and as we speak, the 2019 4 CD boxed set. The sound of the LP has that warmth that only emits from that format. The DVD Audio (which I bought used for 50 bucks on EBAY), sounds flawless, and to have the entire album spread through 5 channels (keep in mind, the DVD Audio was released in 2001), is a euphoric experience. Christine McVie’s and Stevie Nick’s vocals sound dreamier and more angelic than ever. Lindsey Buckingham’s guitars especially on “Second Hand News” and “Never Going Back Again” Mick Fleetwood’s drums sound like they are right in the room. John McVie’s bass is more up front in the mix.

If you’ve yet to hear the 5.1 DVD Audio (I would assume you already own the LP), definitely search and strike while the iron’s hot.

The 4 Disc collection of “Rumours” contains the original album beautifully remastered, a “Live” 1977 “Rumours” World Tour, one disc dedicated to early takes and demos, including an instrumental and vocal track of “Keep Me There” “Planets of The Universe” and a short ballad demo of “Doesn’t Anything Last”. Disc 4 has more recording sessions and outtakes mostly from the LP, and outtakes such as “Planets of The Universe”, “Butter Cookie (The Early title of Keep Me There). I really enjoyed listening to Disc 3 and 4, reasons being I experienced how this masterpiece of an album was put together. I love the outtake versions of “Go Your Own Way”, “Silver Springs” and “I Don’t Want to Know”.

Do yourselves a great treat. Pick up the 4 disc set. It can still be found on EBAY for a great price. If you enjoy it as much as I did (and still do), spread the “Rumour”!


Nick The RecordLover

“Fascinating ‘Facets of Folk'”

By Nick The RecordLover

Mara Levine is one of the finest Folk-Singers of our time. She’s in great company with Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Judy Collins. When she sings, it’s the Music of The Angels. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and discussing folk music and who her main influences are. She remembers growing up listening to Simon and Garfunkel. Speaking of whom, she did a fine rendition of Paul Simon’s “Leaves That Are Green” which kicks off her 2013 effort “Jewels and Harmony” and gives her spin on Tim Hardin’s “If I Were A Carpenter” on her 2008 album “Mara’s Gems”.

What makes “Facets of Folk” so endearing? It’s the musicianship of Folk Artists Gathering Time and Kim and Reggie Harris on beautiful harmony vocals on “Daughters and Sons”. It’s chanteuse Mara who gently yet fervently drives home the adage: “You Reap What You Sow…So you Better Plan Wisely”. It’s the classic songwriters who are immortalized like Leonard Cohen. Mara Levine pays homage with her cover of “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”. Songwriter Terry Kitchen lends his talent with the beautiful ballad “A Perfect Rose”( Terry is also featured on harmony vocals, guitar, bass, and mandolin). There are also songs of inspiration (“Be The Change”), painful and heartfelt irony (“By My Silence”) and traditional ballads (“Taladh Chrisoda” -phonetically pronounced “Ta-La-Da Cree-Os-Da”).

A song that hits home is the gorgeous “The Moment Slipped Away”-We’ve all had those times where we felt we could have made a difference with just a kind word or two to brighten someone’s day. Christine Lavin’s Words and Mara Levine’s angelic vocals tell us that we can always make a difference. We can change for the better.

This wonderful listening experience concludes with Mara’s beautiful rendition of Paul Simon’s “Song For The Asking”. Her effort shows her love and passion for the song and for the music. Thank you for including this song, Mara.

There are many reasons why Mara Levine has made it to number one on the folk charts. This album has 13. Most of all, it has been her perseverance, talent, her beautiful voice, and her love and passion for the music.

Mara, I wish you the best of everything that comes your way. May 2021 bring another #1 album!

Nick Arietano Jr. (The RecordLover)

Underrated Album Series: “Byrdmaniax” by The Byrds

Founding Byrds member Jim Roger McGuinn states in the liner notes of the CD reissue of the group’s 1971 LP “Byrdmaniax”: “We were just idling artistically -the album sounds like we really weren’t concentrating on doing good work, good art.” I’d like to hear what The Byrds would do when they really weren’t concentrating because this is a very wonderful album, and when I bought this album on LP it was such a breath of fresh air. It has Country, Folk Rock, and classical all wrapped up in 11 Tracks. It’s such a delight to hear The Byrds change with the times. Gone were the days of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” and “All I Really Want to Do”. In their place were the Gospel track “Glory Glory” written by Arthur Reid Reynolds, and the tongue in cheek contributions “I Wanna Grow Up to Be A Politician” (written by Roger McGuinn) and the Skip Battin/Kim Fowley tribute to Hollywood’s Colorful characters “Citizen Kane”.

My favorite tracks which stand out are the aforementioned “Citizen Kane” and the country rock instrumental “Green Apple Quick Step” written by Gene Parsons and Clarence White (which features a great harmonica performance by Clarence White’s father Eric). Roger McGuinn’s “I Trust”, short for his motto “I trust it will turn out alright” originally taken from Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”. I give this effort an A because it’s one of their most overlooked efforts, but it offers so much. Happy Listening!

Nick The RecordLover

Underrated Album Series: “Mardi Gras” by Creedence Clearwater Revival

By Nick The Recordlover

Hello Fellow Music Lovers!

I’ve been a Creedence Clearwater Revival fan for as long as I can remember. I have every album they released, boxed sets of their early material as Tommy Fogerty and The Blue Velvets and The Golliwogs, and “Live” recordings. When I looked through the Creedence Clearwater Revival “Chronicle” liner notes I noticed when “Someday Never Comes” was mentioned, it read that the song was from the LP “Mardi Gras” which was released in 1972. I was yet to be familiar with the album and its contents until around 1996 when I was shopping at Princeton Record Exchange.

While I was flipping through the Creedence album section I finally noticed it. The cover was much different than the other releases as there was not a group photo. Just the group’s name circling around and the little girl with the tambourine in her hand which read “Mardi Gras”. The back cover shows John Fogerty, Stu Cook, and Doug Clifford in conversation and the list of song titles. I took the record out of its sleeve and it was on the blue “Full Radial Stereo” label. I thought this must be a first pressing, and the last LP to feature the blue label, as all other copies would be on the brown Fantasy Label with the big “F” in the middle. Needless to say I didn’t pick it up that day, as I wasn’t in the market for it at that particular time.

Around 2000, I picked up the CD and heard it for the first time. I knew it would be different, I just didn’t know how much! “Lookin’ For A Reason” had a country, more laid back feeling to it. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford joined in and wrote their own songs for the LP. There are many different stories as to how and why this album was released. It has taken a beating ever since its 1972 release. After multiple listens, I fell in love with it. So much so I have multiple copies on LP (one promo copy on the brown label, a stock copy on the brown label, and a blue “Full Radial Stereo” reissue which sounds much better than the stock brown labels). Why it was so maligned when it came out is anybody’s guess. I’ve spoken to Creedence fans over the years (I was in the record shop two weeks ago, and there was a customer who had “Mardi Gras” in his pile for purchase, and said it was so good because it was different), and some say it’s their favorite album by the group (even though Tom Fogerty left shortly after “Pendulum” was released in 1970).

The tracks on the album have a charm all their own. “Lookin’ For A Reason” is a reflective song written by John Fogerty which could have a double meaning. Is he questioning a relationship with a loved one or does he want to leave Creedence? Whatever the circumstance, it’s a nice country laid back song to kick off the album.

“Take It Like A Friend” was written by Stu Cook and is the first of his three contributions to the album. It starts off with the lyrics, “If maybe you’d move over, give someone else a chance to try their luck…”

Perhaps it’s a reach out to John Fogerty to forget about the tensions that were surrounding the group at the time and to rekindle the chemistry the band had with each other on the earlier albums. Good vocal performance from Stu Cook and an easy going track.

“Need Someone to Hold” is the first track written by drummer Doug Clifford and is by far my favorite one on “Mardi Gras”. It’s so well written and sung, and I can identify with the lyrics. All of them. Although it’s written from Doug Clifford’s view of life on the road, the chorus always brings the reality of life: “Give out the warm, Comes back cold. Oh God, I Need Someone to Hold.” We’ve all felt this way at some point of our lives. No matter what we do, or how kind we are to others, we’re not always appreciated.

“Tearin’ Up The Country” is another Doug Clifford composition, and it has that feel-good country-rock sound. Stu Cook’s bass on the intro gives it a nice kick-off the song, while Doug Clifford sings about his days as a child who would rather ditch his books and play his music real loud! Yes, I can relate to this one all the way! John Fogerty gives us a nice lead guitar riff in the break. It’s featured as the B-Side of “Someday Never Comes”.

“Someday Never Comes” was released as a single from the album, and it is one of John Fogerty’s most heartfelt songs he’s ever put on disc. It’s reality in less than four minutes. He sings about the absence of his father, becoming an absentee father himself, and his child’s mother saying “Someday You’ll Understand”. The song carries the concept of having to find one’s true self before having the ability to give to others. Whatever you have to say or do for yourself, or something you need to clear up with friends, or family, do it now (or as soon as possible), because indeed, “Someday Never Comes.”

Side Two kicks off with a great pop song, “What Are You Gonna Go?” written by Doug Clifford (his final track on the album), is about someone who is trying to help their partner/friend become independent in their life and not relying on anyone else but him. Good drumming and singing from Doug.

“Sail Away” is another favorite from the LP and Stu Cook’s best contribution to “Mardi Gras”. Love the dreamy feeling of this song. Reminds me of just chilling out when the sun goes down and feeling like sailing away from the responsibilities and the humdrum life can sometimes bring. Nice singing from Stu Cook and the rhythm is reminiscent of “Proud Mary”. Perhaps that was the intention?

“Door to Door” starts off a trio of great pop and rock tunes, and Stu Cook (who also wrote it) gives it his all on vocals. It has that traditional 3 chord progression late 50s-early 60s type of sound and the band plays tight throughout. The lyrics refer to Stu Cook’s early days as a door-to-door salesman before breaking in to the music scene. It’s also featured as the flip side to the single “Sweet Hitch Hiker”.

The album goes back to the early Creedence concept of a cover song per album (Their previous album, “Pendulum” contained all original compositions), and the group decided to go with “Hello Mary Lou”. A nice choice, reminiscent of the innocent days of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s nearly played, produced, and sung note-for-note as Ricky Nelson’s original hit version.

“Mardi Gras” ends the celebration with the hard-rockin’ sexual innuendo “Sweet Hitch Hiker” (Written by John Fogerty and the second of two singles from the album). It has a great intro (sounds like Fogerty is scraping his guitar pick against the string to simulate a motorcycle taking off), and is classic Creedence. Great guitar from Fogerty, while Stu and Doug fit in nicely on bass and drums. Love the lyrics: “Was Riding along side the highway, rollin’ up the countryside”/”Thinking I’m the devil’s heatwave”/”What you burn in your crazy mind?” and the chorus “Sweet Hitch-A-Hiker! We could make music at the Greasy King”/”Sweet Hitch-A-Hiker! Won’t you ride on my fast machine? (Being it was 1971 -1972 at the time of recording, I think the group wanted to see how far they could go with their lyrics).”

If you’ve been a Creedence fan since the early days of Tommy Fogerty and The Blue Velvets, or just starting to get into their hits, definitely give this album a listen. It’s an underrated album that should have been given more airplay and respect.


Nick The RecordLover

“1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” Book Review

By Nick The Recordlover

Hello Fellow Music Lovers,

As you may know, Rolling Stone magazine has just published their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-Time” issue. Any Top 10, Top 20, Top 1000-whatever it may be-list is going to be subjective (which is defined as influenced by personal taste, opinion, emotion, feeling, etc.). I have to say I didn’t agree with most of those choices on the list. In fact, it wasn’t what was on the list but what wasn’t.

Anyhow, I’ve already spoken my piece about that list. Tonight I will be discussing “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die” which contains over 950 pages (including the index) of essays discussing albums from the 1950s-2000s. I remember buying this book for an extremely discounted price in a local outlet store brand new and sealed. I’ll tell you folks right now. This is a much different and much more subjective list of albums that I’ve researched up to this very day. It starts with Frank Sinatra’s 1955 “In The Wee Small Hours” and finishes with The White Stripes 2005 release “Get Behind Me Satan”. Fifty Years of Rock, Pop, Jazz, Rap, and Metal. Keep in mind when you read the book (and I highly recommend you do), that these essays have been written by Leading International Critics. Having said that, there is something for everyone to enjoy reading. If you’re a Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” fan, fear not. It is listed. At the time I bought the book, I was disappointed that none of the early Fleetwood Mac material pre-Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks was included. What about their 1975 self -titled LP? It’s mentioned in the “Rumours” essay but deserves a spot of its own, as many artists are repeated (i.e. Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Janis Joplin) here. As time has passed I’ve come to enjoy and treasure “Rumours” the more I hear it. It seems though certain albums are in this book because they “should” be included, more than by personal taste. Of Course, “Sgt. Pepper’s” gets the nod, but I’m so glad “Revolver” received its own essay. “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull is a common choice, but then again it’s the only one. I’ve snarfed up Jethro Tull albums recently -“This Was”, “Heavy Horses”, “Songs From The Wood”-, but they are curiously omitted, as are The Moody Blues albums (how can you miss “In Search of The Lost Chord” or “A Question of Balance”?). Then I was pleasantly surprised The Bee Gees “Odessa” and “Trafalgar” albums from 1969 and 1971 made the list. The Beach Boys score with “The Beach Boys Today” and “Pet Sounds”, but I would have included “Smiley Smile” and/or “Wild Honey”. The self-titled second album of Blood, Sweat & Tears gets a mention, but no “Child is Father To the Man” their debut with founding member Al Kooper? The choices in this book aren’t bad by any means. I think the Critics should have delved a little deeper. Maybe include “Between The Buttons” by The Stones? Their debut and “Exile on Main St.” get mentioned (as well they should), but I disagree with the critic who says the group hated the music on “Exile”. They think it’s been overrated, and it was a heady time in their career (to say the very least) when they recorded it, and it’s great from beginning to end, but to say the Stones “never rolled this well again” after this album? I think “Goats Head Soup” was very underrated.

Hopefully this post will influence my fellow music lovers to give this book a read and come up with their own opinions. Do you agree or disagree here? Let me know. I would love to hear from all of you.

Happy Reading and Listening!

Nick The RecordLover