One I Missed From 1970

Originally posted July 27, 2007

I wrote the other day about 1968 and the aptitude test that set me on the (somewhat crooked) road I followed to my years working as a journalist. That was the year, I wrote, when my passion for spectator sports developed, as I devoured each weekly edition of Sports Illustrated and followed the fortunes, especially, of the Minnesota North Stars.

I said that it would take another couple of years for my other major passion – popular music – to bloom. That passion sprouted tentatively in the fall of 1969 and came to full blossom during the year of 1970. And what a time that was to start listening to popular music!

Here are the No. 1 hits from that school year of 1969-70, which was my junior year in high school:

“Honky-Tonk Women” by the Rolling Stones
“Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies
“I Can’t Get Next To You” by the Temptations
“Suspicious Minds” by Elvis Presley
“Wedding Bell Blues” by the Fifth Dimension
“Come Together/Something” by the Beatles
“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam
“Leaving On A Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul & Mary
“Someday We’ll Be Together” by Diana Ross & the Supremes
“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” by B. J. Thomas
“I Want You Back” by the Jackson Five
“Venus” by Shocking Blue
“Thank You (Falettin Me Be Mice Elf Again)/Everybody Is A Star” by Sly & the Family Stone
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel
“Let It Be” by the Beatles
“ABC” by the Jackson Five
“American Woman/No Sugar Tonight” by the Guess Who
“Everything Is Beautiful” by Ray Stevens.

So that’s what was coming out of the radio on the table in my room that year. It’s not a bad collection of singles; the only clunker I see in the bunch is the Ray Stevens (possibly “Na Na Hey Hey,” but it was fun). Something not listed here that I was listening to as 1969 drew to a close was Blood, Sweat & Tears, the group’s self-titled second album. (I’d spent the money I’d earned at the trapshoot that summer on a Panasonic cassette recorder, and someone – my sister, most likely – had given me BST as a gift.)

Sometime early in that autumn, I went to sleep with the radio on low, as I nearly always did, and in the middle of the night, I awoke to a spooky noise: A “shoop!” followed by a guitar riff and tom-toms, and then a flat voice singing the strangest lyrics I’d heard so far: It was the Beatles’ “Come Together” slithering into my ears. I bought the cassette the next day to get the song.

As 1970 began, I began to look more at albums than individual songs, and by the time spring approached, I was looking at LPs instead of cassettes. I bought – or received as gifts – more albums the rest of that year than I had bought in my entire life before. The haul of 1970 was:

Let It Be by the Beatles in May
Chicago II by Chicago in June
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles in June
Best of Bee Gees in June
Hey Jude by the Beatles in August
Revolver by the Beatles in September
Déjà Vu by Crosby, Still, Nash & Young in September
The Band by The Band in December

Not a bad haul for the first serious stabs at putting together a collection. I didn’t yet have the taste for obscure, for the gem that’s found somewhere beyond the record charts. Even if I had, I likely wouldn’t have picked up the album I’m sharing today, Mylon LeFevre’s Mylon.

Mylon came from a family of gospel singers, and with his self-titled album (which is sometimes credited to Mylon LeFevre & Broken Heart), he tried to meld his rebellious love of rock with the faith he’d learned from his family. What he came up with is a faith-tinged album of pretty good southern gospel rock, something that bears a resemblance to some of the work by the Allman Brothers Band and a lot of the output of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.

Helping the sound inestimably was the trio of backup singers that frequently shows up on LPs that I love from that era: Merry Clayton, Venetta Fields and Clydie King. In addition, All-Music Guide says that Joe South helped out on guitar (though he is not listed in the credits).

Three years later, LeFevre would team up with guitar superstar Alvin Lee – of Ten Years After and “Comin’ Home” fame at Woodstock – for On the Road to Freedom, one of the great albums of 1973, one that attracted help from numerous luminaries of the time, including a British songwriter and guitarist who for contractual reasons was identified as Hari Georgeson. Some time after that, LeFevre bottomed out in the rock lifestyle, survived and went back to the church and became one of the brighter lights in what is now called Christian Contemporary Music.

But first, there was Mylon, a record that if I had looked more closely, I might have seen under the arms of some of St. Cloud’s version of the Jesus People, as the hippies who got religion were called at the time. It’s a sweet piece.

(Note: All-Music Guide has no listing for this album ever having been released on CD, meaning the source for the album – which I found at a blog last year; I unfortunately do not recall which one – has to be a vinyl rip. It’s an astoundingly good rip.)

Track listing
Old Gospel Ship
Sunday School Blues
Who Knows
Sweet Peace Within
You’re Still on His Mind
Trying to Be Free
Searching for Reality
Pleasing Who, Please You?
Hitch Hike
Peace Begins Within
The Only Thing That’s Free

Mylon LeFevre – Mylon [1970]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: