News From Here & There

Originally posted May 21, 2008

A few things from here and there:

JB the DJ at The Hits Just Keep On Comin’ has a new gig. He tells about his new occasional radio shifts – starting this Sunday – at WISM-FM, known as Magic 98 – in Madison, noting that he applied for a job at WISM’s AM side in 1983. JB notes, “Magic 98 is a bigger pond to swim in—higher ratings, stronger signal—with vastly different formatics to learn, but it’s also a whole lot closer to the kind of radio I was weaned on. So I suspect it’s going to be one hell of a lot of fun.”

You’ll find links at the blog to the station’s website and to a page showing JB’s radio schedule. Good luck with the gig, JB. Spin one for me!

My other compatriot from the Upper Midwest, Jeff from AM, Then FM, tells of taking his dad to a Dionne Warwick show at a local casino. Everything was gravy, he says, after Warwick’s second song, “Walk On By.” And Jeff provides links to Warwick’s version of the song as well as to two additional, intriguing versions of the Bert Bacharach/Hal David anthem.

Elsewhere on his blog, Jeff continues his “20 Songs from 20 Albums for $20” series, sharing the fruits of a recent vinyl purchase with tunes from the Bob Crewe Generation, Joe South and War.

At The College Crowd Digs Me, Casey continues his “Track Four” feature – following a tradition that helped his father and friends make it through college – by sharing and assessing “Alexis,” the fourth track on the James Gang’s 1973 album, Bang. Casey notes that at the time of the recording, the James Gang was actually a different band, what with the departure of Joe Walsh and the arrival of Tommy Bolin. Oddly enough, this is the third mention of the talented but ultimately doomed Bolin in just a week or so among the hundreds of blogs I scan every week. (If I could recall where those were, I’d provide links; as it is, I’ll likely be writing a little about Zephyr, Bolin’s first band, in the next few weeks.) As long as you’re at Casey’s joint, scroll down and look at his reading recommendations; in terms of subject, they’re all over the place, but in terms of quality, they’re top-notch.

At Bobby Jameson, my friend Bobby continues his memoirs, telling his tale of life in late-Sixties America (with a mid-Sixties sojourn in England already covered). In his fifty-fifth chapter, Jameson looks at where he was – pysically, mentally and emotionally – in 1968 as he headed toward the recording of his third album, Working! Bobby’s blog is not always fun reading, but it’s an open and honest look at one man’s journey through Southern California and its recording industry during the time we now call the Sixties.*

Jesse Colin Young, Together (1972)
All-Music Guide notes that Together, Jesse Colin Young’s first solo album since 1965, was recorded while the Youngbloods – the folk-rock group Youngblood organized in 1965 – were still together. As the Youngbloods effectively disbanded in 1972, one might assume that Young’s release of Together was effectively his declaration of separation from the group he’d headed since its inception.

But if the release of the album was a statement of purpose, the content of the album doesn’t exactly follow. It’s kind of a hodgepodge, a mix of things that really shouldn’t cling together as an album.

The album starts with three of the sweet and mellow folkie tunes that would more and more become Young’s stock in trade during his solo career. Then, Together takes the first of several odd turns with a not-quite-rocking piano-based rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.” It shouldn’t work, but it does, probably because Young’s distinctive voice ties the song into the rest of the record.

That same effect – voice as unifier – comes into play a little later when Young shifts from his earnest “Peace Song” into a rendition of the truck-driving tune, “Six Days on the Road.” Again, one would think that the country-ish tune wouldn’t fit into the mood of Northern California mellowness that Young projects, but it does. As do the following songs: Young’s rendition of Mississippi John Hurt’s “Creole Bell” and a bluesy take on on “1000 Miles From Nowhere,” a 1953 tune by Mercy Dee Walton better known as “One Room Country Shack” and recorded by many others, including Buddy Guy.

Young closes the record with performance of Nick Gravenites’ “Born in Chicago” and “Pastures of Plenty,” a song credited to “Woody Guthrie/Traditional.” And again, one might think that these separate parts of the album should grind gears rather than function as a whole. But it’s the voice, I guess, as well as Young’s seeming determination; it’s almost as if he willfully said, “It goes together because I say it does.”

And, oddly enough, Together holds together pretty well.

Helping Young out were Rick Anderson on harmonica, Pete Childs on guitar and dobro, Jerry Corbitt on vocals, Scott Lawrence on keyboards, Jeff Myer on drums, Eddy Offenstein on guitar, Ron Stallings and John Wilmeth on horns and Suzi Young on vocals.

The album has been released on CD but seems to be out of print, with copies currently priced at $40 or more. This is a rip from vinyl, with a few whispers of sound. I wish I could remember where I found the rip, but I don’t, so all I can do is offer a generic thanks.

Good Times
Sweet Little Child
Sweet Little Sixteen
The Peace Song
Six Days on the Road
Lovely Day
Creole Bell
1000 Miles From Nowhere
Born In Chicago
Pastures of Plenty

Jesse Colin Young – Together [1972]

*Since this was first posted, Bobby Jameson has created a cluster of blogs dealing with his history and his music. He’s posted a lot of music on YouTube, much of it unheard until the past few years. It’s well worth your time to wander through all of his online projects. Note added June 29, 2011.


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