Friday, July 24, 2020

McQ's Best Of 1969 Vol 14 - Hindenburgs Rising!

Closing in now on the end of the our look back at the end of the 60s, and no music better signaled the end of the 60s than the emergent strands of in-your-face punk and metal that surfaced in 1969.

Obviously, Led Zeppelin, who hit with both their self-titled debut and the even more crowd-pleasing follow-up II, were the 800-pound Gorilla on the metal side of this equation, as were The Stooges and MC5 on the proto-punk side, but what's most interesting is how much those three acts were the outliers in their efforts to push music to previously unexplored extremes, with almost every other act here falling in line with the Deep Purple/Steppenwolf Hush/Born To Be Wild organ-heavy template established over the preceding two years.

I'm sure most of you with an interest in early metal are familiar with bulk of these tunes, but a couple of mostly forgotten standouts I have to mention before beginning.  Spooky Tooth's Evil Woman, found in our encore, may be the greatest over-the-top cheeseball heavy song I've ever heard. It's to die for in its own unique way, and essential listening.

The other act not sleep on here under any circumstances is Mott The Hoople. They would go on to be more associated with glam in the years that followed, but their self-titled debut, a weird mix of Dylan and hard rock influences, gets my vote for the most underrated album of 1969.  It's aged remarkably well, and the three songs included here, their covers of Sonny Bono's Laugh At Me and The Kink's You Really Got Me, as well as original Rock 'n' Roll Queen, are not to be missed.

Now, with that straighten up, let's get rocking.  Here's the Spotify link.

Set 1 (Power-Chord Plunderers)

1. Rambin' Rose - MC5 (4:15)
2. Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin (2:28)
3. You Really Got Me - Mott The Hoople (2:54)
4. The Painter - Deep Purple (3:52)
5. No Fun - The Stooges (5:16)
6. Living Loving Maid (She's Just A Woman) - Led Zeppelin (2:40)
7. Walk In My Shadow - Free (3:30)
8. The Kettle - Colosseum (4:25)
9. In Need - Grand Funk Railroad (7:55)
10. Heartbreaker -  Led Zeppelin (4:14)
11. Don't Cry - Steppenwolf (3:07)
12. Futilist's Lament - High Tide (5:19)
13. Hello L.A., Bye-Bye Birmingham - Blue Cheer (3:27)
14. Waitin' For The Wind - Spooky Tooth (3:45)
15. Evil Woman Don't Play Your Games With Me - Crow (4:23)
16. Ramble On - Led Zeppelin (3:49)
17. Laugh At Me - Mott The Hoople (6:29)

Set 2 (Molten-Metal Marauders)

18. Plynth (Water Down The Drain) - Jeff Beck (3:07)
19. Good Times Bad Times - Led Zeppelin (2:46)
20. Rock Me - Steppenwolf (3:39)
21. Down Man - Brainbox (2:33)
22. Real Cool Time - The Stooges (2:32)
23. Why Didn't Rosemary? - Deep Purple (5:04)
24. What Is And What Should Never Be - Led Zeppelin (4:44)
25. The Hunter - Free (4:15)
26. Ain't That The Way (Love's Supposed To Be) - Blue Cheer (3:16)
27. Motor City Is Burning - MC5 (6:05)
28. What Would You Do (If I Did That To You) - Steppenwolf (3:23)
29. Heartbreaker - Grand Funk Railroad (6:35)


30. Your Time Is Gonna Come - Led Zeppelin (4:35)
31. I Wanna Be Your Dog - The Stooges (3:09)
32. Evil Woman - Spooky Tooth (9:09)
33. Rock And Roll Queen - Mott The Hoople (5:08)
34. Bring It On Home - Led Zeppelin (4:20)

About the Ascendent Axemen on this mix:

MC5: We open this proto-metal, proto-punk mix with two selections from the album that most straddles the essence of both emergent genres, MC5's Kick Out The Jams.  While sonically more of a nascent metal album, the raggedness, rough but so compelling anti-harmonies, and unpolished urgency would go on to inspire a whole generation of punks in the decade to come. Having already tapped the album's title track in our Vol 2 - Best Of The Best mix, here we profile raucous opener Ramblin' Rose and the band's protest take on the '69 Detroit riots Motor City Is Burning.

Led Zeppelin: More to come!

Mott The Hoople: As mentioned above, I consider Mott The Hoople's eponymous debut (Strong Recommend) the most underrated album of 1969. Not yet associated with the glam genre, the Mick Ralphs/Ian Hunter-fronted English outfit's debut was instead a marvelous blend of Dylan-esque phrasing and nascent proto-metal instincts. Cover heavy (the first original doesn't hit until final song of album side one), but oh what covers they were: A blistering instrumental rendition of The Kink's You Really Got Me, a potent rendition of Doug Sahm's At The Crossroads, and an unbelievably moving, and ultimately rocking, take on Sony Bono's nerd/hippie anthem Laugh At Me. Top everything off with the band's first phenomenal original, the Zeppelin worthy Rock And Roll Queen, and it all adds up to one of my favorite albums represented on this mix, and one of the best (though not THE best) albums in the bands under appreciated discography. If you explore one new album from the selections presented on this mix, make it this one.

Deep Purple: More to come!

The Stooges: More to come!

Free: More to come!

Colosseum: More to come!

Grand Funk Railroad: More to come!

Steppenwolf: More to come!

High Tide: With lead singer Tony Hill's Jim Morrison croon, and Simon House's turbulent violin, High Tide were amongst the heaviest of the first wave prog/metal outfits to emerge out of England in 1969, not to mention one of the first rock groups to ever fully incorporate the violin into their band's sound, and Futilist's Lament, our selection from the band's proper '69 debut Sea Shanties (Mild Recommend) presents the band at their absolute sludgiest.

Blue Cheer: More to come!

Spooky Tooth: More to come!

Crow: More to come!

Jeff Beck: More to come!

Brainbox: More to come!

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