Friday, July 24, 2020

McQ's Best Of 1969 Mix Collection

McQ's 1969 #1
1969.  What a year.  So many great works.  Maybe not an amazing year for fans of bright, melodic pop or psychedelic rock, both of which were quickly falling out of favor.  But an extraordinary, often groundbreaking year in country-rock, jazz, prog, soul, and nascent punk and metal.

It was also an unbelievable year in terms of off-the-charts prolificacy.

Truth be told, so many great acts came out with multiple great releases in 1969 that putting this retrospective collection together proved to be an unusually daunting task.

McQ's 1969 #2
Think about it, in this single twelve month period, just among those artists we're profiling here we've got Tim Buckley (2 1969 releases), Joe Cocker (2), The Beatles (2), Johnny Winter (2), The Temptations (2), Love (2), Led Zeppelin (2), The Moody Blues (2), Frank Zappa (2), The Grateful Dead (2), The Jefferson Airplane (2), Steppenwolf (2), Ten Years After (2), The Byrds (2), Miles Davis (2), The Guess Who (2), Fleetwood Mac (2.5), Creedence Clearwater Revival (3), Fairport Convention (3), James Brown (4).

So with that insane volume essential listening, I had no choice really but to throw out our typical 80 minutes per mix discipline, and the guard rails completely came off.

McQ's 1969 #3
Other than volumes 1 & 2, only one other mix in this set comes in under two hours, and several creep into three, even four hour territory. Way too much for one sitting.

So to help out, on the write-up pages (which you can access by clicking on the mix titles below,) I've broken mixes 3-15 into multiple set and encore chunks, just like at a long live concert.

Tackling them in this manner may prove easier , but hey, get after them any way you wish.  I just hope you'll take some time to dive in, because 1969 really was one of rock/pop/soul's greatest and deepest years and there is so much here worth hearing.

We'll be updating this central hub throughout the summer as more of the mixes and write-ups become available. But we've got a few up already...

So, without any further ado, here our the mixes in our 1969 retrospective collection. Enjoy!

Nancy's collection of her top favs from 1969 was just too much fun not to open with this year.  This 1969 installment nabs some of the best blues, soul, and psychedelic pop of that elite music year.

McQ's top-tier compendium to Nancy's Favorites, with the exception of a very significant early song from one David Bowie, this mix focuses exclusively on representative tracks of 1969's best albums (minus a few of 1969's great albums Nancy already touched upon).

1969 was an extraordinary for the blues and blues-based rock, and the first of our genre-specific mixes capture's much of the year's best here. 

The best of 1969's non-US/UK efforts get due here.  If you're a fan of late 60s reggae, tropicalia, or  euro-pop, you're going to find a ton of great stuff to revisit here. 

Three highly influential experimental rock genres that came of age in 1969 are presented here in this epic length mix. 

As with melodic Pop, Psychedelic rock was experience a rapid fade in popularity following its zenith just two years prior, but as most of their peers ventured into country rock and early metal, a few artists stuck with what the did best, and were supported by a bunch of lesser but game second-wavers eager to jump into the fray. 

1969 was a great year for adventurous, exploratory jazz, and we've got a small (but still quite long) sample of some of the best here. Includes revered classics from the likes of Miles Davis, George Russell, Don Cherry, Les McCann, and Pharoah Sanders, among several others

This year's guilty pleasure installment focuses mostly on those Soul, Pop, and Country singles that won our hearts but felt behind the times even back when they were released in 1969. 

1969 was nothing if not loose, exploratory and jammy.  This mix, designed something like a never ending Grateful Dead show of the era, captures that spirit and then some - celebrating much of the year's best extended, solo-heavy psychedelic, rock and experimental efforts in an epic four hour mix.

The sugar sweet harmonic pop that dominated the charts just a few years ago was, like psychedelic music, quickly fading from mainstream favor, but in it's wake, a new angle on album-oriented pop, the Rock Opera, emerged.  Features several selections from the year's two ground breaking rock operas, The Who's Tommy and The Kinks Arthur (Or The Decline Of The British Empire), as well as beloved tracks from the likes of The Beatles, Beach Boys, and Velvet Underground.

What a groundbreaking year for Soul Music in 1969.  Some of the year's edgiest and most forward-looking soul can be found here, including many efforts by the likes of Sly & The Family Stone, Isaac Hayes, The Temptations, and James Brown!

Anchored by three remarkable albums from the Richard Thompson/Sandy Denny-fronted Fairport Convention, British Folk Rock had one of its best years of the modern era in 1969. This mix captures much of the best of that, as well as a number of notable singer/songwriter efforts out of North America.

Country Rock had suddenly become almost the end all and be all in 1969, led by a remarkable three album surge from Creedence Clearwater Revival, but augmented by The Band, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Townes Van Zandt and a seemingly endless supply of Byrd's offshoots including Crosby, Stills & Nash, Dillard & Clark, and The Flying Burrito Brothers.

Proto, proto, proto, Baby!  Early punk and heavy metal really rounded into form in 1969, and we've got much of what was exciting about the early days of those movements here, including boatloads of Led Zeppelin, Stooges, Deep Purple, and Mc5. 

Volume 15 - Croony, Croon, Croon

Blue-eyed soul was a huge player in 1969 and we focus on two groups of practitioners, the old-style crooners - especially Elvis Presley, Scott Walker, and Dusty Springfield - and a new crop of usually brass-drenched rockers - including Joe Cocker, The Guess Who, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Volume 16 - The Next 100

In no particular order, here are the next 100 tunes I was considering for these 1969 mixes.

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