Monday, August 26, 2013

KFOG 10 at 10 Plays 1967

My musical friend Geri texted me today at a few minutes past 10 a.m. to tell me that KFOG 104.5 was playing my favorite year on their "10 at 10" program. Well, gee, I had to work, so I decided to tune in tonight instead. They play it at both 10's, luckily for us working types.

1967 was a pivotal year for me. I turned 14. It was the summer of love. Puberty was in full swing. But most importantly, I started playing the guitar that summer (that's me in the photo!). Suddenly, music wasn't just the soundtrack of my life, but I was an active participant. I listened to the Big 30 survey each week on KFRC, the Big 610, and bought albums (mostly Beatles). I learned the songs off these media by ear, and sang them in my bedroom in my own key. Today, I'm in a band, a Beatles duo, a community orchestra, and I still do a pickup gig now and then when time allows.

So, here it is, time for KFOG's pick of "10 great songs from one great year." I'll walk through it with you.

"Let's do the time warp again....."

Tour guide - Renee! Used to be Dave Morey, for all those years.

We start with the Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour. I remember this album. It was the successor to the iconic Sgt. Pepper.It had new stuff to go with what turned out to be a lame movie (compared to Hard Day's Night and Help). And--the put a bunch of singles on the other side--kind of cheating. The Beatles, amazingly, would issue albums with NO single from them. Now that's confidence.

Magical Mystery Tour--a real Paul song. Full of life and good cheer, not much significance. Still sharp and strong all these years later.

Ends with Paul's bass in the foreground....

Next... Jimi Hendrix! Castles Made of Sand. I had two Jimi albums and I used to play them through my Koss headphones while lying on my bed backwards (the cord wouldn't reach the stereo otherwise). I think my dad bought me these albums for my birthday (he had no clue of the contents and would surely not have enjoyed listening to them). But, as I found out later, my dad would support me in what I liked. He later would read every one of my weekly automotive stories, and sent me car books. He contributed to my camel collection. Sadly, he hasn't got to see all my musical activities over the last 10 years.

Sadly, too, Mr. Hendrix lasted a very short time. But, he lives on forever on 10 at 10.

Oh boy, Things I Should Have Said - The Grass Roots! More pop musicky after Jimi and the sacred Beatles. But a favorite, with nice harmonies, and the kind of bass parts that made me want to play one. Bongos. The bridge goes another way, as sixties songs do.... bongo solo --- or are those congas? "She closed the door, said I don't want to see you anymore..."

Sly and the Family Stone - Dance to the Music. Not my favorite, because they yell so much at the beginning, but the rest is actually pretty cool. Not very melodic, as usual for them, but very energetic and rhythmic. Bump bump bump bump.... Drums + guitar + bass (bottom for the dancers) - fuzz bass no less -- + organ (ride, Sally, ride -- kind of rude). Then, the horn section. Pretty cool actually. "All the squares go home!"
"Listen to the voices....."

"Here's Nancy Sinatra with some sound advice..." an ad for  Coke! Things go better with Coke! I remember Beegees Coke commercials, too. She was fresh off her "These Boots are Made for Walking." She sang the wonderfully haunting "Summer Wine" in 1967 with Lee Hazlewood. I liked "Some Velvet Morning" even better, but that's 1968.

Arthur Conley, Sweet Soul Music. A classic. I remember the girl I had a crush on with this one, Ramona, a dark-haired beauty. Arthur had one hit--this one--and sang about all the great soul music singers. "Spotlight on Wilson Pickett..." Otis Redding, (hear that horn section). James Brown, yeah, he's the king of them, y'all. Ending with yeah yeah and the horn section...

Oh ... Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy. Cool after the heat of Sweet Soul Music. Psychedelic...Steve Winwood was a teenager, but what soulful singing. Waaaaaa! (x4). "Please Mr. Fantasy, play us a tune...." There's that psychedelic lead, in the Hendrix mode... Not sure who the guitarist is. I realize later that I didn't know the names of the members of most of the bands I heard. Just the Beatles, really, and the Monkees. Their personalities were so public (especially the pre-fab four). The guitar solo takes us out..... and the bass thumps away as the tempo doubles.

Hear that 12-string guitar beginning. King Midas in Reverse... Now that's kind of obscure. Not a big seller for the Hollies, but I have it somewhere. Hear that flute in the bridge... Trumpets. Someone's been listening to Sgt. Pepper, methinks. A little like an early BeeGees song. It almost sounds like it's playing in reverse...

A speech from Dr. Martin Luther King. A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our present policies....Glaring contrast of poverty and wealth..." Anti war, as well as anti-racist.

Marving Gaye/Tammy Tyrell - Ain't No Mountain High Enough... One of the all time greats. So much great Motown music in 1967. I realized later that the collective group of songs was played by the same musicians--and I loved it. James Jamerson and Bob Babbitt--a black man and a white man--were the bassists that drove this incredible music. Marvin Gaye and I have the same birthday, too--April 2--but he, like other great artists, didn't stay here long enough. Murdered by his own father. Sigh.

The Rascal's Groovin' is a perfect song, and one that deserved its rise to number 1. It's a sweet, happy pop song that encapsulates the positive and happy energy of 1967. There was some of that, besides the Summer of Love events. Hear that harmonica, background singing. The bass bum - bim bim bum, bim bim... Ah ah ahhhh.... The Rascals did a wacky song in 1967called It's Wonderful that I loved, but it was a totally different deal.

Peter Sellers is James Bond... Ursula Andress is James Bond. David Niven is James Bond. Woody Allen is James Bond.... Casino Royale....

Cream - Strange Brew. Here's British Blues in all its 60's glory. Mr. Clapton staring a long career, which somehow, through it all, he survives to play another day. Sounds so essential now, but it was something very different from, say, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, or, god help us, the 1910 Fruitgum Company. As pop started to shift to bubblegum later in the decade this music retreated to the world of the lp--and FM radio. I moved along with it. You could listen to KMPX in the 60's, but it KSAN that really took off and played this kind of music in the 70's. YEAH--

Oh, no, that was tune number 10! Already it's over. It was a great 38 minutes of a great year.

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