We stay in the modern era for our LCM Classic this week "You Are the Best Thing" the great lead single from the album 'Gossip in the Grain' by American folk singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne. It was released on August 26, 2008, by Stone Dwarf Music, LLC, under license to RCA/JIVE Label Group (Sony Music). We are big fans of Ray here at LCM HQ and love this very catchy and retro sounding track. We also love 'Let It Be Me' from the same album. Ray's latest album is available in the link below.
Filtering by Category: Folk-Rock
For our LCM Classic this week we travel back to 1978 and 'Northern Lights' by the progressive folk-rock band Renaissance. It's taken from their album 'A Song for All Seasons' and was the band's only hit single.
'Northern Lights' entered the UK singles charts on 15 July 1978 and remained there for 11 weeks, peaking at No. 10. There is no actual reference to the Aurora Borealis in the lyrics; it is merely a play on words in the title. The first verse begins with: "Destination outward bound, I turn to see the northern lights behind the wing..." Lead singer Annie Haslam commented "The song is about leaving the Northern Lights of England... and Roy Wood behind, when I was working over in the U.S"
Roy Wood is known for having been a founding member of The Move, the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and Wizzard. Annie Haslam and Roy Wood had a four-year relationship. Lyricist Betty Thatcher-Newsinger wrote about the feelings of loneliness and separation Annie was experiencing whilst she was on tour, based on the personal conversations between the two. Hence, the lines "though it's hard away from you" and "I'm missing you near me" accentuate the theme. Earlier songs such as "Ocean Gypsy" and "Trip to the Fair" were similarly founded in Annie's life experiences and friendships, the latter also involving Roy Wood.
For our LCM classic this week we travel back to Woodstock for the first live performance of a song first released in 1969. "Marrakesh Express" was written and composed by Graham Nash during his final years as a member of the English rock band, The Hollies, of which he was a member from its formation in 1962 till 1968. The band rejected the song as not commercial enough, but it found a home with Nash's new band Crosby, Stills and Nash.
Nash recalled his inspiration for the song occurring during a Moroccan vacation he took in 1966. On the trip, Nash traveled by train from Casablanca to Marrakesh. (Whether this was an express train, he did not specify.) He began the journey in First Class, surrounded by people he found to be uninteresting, as he described it, they were all "ladies with blue hair." Upon this observation, he decided the compartment was "completely f*cking boring," so left his seat to explore the other train carriages. He was fascinated by what he saw.
The song mentions "ducks and pigs and chickens," and that, according to Nash, is actually what was there. He recalls the ride by commenting: "It's literally the song as it is, what happened to me."
The instrumentation of the song seeks to embody Nash's lyrics through an Eastern vibe and a "buoyant" flow to resemble a train ride. Stephen Stills was responsible for much of the creative musicianship, adding a vital inclusion of a riff played on two overdubbed electric guitars in a way reminiscent of the sitar. He also added Hammond B3 organ, piano and bass. The song was rounded out by Nash's acoustic guitar, drums by Jim Gordon, and the group's trademark three-part vocal harmony.
The first public appearance of "Marrakesh Express" was at the Woodstock Music Festival. Between 3 am and 4 am on August 18, 1969, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came together as a band for the second time in public and performed a set that included what Graham Nash called "a medley of our hit," referring to this song, the first single from their debut album. (Neil Young did not play during the acoustic part of their set which included "Marrakesh Express.)
Our LCM Classic this week is a masterpiece of song from Crosby, Stills & Nash. All the way from 1969 with its fantastic harmonies and great lyrics is 'Helplessly Hoping'.
It was released on their self title debut album 'Crosby, Stills & Nash' and as the B-side of the "Marrakesh Express" single.
The song is noted for its use of alliteration in its lyrics. It was written by Stephen Stills as he went through a painful break-up with Judy Collins, herself in therapy at the time. This, "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" and "49 Bye-Byes" were frank dissemination of his longing to help her through her difficulties juxtaposed against her inability, not unwillingness, to accept his aid as she struggled in therapy and eventually allied herself with Stacy Keach.
For our LCM Classic this week we head back to 1968 and our favourite Bob Dylan song about an Eskimo, the 'Mighty Quinn'. The version we have chosen is by folk rockers Manfred Mann, who released the cover in the January of 1968.
The subject of the song is the arrival of the mighty Quinn (an Eskimo), who changes despair into joy and chaos into rest, and attracts attention from the animals. Dylan is widely believed to have derived the title character from actor Anthony Quinn's role as an Eskimo in the 1960 movie 'The Savage Innocents'. Dylan has also been quoted as saying that the song was nothing more than a "simple nursery rhyme." A 2004 Chicago Tribune article also claimed that the song was named after Gordon Quinn, co-founder of Kartemquin Films, who had given Dylan and Howard Alk uncredited editing assistance on Eat the Document.
Dylan recorded the song in 1967 during the Basement Tapes sessions, but did not release a version for another three years. Meanwhile, the song was picked up and recorded by Manfred Mann, who released it under the title "Mighty Quinn".The Manfred Mann version reached #1 in the UK Singles Chart for the week of 14 February 1968 and remained there the following week. It also charted on the American Billboard chart, peaking at #10, and reached #4 in Cash Box.
This LCM Friday classic comes from one of my favourite US female singer-songwriters. First released in October 1981 on her solo 'Bella Donna' album, this beauty 'Leather and Lace' by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley stands the test of time.
Stevie orginally wrote the song for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter's duet album 'Leather and Lace', but the song was not included on that album. Her version, a duet with Eagles Don Henley, peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for three weeks in January 1982
For our next LCM Classic we showcase some folk jazz from supergroup Pentangle. This video clip of 'The Hunting Song' is taken from a live BBC TV special in the 70's. The track is from Pentangle's 'Basket of Light' album. Pentangle are a British folk-jazz band with an eclectic mix of folk, jazz, blues and folk rock influences. The original band were active in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and a later version has been active since the early 1980s. The original line-up, which was unchanged throughout the band's first incarnation (1967–1973), was: Jacqui McShee (vocals), John Renbourn (vocals and guitar), Bert Jansch (vocals and guitar), Danny Thompson (double bass) and Terry Cox (drums).
The name Pentangle was chosen to represent the five members of the band, and is also the device on Sir Gawain's shield in the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight which held a fascination for Renbourn.
In January 2007, the five original members of Pentangle were presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards by David Attenborough. Producer John Leonard said "Pentangle were one of the most influential groups of the late 20th century and it would be wrong for the awards not to recognise what an impact they had on the music scene." Pentangle played together for the event, for the first time in over 20 years.
Our LCM classic today comes from an English folk rock and progressive rock band from Newcastle upon Tyne formed in 1968, Lindisfarne. The original line-up comprised Alan Hull (vocals, guitar, piano), Ray Jackson (vocals, mandolin, harmonica), Simon Cowe (guitar, mandolin, banjo, keyboards), Rod Clements (bass guitar, violin) and Ray Laidlaw (drums). They are best known for the albums Nicely Out of Tune (1970), Fog on the Tyne (1971) which became the biggest selling UK album in 1972, Dingly Dell (1972) and Back and Fourth (1978), and also for the success of songs such as "Meet Me on the Corner", "Lady Eleanor", "Run For Home" and "We Can Swing Together". Our song today is 'Meet Me On Corner' taken from a 'Old Grey Whistle Test' session in 1971. Does the chorus in this song remind anyone else of an early ELO?
his LCM Classic is a clever and beautifully written song from Paul Simon, it's a live version of '50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. It was the second single from his fourth studio album, Still Crazy After All These Years (1975), released on Columbia Records. Backing vocals on the single were performed by Patti Austin, Valerie Simpson, and Phoebe Snow.The song features a recognizable repeated drum riff performed by drummer Steve Gadd.
One of his most popular singles, "50 Ways" was released in December 1975 and began to see chart success within the new year. It became Simon's sole number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.The song was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) denoting sales of over one million copies.
It was written after Simon's divorce from first wife Peggy Harper, the song is a mistress's humorous advice to a husband on ways to end a relationship. The song was recorded in a small New York City studio on Broadway.
This LCM Classic is by the Mama's and the Papa's, who lived in the Canyon, as well as famously in San Francisco at Haight/Ashbury. This liive version of one of our favourites 'Monday Monday' taken from a live recording at the Hollywood Palace in 1966.
The song was written in 1966 song by John Phillips and recorded by the band for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was surprisingly the group's only number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Phillips said that he wrote the song quickly, in about 20 minutes.
On March 2, 1967, The Mamas & the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song.
The Mamas & the Papas were an American folk rock vocal group that recorded and performed from 1965 to 1968, reuniting briefly in 1971. They released five studio albums and seventeen singles, six of which made the top ten, and sold close to 40 million records worldwide. The group comprised John Phillips (1935–2001), Canadian Denny Doherty (1940–2007), Cass Elliot (1941–1974), and Michelle Phillips née Gilliam (b. 1944). Their sound was based on vocal harmonies arranged by John Phillips, the songwriter, musician, and leader of the group who adapted folk to the new beat style of the early sixties.
The group was formed by husband and wife John and Michelle Phillips, formerly of The New Journeymen, and Denny Doherty, formerly of The Mugwumps. Both of these earlier acts were folk groups active from 1964 to 1965. The last member to join was Cass Elliot, Doherty's bandmate in The Mugwumps, who had to overcome John Phillips' concern that her voice was too low for his arrangements, that her physical appearance would be an obstacle to the band's success, and that her temperament was incompatible with his. The group considered calling itself The Magic Circle before switching to The Mamas and the Papas, apparently inspired by the Hells Angels, whose female associates were called "mamas".
The quartet spent the period from early spring to midsummer 1965 in the Virgin Islands "to rehearse and just put everything together", as John Phillips later recalled. Phillips acknowledged that he was reluctant to abandon folk music. Others have said he hung on to it "like death". Roger McGuinn's more measured view is that "It was hard for John to break out of folk music, because I think he was real good at it, conservative, and successful, too." Phillips also acknowledged that it was Doherty and Elliot who awakened him to the potential of contemporary pop, as epitomized by the Beatles – the New Journeymen had played acoustic folk, with banjo; The Mugwumps played something closer to folk rock, with bass and drums. Their rehearsals in the Virgin Islands were "the first time that we tried playing electric".
The band then traveled from New York to Los Angeles for an audition with Lou Adler, co-owner of Dunhill Records. The audition was arranged by Barry McGuire, who had befriended Cass Elliot and John Phillips independently over the previous two years, and who had recently signed with Dunhill himself. It led to "a deal in which they would record two albums a year for the next five years", with a royalty of 5 per cent on 90 per cent of retail sales. Dunhill also tied the band to management and publishing deals, creating an obvious conflict of interest, although the practice was not unusual at the time. Cass Elliot's membership was not formalized until the paperwork was signed, with Adler, Michelle Phillips, and Doherty overruling John Phillips.
Our Laurel Canyon Classic was a Grammy award winning song. huge hit and the title track from The Eagles first released in 1976. 'Hotel California' became the biggest selling Eagles album.
The writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). The Eagles' original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh.
The song is considered the most famous recording of the band, and its long guitar coda has been voted the best guitar solo of all time. The song was awarded the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. The lyrics of the song have been given various interpretations by fans and critics alike, the Eagles themselves described the song as their "interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles". In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about "a journey from innocence to experience... that's all..."
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the U.S.Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Eagles began when Linda Ronstadt and then-manager John Boylan recruited session musicians Glenn Frey and Don Henley in the spring of 1971. Henley had moved to Los Angeles from Texas with his band Shiloh (produced by Kenny Rogers), and Frey had come from Michigan and formed Longbranch Pennywhistle; they had met in 1970 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles and became acquainted through their mutual record label, Amos Records.Randy Meisner, who had been working with Ricky Nelson's backing band and Bernie Leadon, a veteran of The Flying Burrito Brothers, joined Ronstadt's group of performers for her summer tour.
The original Eagles played live together only once, backing Ronstadt for a July concert at Disneyland but all four appeared on her eponymous album. After the gig with Ronstadt, Henley and Frey asked Leadon and Meisner to form a band and they soon signed with Asylum Records, the new label started by David Geffen. The name of the band was first suggested by Leadon during a peyote and tequila-influenced group outing in the Mojave Desert, when he recalled reading about the Hopis' reverence for the ea Steve Martin, a friend of the band from their early days at The Troubadour, recounts in his autobiography that he suggested that they should be referred to as "the Eagles," but Frey insists that the group's name is simply "Eagles".
The first single and lead track, "Take It Easy", was a song written by Frey with his then-neighbor and fellow country-folk rocker Jackson Browne. Browne had written the majority of the song, up until the line "I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona", where he got stalled. Frey added the next line ("It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford") and Browne carried on to finish the song. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and propelled the Eagles to stardom. The single was followed by the bluesy "Witchy Woman" and the soft country rock ballad "Peaceful Easy Feeling", charting at number 9 and number 22 respectively. Their second album, Desperado, took Old West outlaws for its theme, drawing comparisons between their lifestyles and modern rock stars. This album was the first to showcase the group's penchant for conceptual songwriting. It was during these recording sessions Henley and Frey first began writing together. They co-wrote eight of the album's eleven songs, including "Tequila Sunrise" and "Desperado"
Our LCM Classic this week is one of my favourite all-time songs by The Doors. It was the last song recorded by the members of The Doors, as well as Jim Morrison's last recorded song to be released. The single entered the US Hot 100 on 3 July 1971, the day that Jim died.
The song, according to an interview with Ray Manzerek was only performed live 2 times, on The L.A. Woman tour at The Warehouse in New Orleans, Louisiana, on December 12, 1970 and in Dallas the night before that. Ray said playing those songs were "magic". This was The Doors' last public performance with Jim Morrison. It was only the second date of the tour, but was also the last, as the tour was cancelled after this concert.
The band took its name from the title of Aldous Huxley's book The Doorsof Perception, which itself was a reference to a William Blake quotation, from his famous work The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite"
Jim (aka Mr. Mojo Risin') born in Florida, the son of a famous Admiral, was a resident of Laurel Canyon. He lived above the Canyon Store. The rest of the band keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger also lived in the Canyon.
For our next LCM Classic we travel back in time over 50 years, the song is a cover of a Bob Dylan classic "Mr.Tambourine Man". The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn, a.k.a. Jim McGuinn, remaining the sole consistent member, until the group disbanded in 1973. Although they only managed to attain the huge commercial success of contemporaries like The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones for a short period (1965–66), The Byrds are today considered by critics to be one of the most influential bands of the 1960s. Initially, they pioneered the musical genre of folk rock, melding the influence of The Beatles and other British Invasion bands with contemporary and traditional folk music. As the 1960s progressed, the band was also influential in originating psychedelic rock, raga rock, and country rock.
The original five-piece line-up of The Byrds consisted of Jim McGuinn (lead guitar, vocals), Gene Clark (tambourine, vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar, vocals), Chris Hillman (bass guitar, vocals), and Michael Clarke (drums). However, this version of the band was relatively short-lived and by early 1966, Clark had left. The Byrds continued as a quartet until late 1967, when Crosby and Clarke also departed the band. McGuinn and Hillman decided to recruit new members, including country rock pioneer Gram Parsons, but by late 1968, Hillman and Parsons had also exited the band. McGuinn, elected to rebuild the band's membership and between 1968 and 1973, he helmed a new incarnation of The Byrds, featuring guitarist Clarence White among others..
"Mr. Tambourine Man" become the first folk rock smash hit, reaching number 1 on both the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and the UK Singles Chart. The single's success initiated the folk rock boom of 1965 and 1966, during which a number of Byrds-influenced acts had hits on the American and British charts.The term "folk rock" was itself coined by the American music press to describe the band's sound in June 1965, at roughly the same time as "Mr. Tambourine Man" peaked at number 1 in the U.S.