Recording dates: July 8, 1981 to August 18, 1981 various concert venues.
I remember when KMJM (Majic 108 FM) previewed this album prior to its release in November of 1981. Hearing a live Jacksons album was a big deal as they never released a full length live album. A number of Jackson 5 live recordings were made during their Motown era but were not released until after Michael Jackson’s passing in 2009.
In 1981 The Jacksons toured in support of their 1980 album Triumph. The tour heavily featured performances of songs from The Jacksons’ Destiny album and Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall. I’m not sure why The Jacksons chose to release a live album in 1981 instead of recording a follow up to Triumph. Did they not have enough material to go into the studio? Had Michael Jackson decided he was going to start work on Thriller? Nobody was asking those questions in 1981.
We were used to Michael doing solo albums in between group albums. The practice went all the way back to their Motown days so we didn’t think that at some point we would see Michael make a permanent departure from the Jacksons, but I digress.
I was completely enthralled listening to the album being played on the radio. This was definitely an album I wanted to add to my Jacksons collection. I asked for and received this album for a Christmas gift. My excitement and enjoyment of this album is a story for another blog. This is my review of the remastered reissue of this great album.
The Jacksons Digital Reissues
February 12, 2021 saw the digital only reissues of the albums “The Jacksons”, “Goin’ Places” and “Destiny” while on April 30, 2021 “Triumph”, “Victory” and “2300 Jackson St” were also released digitally. As of this writing there are no plans for these classic Epic Records to receive a physical media release. While I am happy to see these albums to once again attention, the lack of physical media, extensive liner notes is a loss for fans and newbies to fully celebrate the studio talents of The Jacksons as well as marvel at a pre-Thriller Michael Jackson. For my thoughts on the digital reissues, view the links at the end of this post.
The Jacksons Live Remastered 180g Vinyl
On March 29, 2021, Sony Legacy released the Epic Records album The Jacksons Live remastered on 180g vinyl for the album’s 40th anniversary. The 2 LP set comes with the original album gatefold cover and inner sleeve artwork of The Jacksons in action. The album was recorded in various locations on the tour.
I have to start by saying that the sound of the vinyl remaster is a lot warmer and the range of sound is a lot wider than both the original vinyl and the 2009 CD reissue. One of the things I loved about the original vinyl was that it immersed you deeply into the concert experience. The audience mix blends very well and doesn’t distract from the music nor does the music overshadow the audience reaction or bury the audience so deep that you sometimes forget your listening to a live album. The vinyl remaster enhances the experience and further balances performer/audience mix that sounds clean, yet keeps the kinetic energy of the shows.
One of my favorite tracks on the remastered vinyl is the performance of “The Things I Do For You”, a song that further pushed me to buy the “Destiny” album after witnessing The Jacksons perform it on American Bandstand back in ‘79 along with “Shake Your Body” and “Push Me Away”. Not that I needed any convincing.
The performance on The Jacksons Live is a very kinetic performance. The energy amped up after the epic performance of “Can You Feel It?” which opens the live album. The live version of “The Things I Do For You “ on the remaster widens the range allowing you to put yourself in the eye of the hurricane and appreciate the performance of the band while still enjoying the vocals. The main difference being the rhythm guitars being featured more upfront in the mix.
“Off The Wall” is another stand out during the listening experience. You get to further appreciate how the band faithfully interrupts this Quincy Jones produced, Rod Temperton written Michael Jackson classic as the band is once again brought up in the mix. Michael Jackson’s vocals are remastered very well on this and throughout the album. The brothers background vocals are also brought forth in the mix louder and clearer than the original vinyl and CD versions.
The greatest challenge to my ears while listening to the remaster is the performance of “Ben”. There are some very subtle nuances in Michael’s vocal as well as a note or to in the musical arrangement that had me wondering if this is a performance from a different night or if the remaster was so good that it really changed the dynamic of the performance. It definitely was heard differently than what my ears have been accustomed to hearing it for 40 years.
The range of the remaster is also prevalent during the ‘Jackson 5 medley’. You can hear the band faithfully interpret the arrangement of those classic J5 Motown hits. The best representation is during the performance of “I’ll Be There”. This performance has been well loved since fans first heard this album. Many of us feeling the same chills as the live audience during Michael’s gospel styled ad libs. Michael’s performance was also parodied by New Edition on their “N.E. Heartbreak” album.
Why it’s in the Crate?
The Jacksons Live is a treasured addition to my Jacksons albums. I’m glad that Sony Legacy acknowledged The Jacksons with this 40th Anniversary release. The album still has a freshness that transports you back to 1981 while the performances and live audience has been remastered with a clarity that feels right now. For me the 180g remaster is the best listening experience for this album.
Reviews of The Jacksons Digital Reissues
Reviews of the remaining Jacksons albums “Triumph” “Victory” and “2300 Jackson Street” coming soon.
All songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except where indicated.
1976 saw my introduction to The Beatles via the release of the ‘Rock and Roll Music’ compilation album. In 1977, I got the US album ‘The Beatles Second Album’ and The Beatles official compilation ‘1962-1966’. I enjoyed their music a lot, but I really knew nothing of the band. Paul McCartney was the most visible Beatle during this time, but it would be two more years before I invested the time into buying anything Wings. The hits for Ringo started to wind down and he was more famous as a celebrity or ex-Beatle rather than an accomplished musician and I really wasn’t checking for what John Lennon or what George Harrison was doing either. The Beatles were a novelty and a nice diversion from my usual R&B/Funk acquisitions. Other novelties at that time were Kiss (Love Gun was my gateway) and The Monkees reruns were on everyday (I got their 2LP compilation by mail).
The Yellow Submarine animated film was shown annually on television and would sort of renew my interest in The Beatles, but I never gave any serious thought about getting anymore records by them until I came upon this book:
There have been better books on The Beatles before or since, but to my 11 year old self, this was a cool book to have. Written in 1976 by Roy Carr and Tony Tyler, the copy I got was the 1978 revised edition (a copy I gave away to a classmate in 1984, but since acquired a 1981 revised edition). The book gives a pretty good accounting of Beatles history and documents their solo careers as well. There are detailed listings of their UK versions of their albums. It was with this book I started to consider exploring their catalog as they intended.
Reading about the UK albums in The Illustrated Record, I came across a lot of songs I was unfamiliar with and was curious as to how they would sound. That problem was solved when The Beatles cartoon started airing in syndication. It aired while I still at school, but on holidays and early dismissals I would try to catch an episode. The episode that influenced me towards ‘Revolver’ involved The Beatles singing a dragon to sleep with the song ‘I’m Only Sleeping’. This song was different from the songs from their earlier period and I was curious as to why it wasn’t on the ‘1962-1966’ collection although ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘Eleanor Rugby’ were on that collection as well as being on ‘Revolver’ and ‘Taxman’ a song I was familiar with from being on the ‘Rock and Roll Music’ compilation. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ was the song that made me want to check out the rest of ‘Revolver’.
My only access to albums during this time was the record department of Famous Barr. The selections were pretty hit and miss. For example, I could never find Parliament’s Funkenteleky vs The Placebo Syndrome, but their previous album The P-Funk Earth Tour was always in stock. The Beatles section had most of the U.S. versions of the albums of which I only had the second album. However this visit yielded an incredible find. They were beginning to stock imports of the U.K. albums. Revolver was the obvious choice based on having seen that Beatles cartoon a week or two earlier. It was a long bus ride home, my 12 year old hands clutching the bag with the album and another with a Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk comic book. The Revolver album I got was the stereo version that I had for many years. It mysteriously vanished along with half of my vinyl collection. By the time I noticed I already possessed the 1987 CD pressing of the album. Both of those versions were how my ears were accustomed to listening until I bought the 2009 remastered CD.
Back to Mono
Over the years I discovered that The Beatles preferred the mono mixes to their albums so when those versions appeared after the 2009 remasters, I was curious as to the difference. I acquired the mono version of Revolver on vinyl a couple of years ago. I currently have this along with the 2009 stereo remastered CD, For this article I am discussing the mono album and its differences along with my initial memories of hearing the stereo version of the vinyl album.
1.”Taxman” (George Harrison) 2:36
3.”I’m Only Sleeping” 2.:58
4.”Love To You” (George Harrison)3:00
5. Here, There and Everywhere 2:29
6. Yellow Submarine” 2:40
7. “She Said, She Said” 2:39
The lead off track I was already familiar with from its inclusion on the 1976 compilation ‘Rock and Roll Music’. On that album I never really got into the song. My excitement of finally having the U.K. pressing of this album made me want to give this track another chance. Upon the opening “1, 2, 3,4” and looking at the album cover, I tried to imagine The Beatles in 1966 recording this. This was the beginning of me listening to an album as a unified work of art and not as a collection of songs.
The inspiration for this composition is George Harrison’s dissatisfaction with the tax system at the time. As their earnings placed them in a higher tax bracket in the UK, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government (hence the lyrics “There’s one for you, nineteen for me”, referring to the pre-decimal pound sterling that was worth twenty shillings. Paul McCartney explained in a 1984 interview with Playboy magazine, “George wrote that and I played guitar on it. He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did. He had never known before then what he’ll do with your money.”
As great of a lead guitarist that George Harrison is, its Paul McCartney on the lead guitar here. The guitar has an Indian feel to it. Even though George was beginning his fascination with Indian music and philosophy, the other Beatles would share or support the other’s influences.
John Lennon also shares memories of the song’s composition in a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine: “I remember the day he [Harrison] called to ask for help on ‘Taxman’, one of his first songs. I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along, because that’s what he asked for. He came to me because he couldn’t go to Paul, because Paul wouldn’t have helped him at that period. I didn’t want to do it … I just sort of bit my tongue and said OK. It had been John and Paul for so long, he’d been left out because he hadn’t been a songwriter up until then”.
The backing vocals’ references to “Mr Wilson” and “Mr Heath”, suggested by Lennon, refer respectively to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath; the former was the leader of the Labour Party and the latter the leader of the Conservative Party. The chanted names replaced two refrains of “Anybody got a bit of money?” which reminds of the BeeGees, heard in take 11, an earlier version that was subsequently released on Anthology 2 in 1996.
I’ve always been accustomed to hearing Taxman in stereo on vinyl probably via a mid 70’s pressing and the 1987 CD version. The 2009 remasters pushes the cowbell forward in the mix as if Christopher Walken’s Blue Oyster Cult producer character from Saturday Night Live was demanding ‘more cowbell’ from Ringo. The mono version has the cowbell audible in the mix as well, but it’s not as overbearing to me.
This is another song I was familiar with from both the 1962-1866 compilation and from the movie Yellow Submarine. I’ve always enjoyed the visuals during Yellow Submarine when Eleanor Rigby played. It was one of my favorite scenes in that film. Hearing it after Taxman was the beginning of getting the overall feel of the album.
Originally I tuned into the vocal arrangement whenever I would put on this album, but after watching The Beatles Anthology, the discussion of this song has caused me to focus on the string arrangement the last 24 years. At the time I really had a hard time associating this as a rock song, but as I learned more about The Beatles this was then raising the bar on what a pop song could be as well as the beginnings of the album as art.
I’m Only Sleeping
The song that I really bought the album for. The one where the cartoon Beatles were singing a dragon to sleep. This time I’m listening to a real band in the process of maturing their sound and at this time taking a closer listen to further explore why I love this song. It’s a very mellow groove with the Beatles harmonies gliding along with it. What really grabbed me with this song were the backwards guitars.
It would be a while to learn this wasn’t their first time experimenting with backwards guitars. That honor goes to Rain, the b-side to Paperback Writer. Props to sound engineer Geoff Emerick and producer George Martin for this accomplishment inspired by John Lennon accidentally loading a demo tape backwards at home while trying to listen to a playback of an earlier Beatles session. I love the backwards guitar in I’m Only Sleeping because it adds to the dreamlike quality of the song. The mono version of Revolver has the backwards guitars comes in the middle of the line ‘Lying there staring at the ceiling. Waiting for that sleepy feeling’. The stereo version as well as the 2009 remaster starts at the solo.
Love To You
George Harrison’s love for the sitar began during the filming of the Indian restaurant scene in Help. During the recording of the Rubber Soul he had us own sitar for a couple of days when he realized its sound would make a nice embellishment to John Lennon’s Norwegian Wood. Here on Revolver, Indian music makes its full debut into the western world of pop and rock and roll. Assisting George is Anil Bhagwat on tabla.
Having read The Beatles Illustrated Record, I was aware of the huge influence of Hinduism on George Harrison, but Love To You was my first time hearing eastern music of any kind. I remember taking to it very well and it fits the tone of Revolver. This was the gateway to my enjoying George’s Within You, Without You and The Inner Light.
Here, There and Everywhere
Here, There and Everywhere is among Paul McCartney’s greatest ballads and the composition McCartney says is the one and only time John Lennon openly paid Macca a compliment on one of his compositions. While a lot has been documented about the evolution of John Lennon’s songwriting. McCartney’s maturity has been either take for granted or never mentioned. This song builds on the greatness of And I Love Her and Yesterday and is the bridge to the increased power of Hey Jude and Let it Be. While the latter two are anthems, Here, There and Everywhere’s shares is in its subtlety with the former. The standouts for me are the lyrics, the melody and the background harmonies. On the 2009 remaster there are finger snaps that are up front in the mix during the final bridge of the song where the mono vinyl sounds how my ears were hearing accustomed to hearing it in 1978.
Because of the animated film, every kid knows at least the chorus of this song however, this was recorded and released before three years before the movie. According to Paul McCartney, he was trying to write a song for Ringo’s slot on the album. John and Paul would never give Ringo anything to heavy to sing on an album. During a moment before drifting into deep sleep, ‘that moment when silly ideas come into your head’ says Paul, the idea of living in a yellow submarine crept into pre REM sleep.
The actual story of the recording of this song would take its own blog post, but it is a fascinating account of how The Beatles, their producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick broke the conventional way a rock band made a record and went all out to experiment to come up with something fun and original.
Listening to Yellow Submarine within the context of this album takes it out of the children’s novelty song mindset. I watched Yellow Submarine maybe twice in the couple of years since I got Revolver. I didn’t see it again until 1999 when it was re released on vhs along with a remastered ‘songtrack’. The remastered mix heard in the movie is different and I almost like that one better as the acoustic guitars are more prominent.
She Said, She Said
This is the first surprise of the record for me. I thought that I’m Only Sleeping was going to be my only Lennon favorite on the album. The origin of this composition starts while The Beatles were renting a house in Hollywood, California. Members of The Byrd’s were there visiting, as well as actor Peter Fonda. While they were In the midst of an LSD trip, Fonda kept repeating his experience about a near death experience. He was telling everyone who wasn’t in the mood to listen that he knew what it was like to be dead. This definitely irritated Lennon, but the phrase stayed with him enough to turn it into a son
I love the opening of this song with the dual guitars of Lennon and Harrison. I can’t remember if they were playing Fender Strats, but the tone is amazing. The lyrics are very poetic. Even though Lennon switches from a retelling of the LSD incident to childhood recollection in the bridge, it doesn’t distract from the enjoyment of the song.
The thing that really adds to the emotion of the song is the great drumming of Ringo Starr. Ringo is an excellent time keeper and plays for the song. His signature fills add to the track’s character.
1.”Good Day Sunshine”2:08
2. “And Your Bird Can Sing” 2:02
3. “For No One” 2:03
4.”Doctor Robert” 2:14
5 “I Want to Tell You” (George Harrison) 2:30
6. “Got to Get You into My Life” 2:31
7. “Tomorrow Never Knows” 3:00
Good Day Sunshine
This was another song I first heard from The Beatles cartoon. I think it was during the song a long portion of the show. I like The Beach Boys feeling the song. This song was recorded after the release of The Beach Boy’s “Pet Sounds” album and while that album is credited for the competitive spark in McCartney to create Sgt. Pepper, the real competition for this song was The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Daydream”. Hearing this in the cartoon, I was looking forward to this being on the album.
And Your Bird Can Sing
While this can be easily dismissed as album filler, and has been confirmed as such by John Lennon, Beatles songs are rarely just filler on the surface. There are many stories regarding the song’s inspiration worthy of its own blog post. My original feeling is that this was a response to the style of The Byrds. The jangly guitars made famous by the band originated from the inspiration of The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” album. On this song, the Rickenbacker guitars normally used to achieve this sound were replaced with the Epiphone Casino played with great skill by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. The best listening experience for me is on the mono version.
For No One
This is a song I have grown more fond of over the years. Its lyric I have lived once or twice and have internalized in moments of solitude. Over the last 10 years, I now hear the song as an answer to “Girl” on Rubber Soul. It can be taken as conscious or sub conscious addition to friendly competitive dynamic of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership.
“Doctor Robert” is another example of filler on a Beatles album being more than just filler. The song’s inspiration may have come from an experience with a dentist that slipped LSD into the cups of Lennon and Harrison as well as their wives, providing their first LSD trip. I don’t have any problem with the song. It fits on the album well. The lead guitar of George Harrison, double tracked and run through a Leslie speaker compliments the rhythm guitar of John Lennon. The mono version gives the guitars a great dynamic range and you can hear the separation better than the stereo.
I Want to Tell You
This is the third George Harrison composition on the album and probably my second favorite after “Taxman”. I like the opening guitar riff as well as the piano and drums. The lyrics get the message across well and the vocal arrangement shows the growth of Harrison as a composer. He’s proven that his songs belong on this album.
Got to Get You into My Life
It’s no secret that Motown has been a huge influence on The Beatles and “Got to Get You into My Life” expresses those influences. The main body of this McCartney ode to the ‘herbal jazz cigarette’ is definitely Motown, but the horns have a huge Stax influence. The Beatles were supposed to record at the legendary Memphis recording studio, but greed on the Stax side of things put an end to that idea.
“Got to Get You into My Life” was not issued as a single in 1966. The song was released in 1976 for promotion of the “Rock and Roll Music” compilation where it reached number 7 on the U.S. charts. The song also charred again in 1978 by way of a cover by Earth, Wind and Fire reaching number one. The mono version has a different ending during the fade out than the stereo version.
Tomorrow Never Knows
The song that charts the future of rock, albums and the sound innovations that we take for granted is found in this song. Ironically the last song on the album was actually the first recorded.
”Tomorrow Never Knows” is another song that deserves its own blog post. In a nutshell, John Lennon was inspired to write the lyrics of the song from reading Timothy Leary’’s “The Psychedelic Experience” which was based on “Tibetan Book of the Dead”. The music was based on just one chord. The sounds that Lennon wanted to achieve can be credited to George Martin’s open mindedness and the youthful spontaneity of engineer of Geoff Emmerick.
The multitrack of madness of tape loops, Leslie speakers allowing John to sound like the Dali Lama speaking from the top of a mountain as requested, and again the MVP drumming of Ringo Starr elevate the original basic track formerly known as Mark I into the Big Bang of sound innovation that has evolved into every modern form of pop, rock, soul, funk, jazz and hip hop.
Everything about this track is amazing. The heavy philosophical lyrics. The drumming which wouldn’t be out of place on a Genesis or Phil Collins record in the 70’s or 80’s. While history paints John Lennon as the avant-garde one, its the tape loops created by Paul McCartney that makes the record. Its the best choice for closer of the album. I enjoy both mono and stereo versions of the song.
Why it’s in the crate?
Earth, Wind and Fire’s “All In All”, Stevie Wonder’s “Song’s in the Key of Life, Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly”. All albums where the book is greater than its individual chapters. “Revolver” was the first Beatles album where I began hearing them in that context. This is where I understood that they too treated the album as a work of art and not just hit songs and filler. This is where I read The Illustrated Record deeper and became curious about Sgt. Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road and Let it Be. “Revolver” is where that album sat near my P-Funk and Jacksons albums. This is where The Beatles as a collective and as solo artists became among my favorite artists.
The Sound of Los Angeles Records. SOLAR Records was my Motown during the early ‘80’s. SOLAR had their Temptations style group, The Whispers who were actually contemporaries of the Tempts, but with the production stylings of Leon Sylvers III, they were finally getting their shine with ‘And the Beat Goes On’. There was Dynasty and Shalamar, vocal groups with danceable bass driven grooves and romantic ballads. I was in high school at just the right time. The Sound of Los Angeles Records was my earliest songwriting influence. The various composers were absolute craftpersons and I’ve always wanted to write just as good as those tunes I was slowly adding to my record collection.
Also during this time (1980-1982) I was deep into funk. Parliament/Funkadelic, Rick James, Prince, Zapp, and The Gap Band collectively eclipsed my Jacksons and Beatles vinyl, so imagine my delight that SOLAR had a funk band on their label as well.
I heard Lakeside’s “All the Way Live” in the late ‘70’s and for no real reason didn’t gravitate to it the way other kids did. I liked the hook on the strength of kids just randomly singing it in the halls. It’s a barometer of how hip a song is by virtue of random recall. It really wasn’t until 1981 when I jumped on the Lakeside bandwagon or I should say jumped on ship.
“Fantastic Voyage” had been getting a lot of radio play during the early part of 1981. It was enough to convince me to enjoy it, but it was later in 1981 somewhere during my introduction to The music of Prince and Teena Marie that Lakeside’s “You’re Love is on the One” entered my musical orbit. That song and the ballad “Say Yes” (a staple of many school dances. More on that on the Fantastic Voyage post later) which led me to buy the “Fantastic Voyage” album.
1. “Your Wish is My Command” (F. Alexander, Jr., N. Beavers, M. Craig, F. Lewis, T. McCain, S. Shockley, T. Shelby, O. Stokes, M. Wood, Jr.) 6:01
2. “Something About That Woman” (S. Shockley) 5:07
3. “I Want to Hold Your Hans” (J. Lennon, P. McCartney) 4:27
4. “Special” (O. Stokes) 5:07
Your Wish is My Command
The title track is a very strong opener. Where Fantastic Voyage is pure funk, “Your Wish is My Command” is sophisticated funk. The drums and bass groove, but the bass is more melodic here. My favorite are the background harmonies. Lakeside has the vocal chops worthy of a Temptations or Whispers and the musicianship as a self contained band to match. Both compliment the song well.
Something About That Woman
This is a sort of son of “Your Love is on the One” from Fantastic Voyage, but I love it as a track. While all of Lakeside are craftsman songwriters, Stephen Shockley’s contributions I’ve come to look forward to. He is the composer of both songs mentioned here. The rhythm guitar riffs are similar and were influential on me.
I Want to Hold Your Hand
A soulful tribute to John Lennon as this was released a year after his murder. Ironically John discussed reworking this song and “Help” making them more soulful. I’m not sure if Lakeside was aware of this when recording this track, but the results are magnificent with Mark Wood, Jr. and Otis Stokes tag teaming on the vocals.
A nice slice of funk to close out side one. For a long time this was my favorite album track. The drums and synths really drive this cut. I especially love the breakdown where they spell out the title explaining the ways the girl is special.
1. “Magic Moments” (F. Alexander, Jr., N. Beavers, M. Craig, F. Lewis, T. McCain, S. Shockley, T. Shelby, O. Stokes, M. Wood, Jr.) 5:50
2. “The Urban Man” (N. Beavers, M. Wood, Jr.) 4:25
3. “I’ll Be Standing By” ( N. Beavers, M. Wood, Jr.) 4:33
4. “The Songwriter” (T. McCain) 4:30
I loved side one so much that I barely played side two for a long time, but when I finally started to play it, I discovered some hidden gems of great craftsmanship in songwriting. Side Two opens with Magic Moments. It’s a balancing act of driving funk and sophisticated melody. It’s not too much of either. It’s a song that belongs in spring or summer. It really makes you appreciate having someone to sip ‘Dom Perignon and kissing their sweet lips’ or if you don’t you sure want to find someone.
Owning original pressings of the album you’ll notice something strange on the back of the album cover and the inner sleeve. You’ll notice the song sequence doesn’t match what’s actually on the album and its label. It was driving me crazy not knowing what was under the sticker. Obviously there were songs intended for the album, but changed at the last minute. Apparently the original title of ‘Magic Moments’ was ‘Big City Life’ which you hear as part of the hook. Magic Moments stands out more in the song so it was a great choice to make the last minute change. It also looks like ‘Special’ replaces an Otis Stokes composition titled ‘Got to Keep On’. I’m curious as to why and also what it sounds like. Otis Stokes contributions to Lakeside are significant. Seek out “I Need You’ from ‘Fantastic Voyage’ and ‘Real Love’ from ‘Untouchables’. I would love to know the story on why they swapped out the songs at the last minute.
The Urban Man
This is probably my least favorite song in the album. Not because it’s a bad song. It’s pretty good, but up against the previous tracks, it pales. It doesn’t distract from the overall experience if you’re listening to the album from beginning to end.
I’ll Be Standing By
This the best ballad on the album. There are few self contained bands that can pull off ballads not named Earth, Wind & Fire and The Commodores. Lakeside stands up with those bands by keeping the smoothness balanced with Philly sound and early Soul influences. This is a song I enjoy more and more with each listen. While there are stronger slow songs in the Lakeside legend, I urge you to add this to your deep dive into their ballads.
Lakeside is unique because the whole band were strong, gifted songwriters. They write as either a collective, solo or any given combination of two or three members. ‘The Songwriter’ is Tiemeyer McCain’a solo contribution to the album. It’s nice follow up to the previous track and a nice closer to the album. I wonder if the inspiration was Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘I’ll Write a Song for You’.
Why it’s in the Crate?
1982 is one of my favorite years musically. There were so many great R&B and Funk albums and singles that year and the whole SOLAR Records stable of stars were hanging in he top ten with the best of them. It was the closest I could imagine what Motown meant to kids in the 60’s. “Your Wish is My Command” is my favorite Lakeside album. I bought this within the same time frame I got “Friends” by Shalamar and “Love is Where You Find It” by The Whispers, both my favorite albums by each group. It was SOLAR’s peak period and one I’m glad I got to experience in real time.
All songs written by Prince except where indicated.
There was so much going on for me in 1986 that it would be impossible to document it in this post. Let’s just start with the fact it was around February or March, Prince drops the single “Kiss”, the first single from his anticipated soundtrack to his then heavily anticipated Purple Rain follow up, Under the Cherry Moon. I am fortunate to live in a time when this was unfolding in real time. Hearing this on the radio for the first time was mind blowing, which by this time has become typical for hearing a new Prince record for the first time, but never less impactful. More on this later.
So it’s April 1986 and the Parade album is out and in my possession. So begins a relationship with a Prince album that has been the soundtrack to all of the ups and downs, highs and lows, the adventures, career defining, decision making and uncertainties that was my life in the spring and summer of 1986.
Side One Intro:
1.”Christopher Tracy’s Parade” (Prince, John L. Nelson) 2:11
2.”New Position” 2:20
3. “I Wonder U” 1:39
4. Under the Cherry Moon” (Prince, Nelson) 2:57
5. “Girls and Boys” 5:29
6. “Life Can Be So Nice” 3:13
7. “Venus de Milo” 1:55
Christopher Tracy’s Parade
A very cinematic opening to the album. It’s very similar In mood of Magical Mystery Tour, though The Beatles track has a bit more rock rawness in it’s psychedelic approach, Prince is more like a sonic classic Hollywood production. The album was released months before Under the Cherry Moon’s opening weekend, but this track does a fantasy job of implanting anticipation in your mind for what to expect when you finally see the movie.
Stripped down Prince funk and my first favorite song of the album. Short but heavy in the funk. Many say this is a return to his Dirty Mind period. Thematically yes, but the production is a lot sleeker than Dirty Mind’s home studio method. The bass ranks among my favorite bass lines on a Prince record. Duran Duran rips off this bass line for their song “Skin Trade” on their “Notorious” album released later the same year.
I Wonder U
It took me until after seeing Under the Cherry Moon to get into this song. Claire Fischer’s string arrangements punctuate the funk that was more pronounced from the theatre speakers. Since then I’ve locked in on that aspect and have enjoyed this song ever since. Prince’s drum playing here was influential on D’Angelo’s “Africa” from 2000’s “Voodoo”.
Under the Cherry Moon
If you’ve seen the film, you know this song gets to the heart of the Christopher Tracy character. I’m curious as to even though Prince is writing music for a motion picture, was the line ‘I want to live life to the ultimate high, maybe I’ll die young like heroes die’ based on personal thought or complete understanding of the film’s character. On its own, it’s a very haunting song. The composition is credited as a collaboration between Prince and his father John L. Nelson, a jazz pianist and the earliest influence on Prince’s musicianship. The piano is beautiful, but certain chords paint the dark subject matter of the song and makes it work extremely well. Also of note, Prince recorded his drumming in one take on all four of these numbers with no break.
Girls and Boys
My next favorite funk track on the album. On the strength of Eric Leed’s saxophone work. It’s the baritone sax that really gives the song its unique character. It has that Maceo Parker vibe that gives this song its funk edge. This was the single performance piece from the film. Clips of this performance was mixed with additional original material to make up the music video which I like better.
Life Can Be So Nice
It took a while for me to get into this song. I have a friend that loves this song. Once I listened to it from a different perspective trying to understand what he got out of it, I enjoy the song more now. The selling point for me is the excellent drumming by Sheila E. on this one.
Venus de Milo
A beautiful piano piece with the Claire Fischer string arrangement. Another short but sweet work of art. It’s actually my favorite song on the entire album. If you want to know what romance sounds like, listen to this one. Tranquility would be the best definition.
Side Two End
8.”Mountains” Prince, Wendy & Lisa 3:57
9.”Do U Lie?”2:44
10. .”Kiss” Prince, arranged by David Z) 3:37
11. Anotherloverholeinyohead 4:00
12.”Sometimes it Snows in April ” (Prince, Wendy & Lisa) 6:48
I actually prefer the 12” extended version of this song, but the album version is still a great part of the listening experience. This is what Earth Wind and Fire should have been doing in the mid to late 80’s. Wendy & Lisa are given co-credit on this. Until a Super Deluxe version of Parade is ever released, check out the extended version on vinyl.
Do U Lie?
It would be too easy to call this the ‘When I’m 64” of the album, actually it’s keeping with the French vibe of the film plus the line “Do you lie”? is uttered by the Mary Sharon in a key dramatic scene in the film. It’s a nice little faux jazz number. It may feel out of place on the album at first, but it flows well when listening to the album in its entirety and it has a place in the film.
The hit song, but shorter on the album than the single itself. This was originally meant for Paisley Park Band Mazarati, Prince originally write this as a bluesy number. Engineer David Z and Revolution bassist Brownmark, producers of Mazarati’s album, reworked the track to the version we’re more familiar with. When Prince heard the results, he took back the song and added a few more parts and his lead vocal but keeping Mazarati’s background vocals. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t like this song. I remember buying the 7” single when it was released. While it didn’t give me the same impact as “When Doves Cry” when it was released, but it’s still a genius work. For even better results, seek out the 12” extended version.
The sleeper funk track of the album. Another favorite of the album. Great use of the bass. I’ve always liked the line “you want another someone for your happily ever after be”. I used to skip most of side two just to play this track for a long time. Just when you think it doesn’t get any funkier, check out the video version which was taken from the Prince and the Revolution Hit and Run Tour of 1986 and the 12” extended version.
Sometimes it Snows in April
Probably the best album closer ever. Prince was influenced by Joni Mitchell as much as the obvious James Brown/Sly Stone influences. It’s Joni’s use of space and according to Prince her ability to add color to a song. It’s definitely among the most beautiful pieces of music that I’ve experienced in my lifetime. Prince utilizes the space well. Once again Wendy & Lisa provide the assist. It brings to a close the most satisfying listening experience for a Prince album or any other album for that matter.
Why it’s in the Crate?
Besides being a Prince fan, this album found me at the beginning of a series of life long adventures, friendships, ups and downs, loves lost and love won. Parade challenged me as an artist and as an individual. I wanted to live life to the ultimate high and being 20 then gave me that license. Though it’s heavy rotation wound itself down by the Fall of ‘86 and the release of “Sign O The Times” in ‘87, my interest in Parade was renewed when I got the CD as a birthday present in 1988. I was living in San Francisco by then, living life to the ultimate high as much as an art student’s budget would allow. Parade holds an honored place in my deep listening mood alongside another famous album with a black and white cover named Revolver.
For more on my interest in the Prince musical singularity, check out my podcast Amari Purple Talk. You can download and listen on your favorite podcast platform.
By 1979 I considered myself a true funkateer. The whole Parliament-Funkadelic Thang had become my musical singularity for practically two years meaning that they made the leap from casual radio listening to honored pieces of my growing album collection.
George Clinton created a collective of talented musicians and singers and like the universe itself, expanded them across concepts and record labels while simultaneously contracting them back to the source to board the Mothership and spread the funk to move and remove and leave you always on the one.
Funkadelic prior to their massive success on Warner Brothers, were funk’s best kept secret hidden among the big brothers of friends when I was in grade school while Parliament and Bootsy’s Rubber Band were getting the radio play that was capturing my attention and drawing me to the record store.
I was pretty hip to the liner notes to figure out George Clinton was the center of the whole operation. Motown was about the only other musical dynasty I was aware of at the time that spawned so many successful acts, but Parliament-Funkadelic was the epitome of funk in the 70’s and I hitched a ride on the Mothership and I haven’t returned.
I had a couple of friends around this time that were deeper fans than I and hipped me to the Westbound era Funkadelic, but one in particular introduced me to Parlet. I heard of the Brides of Funkenstein, but Parlet was new to me. I thought the name was cool right off the bat. A female version of Parliament. I’m in. I can’t remember how I got a hold of this album. It was either through trade. I can’t imagine what I traded it for or it may have been that the friend that introduced me to Parlet, was no longer allowed by his mom to keep the record (the mom was really strict). After all the album is titled “Invasion of the Booty Snatchers” and the cover, though an illustration, probably could be a little risqué. For me, the title and the funk included was the beginning of a whole new field of research. This is Parker’s second album. The group consisted of Mallia Franklin, Jeanette Washington and Debbie Wright. Washington and Wright were the first female members in Parliament-Funkadelic in 1975.
“Riding High” (Ron Dunbar, Donny Sterling)
“No Rump to Bump” (Donny Sterling, Ron Dunbar, Jim Vitti, George Clinton)
“Don’t Ever Stop (Lovin’ Me, Needin’ Me)” (Glenn Goins, Ron Dunbar, George Clinton)
This is the album opener and the first single. It’s mid tempo groove doesn’t let up on the one. It’s flow in during the verses are the dna of West Coast era hip hop of the 90’s. This is a track you definitely ride to. The song stretches out on the funk similar to its sister track “Freak of the Week” from Funkadelic’s “Uncle Jam Wants You”. It’s everything I love about Parliament at the time. It’s deep cut funk and the ‘Can you toast to that’ line on the fade out is a precursor to its reappearance in Parliament’s “Theme from The Black Hole”.
No Rump to Bump
“No Rump to Bump” is a song that would not be out of place on a Parliament album. The whole P-Funk organization was so prolific that songs intended for one album may just end up on a different project. Here it’s a nice build up for the album and maybe my favorite of the album. The track just grooves.
Don’t Ever Stop (Lovin’ Me, Needin’ Me)
This is a ballad that Bootsy Collins would be very adept on his albums. He is not the songwriter on this, but I’m going to guess he is playing drums and bass on this track. His signature bass pedals are all over this track. Parlet does a great job on this ballad. Best results for the ultimate listening experience would be playing on a May/June evening.
“Booty Snatchers” (Ron Dunbar, George Clinton, Pete Bishop)
“You’re Leaving” (Gary Cooper, George Clinton, Ron Dunbar)
“Huff-N-Puff” (Ron Dunbar, Michael Hampton)
Side Two to me feels like George Clinton’s attempt to make Parlet appeal to a more commercial or radio friendly format. While “Booty Snatchers” can be interpreted as a commentary on disco, the sound is nearly pure disco. Again the creative process on a P-Funk record is a free for all of ideas, concepts and pop culture references. The concept of this album is obviously inspired by the remake of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” which featured Leonard Nimoy. It’s weird hearing a P-Funk doing disco, although a better attempt can be heard on “Party People” from Parliament’s “Gloryhallastoopid” album. “Booty Snatchers” is still a nice track and still holds the consistency of the album.
“You’re Leaving” sounds like an attempt to get some of that Chaka Kahn money. Maybe because I’m writing this after my post about the “Rufusized” album. It’s a good song and there’s enough P-Funk thrown in to keep this from being an obvious rip off.
Who Says a funky girl group can’t rock? “Huff-N-Puff” returns the album to full P-Funk mode. This groove would have been at home on Funkadelic’s last couple of Westbound albums. It’s a great closer to the album.
Why it’s in the Crate?
What better album to kick off my teenage years than this one? The humor in the lyrics, and the funk. The subject matter. The ladies voices stand up to any female vocalist and they, as well as the Brides of Funkenstein deserve way more recognition beyond fan base status. This album stayed in heavy rotation for a good while. My attention would be diverted by the acquisition of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” album and Parliament’s “Motor Booty Affair” for the remainder of the summer of 1979. I do revisit Parlet often and I’ve recently come to view “Invasion of the Booty Snatchers” and “Motor Booty Affair” as companion albums. I have yet to play them back to back. Something to consider next time.
Recording dates: Exact dates unknown, but recorded during 1974.
Recording Studio: The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California
I was 12, about to turn 13 later that March in 1979 when I bought my first records with my own money. The greatest thrill was coming home from Hudson’s Embassy which was four blocks from my house that January Saturday afternoon with three 45 singles. My choices were based on three big television events that month.
The first was seeing The Jacksons on American Bandstand performing “Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground). Second was seeing The Bee Gees debut their latest single, “Too Much Heaven” on a UNICEF benefit special. The final choice was based on watching Rufus and Chaka Khan’s music video for ‘Do You Love What You Feel’ on Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert.
I’ve always enjoyed Rufus and Chaka Khan on the radio growing up. “Tell Me Something Good”, “You’ve Got The Love” and “Sweet Thing” were all really great songs. In later years I would add “Rags to Rufus” and “Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan” to my album collection, but it was the recent release of an autobiography of a certain artist that influenced me to seek out “Rufusized” and give it a deeper listen.
Recounting his high school years in his autobiography, Prince recounts an encounter with his high school crush where the swell of emotions after their kiss led Prince to the record store to purchase “Rufusized”, Prince’s favorite Chaka Khan album. He left school that year “more self assured than eye had ever been my whole life”.
1.”Once You Get Started.- Gavin Christopher 4:29
2. “Somebody’s Watching You” Tony Maiden, Chaka Khan, Bobby Watson 3:14
3. Pack’d My Bags”Maiden, Khan 5:05
4. “Your Smile” Lalomie Washburn 3:23
5. Rufusized” (Instrumental) Khan, Maiden, Watson, Kevin Murphy, André Fischer 3:16
Once You Get Started
The lead off track of side one and the album’s first single. “Once You Get Started” was always one of those songs you would enjoy hearing on the radio. The hook and it’s funky delivery stays in your head and never gets old. I love the band’s musicianship on this track, especially the bass work of Bobby Watson and the keyboard and ARP synthesizer of Kevin Murphy. I’ve always enjoyed this song on the radio when it was in rotation and I’ve always had it on greatest hits CD’s, but I’m enjoying it a lot more on vinyl.
Somebody’s Watching You
I thought this was going to be a cover of “Somebody’s Watching You” by Sly and the Family Stone from the “Stand” album, but this is an original composition. There are slight similarities to the Sly song and I wonder if the Sly track was an influence on this one. I like both songs, but I like Sly’s better lyrically. The Rufus/Chaka composition flows very well on side one. The cohesiveness of the band and Chaka’s layered vocals makes this work.
Pack’d My Bags
“The piano intro 2 “Pack’d My Bags” left me with me with butterflies. I remember trying 2 tell my friends how eye felt about this music but nobody seemed 2 understand”. -Prince (from The Beautiful Ones)
Hearing that piano intro made me wonder if this influenced Prince’s beautiful piano intro to “Condition of the Heart” from “Around the World in a Day”. The intro to “Pack’d My Bags” is beautiful and the song itself is a masterpiece. This is my favorite song on the album.
“Your Smile” is a very beautiful ballad and another favorite of mine on this album. While “Sweet Thing” from their next album “Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan” would be their classic ballad (one Prince would match the excellence and artistry of balladry with his ballad “Do Me Baby”), “Your Song” deserves equal attention.
The album’s title track. An instrumental where the band stretches out and shows off its funky chops.
1. I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone)” Washburn 3:18
2.”Right Is Right” Maiden, Murphy, Khan 3:16
3. “Half Moon” John Hall 3:14
4. “Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me of a Friend)” Brenda Gordon, Brian Russell3:02
5.”Stop on By” Bobby Womack, Pete Thomas
I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone)
Not to be confused with Chaka’s 1978 solo hit “I’m Every Woman”, “I’m a Woman (I’m a Backbone)” conveys the same meaning in a less commercial way. It’s a funkier workout of a song and a great opener for side two. It helps forward the momentum of the album.
Right is Right
“Right is Right” continues the funk vibe from the previous song and builds up the momentum of the album. Here it’s the guitar work of Tony Maiden adding nice counter leads and anchoring rhythms to the multi keyboard and synths of Kevin Murphy.
The influence of Sly and the Family Stone is felt all over this track. It’s a track that grows on me with each listen.
Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me of a Friend of Mine)
This is another beautiful ballad. I love Chaka’s vocals on this one. I wonder if Teena Marie studied this album as inspiration for her many beautiful songs. The storytelling in this song is a style that reminds me of lot of Teena’s compositions. I really love the layers of Chaka’s background vocals.
Stop On By
This is another song that’s grown on me with each listen. It’s a very mellow jazz-funk and a nice closer to the album. It’s tempo reminds me a lot of The Bee Gees “You Stepped Into My Life” released two years after this song. Given the number of ways this album was and may have been so influential to so many artists, Rufus and Chaka Khan deserve an induction in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Why it’s in the Crate?
“Rufusized – perhaps my favorite album by Chaka Khan 4 all the reasons stated earlier.” –Prince:The Beautiful Ones
I wasn’t a record collector before 1976. I had a few 45 singles from my first second hand singles like The Temptations “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” and Bobby Bland’s “Grits Ain’t Groceries” to recent gifts from my Aunt Mary like Al Wilson’s “Show and Tell” and B.T. Express’ “Do It (Till Your Satisfied). My only albums were Jackson 5 and an album of the Superman radio show I got from sending in the number of requested box tops. I was mainly a listener of radio which was where my exposure to a wide variety of music and artists were discovered.
I was vaguely aware of The Beatles by 1976. For some reason “The Ballad of John & Yoko” was on heavy rotation on KXOK in 1973. I had seen Yellow Submarine on its annual television broadcast. Paul McCartney was having great success with his second act Wings. Ringo Starr was also having huge success during the early and mid ‘70’s. Even though The Beatles were a small blip on my radar in 1976, the rest of the world still had the group uppermost on their minds six years after their break up.
Hopes of a Beatles reunion were held very high, but getting all four to want it at the same time prevented this from happening. The nostalgia of their game changing music and hopes for a reunion created seeds of their classic music becoming timeless and bringing the next generation of fans like myself into the fold.
I was on my way to the kitchen in my grandparents home. They were watching television in the living room when the commercial that changed my life commenced.
This commercial literally stopped me in my tracks. I guess it was so different from the few Jackson 5 albums, my small collection of blues and R&B 45’s. This was somehow different from everything that I was listening to on the radio. Different, yet familiar and this was the band that was in the Yellow Submarine film. I was 10 and I was beginning to expand my musical horizons.
As I’m writing this, I’m quite certain that I didn’t ask my grandmother to order this album. I’m certain that I asked for this on one of our bus rides downtown. Before I discovered the magic of the local record store, my albums were obtained during one of these monthly trips downtown and purchased (good behavior and money allowed), from the record department of Famous Barr, a subsidiary of Macy’s.
The downtown Famous Barr was a cool place. It had the finest chocolates displayed, great dining on the top floor, but my favorite was the book and record department which was on the same floor. Even at 10, it was a little frustrating that they didn’t always have the hippest selections in stock, but I would at least find something over the years. Lucky for me, they did have this in stock. Upon arriving home, I entered a new world of sonic discovery.
All songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney except indicated otherwise.
1. Twist and Shout” Phil Medley, Bert Russell 2:31
2. “I Saw Her Standing There” 2:56
3. “You Can’t Do That” 2:38
4. “I Wanna Be Your Man” 1:59
5. “I Call Your Name” 2:09
6. “Boys” Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell 2:28
7. “Long Tall Sally” Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman, Robert Blackwell 2:00
1.”Rock and Roll Music” Chuck Berry 2:30
2. Slow Down” Larry Williams 2:54
3. “Kansas City” / “Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey” (medley) Jerry Leiber and Mike Stroller, Richard Penniman 2:35
4. “Money (That’s What I Want)” Janie Bradford , Berry Gordy. 2:47
5. “Bad Boy” Williams. 2:20
6.”Matchbox” Carl Perkins 1:59
7.”Roll Over Beethoven” Berry 2:44
1. “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” Williams 2:53
2. “Any Time At All” 2:13
3. “Drive My Car” 2:29
4. “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” Perkins 2:26.
5. “The Night Before ” 2:37
6.”I’m Down” 2:32.
7. “Revolution” 3:25
1.”Back in the U.S.S.R. 2:44.
2.”Helter Skelter ” 4:30
3. “Taxman” George Harrison 2:39
4. “Got to Get You into My Life” 2:31
5.”Hey Bulldog 3:11
7. “Get Back” (album version) 3:09
I’ll forego the usual track by track commentary on this one because I plan to explore each song in future posts featuring the albums in which they originally appeared. I will also attempt to document my initial emotions based on the moment instead of conveying my opinions based upon the knowledge of Beatle history that I have accumulated since this first acquisition to my growing record collection.
It was the first to tracks on this album to prolong the excitement first felt from the album’s commercial. “Twist and Shout” and “I Saw Her Standing There” lives up to the album’s title. It’s pure, energetic rock and roll. It’s this sequence that I’ve been accustomed to for years. It’s a better fit here than its bookend opener closer on the original “Please Please Me” album. “You Can’t Do That” is my personal favorite on this side. From the opening guitar riff to the Stax Records style groove and Motown background harmonies it’s more of a soul song than a rock song. I also liked “I Call Your Name” was another favorite at that time even though it felt like “You Can’t Do That” part 2. I really like the sequence of songs on side one. Some songs would take me years to like more, but rarely would I take the needle off the record to skip songs.
Side two to me wasn’t as strong as side one, but I like the sequence of songs and it flows well. My favorites after this first listening were “Slow Down”, “Kansas City”, “Money” and “Bad Boy”. This suite of songs again deliver the spirit of rock and roll. I would often with toy guitars and later with real ones would try to emulate the riffs that were coming out of my single speaker record player.
Side three is as exciting as side one. The opener, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” featured a great riff that drives the song. It’s John Lennon’s vocals on this track and all the other tracks he leads that elevates and transcends the spirit of rock and roll, though it would be another 10 years before I became a bonafide Lennon fan. Because I’m just learning about this group at the time, I’m really more focused on what they were doing as a group. I could barely make out who was singing and playing track to track. I’m really looking at the album cover and trying to imagine the performance dynamics. It would be a couple of years before I would see footage of The Beatles actually performing. “Any Time at All” and “Drive My Car” were also favorites.
It’s with “The Night Before” that I have to address the album cover design. It’s a warm summer night within a couple of weeks of having this album, while listening to the “The Night Before” and just checking out the album cover and liner notes.
For no reason, I associate “The Night Before”, a 1965 Lennon-McCartney original, more than any of the 1950’s covers on this album as matching the mood of the album cover design. Rock and Roll Music was a compilation that Beatles producer George Martin was against. He disapproved of the mixes selected for the album. Martin was asked to approve the selected tapes by the then head of Capitol Records. Dissatisfied with the tapes, Martin remixed the tapes, narrowing the stereo on some of the songs.
The album cover was not well received by John Lennon and Ringo Starr. Even I was aware enough of The Beatles at 10 to know they were a sixties band. I was baffled by the fifties theme of the cover. I was also weirded out by the thumbs simulating holding the cover. The inside cover with the car, the coca-cola, and the jukebox would have better suited an Elvis compilation rather than The Beatles. The red background label with the glass of soda at center was weird to me as well. That graphic was only available on the US pressing of the LP, while Parlophone in the U.K. used their standard label. The U.K. also used the originally released British mixes. John Lennon offered to redesign the cover, but was denied.
Now back to the summer night where I found myself paying more attention to “The Night Before”. I could see this song playing in the background in a scene like something out of “American Graffiti” or “Happy Days”. I’m not sure what influences Paul McCartney was drawing from when composing this one, but after a couple weeks of absorbing this album, this became a main favorite of side three.
The final side is the side that took a few years to appreciate. Side three ends with “Revolution” and that opening riff was frightening. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because it was a warning about what was frightening about side four and the most frightening thing on side four was “Helter Skelter” The book of the same name about murderer Charles Manson and the television mini-series based on the book took the nation by storm. The book at the end mentioned the fact that he was eligible for parole in 1978. That small detail created an urban myth that once paroled, he was going to move to St. Louis. I wonder if other cities had their own twist on this rumor. I had a family member mention this rumor to me.
I never needed a night light as a kid. I was mostly cool with the dark. Usually playing records really low was comforting if I had a rough night. The exception being side four of this album. “Helter Skelter” with it’s heavy metal DNA, Paul’s screaming vocal, the false fade and the final fade out and Ringo’s “I’VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!” which I thought was either “I’VE GOT EVIL AND I’M GONNA BE HERE!” or “I’VE GOT FEVER AND I’M GONNA GET ‘CHA!” Or some strange combination of the two. By my teen age years and better understanding of Beatle history and the acquisition of more albums from their later period, I got over my fear of the songs on this side and Manson was repeatedly denied parole thank goodness.
“Hey Bulldog” was weird to me because of all the screaming and barking at the end. I used to think they were acting up like kids and that it was George Martin was the one telling them to be quiet. It took two more years of annual tv broadcasts of Yellow Submarine and buying the soundtrack around 1979 for me to count “Hey Bulldog” among my all time favorite Beatles songs. “Birthday” is a birthday song that rocks. I’m never upset at getting a video link to this song on my birthday.
Why it’s in the Crate?
While “Rock and Roll Music” is only loved by those that own it, myself included, this compilation opened a whole field of research not only of this band, but taking a deeper dive into the earlier artists of rock and roll. I started getting into Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis and The Everly Brothers. I also stared learning about contemporaries of The Beatles. I paid closer attention to The Rolling Stones, The Byrds, Cream and Led Zeppelin.
Six months to a year later I managed to get on those monthly trips downtown, the US release of The Beatles Second Album and the legendary Beatles approved “1962-1966”. Within the next two years after, I got some of the original albums and had a book that gave me a deeper insight into Beatles history. In 1979, I officially became a Paul McCartney and Wings fan. The Beatles both collectively and solo influenced my world view the same way that Sly and the Family Stone Parliament/Funkadelic and Prince has.
Listening to it now. I still love the sequence of songs. The mixes are different than any original or remastered mixes, which is good for me because I can listen to this and instantly be transported back to the summer of 1976.
Recorded at Advision Studios( Fitzrovia, London) RAK Studios (Regent’s Park, London)
Produced by Yes
I’m becoming a newbie towards progressive rock. Growing up in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, between am and fm radio, I’ve heard songs, but not know the band or know the band and not the songs. Back when Mtv actually played music videos, my awareness was broadened slightly. By 1984, Yes was one of those bands.
‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ and ‘Leave It‘ were in heavy rotation on Mtv in 1984. I’ve always heard the name, but I had never heard any of their songs until this point. While this was their most commercially successful singles, Yes has had a great string of multi-platinum album success since the ‘70’s. Around 1985-86, I checked their album “90125” from the college library and I remember enjoying the album a lot. The album discussed in this blog is actually part of my wife’s collection. A local record store where she used to live was closing and the store gave away a lot of albums to her and her daughter.
I watched Yes’ induction into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame In 2017 and enjoyed their performance a lot. This was a band I felt I wanted to explore further. Sometime later while going through our respective record collections to clear out some of the unwanted acquisitions, I stumbled upon “Tormato’. This will be the beginning of my future Yes collection.
1.”Future Times”/”Rejoice” Jon Anderson , Chris Squire, Steve Howe , Rick Wakeman , Alan White 6:40
2. Don’t Kill The Whale” Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman,White 3:53
The first thing I love about this track are the drums of Alan White and the Les Paul guitar work of Steve Howe. Immediately I’m taken back to fm radio and nights watching Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert. It’s everything a listening experience should be. Kick back and listen to the virtuosity of the musicians. Of course this being a concept album, your transported to the world of the song. According to Jon Anderson, the lyrics are more explicit than his usual style of writing. Also of note is the Rickenbaker bass playing of Chris Squire and his use of the Mu-Tron bass pedal which is one of the pedals of choice by one of my favorite bass players, Bootsy Collins.
‘Rejoice’ segues after ‘Future Times’ and makes a great one-two punch opening the album and setting the album’s tone. Here the harmonies of Jon Anderson Steve Howe & Chris Squire are what I really love about this song. This is another favorite song from the album.
Don’t Kill the Whale
Here Rick Wakeman trades in his standard keyboard rig for the polymoog and is used to great effect. The keyboards are my favorite about this track. I will agree with Steve Howe that the synths clash with the guitar work on other tracks in this album, but on this track I really like the instrument.
Madrigal is a really beautiful ballad. It’s a nice change of pace in the album sequence. I love the Spanish guitar that Steve Howe is using. I also enjoy the harpsichord and the harmonies.
Could this have set the tone for The Police? This reminds me so much of a Police groove. Given their debut album was released a couple of months after “Tormato”. This is my favorite Song of side one. Alan White’s drums is what does it for me on this.
1.”Arriving UFO” Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire, White 5:59
2. Circus of Heaven” Anderson, Squire, White, Wakeman, Howe 4:28.
3. “Onward” Squire 3:57
4. On the Silent Wings of Freedom” Anderson, Squire, Howe, Wakeman, White 7:45
I was hoping after a really great side one that the opening track of side two would raise the level. I was a little let down by Arriving UFO. It’s not a bad song, I just expected more. I’m assuming that this is one of the songs Steve Howe is talking about where the synth sound gets in the way.
Circus of Heaven
‘Circus of Heaven’ is a song I have mixed feelings about. Some of the arrangements are really good. They’re quite beautiful actually. There’s not a lot of consistency in the arrangements. I like the title a lot. I’ll have to give this one another listen for the lyrics.
Side two really picks up for me with ‘Onward’. This reminds me of songs that Paul McCartney or Genesis were doing around this time, meaning that this would have been a great album track for either artist during that period. I really enjoy listening to this track.
On the Silent Wings of Freedom
I would rank this one among my favorite songs on the album and the best song on side two. I love the work as a band on this. Great guitar and drums. I love the choice of bass is the Rickenbaker on this track.
Why it’s in the Crate?
“Tormato” was a great surprise to find in the crate. I’m glad to have found it and glad I gave this a listen. I got to explore a band I didn’t know a lot about and I’m looking forward to getting more of their albums. This is an album I expect to listen to many more times.
Recorded at Motown Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Produced by Hal Davis
My Mom and I lived in a four family flat in 1973. My Mom was friends with a lady that lived in a four family flat next to ours. The friend had 3 kids, a daughter around my age, one older brother and one younger brother. We would walk to and from school together most days and would play outside together. They were fun to be around and have very found memories of them.
The older brother had a birthday either on Halloween or around that time, but I remember being invited to a birthday party that was also a costume patty. I think I was Spider-Man that year. What I do remember is that one of the gifts he got was The Jackson 5’s “Get It Together” album which was released a month prior.
My gateway to The Jackson 5 was at 4 years old in 1970 when I heard “The Love You Save” on a car radio. I later got the ABC album which was the first album I owned. In fact that ABC album was the only album I owned at that time. I had a second hand record player and my uncle would loan me 45’s. My favorite listening experiences were watching those Motown and Stax records spinning on the turntable. The coolest were James Brown because he had his face on the label.
Back to 1973.
I remember my friend opening the present and this sort of yellow-orange album cover emerging from the gift wrap and a picture of The Jackson 5 performing from what looked like still from a television performance in matching outfits of a similar color scheme as the cover inside a red bordered cutout of the Get It Together initials. This was the best album cover ever. The back cover was just as cool with photos of The Jackson 5 in concert and the song titled underneath.
I don’t think anybody at that party was really for that record. I remember half of the room was into it and the other half was ready for another record. By 1973 The Jackson 5 hadn’t really had a major hit the level of their 1969-71 run of number one and top 5 hits. 1972 scored big solo hits for Michael and Jermaine, but The Jacksons as a group didn’t score any major success, even though they were still a major touring act and popular as performers on the popular talk shows and variety shows of the 1970’s.
Motown in the 70’s was a different place than it was in its ‘60’s heyday. Motown was struggling to stay relevant in both the R&B and Pop world. Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder fought and won their creative independence. That independence produced some of the most culturally groundbreaking albums of the decade from both artists, but it did cost Motown quite a bit of money to keep Marvin and Stevie happy. The Jackson 5 also wanted that kind of freedom as well, but Motown wasn’t about to be held hostage by their artists a third time. In addition, Berry Gordy was focused on producing films, so The Jackson 5 were no longer a priority at Motown.
The Berry Gordy assembled songwriting team dubbed The Corporation, which included Gordy along with Alphonso “Fonce” Mizell, Freddie Perren and Deke Richards were no longer writing The J5’s hits. Enter Hal Davis, producer and writer, a Motown veteran and co-writer of The J5 hit “I’ll Be There”, assigned the task of producing the ‘Get It Together” album.
“Get It Together ” (Hal Davis, Donald Fletcher, Berry Gordy, Mel Larson, Jerry Marcellino)– 2:48
“Don’t Say Goodbye Again” (Pam Sawyer, Leon Ware) – 3:24
“Reflections” (Lamont Dozier, Edward Holland, Jr., Brian Holland) – 2:58
“Hum Along and Dance” (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield)– 8:37
Get It Together
The first single and lead off track on the album. Hands down my favorite song of the J5’s later Motown period. The most original funk track on the album. The beginnings of a mature Jackson funk sound that few in 1973 noticed. The hook should have been more prevalent in pop culture vernacular and the groove should have owned dance floors and house parties. Michael and Jermaine’s vocals are a well oiled machine. This is among my favorite Michael and Jermaine vocals. The Jackson 5 performed ‘Get It Together’ on quite a few television appearances in 1973 and 1974. Motown should have put more promotion behind the single.
Don’t Say Goodbye Again
I recommend you check out the songwriting of Leon Ware. Leon Ware, along with Diana Ross’s brother “T-Boy” Ross wrote Michael’s “I Wanna Be Where You Are”. The arrangement foreshadows the work Leon does with Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Want You’ album. Here Leon and Pam Sawyer crafts a mid tempo ballad that showcases Michael’s vocal very well. I love the intro with the blend of background vocals and drums and I love the background vocals throughout the song.
The Jackson 5 doing covers were great during the early days of their Motown tenure, but to me I feel that in 1973 they have outgrown that formula. The Norman Whitfield covers on this album being the exception, the Diana Ross and The Supremes cover is the weakest and this space should have been better spent on an original song whether it was from Hal Davis, Leon Ware, another songwriter or even The Jacksons themselves. The psychedelic sound effects were past tired in 1973, While Michael and Jermaine’s vocals elevate the track a little, it’s not enough for me to count this as a favorite.
Hum Along and Dance
The first of three Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong compositions and the second cover of four in this album. Whitfield and Strong had a string of hits in the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s with The Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Marvin Gaye. ‘Hum Along and Dance’ was an album track on The Temptations “Psychedelic Shack” album. The Jackson 5 version outdoes the original and my favorite of the two. It’s one of the funkiest intros I’ve ever heard. Vocally all of the Jacksons participate. There’s not a lot in the way of lyrics. You’re mainly instructed to follow the rules of the title. As a kid, this song would wear me out by the middle. The song clocks in at 8 minutes and 37 seconds. Imagine my surprise when I found out there is an 11 minute version (available as a bonus cut on the twofer CD of Joyful Jukebox Music and Boogie). I can enjoy the song in its entirety now. I love it’s transcendence from funk to a Fela Kuti style groove towards the end. The studio musicians are excellent on this track.
Hum Along and Dance (The Temptations)
Hum Along and Dance (The Jackson 5)
“Mama, I Got A Brand New Thing (Don’t Say No) (Norman Whitfield) – 7:11
“It’s Too Late to Change the Time” (Pam Sawyer, Leon Ware) – 3:57
“You Need Love Like I Do (Don’t You)” (Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield) – 3:45
“Dancing Machine” (Hal Davis, Donald Fletcher, Dean Parks) – 3:27
Mama, I Got a Brand New Thing (Don’t Say No)
The second Whitfield/Strong composition and the third cover of the album. I’m not familiar with the original Undisputed Truth as I should. I’m actually listening to it as I write this. I have to say I like the original a lot. I like both versions equally. Each version compensates the other version weaknesses. The female voices on the Undisputed Truth version voice ‘Mama’ better than Jackie and Michael. The Truth’s version is more conversational, while I thought The Jacksons were more effective in storytelling. The Truth’s version is more raw funk, while The Jacksons with their vocal arrangement run the Temptations playbook. All 5 Jacksons trade off on vocals.
Mama, I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don’t Say No) (The Undisputed Truth)
Mama, I Gotta Brand New Thing (Don’t Say No) (The Jackson 5)
It’s Too Late to Change the Time
One of the biggest concerns with Michael Jackson as a child, as with any child superstar singer, what happens when your voice changes? Michael was definitely beginning to look older by 1973. The “Get It Together” album more than 1973’s earlier release, “Skywriter” has the more notable maturation of Michael Jackson’s voice. The changes were apparent as early as 1972. Check out 2010’s “Live at the Forum” for a comparison. That 2 disc set highlights The Jackson 5 live at the Los Angeles Forum, both in 1970 and in 1972. In the 1972 concert you can hear Michael’s change in key on more than a few songs during that set.
‘It’s Too Late to Change the Time’ is not a great track and is the least favorite song of mine on this album. I appreciate it more as a Leon Ware composition and I can listen to it all the way through now as apposed to skipping it as a kid. What makes this song notable in the history of Michael Jackson lore is the vocal arrangement of Michael Jackson.
Motown has denied the Jackson’s any say in the recording of their albums, but Hal Davis gave Michael a little say on the vocal arrangement of this song. It’s on this song that we hear the birth of that famous Michael Jackson hiccup vocal. The way he sings ‘It’s too late-ta. It’s too late to Change the time’. For the remainder of his and his brothers stay at Motown, Michael did not have creative input in any more songs.
It’s Too Late to Change the Time (The Jackson 5)
You Need Love Like I Do (Don’t You)
The final cover song and the third Whitfield/Strong composition. This song has been released as a single by Gladys Knight and the Pips and an album track by The Temptations. The Jackson 5 version is closer to Gladys’s, but funkier and again vocally run the Tempts playbook with the harmonies. This is my second favorite track on the album.
The sleeper hit of the album. Made famous by The Jackson 5’s performance of the song on an episode of Soul Train. It was here that Michael’s interpretation of the robot that added to Michael’s legend roughly ten years before his performance on Motown 25 which debuted his spectacular moonwalk during ‘Billie Jean’. The version on this album is the original. A remix of the song became the single. Dancing Machine became the song that restored The Jackson 5 to the top 5. Motown, still not showing the love, rushes out an album titled “Dancing Machine” later in 1974.
Dancing Machine (The Jackson 5)
Why It’s in the Crate?
My uncle gave me the “Get It Together” album sometime in 1974. All of spring and summer of 1974 was spent playing this album. I was living with my grandparents by this time, so this album is among my earliest most fond memories of living in that house. I didn’t have a huge collection of records at 8, but this was the second album I enjoyed in its entirety (The Jackson 5’s ABC album was the first). Maybe it’s because of that time it’s my favorite J5 album. It’s also their funkiest which is why I still enjoy it now. Their final albums for Motown has funk and disco elements, but lacked the Whitfield/Strong compositions that would have given those albums some true funk glue. To the casual J5 listener or if you want to explore MJ’s pre Thriller success, I recommend this as a deep dive. I’ll envy your experiencing this the first time. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I relive my enjoyment of it.
Recorded at Compass Point Studios, Nassau, Bahamas and Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris France
I can’t remember where I first heard the single of ‘Emotional Rescue’, but I do remember buying the ‘45 in June of 1980. ‘Emotional Rescue’ was the first record of The Rolling Stones that I bought at 14 years of age. By 1980, I was well versed on The Beatles. I owned the UK versions of ‘Revolver’ and ‘Beatles for Sale’. I also had McCartney’s ‘Wings Greatest’ and ‘Back to the Egg’, but I never before owned a Rolling Stones record even though I was familiar with their hits and just a couple of years prior, they were hot off the funky ‘Miss You’ from the ‘Some Girls’ album. There was just something different about ‘Emotional Rescue’ that I just loved.
“Dance (pt. 1) – 4:23
“Summer Romance” – 3:16
“Send it to Me’– 3:43
“Let Me Go” – 3:50
“Indian Girl” – 4:23
I recently purchased ‘Emotional Rescue’ on vinyl. I know a few people that love this album. I know that John Lennon praised the single in one of his last interviews. I know overall reaction was mixed. Many die hards prefer albums such as ‘Exile on Main Street’ or ‘Sticky Fingers’. Even ‘Emotional Rescue’s follow up ‘Tattoo You’ was considered a comeback after the so called disco influence of ‘Some Girls’ and this album. I absolutely enjoy this album. Beginning with side one, these are my thoughts on ‘Emotional Rescue’:
Dance (pt. 1) written by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood
This is a great album opener. It really set the tone of the album for me. There’s no mistaking the musicianship of the Stones. It’s not disco. It has just enough funk to give the song the punch it has. It’s the Stones being funky while maintaining their identity. What makes this one of my favorite tracks on the album are the percussions brought forward later in the song, especially the talking drums. Great work by Ian Stewart and Michael Shrieve on the percussions.
Summer Romance written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Rock and Roll was changing by 1979/1980. Disco was at its peak and beginning its downfall. Punk and New Wave were the cutting edge and the Stones, I feel, were attempting to keep up on this track. It’s conventional Stones with a nice blend of New Wave. While not a great song, it does flow well after the opening track and it is nice to listen to.
Send it to Me written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
John Lennon once complained that American musicians couldn’t understand how to play reggae. By the end of the 1970’s, Lennon’s UK peers from McCartney to The Police has mastered the genre and The Stones were no exception. This is another favorite track of mine. The Stones make a good roots sound.
Let Me Go written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
To me this sounds like a typical Stones track. It may be considered a filler track. The song does feel like it belongs with the rest of the songs on the album.
Indian Girl written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
I’ve never really paid attention to The Stones ballads aside from ‘Angie’ and maybe ‘Time is on My Side’, but ‘Indian Girl’ is a pretty good fit for this album and a nice way to close out side one. Jagger and Richards are capable enough songwriters to paint a picture with this song and it’s easy to get into the listening experience.
“Where the Boys Go” – 3:29
“Down in the Hole” – 3:57
“Emotional Rescue”– 5:39
“She’s So Cold”– 4:12
“All About You” – 4:18
Where the Boys Go written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
I’m going to assume that The Cars having hit really big with their debut self titled album in 1978 and ‘Candy O’ in 1979, that they became the group to beat. The Cars were a great band emerging from the growing New Wave scene. A song like ‘Where the Boys Go’ feels like another attempt to keep this album in competition while again keeping that Stones DNA.
Down in the Hole written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
Now this is what The Rolling Stones do best! ‘Down in the Hole’ is a great bluesy track and offers a nice counterpoint to the previous track sound wise. It’s a nice build up for a great side two listening experience.
Emotional Rescue written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
The absolute best track of the album and the no brainer choice for a first single. As I struggle to remember where I first heard ‘Emotional Rescue’. I probably saw the video late one Saturday night in 1980 on Don Kitchener’s Rock Concert. Regardless of how I first heard the song, I remember immediately buying the 45 single. I was completely blown away by this track. It’s a funky stripped down track. It’s very pre-Prince ‘Dirty Mind’ which was released the same year. But where ‘Dirty Mind’ became a critical masterpiece only, ‘Emotional Rescue’ became a top five hit in both the US and UK.
‘Emotional Rescue’ sounds like The Stones put a reggae time signature to a soul rhythm and the results are this brilliant slow funk journey. I love the drums and the bass. They blend so well together. The other thing that makes this song a stand out is the Mick Jagger falsetto. The falsetto in this song works very well for me. By 1980, the BeeGees disco peak was at its end and its still 2 to 4 years before Prince officially becomes a household name, so ‘Emotional Rescue’ was a record that was able to come in between those distinct eras.
This is one of those rare songs where my favorite part is the whole song itself. It has an almost McCartneyesque touch with 3 distinct changes in the song, but unlike a McCartney song, the changes don’t change the style within the song. For me the song is a journey, but instead of just grooving till I get to the great bit, I’m drawn into song from the first note. The big payoff for me is the Jagger monologue that takes you to the end of the song. I could always imagine Mick riding that ‘fine Arab charger’ coming to Bianca’s emotional rescue. While most dismiss this as a weak sequel to ‘Miss You’, I feel this was the most unique single of their career.
She’s So Cold written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
This is the second best track on the album. Where the previous attempts at a Cars style felt like practice, ‘She’s So Cold’ is where they succeed. The music video I do remember seeing on Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert. I enjoy listening to this track a lot.
All About You written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
A very last call/the party is at an end song. ‘All About You’ has Keith Richards on lead vocals on this. I guess Keith, like Ringo gets a song or two to sing on the album. I really like Keith Richards solo material, so this track was very nice to hear on this album. A nice slow closer to a really good album.
Why it’s in the Crate?
I don’t have as many Rolling Stone albums as I do The Beatles, but ‘Emotional Rescue’ was the first and just on the strength of the first single alone, it was a period as I was starting high school at the time and I was expanding my musical horizons beyond my funk base. Today it’s a nice album that I can enjoy from beginning to end. While it’s not one of their classics, it is an album that some fans love and casual listeners like myself love as well. My favorite songs are ‘Dance’, ‘Send it to Me’, ‘Down in the Hole’ and ‘Emotional Rescue’ I highly recommend this album.