Category: blues rock

On this day in music history: December 9, 1966 – “Fresh Cream”, the debut album by Cream is released. Produced by Robert Stigwood, it is recorded at Rayrik Studios and Ryemuse Studios in London from July – October 1966. The first release by the British rock super group is the first release on manager/producer Stigwood’s newly formed Reaction Records in the UK, and will be released by Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco in the US. Featuring a mixture of covers and original material, it includes some of the bands’ signature songs including their first single “I Feel Free” and the blues standards “I’m So Glad”, “Spoonful” and “Rollin’ And Tumblin’”. The US version of the album differs from its UK counterpart by deleting “Spoonful”, replacing it with “I Feel Free” and moving the latter to the start of the first side. When the album is reissued by RSO Records in 1977, it is restored to its original UK track listing. A later LP reissue in 1985 reinstates “I Feel Free” to the track listing, with all subsequent CD releases containing both songs. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the album’s original release, it is releases a three CD + Blu-ray audio disc box set in January of 2017. The first three CD’s feature remastered versions of the original mono and stereo mixes of the album, single versions, alternate takes, and BBC radio broadcast recordings. The Blu-ray disc features high definition audio (24 bit/96k) of the mono stereo mixes, B-sides. It is also issued as a limited edition six LP vinyl set. “Fresh Cream” peaks at number six on the UK album chart,  number thirty nine on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: November 27, 1942 – Rock guitar icon Jimi Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix, legally changed to James Marshall Hendrix). Happy Birthday to this legendary musician on what would have been his 77th Birthday.

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On this day in music history: November 20, 1965 – “Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds”, the second album by The Yardbirds is released. Produced by Giorgio Gomelsky, it is recorded at Kingsway Studios in London, Chess Studios in Chicago, IL, Sun Studios in Memphis, TN and Columbia Recording Studios in New York City from March 1964 – September 1965. The album is mixture of US only released singles and the UK EP “Five Live Yardbirds”, four of which include guitarist Eric Clapton (though is not pictured on the LP cover, having left the band in March 1965), who is replaced by Jeff Beck. It spins off two singles including “Heart Full Of Soul” (#9 Pop) and “I’m A Man” (#17 Pop). The album also contains bands’ version of the blues standard “Train’ Kept A-Rollin’”, which is later covered by Aerosmith. The Yardbirds perform a revamped version of the song with new lyrics, re-titled “Stoll On” in Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “Blow Up”. “Rave Up” is regarded as one of the bands’ finest albums, and a seminal British blues/rock classic. Out of print in any form since the mid 80’s, it is finally remastered and reissued on CD in 1999 by UK label Repertoire Records. The CD includes the original ten song album, with eleven additional bonus tracks. It is also reissued on vinyl by Get Back Records in 1999, on standard black vinyl and as a limited edition on red vinyl (both containing six additional bonus tracks). “Having A Rave Up With The Yardbirds” peaks at number fifty three on the Billboard Top 200.

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On this day in music history: November 16, 1968 – “Electric Ladyland” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks. Produced by Jimi Hendrix, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London and The Record Plant in New York City from July – December 1967, January 1968, and April – August 1968. The third and final album of new material released by the band, the sixteen track double LP set is a musical tour de force, showcasing Hendrix’s musical diversity. It features several of Hendrix’s best known songs including “Crosstown Traffic”, “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)”, “Burning Of The Midnight Lamp” and his cover of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower” (#20 Pop), which becomes his biggest chart single in the US. The album also features guest musicians such as Steve Winwood, Al Kooper, Brian Jones, Jack Casady, and Dave Mason. To commemorate its 50th anniversary, the album is remastered and reissued as a deluxe edition box set on November 9, 2018. Consisting of either three CDs + one Blu-ray disc, or as a six LP vinyl set, it contains demos, studio outtakes live recordings and a documentary on the making of the landmark album.  The live recording is taken from a concert recorded at the Hollywood Bowl on September 14, 1968, featuring several songs from the then as yet released new album. The Blu-ray disc features a new 5.1 surround mix of the full album, remixed by original recording engineer Eddie Kramer. Regarded as a landmark 60’s album, it is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. Electric Ladyland" is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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The Doors photo session in Germany, 1968.

Remembering rock vocal icon Janis Joplin (born Janis Lyn Joplin in Port Arthur, TX) – January 19, 1943 – October 4, 1970

Born on this day: October 3, 1954 – Blues guitar icon Stevie Ray Vaughan (born Stephen Ray Vaughan in Dallas, TX). Happy Birthday to this this blues guitar master on what would have been his 65th Birthday.

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Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter (born Robert Burns in Arroyo Grande, CA) – June 23, 1941 – September 23, 2019, RIP

Remembering blues guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan (born Stephen Ray Vaughan in Dallas, TX) – October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990

On this day in music history: August 25, 1992 – “Unplugged”, the sixteenth album by Eric Clapton is released. Produced by Russ Titelman, it is recorded at Bray Studios in Windsor, UK on January 16, 1992. Issued as the audio counterpart of his MTV Unplugged special, it features the veteran rock guitarist performing an entirely acoustic set in front of a small audience. The band features such long time stalwarts such as guitarist Andy Fairweather-Low and percussionist Ray Cooper, as well as bassist Nathan East, keyboardist Chuck Leavell, and drummer Steve Ferrone. The performance has special significance as it is the one of first live performances by Clapton following the death of his four year old son Conor the previous year. Both the television special and album is a huge critical and commercial success, winning Clapton three of the six Grammy Awards he receives in 1993, including one for Album Of The Year. The 1939 000-42 Martin acoustic guitar that Clapton plays throughout most of the television special is sold at auction in 2004 for $791,500, with the funds going to raise money for his Crossroads Centre in Antigua. Originally issued on vinyl as an import only in 1992, the album is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram double LP set in 2011. The contents of the album are spread over four sides for dramatically improved fidelity over the original single vinyl pressing. To commemorate the twentieth anniversary of its original release, “Unplugged” is remastered and reissued as a two CD + DVD Deluxe Edition in October of 2013. The first disc contains the original fourteen song album, with disc two featuring previously unreleased outtakes from the show. The DVD contains the video of the program, plus rehearsal footage as an added bonus. “Unplugged” spends three weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and is certified 10x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.

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