Category: blues rock

On this day in music history: August 23, 1967 …

On this day in music history: August 23, 1967 – “Are You Experienced?” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is released in the US (UK release date is on May 12, 1967). Produced by Chas Chandler, it is recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, CBS Studios, and Olympic Studios in London from December 13, 1966 – April 3, 1967. Released two months after his star making performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, the groundbreaking album makes inroads on FM underground radio stations around the country. Many of the tracks become rock radio staples including “Purple Haze”, “Foxy Lady”, “Fire” and the title track. US release of the album differs significantly from its original UK counterpart. Though both contain eleven songs, the US version omits the tracks “Remember”, “Red House”, and “Can You See Me”, replacing them with “Purple Haze”, “Hey Joe” and “The Wind Cries Mary”, all first issued as singles in the UK. The running order is also shuffled for US version. The omitted tracks from the original UK LP  subsequently surface on the US version of the compilation album “Smash Hits” in April of 1968 (again with the UK version containing a slightly different track listing). The US release of the album also features completely different cover artwork than the UK release, replacing the original cover photo with the now famed “fish eye lens” shot of the band taken by photographer Karl Ferris. The front and back cover graphics are designed by Warner Bros/Reprise Records art director Ed Thrasher. Over the years, “Experienced” is regarded as one of the most influential rock albums of all time.The album is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999, and is added to the National Recording Registry by the Library Of Congress in 2005. “Are You Experienced?” peaks at number five on the Billboard Top 200 fourteen months after its release, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: August 12, 1968 …

On this day in music history: August 12, 1968 – “Cheap Thrills”, the second album by Big Brother And The Holding Company is released. Produced by John Simon, it is recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City (studio tracks) and the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, CA (live tracks) from March – May 1968. Following the bands breakthrough performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967, they are approached by Clive Davis, then the head Columbia Records who is eager to sign them. At the time, Big Brother are signed to independent label Mainstream Records, who release their self titled debut album in August of 1967. It takes several months for the band to be extricated from their Mainstream contract and sign with Columbia, which takes place in early 1968. Once freed from their prior obligations, they are paired with producer John Simon (The Band), and begin work on their second album. The initial plan is to record Big Brother in concert, producing an album that captures the band’s electric live performances. When the results are lackluster due to the band’s inability to consistently play in tune and in time, they record much of the album in Columbia’s New York recording studio, with the closing track “Ball And Chain” being recorded at Winterland in San Francisco (though the original release erroneously credits it being recorded at the Fillmore East in New York). Originally titled “Sex, Dope, and Cheap Thrills”, Columbia Records refuses to release it with that title, and make the band revise it. The albums iconic cover art by underground artist Robert Crumb (Zap Comix) is first intended to appear on the back of the LP jacket with a photo of Janis Joplin on the front. Joplin is so enamored with Crumb’s artwork that it is put on the front instead. Anchored by the hit single “Piece Of My Heart” (#12 Pop), it is major success. When Columbia originally issues the LP along with the standard stereo version, the label presses a very limited amount of the mono version (an estimated 3000 – 5000 copies only), before quickly deleting it, turning it into a highly priced and sought after collector’s item. The rare mono mix of the album is reissued in November of 2012 as a limited edition 180g vinyl LP pressing for Black Friday Record Store Day. “Cheap Thrills” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 22, 1966 – …

On this day in music history: July 22, 1966 – “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” by John Mayall & The Blues Breakers is released. Produced by Mike Vernon, it is recorded at Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London, UK in March 1966. The album is initially planned as a live recording, but the recordings are scrapped and the band record in the studio instead. It is released to great acclaim upon its release in the UK, further cementing Eric Clapton’s reputation as a brilliant lead guitarist, and is regarded as one of the quintessential British blues recordings. Clapton uses his newly acquired (and now legendary) 1960 Les Paul during the sessions. The albums now famous cover photo features the band posed together looking at the camera, with Clapton eyes averted reading a “Beano” comic book. In 2006, Universal Music Group releases a double CD Deluxe Edition of “Blues Breakers” featuring a remastered version of the original album with the original stereo and mono mixes, with the second disc featuring live recordings made for and originally broadcast on the BBC radio program “Saturday Club Sessions” as well as the stand alone single “Lonely Years” and its original B-side “Bernard Jenkins”. Reissued numerous times on vinyl since 2000, it is most recently remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP by UMe in Europe in 2016. It is also issued as a limited edition blue vinyl pressing by Sundazed Music in 2018, with both releases using the original mono mix. “Blues Breakers With Eric Clapton” peaks at number six on the UK album chart.

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On this day in music history: July 16, 1966 – …

On this day in music history: July 16, 1966 – The legendary rock band Cream officially forms in London, UK. Drummer Ginger Baker asks guitarist Eric Clapton to join his new group after seeing him play with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. Clapton agrees to join only if Baker hires his former band mate bassist Jack Bruce. Baker and Bruce were known to have had a very volatile relationship, having had on stage fist fights (in their previous band Powerhouse) with Baker even pulling a knife on Bruce, which drives him out of that band. The two put their differences aside when they realize the immediate chemistry between the three when they play together. The band play their first gig thirteen days later at The Twisted Wheel in Manchester. Within a couple of weeks, Cream enter the recording studio to begin work on their debut album “Fresh Cream” which is released in December of 1966 in the UK, and January of 1967 in the US.

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On this day in music history: July 2, 1971 – &…

On this day in music history: July 2, 1971 – “At Fillmore East”, the third album by the Allman Brothers Band is released. Produced by Tom Dowd, it is the recorded at the Fillmore East Auditorium in New York City on March 12 – 13, 1971. Finding only modest success with their first two albums, the Allman Brothers Band hit the road to promote them. Consisting of brothers Gregg (vocals, organ, piano) and Duane Allman (guitar), Dickey Betts (guitar), Berry Oakley (bass), Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson and Butch Trucks (drums and percussion), the band develop a unique synergy on stage. Part rock, part blues, part country and with the ability to jam and improvise like jazz musicians, the Allman Brothers decide that their next album should be recorded live. Producer and recording engineer Tom Dowd, who had produced most of “Idlewild South”, assists them in their quest. Booked to play a two night stand at promoter Bill Graham’s Fillmore East Auditorium in New York City, the performances are captured using a mobile recording truck parked outside of the venue. In peak musical form, they tear through four electrifying sets at the famed concert venue. Paring the final track listing down to seven songs, Dowd and the band play the album for Atlantic Records chief Jerry Wexler. The label exec initially balks at the idea of releasing a live album. Band manager and Capricorn Records co-founder Phil Walden, convinces Wexler that the band’s true essence is in live performance. Wexler gives the project his blessing, allowing it to be released as intended, but pricing it like a single LP to insure that it will sell. The cover photo of “At Fillmore East” is taken by rock photog legend Jim Marshall, with the band standing in an alley way, with their gear in road cases stacked behind them. For the back cover, the Allmans have a shot taken of their road crew. A separate photo of road manager Twiggs Lyndon is added, as he is in jail at the time for killing a concert promoter. The album is an instant success, and establishes the Allman Brothers as one of the top rock bands of the era. In 1992, an expanded two CD edition, featuring previously unreleased material is released. In 2003, it is remastered and reissued as two CD deluxe edition (adding the track “Midnight Rider”) is released. And in 2014, a six CD box set is released, including the March 1971 concerts, plus performances from the closing night of the Fillmore East in June of 1971. Widely regarded as one of the greatest live albums of all time, “At Fillmore East” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999. It is also selected for preservation, by the National Recording Registry of the Library Of Congress in 2004. “Live At Fillmore East” peaks at number thirteen on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 18, 1967 – …

On this day in music history: June 18, 1967 – The Jimi Hendrix Experience make their American performance debut at The Monterey International Pop Music Festival. Hendrix are booked to perform on the recommendation of Paul McCartney, having seen Hendrix and the Experience perform at the Saville Theatre in London two and a half weeks earlier (opening their set with The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”). The bands set at Monterey climaxes with Hendrix setting fire to his Fender Stratocaster and smashing it on the stage. The performance becomes legendary, and is captured in the D.A. Pennebaker film “Monterey Pop”. It quickly launches Hendrix into rock superstardom in the US and worldwide.

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On this day in music history: June 13, 1983 – …

On this day in music history: June 13, 1983 – “Texas Flood”, the debut album by Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble is released. Produced by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, and Richard Mullen, it is recorded at the Down Town Studio in Los Angeles, CA from November 22 – 24, 1982. Recorded in just three days at musician Jackson Browne’s recording studio, he offers the band free use of his studio after seeing them play at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July of 1982. “Flood” is cut almost entirely live, with the band setting up in one corner of the cavernous warehouse space. Vaughan’s unique guitar tone is captured using three amplifiers chained together including a two vintage Fender Vibroverbs and a Dumble Dumbleland Special borrowed from Browne. Initially intended as a demo only, the tapes are heard by legendary A&R man John Hammond who passes a copy on to Greg Geller, the head of A&R for Epic Records who immediately signs the band. The band are given an advance for Vaughan to return to the studio to re-record some of his vocals which are cut at Riverside Sound in Austin, TX in early 1983. The album spins off two singles including “Pride And Joy” (#20 Mainstream Rock) and “Lovestruck Baby”. The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 1999 with five additional bonus tracks. Is is also reissued in 2006 as a double 180 gram vinyl LP by Pure Pleasure Records, including the added bonus tracks. Sundazed Music, Music On Vinyl and Analogue Productions also issue vinyl reissues. Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissues the title as a limited hybrid SACD in 2010. Sony Legacy also remasters the album on CD again in 2013 for its thirtieth anniversary, as a two disc deluxe edition, with the second CD containing nine extra tracks. The album is also remastered and reissued as a limited edition One Step LP set by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2019. “Texas Flood” peaks at number thirty eight on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 6, 1989 – &…

On this day in music history: June 6, 1989 – “In Step”, the fourth studio album by Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble is released. Produced by Double Trouble and Jim Gaines, it is recorded at Kiva Sudios in Memphis, TN, Sound Castle and Summa Studios in Los Angeles, CA from January 25 – March 13, 1989. Following release of his third album “Soul To Soul” in 1985, and the double live set “Live Alive” in 1986, years of alcohol and substance abuse finally catch up with guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. While on a month long tour of Europe, Vaughan becomes ill and nearly dies from extreme dehydration. The musician finally sees the writing on the wall, immediately entering a drub rehab facility in London. Returning to the US, he continues to go through drug and alcohol rehabilitation, putting his career on hold for an extended period. Also during this time, Stevie Ray also files for divorce from his wife Lenora “Lenny” Darlene Bailey. The divorce proceedings drag on for nearly two years, keeping Vaughan from live or recording work. By early 1989, the guitarist is able to return to work. Fully focused and playing better than he had in years, Vaughan’s newly found sobriety, and the struggle to remain free of drugs and alcohol provides the inspiration for “In Step”. Several of the albums’ songs including “Tightrope”, Wall Of Denial", and “Crossfire”, are a direct result of his person experiences during the past four years. Another stand out on the album is the final track “Riviera Paradise”. Inspired partially by his idol Jimi Hendrix’s classics “Angel” and “Little Wing”, the nearly nine minute long instrumental becomes an instant classic. An artistic and commercial success upon its release, “In Step” is his best selling album to date, also winning Vaughan a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 1990. Sadly, it is the final album released by Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble before the guitarists death in August of 1990. In 1999, the album is reissued with four live bonus tracks and a short monologue by Vaughan talking about his struggles with substance abuse and becoming sober. It is also remastered and reissued as a hybrid SACD by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in 2011. The album is also reissued as a 200 gram vinyl LP by Analogue Productions in 2016, and again as a double LP set mastered at 45 RPM. “In Step” peaks at number thirty three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 30, 1964 – &…

On this day in music history: May 30, 1964 – “England’s Newest Hit Makers”, the US debut album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, it is recorded at Regent Sound Studios in London from January 3 – February 25, 1964. Recorded in just five days worth of studio time spread over a six week period, the album features mostly R&B and blues covers the band has been performing as part of their live act. The US title of the album is amended from its original eponymous title, and includes the bands first two American singles “Not Fade Away” (#3 UK, #48 US Pop) and “Tell Me (You’re Coming Back”) (#24 US Pop). Original US pressings also include a color reproduction of the cover photo inserted inside the sleeve. Over time, these have become quite rare and are sought after collector’s items among Stones fans. The album is remastered and reissued a hybrid SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) in 2002. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2003. This vinyl release has been supplanted by the mono reissue of the original UK album, included in the box set “The Rolling Stones In Mono” released in 2016. “England’s Newest Hit Makers” peaks at number eleven on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 12, 1972 – &…

On this day in music history: May 12, 1972 – “Exile On Main Street”, the tenth (twelfth US) album by The Rolling Stones is released. Produced by Jimmy Miller, it is recorded at Olympic Studios in London, Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood, CA, Stargroves in Hampshire, UK, and Villa Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer, Côte d’Azur, France with The Rolling Stones Mobile Studio from June 1969 – March 1972. The bulk of the sessions take place at Olympic in London and Keith Richards villa on the French Riviera, though recording is long and arduous, hampered by Richards heroin use and unavailability of Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman at various times. Mixing various genres of music, critical and fan reaction is mixed initially. In time it is regarded as one of the bands greatest works. It spins off two singles including “Tumbling Dice” (#7 Pop) and “Happy” (#22 Pop). The original vinyl LP package comes with a perforated sheet with twelve postcards featuring pictures taken by photographer Norman Seeff. In May of 2010, the album is remastered and reissued on CD, including a bonus disc with ten additional tracks including the previously unreleased “Plundered My Soul” which is issued as a limited edition 7" for Record Store Day in April of 2010. The most recent vinyl reissue is released in 2016, half speed mastered and pressed on 180 gram vinyl. The release faithfully reproduces the original LP packaging, including the postcards and custom inner sleeves. Also comes with an outer OBI strip with the track listing, and stating the LP set is an audiophile half speed remaster. In and out of print on vinyl since its original release, it is remastered and reissued as a double 180 gram LP set in 2016. It is also included in the box set “The Rolling Stones – Studio Albums Vinyl Collection 1971 – 2016”, release in June of 2018. “Exile On Main Street” spends two weeks at number one on the UK album chart, four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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