Record Store Day is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. CL is stoked that indie retailers are feeling more hope than hopelessness these days (more on that here), but we also wondered what would it be like if our parents (and older friends) had Record Store Day back in 1971.
Our new contributor Jensen Drew put together a playlist to help jog the imagination. In the spirit of physical things, we've transcribed some handwritten notes to explain why you're listening to Ghetto Brothers, T. Rex, Nick Drake, Gil Scott-Heron and more on Spotify. We're also crossing our fingers and hoping that you dig these records out of a bargain bin near you.
Read Jensen's complete notes (plus track-by-track explanation), and listen to the tunes, below. See more about Record Store Day 2017 by clicking here."What is it about 1971? For a year slipping in just behind the aggrandized summer of '69 and plausibly overshadowed by the start of a new decade (1970), it can seem pretty unassuming. But when it comes to new music being released that year, we can't sell it short.
With the introduction of Bowie’s Hunky Dory and Marvin Gaye's What's Going On (just to name two!), it’s safe to say that 1971 held its own in that decade. The last decade of warm, analog sound before we saw the synth and digital revolution of the 80’s take the lead. With Record Store Day 2017 up on us, one can't help but wonder what it would be like to transport back to a time when the Record Store Day with any day our parents (for example) wanted to stroll down the aisles of their local record store in search of the newest releases. In the roughly 130 years of recorded music, 1971 is as good a snapshot as any.
Ghetto Brothers — “Girl from the Mountain” South Bronx NYC gang founded in the late 60s. Puerto Rican nationalists, more politically minded, misogynist hangs of NY. Somehow found time to make music. After a member, Cornell “Black Benjie” Benjamin was killed trying to prevent a fight between two rival gangs, Ghetto Brothers were instrumental in the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting (Dec. 7, 1971) to establish a truce & inter-gang alliance, “Power Fuerza” had an informal, local distribution in 1971.
The Mamas & The Papas - "Snowqueen of Texas" From the record People Like Us. Their last contractual obligation (or pay fines) to Dunhill records & producer Lou Adler, who once said "who needs the Beatles? We've got The Mamas & The Papas". This album may surprise you with how well it's put together, even if the band doesn't seem to think so.. Michelle Phillips wrote later it "sounded like what it was, four people trying to avoid a lawsuit".
T. Rex — “Mambo Sun” Upbeat forerunner to Electric Warrior’s predecessor the reincarnation themed cosmic dancer.
Flamin’ Groovies — “Yesterday’s Numbers” Pretty good, detailed writeup on the band making this record in a recent issue of Ugly Things. Look for it.
Sheer Mag — “Fan the Flames” Not from ‘71, but tell me those guitars wouldn’t fit right in. This jolly crew plays Seminole Heights’ American Legion Post 111 on May 19. Flamethrower, Permanent Makeup and Drug open the show. Details available here.
Colin Blunstone — “Caroline Goodbye” Went solo from The Zombies on this one. Kept the breathy voice going. He’s still cool.
Pastor T.L. Barrett — “Like A Ship” Even went into the religious/gospel section on this one.
Nick Drake — “Northern Sky” You already know. ‘71. Told ya.
Minnie Riperton — “Les Fleurs” This one is taken from her debut, Come To My Garden.
Sonic Youth — “Superstar” Not from ‘71, but it covers this Carpenters hit that was released in ‘71. Shoutout to the ‘90s.
Graham Nash — “Better Days”
Gil Scott-Heron — “Lady Day and John Coltrane” Listen back & forth, but listen back-to-back, too.
CAN — “Halleluhwah” To all the dads who were hip to it before we were born.
Harry Nilsson — "Jump Into the Fire" That detuning bass mid song though. And the stories of primal scream therapy surrounding this, & other recordings.
Link Wray - "Fallin' Rain" The Godfather to a lot of guitar royalty of the 60's & 70's (Pete Townsend saying he might not have ever picked up a guitar if it wasn't for Link Wray & Rumble). Here he is sounding as timely today as he did in '71.