Monday, January 28, 2008

Good Bands Gone Bad: Rock Revival's Top 5

Well there's "Good Loving Gone Bad" by Bad Company and " Good Girls Gone Bad" by Kiss, but what about Good Bands Gone Bad, bands who started off as mind-blowing and then slowly graduated to complete rubbish. Well the list is endless, of course: Santana can play Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock and forty years later come out with Supernatural, Eric Clapton can come out with Have You Ever Loved a Woman on EC was here and then release Unplugged album, to say nothing about Elton John. Here's some more, please add your own

1. Chicago Transit Authority: Chicago are well known as the kings of insipid soft-rock but have you heard their first album in 1969 when they were known as Chicago Transit Authority. Soulful bluesrock and funk like Eric Burdon's War or early Blood, Sweat and Tears (another candidate), their song "I'm a Man' sounds like Cream with horns, incredible !

2. America: Ok, we all like Ventura Highway but.....Tin Man ?.......I Need You? Their first album, America (1971), which they actually initially wanted to make as a Sgt Peppers style concept album, is an acoustic masterpiece, not for Sandman or Horse with No Name but for two songs: Riverside and Three Roses, the best tracks they ever did.

3. Rod Stewart: I am putting him in the list because of the sheer magnitude of the comparison between when he was great and how he is now. Listen to "A Nod is as Good as a Wink to a Blind Horse' with the Faces from 1971 and compare it with 'Do you Think I'm Sexy' or his dreadful crooners albums and you'll see.

4. Status Quo: Whatever You Want is great when you hear it the first time, but never again. Check out their Psychadelic era stuff, before they swapped their Swinging 60's gear for white t- shirts and faded jeans, Black Veils of Melancholy or Pictures of Matchstick Men are classics

5. Joe Cocker: Joe Cocker was one of the best vocalists of the late 60's, particularly for his Beatles covers (see prior post), the 1970 album Mad Dogs and Englishmen also covered Leonard Cohen, The Stones, Dylan, Leon Russell, Isacc Hayes and Otis Redding, in many cases providing better versions than the originals. After his arrests in Australia in 1972 and drug and alchohol problem he dissapeared for ten years only to return with You Can Keep Yoour Hat On and Up Where We Belong as a pale imitation of his former self.
Image: Courtesy Warner Bros.

1 comment:

rock_of_ages said...

I can't comment on 1,2 and 5 as I don't know the artists well enough. I agree with Rod Stewart and as well as the Faces would namecheck Python Lee Jackson and Jeff Beck as examples of his early splendidness. However...

I cannot and will not ever agree that early Quo is better than the first six albums they did for Vertigo. Sure Matchstick Men is a decent enough psychelic pop song but Black Veils is merely a rewrite trying to reuse the same formula... and it rightly failed. The albums generally aren't up to much either but once they tired of the short term pop success (or pop tired of them) things get so much better. The raw blues rock of "Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon" is excellent, "Dog Of Two Head" as good and then the run of "Piledriver", "Hello", "Quo", "On The Level", "Blue For You" and the Live double album.

I would then agree they things went downhill for a while - Rockin All Over The world thru to Never Too Late are all decent enough but then it gets patchy. The last four studio albums though have reclaimed a bit of ground and have some good stuff on themh.