Archives » 1970s

Reelin’ In the Years 152: Poor Boy Blues

Again speaking of Stuart Henry, he must have had a soft spot for Barclay James Harvest. In his Saturday morning show on Radio 1 he later began to use the, “So goodbye, pleased to know you. We had some laughs along the way. But I have to be leaving and there’s nothing you can do to make me stay,” refrain from this song – in its second iteration at 2.23 to 2.48 minutes in – as a jingle when he was about to hand over to the next broadcaster.

Barclay James Harvest: Poor Boy Blues

Reelin’ In the Years 151: Don’t Let it Die

An odd one this; record producer Norman Smith taking the mike (yes that’s the abbreviation for microphone used back in the day) himself apparently as a demo for John Lennon to consider but fellow record producer Mickie Most said he should release it as he’d recorded it.

A plea for wildlife conservation sadly still appropriate nigh on fifty years later.

For all its rough and ready qualities there’s something oddly haunting about Smith’s singing voice.

Hurricane Smith: Don’t Let It Die

Peter Firmin

I was sad to hear of the death of Peter Firmin over the weekend.

Along with Oliver Postgate, who died nigh on ten years ago, he produced some of the most loved children’s animations of the 60s and 70s, including my personal favourite of theirs The Saga of Noggin the Nog though others may prefer The Clangers or Bagpuss or even Ivor the Engine.

Noggin the Nog is best appreciated in black and white I feel.

The Saga of Noggin the Nog. The King:-

Peter Arthur Firmin: 11/12/1928 – 1/7/2018. So it goes.

Harlan Ellison

Yesterday’s print edition of the Guardian contained the obituary of Harlan Ellison, one of the most influential Science Fiction writers of the 1960s and 70s.

Much of his most imporatnt work came in the form of short stories ‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and A Boy and his Dog being only three which immediately spring to mind. He also wrote an award winning Start Trek episode, The City on the Edge of Forever (but was unhappy with alterations the show’s controllers made to the script) and many other TV episodes .

He won no fewer than eight Hugo Awards plus four Nebula Awards and many more nominations.

He was also the begetter of the anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions which promoted the Nrew Wave style of writing. A third book The Last Dangerous Visions was projected and stories sought – and submitted – but it never appeared, leading to some acrimony.

He could be hard to get along with and indulged in many quarrels. His personal behaviour was certainly far from beyond reproach raising the question as to how is it possible to separate the personality of an artist from his or her work.

But his work will linger in the memory.

Harlan Jay Ellison: 27/5/1934 – 28/6/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 150: Hell Raiser

Well, it’s the only one of The Sweet’s big hits I’ve not yet featured here.

This is from a performance on German TV.

The Sweet: Hell Raiser

Reelin’ In the Years 149: Dragonfly

Earlier this week I learned of the death of Danny Kirwan, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac from 1968 to 1972. His Guardian obituary is here.

Much overlooked in comparison to Peter Green, Kirwan was an important part of the band’s sound during the transition after Green’s departure. The song I’ve chosen, Dragonfly, is the only Kirwan composition (he wrote the tune to set the words of a poem by Welsh poet W H Davies) to make it onto the first Fleetwood Mac “Greatest Hits” compilation.

A less harsh, more melodic touch than Green’s (Man of the World notwithstanding.)

Fleetwood Mac: Dragonfly

Daniel David Kirwan: 13/5/1950 – 8/6/2018. So it goes.

Reelin’ In the Years 148: Lonely Days

Another outing for the word nonchalant in a lyric; except here its inclusion is a little more forced.

The harmonies on the verse of this are sublime.

The Bee Gees: Lonely Days

Reelin’ In the Years 147: Wherewithal

Clifford T Ward was an unusual pop star. Who else would have based a popular song around a Robert Browning poem in Home Thoughts from Abroad? (See here track 7.)

Not only did Ward use the word wherewithal in this song, he made it the title.

And I doubt you’ll find non-pareil in any other song lyric. (Granted, nonchalant is less rare.)

Clifford T Ward: Wherewithal

Reelin’ In the Years 146: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone – RIP Dennis Edwards

Dennis Edwards died earlier this week. He replaced David Ruffin in the line-up of The Temptations and was an important part of the new grittier sound which had more chart success in the UK than the band’s earlier incarnation.

An example of one of those less romance-leaning songs is Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone from 1972.

The Temptations: Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone

Dennis Edwards: 3/2/1943 – 1/2/2018. So it goes

Reelin’ In the Years 144: Sixty Years On/Have Mercy on the Criminal. RIP Paul Buckmaster

Master musical arranger Paul Buckmaster died last month. I only got to know about it when his obituary appeared in the Guardian. I first knowingly encountered Buckmaster’s work on Elton John’s second album Elton John but I had heard it before on David Bowie’s Space Oddity.

Buckmaster’s importance to the overall sound of that eponymous album is most to the fore on Sixty Years On. I hadn’t heard anything like that on a pop record before (not even from The Beatles) except possibly for the orchestral backing to Simon and Garfunkel’s Old Friends on the Bookends album.

Elton John: Sixty Years On

Elton’s next two studio albums Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across the Water also used Buckmaster’s arrangements to great effect as did his film score for Friends but his presence was missing on Honky Chateau. Elton turned to Buckmaster again with the stunning Have Mercy on the Criminal from Don’t Shoot me I’m Only the Piano Player.

Elton John: Have Mercy on the Criminal

Paul John Buckmaster: 13/6/1946 – 7/11/2017. So it goes.

free hit counter script