Thursday, September 5, 2013

The J. Geils Band

Although I'd heard these guys at the White house, this is where we started spinning their albums with some regularity, what with all of the partying and fun times going on. The Bloodshot album drew me in right away, with it being pressed on red that was something to see! Dad played "Give It To Me", and I was hooked right away...great organ solo in there. Looking at the cover, seeing these guys with their long hair, beards and 'fros, I thought they looked so cool. Now, I look at the cover pics, and think to myself that they had the whole "pimp" and "bling-bling" thing down years before any rappers ever thought of it; just check out Peter Wolf's dollar-sign necklace. This was another powerhouse album, with some killer bluesy jams, and the baddest harmonica-driven tune in the world, "Whammer Jammer". They were still going strong at this point, although the music was very different to what I'd just been hearing. It still sort of sounded like them, but way more in the pop vein than ever before. We began to see the video for "Love Stinks" on PopClips and occasionally on Showtime, and we thought it was on of the funniest things we'd ever seen. In the first grade, when the Freeze-Frame album was all the rage, Dad got this jersey for me, most likely through the Columbia House catalog. Unlike other T-shirts he had gotten me through them, this one didn't shrink or lose its designs after a couple of washings. I wore this for a few years, until I eventually grew out of it, but I always kept it, and I still have it to this day. I can't wait for the day that Geoffrey will be able to wear it.

Black Sabbath

Oddly enough, the first time I heard Black Sabbath anywhere was back at the Blue House, when Dad played "Paranoid" off of a Ronco compilation album called Power Rock. It was hard, fast and loud, and I thought it was pretty interesting, but that was all I heard by them....until this point. Red Fred was a huge fan; indeed, one of his very first tattoos on his arm was the band's name, which I thought was the coolest thing I'd ever seen. With his influence, some of the Black Sabbath albums in the house were beginning to get played with some regularity. The first one I'd heard almost all the way through was Paranoid. All I can say is that, standing almost in front of the stereo while the album was playing, that was quite an experience that hot summer day. Some of the music was downright frightening, let alone some of the lyrics that were going into my fragile little mind...not quite the kind of stuff for a four-year-old...but I was fascinated by it. This was the next one I'd heard. The cover was pretty scary to look at, but I found the music within to be just as interesting as what I'd heard before. This one was more complex, with synthesizers going on in some of the songs, and an instrumental ("Fluff") that sounded unlike anything they'd done before. This one really did it. Dad played it one gloomy afternoon, and I had no idea who it was at first. As the rain and tolling bells were going on, I suddenly recognized that cover with the witch on it. I saw it back at the White house, and thought it was pretty scary-looking, and couldn't imagine what something like that would sound like. Soon, the crashing riff came down, and it almost felt like I was in the presence of Satan himself...pretty unnerving. The vocalizing was pretty ominous, and when Ozzy wailed "Oh, no-o-o-o-o-!", that was it--I ran into the kitchen. I stayed there for the rest of the song, but I couldn't take my ears off of what I was listening to. I would be a couple of years before I could listen to this one without being frightened by it, but it was on hell of an introduction.

The Charlie Daniels Band

Although Dad was never really into country music, this was about the closest he ever got. During the summer of 1980, I heard Million Mile Reflections quite a lot, and it was an excellent album, with a lot of interesting variety of styles on it. It wasn't straight country, but also had elements of rock, jazz and blues happening. Of course, there would always be "The Devil Went Down To Georgia", but I also liked "Passing Lane", "Blue Star" and "Blind Man". Full Moon came out around that same time, so I heard "The Legend Of The Wooley Swamp", which also became a favorite. "In America" became a favorite of mom's, as it tied in with her sense of values rather well. I remember she memorized the lyrics and would sing the whole thing along with it, especially after she'd had a few, which was becoming increasingly common.