Tuesday, July 31, 1973

This month: Bob Marley & the Wailers released African Herbsman

African Herbsman

Bob Marley & the Wailers


Released: July 1973


Recorded: 1971


Peak: --


Sales (in millions): --


Genre: reggae


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. Lively Up Yourself (1971, --)
  2. Small Axe (2/71, --)
  3. Duppy Conqueror (12/70, --)
  4. Trench Town Rock (11/71, --)
  5. African Herbsman
  6. Keep on Moving (9/72, 17 UK)
  7. Fussing and Fighting
  8. Stand Alone
  9. All in One
  10. Don’t Rock My Boat
  11. Put It On
  12. Sun Is Shining
  13. Kaya (2/71, --)
  14. Riding High
  15. Brain Washing
  16. 400 Years


Total Running Time: 47:37


The Players:

  • Bob Marley (vocals)
  • Peter Tosh (vocals, melodica)
  • Bunny Livingstone (vocals)
  • Alva Lewis (guitar)
  • Glen Adams (keyboard)
  • Aston Barrett (bass)
  • Carlton Barrett (drums)

Rating:

4.552 out of 5.00 (average of 12 ratings)


Quotable: --


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

“To Bob Marley's emotionally charged music and lyrics, add the tight riddims and harmonies of the Wailers and then put all of that talent into the ceaselessly creative hands of production wizard Lee "Scratch" Perry. What you get is a 16-track reggae masterpiece capturing what is perhaps some of the best music Bob Marley & the Wailers ever committed to tape. The songs range from beautiful love songs like Don’t Rock the Boat to cathartic political anthems like Brain Washing, but even with the broad scope, no tracks miss the mark. They all cut straight to the heart and burn with an urgency rarely felt in music of any genre.” AMG

“While this is a Bob Marley & the Wailers album, Perry's unique production almost steals the show. Perry's bare-bones, heavy sound provides an interesting contrast to the slicker approach taken on Catch a Fire, produced by Bob Marley & the Wailers and Chris Blackwell and also made in 1973. Catch a Fire has an almost rock edge to it, but on African Herbsman, one can hear Perry's swirling mix madness lurking just beneath the surface of each Trench Town-tough track.” AMG

Marley revisited some of these tracks in later years, including Lively Up Yourself on Natty Dread, Trench Town Rock on Live!, and Kaya on Kaya, among others.


Notes: This album features 11 of the 12 songs that appeared originally on Soul Revolution. “Memphis,” the lone song not represented here, is featured in dub version on the 2003 Sanctuary/ Trojan reissue, along with various dubs for “Duppy Conqueror” (known as “Zig Zag”), “Trench Town Rock” (called Grooving Kingston”), “Lively Up Yourself,” “Small Axe” (known as “Axe Man”), “Moving,” and “Keep on Skanking.” Also included are “More Axe,” an alternate version of “Kaya,” and an alternate of the "All in One Medley," that features “Bend Down Low,” “Nice Time,” “Simmer,” and the original "One Love" track by the Upsetters called "Copasetic."

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First posted 3/26/2008; updated 5/6/2021.

Thursday, July 26, 1973

July 26, 1973: ZZ Top released Tres Hombres

First posted April 28, 2008. Last updated September 9, 2018.

Tres Hombres

ZZ Top

Released: July 26, 1973


Sales (in millions):
US: 5.0
UK: --
IFPI: --
World (estimated): 5.0


Peak:
US: 8
UK: --
Canada: --
Australia: --

Quotable: ZZ Top “never got it better than they did here” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Genre: classic rock/blues rock


Album Tracks:

  1. Waitin’ for the Bus
  2. Jesus Just Left Chicago
  3. Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers
  4. Master of Sparks
  5. Hot, Blue and Righteous
  6. Move Me on Down the Line
  7. Precious and Grace
  8. La Grange (3/30/74, #41 US)
  9. Sheik
  10. Have You Heard?

Singles/Hit Songs:

Click here for the chart codes for singles/hit songs.

Review:

For their third album, ZZ Top brought in Terry Manning as engineer and were rewarded with their commercial breakthrough when the album landed in the top ten of the Billboard album chart. “It couldn’t have happened to a better record. ZZ Top finally got their low-down, cheerfully sleazy blooze-n-boogie right on this, their third album. As their sound gelled, producer Bill Ham discovered how to record the trio so simply that they sound indestructible, and the group brought the best set of songs they’d ever have to the table.” STE

In his Rolling Stone review of Tres Hombres, Spanish for “three men,” Steve Apple said they were “one of the most inventive of the three-piece rockers” WK with “the dynamic rhythms that only the finest of the three-piece bands can cook up.” WK However, he also said they were “only one of several competent Southern rocking bands” with “an advantage over most white rockers” because they “sound black” WK and he wondered when “audiences will get tired of hearing the same ... ‘Poot yawl hans together' patter.’” WK

All Music Guide’s somewhat agreed with that assessment, saying there’s seemingly “nothing really special about the record, since it’s just a driving blues-rock album from a Texas bar band, but that’s what’s special about it. It has a filthy groove and an infectious feel, thanks to Billy Gibbons’ growling guitars and the steady propulsion of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard’s rhythm section. They get the blend of bluesy shuffles, gut-bucket rocking, and off-beat humor just right.” STE

Pitchfork’s Andy Beta called it “a masterful melding of complementary styles, cramming Southern rock and blues boogie through the band’s own idiosyncratic filter.’” WK In 2013, Andrew Dansby said in the Houston Chronicle that the album was “full of characters and doings so steeped in caricature – yet presented straight-faced – as to invite skepticism. The album is stuffed with color and flavor.” WK

“ZZ Top’s very identity comes from this earthy sound and songs as utterly infectious as Waitin’ for the Bus, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Move Me on Down the Line, and the John Lee Hooker boogie La Grange. In a sense, they kept trying to remake this record from this point on – what is Eliminator if not Tres Hombres with sequencers and synthesizers? – but they never got it better than they did here.” STE


Review Source(s):

Awards:


Related DMDB Link(s):


Wednesday, July 25, 1973

The Doobie Brothers “China Grove” released

China Grove

The Doobie Brothers

Writer(s): Tom Johnston (see lyrics here)


Released: July 25, 1973


First Charted: August 18, 1973


Peak: 15 US, 8 CN, 10 HR, 13 RR, 2 CL, 9 CN, 61 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 19.1 video, 113.0 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

The Doobie Brothers formed in 1970 in San Jose, California. Their self-titled debut came out the next year and went nowhere chartwise. However, the follow-up, Toulouse Street, got to #21 on the Billboard album chart in the U.S. and became a platinum seller. It was propelled by two top-40 hits, “Listen to the Music” (#11) and “Jesus Is Just Alright” (#35). That set the bar higher for the band’s third release, but they didn’t disappoint. The Captain and Me came out in 1973, got to #7 on the charts, and went double platinum. The lead single, “Long Train Runnin’,” became the band’s first top-10 hit and was followed by “China Grove,” which reached #15.

The song is based on an actual small town in Texas named China Grove which is about 10 miles from San Antonio. However, Tom Johnston – who wrote and sang the song – wrote about a fictional place, only to find out later from a cab driver that a real such town existed. Johnston determined he must have seen a road sing for China Grove while on his way to or from San Antonio. WK

Like most of his work, he composed the music first. In this case, he started with a guitar riff which he and drummer John Hartman developed into a jam with a chord structure. He said, the words “were made up around this whole idea of this wacky little town with a sheriff that had a samurai sword.” SF He also said, “I really owe [Little Feat pianist] Billy Payne for the words because he played this wacky bridge that started the thinking process with this wacky sheriff, samurai swords, and all that.” WK

Michael Gallucci of Ultimate Classic Rock called “China Grove” “the group’s toughest-sounding song.” WK Billboard referred to the guitar riffs that begin the song as “the stuff of air guitar legend.” WK


Resources:


First posted 7/27/2022.

Tuesday, July 17, 1973

50 years ago: Jelly Roll Morton recorded “King Porter Stomp”

King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton

Writer(s): Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton (see lyrics here)


Recorded: July 17, 1923


First Charted: --


Peak: -- US (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 0.61 video, -- streaming

Awards (Jelly Roll Morton’s version): (Click on award for more details).

Awards (Benny Goodman’s version): (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton was a teenager playing piano in clubs in his hometown of New Orleans when he wrote “King Porter Stomp,” NPR which he says was the result of him combining three or four tunes in 1905. SS In 1907, he started playing piano at venues around the country. A piano player in Florida named Porter King was particularly taken with Morton’s composition so Morton named it after him. SS

Morton deliberately avoided publishing his “three-minute masterpiece if ever there were one” SS so he could keep it to himself, using it to beat competitors in piano duels. The “ferocious right-hand synocpations and relentless left-hand rhythms represented one of the first clear-cut distillations of swing rhythm.” SS The song “incorporates a wide range of musical and cultural elements that were part of that scene, from ragtime and blues to classical and parlor songs, and to African and Caribbean music.” NPR Morton “was pointing the way for at least two decades of musical evolution yet to come.” SS

Morton finally recorded the song at his first second-ever studio session on July 17, 1923. It was issued as a piano solo on Gennett 5289. SS He also cut a duet version with King Oliver in 1924 and recorded another version in April 1926. SS It was adopted by others with Chares Creath’s Jazz-o-Maniacs recording it in 1925 and Fletcher Henderson in 1928. SS In 1935, Benny Goodman’s version became a top-10 hit. Some historians have gone as far as to mark August 21, 1935 – the date Goodman performed the song at his band’s legendary git at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles – as the birth of the Swing Era. WB

Sadly, Morton wasn’t earning anything from it since his publisher wasn’t paying him royalties and the practically all-white ASCAP publishing association wouldn’t grant him membership. SS


Resources and Related Links:

First posted 4/23/2021.

Friday, July 13, 1973

Bob Dylan “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” released

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Bob Dylan

Writer(s): Bob Dylan (see lyrics here)


Released: July 13, 1973


First Charted: September 1, 1973


Peak: 12 US, 10 CB, 11 HR, 10 RR, 5 AC, 2 CL, 14 UK, 12 CN, 10 AU, 2 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.2 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 57.69 video, 226.89 streaming

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Eric Clapton


Released: August 1975


First Charted: August 16, 1975


Peak: 9 CL, 38 UK, 99 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.12 video, -- streaming

Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Guns N’ Roses


Released: May 11, 1992


First Charted: July 21, 1990


Peak: 18 AR, 2 UK, 56 CN, 12 AU, 4 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): --


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 188.56 video, 408.12 streaming

Awards: (Dylan)

Click on award for more details.


Awards (Clapton):

About the Song:

Bob Dylan established himself as one of the best songwriters of all time with classic songs from the 1960s such as “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “All Along the Watchtower,” and “The Times They Are-A Changin’.” Even the greatest artists tend to have about a ten-year window in which they release their most significant works and Dylan wasn’t an exception. However, he proved in the 1970s he still had some classics in him with songs like “Forever Young,” “Hurricane,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.”

The latter ranked right up there with some of Dylan’s earliest works, at least if one uses popuarlity of cover songs as a guide. Dylan introduced the song in 1973 on the soundtrack for the film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. The lyrics directly reference a scene in the film offering the perspective of a frontier lawman as he dies from gunshot wounds. Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin described the song as “an exercise in splendid simplicity.” WK

In January 1975, Eric Clapton played on a cross-over reggae version of the song by Arthur Louis. He then recorded his own version that August. His take on the song was released as a single two weeks after Louis’ version. Clapton’s recording didn’t hit the Billboard Hot 100, but has become a classic rock staple.

Guns N’ Roses brought new life to the song more than a decade later. They originally released a live cover of the song as a B-side to the 12” single of “Welcome to the Jungle” in 1987. It became a radio hit in 1990 when Guns N’ Roses recorded a studio version of the song for the Tom Cruise and Paul Newman race car movie Days of Thunder. It reached #18 on the album rock chart.

They put out another slightly modified version of the song again on their 1991 Use Your Illusion II album. It was released as a single in 1992 and climbed all the way to #2 on the UK charts. The classic first recorded by Bob Dylan was proving its staying power nearly two decades later.

Other aritsts who have covered the song include the Alarm, Antony & the Johnsons, Babyface, Bon Jovi, Cat Power, Cold Chisel, Randy Crawford, Fairport Convention, Bryan Ferry, Aretha Franklin, Jerry Garcia, Avril Lavigne, Roger McGuinn, Dolly Parton, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sisters of Mercy, Bruce Springsteen, Television, Roger Waters, Neil Young, and Warren Zevon.


Resources:


Related Links:


First posted 8/6/2022.