First let me state in no uncertain terms, that I am no Deadhead. In fact, I find a significant portion of the band’s catalog entirely intolerable. Caveat aside, and in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Grateful Dead’s debut LP on which the following song resides, I give you every version that, to my admittedly limited knowledge of Dead recordings, exists of the most rocking song that they ever put to wax; Cream Puff War, a song that even a certified Dead hater could love.
R.I.P. Paul Kantner, the driving force behind Jefferson Airplane/Jefferson Starship, bands who, to this day, have not really received their due as radical innovators of revolutionary Rock, well beyond their fame as hippie hitmakers; a transition in which Kantner (and Grace Slick) was the driving force (and Hugo Award nominee!).
Today is a Balin/Kantner composition, featuring Jerry Garcia on the plaintive guitar melody, that has only become more popular and recognized over the years. Saxophonist Tom Scott’s version was a beat digger staple before Pete Rock and CL Smooth sampled it for the basis of their 1992 single They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.), which has become an acknowledged classic of the Golden Age of Hip-Hop. Funny that one of my favorite sixties ballads, would also lead to one of my favorite Hip-Hop jams. More recently, Experimental collective, Ulver have paid tribute to the song with a beautiful cover, securing the song’s legacy with a new generation.
I’ve got an unreleased Roy Head reel-to-reel demo, from presumably the late 70’s-early 80’s, for which I’ve never had the equipment to listen. Maybe now that I’ve reminded myself, I’ll get off my ass, digitize it and offer it up here. Until then, take a gander at Roy’s hot dance moves, as he performs his classic, Treat Her Right. Hey! Alright! Work it now!
Watching Easybeats videos in remembrance of singer Stevie Wright, I stumbled on this cover from last year’s Australian, Bruce Springsteen tour. Watching Springsteen attack the bouncy, can’t-wait-for-the- weekend anthem, with his raspy delivery and aggressive demeanor, makes for a fascinating study in contrasts. Fortunately, because it’s The Boss, it totally works. R.I.P. Stevie.
The Easybeats were Australia’s finest proponents of 60’s Garage Beat, Pop and Psych, and Stevie Wright was undoubtedly one of the finest singers to emerge from that scene. With 1966’s slice of pure Pop perfection, Friday on My Mind, The Easybeats cracked the Top 20 in both the US and UK, a feat that no future Easy’s single was able to repeat. Their lack of international follow up success is as confounding as it is a shame, as The Easybeats were clearly one of the era’s best. Thankfully their homeland gave the boys the chart topping success that they deserved with three numbers ones, and a string of successful singles.
The good news is that there is a substantial amount of footage of the band in their prime, which clearly backs their legend. Enjoy.
From the bands 1968 Pop Psych masterpiece, Vigil, which featured the party rocker, Good Times, which has become a staple of numerous bands live sets over the ensuing years.