Kenny Wilson’s Song “Muggy Measures” now on Spotify and Online Music Stores

“Muggy Measures” by Kenny Wilson. Just released!

I wrote this song a little while ago as part of the Vitallion III project with Mick Smith and Steve Cartwright. It has received a lot of interest from many of Muggy’s descendants and admirers so I have decided to put it on the internet so people can easily access it. Thanks to you all for the interest, it is very encouraging! It is a great feeling when your work has made a positive impact on others.

“Joplin’s Shooting Star”1966-1970 | The Pop History Dig | Jack Doyle

“Joplin’s Shooting Star”

1966-1970

Janis Joplin featured in a ‘Newsweek’ cover story, ‘Rebirth of the Blues,’ May 26, 1969.
Janis Joplin featured in a ‘Newsweek’ cover story, ‘Rebirth of the Blues,’ May 26, 1969.

In the rock ‘n roll firmament of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was a shooting star who burned white hot for five short years.  She died of a heroin overdose at age 27.  Joplin sang her own brand of the blues in an incendiary style.  Yet in her short time — between 1966 and 1970 — she carved out a piece of music history that was distinctly her own. During these years, she traveled from the conservative community of Port Arthur, Texas to the expansive and unpredictable world that was the drug/hippie/music scene of 1960s San Francisco — and mostly in the glare of national stardom.     Joplin was born in Port Arthur, an oil refinery town, in 1943.  As a teenager in the late 1950s, she had read about Jack Kerouac and the Beatniks, began to dress in her own style, and started listening to blues music with a few high school friends.  Black blues singers Bessie Smith and Leadbelly were among her heroes.

An outcast in Port Arthur by the early 1960s, Joplin had made her way to California a time or two, and eventually came to San Francisco’s music and hippie scene.  At the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival she captured national attention with a stunning blues performance of “Ball and Chain.”  From that point on, she became something of national phenomenon.

But not everyone loved Janis Joplin.  Her stage antics and whiskey-swilling, devil-may-care style put many people off.  Some were convinced she had a death wish and was killing herself slowly with each performance and each day’s excesses, so that when she sang “Piece of My Heart,” the meaning was for real. The article that follows here covers some of the main events in the last four years of her life, from her rapid rise to stardom to her untimely death.

Janis Joplin performing at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 where she would do a stunning version of ‘Ball and Chain’ that would mark her as an overnight blues sensation. Photo, Ted Streshinsky. Click for studio DVD version.
Janis Joplin performing at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967 where she would do a stunning version of ‘Ball and Chain’ that would mark her as an overnight blues sensation. Photo, Ted Streshinsky. 


Rock Epiphany

Janis  Joplin did not initially see herself as a big-time performer or a major talent.  But in 1966, when she first teamed up with a real rock band she had met through friends, Joplin had a kind of epiphany.  Chet Helms, a fellow Texan and one of San Francisco’s music promoters, introduced her to a then little-known band called Big Brother and the Holding Company.  Up to that point, Joplin was thinking she had a good enough voice for local gigs, but that was about it.  “… All of a sudden someone threw me into this rock band,” she would later explain, recalling her Big Brother session.  “They threw these musicians at me, man, and the sound was coming from behind, the bass was charging me, and I decided then and there that was it, I never wanted to do anything else.  It was better than it had been with any man, you know…  Maybe that’s the trouble…”

Joplin joined Big Brother in June 1966.  Her first public performance with them was at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco where they became the house band.  In the following year, they cut their first album, Big Brother and The Holding Company, and gained a following with songs from that album, including, “Bye Bye Baby,” “Blind Man” and “Down On Me.”  Then on June 17, 1967 she an Big Brother performed their show-stopping set on the second day of the Monterey International Pop Festival, setting them on a path to national stardom.

Janis Joplin shown with members of the band, Big Brother and the Holding Co., on album cover for live performance at Winterland in San Francisco.
Janis Joplin shown with members of the band, Big Brother and the Holding Co., on album cover for live performance at Winterland in San Francisco.

After Monterey, and after signing with Bob Dylan’s manager, Albert Grossman in November 1967, Joplin and Big Brother were playing all over the country.  Grossman got them a whopping recording contract with CBS/Columbia Records.  They were soon making about $10,000 a performance, with Joplin’s annual income rising to about $150,000 — then very big money.  In February 1968, they began an East Coast tour in Philadelphia, and also played Anderson Hall in in New York where Joplin revealed her raw power over an audience. On the last day of their East Coast swing, April 7, 1968, Joplin and Big Brother performed at the “Wake For Martin Luther King Jr.” concert in New York along with Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Joni Mitchell, Richie Havens, Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop.  The next month or so was spent recording the album Cheap Thrills, which would be released later that summer.  In July 1968 she hit the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.  In August, Cheap Thirlls was released and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts.  It sold one million copies in the first month featuring songs such as “Piece Of My Heart,” among others.  Joplin and Big Brother appeared on the West coast TV show, Hollywood Palace on October 26, 1968, performing two songs: “Summertime” and “I Need a Man to Love.”

Janis Joplin on the cover of the March 15th, 1969 edition of Rolling Stone, featuring a story that asks if she is “the Judy Garland of Rock?”
Janis Joplin on the cover of the March 15th, 1969 edition of Rolling Stone, featuring a story that asks if she is “the Judy Garland of Rock?”

By early December 1968 Joplin decided to leave Big Brother, and by the end of the year she had formed a new band called the Kozmic Blues Band, a soul revue band with a complete horn section.  Their first performance playing soul music was in late December in Memphis, TN. However, the band’s performances at the Fillmore East in February 1969 received mixed reviews. Elsewhere though, Janis and her band were getting more notice.In March 1969 there was a TV appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace and a Rolling Stone cover story that month posing the question: “Janis: The Judy Garland of Rock?”  Also in March, Joplin and her band appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.  Then it was back to San Francisco to Winterland and The Fillmore West.

A European tour came in April-May 1969 — Frankfurt, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Paris.  Her debut in London at Albert Hall that April produced rave reviews in the papers and trade press — Disc, Melody Maker, and The Telegraph.  Back in the States, studio work for another album,Kozmic Blues, began in Hollywood in June.  Joplin also appeared on The Dick Cavett Show for the first time July 18,1969.  She would appear on Cavett’s show two more times in 1970.  She and her band also played various music festivals that summer–Devonshire Downs in Northridge, CA, and the Atlanta Pop Festival in Georgia in July.  At the Atlantic City, New Jersey Pop Festival in early August, she sang with Little Richard.

Janis Joplin performing at Woodstock, 1969.
Janis Joplin performing at Woodstock, 1969.

Then in mid-August came Woodstock where she performed on the second day of the festival, singing a ten-song set that included such tunes as: “To Love Somebody,” “Summertime,” “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder),” Piece of My Heart,” and “Ball & Chain.”  Joplin by then had parted ways with Big Brother & the Holding Company.  Still, she had a full compliment of musicians backing her at Woodstock, where she performed in the wee hours, Saturday-to-Sunday, at about 2:00 a.m.  Some reported that without her normal band, Joplin’s performance lacked its usual punch, but others found it a solid performance.Henry Diltz was an official photographer at Woodstock and had an “all-access pass” that got him to the stage, and more importantly, “a little catwalk built just under the lip of the stage” where he took photographs of Joplin performing. “I was literally feet in front of her while she was singing — the absolutely best seat in the entire house of 400,000 people.”  Diltz said of Joplin’s performance: “Everything I saw her sing, it was nothing held back.”

A younger Janis Joplin performing at an unidentified rock-festival venue sometime in the 1960s.
A younger Janis Joplin performing at an unidentified rock-festival venue sometime in the 1960s.

Following Woodstock, and through the remainder of 1969,  there were other outings for Joplin and her band.  In September they played the New Orleans Pop Festival at Baton Rouge International Speedway in Louisiana and at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A.  In October there were gigs in Austin and Houston, Texas.  In November she appeared at Curtis Hall concert in Tampa, Florida where she was charged with two counts of using vulgar and obscene language on stage.  Later that month she appeared at Auditorium Hall in Chicago, and also Madison Square Garden in New York where she sang with Tina Turner at a Rolling Stones concert.  Her first solo effort, I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!, with the Kozmic Blues Band, was released about that time, and received mixed reviews.  It included songs such as “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)” and “To Love Somebody,” a cover of a Bee Gees’ tune.

At the end of November 1969 Joplin played the West Palm Beach Rock Festival.  In December there was an appearance in Nashville and another at Madison Square Garden — called a “rousing display of blues and rock” by the New York Times — where she was joined on stage by Johnny Winter and Paul Butterfield.  It was about this time that she was “romantically linked” with Joe Namath in the New York papers, which appears to have been exaggerated beyond a meeting and a date or two.  Other appearances in 1969 included ABC-TV’s Tom Jones Show, the Quaker City Rock Festival/Philadelphia, the Civic Center/Baltimore, ABC-TV’s show Music Scene, and the Toronto Pop Festival.  Back home in California, meanwhile, Joplin moved into to a secluded home in a Redwood forest in the Larkspur area of Marin County, California, north of San Francisco, a beautiful spot between Mount Tamalpais and the San Francisco Bay.  But toward the end of 1969, Joplin decided to take some time off.

Janis Joplin & David Niehaus on Copacabana Beach in Brazil, 1970, where Janis was surrounded by, and talking with, reporters.
Janis Joplin & David Niehaus on Copacabana Beach in Brazil, 1970, where Janis was surrounded by, and talking with, reporters.

R&R in Brazil

In January of 1970, Janis and her Kozmic Blues band parted ways, and in February, she traveled to Brazil with her friend and costume designer Linda Gravenites.  Gravenites had been with Joplin since 1966 and had lived a clean and sober life and was traveling with Joplin in part to help her kick her drug and alcohol habits.

In Brazil, Joplin met and became involved with David Niehaus, a clean and sober American schoolteacher who was traveling around the world at the time.  The two were later photographed as happy revelers at Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, described as a “carefree” couple having a great time. Niehaus was one of the first men in Janis’s life at the time who saw her as a woman and not a rock star, and Janis was quite taken with him. By April she reported from Rio that she was “going off into the jungle with a big bear of a man.”  But when Joplin returned to the U.S. she began using heroin again and her relationship with Niehaus ended as a result. Still, some friends would say that Niehuas was the lost love of her life.

Poster for a Janis Joplin concert on June 12, 1970 in Louisville, KY with her new Full-Tilt Boogie Band.
Poster for a Janis Joplin concert on June 12, 1970 in Louisville, KY with her new Full-Tilt Boogie Band.

Back in San Francisco, meanwhile, Joplin had formed her new band, the Full Tilt Boogie Band — a band composed mostly of young Canadian musicians; a band that Joplin had taken a more active role in forming than she did with her prior group.  She would later describe this band as more fully her own.  Joplin began touring with the Full Tilt Boogie Band in May 1970 and was quite happy with their performances and the feedback from fans and critics.  Still, earlier that year, she had done a few performances with her former bandmates.On April 4th in San Francisco, she performed a reunion gig with Big Brother & The Holding Co. at the Fillmore West.  Again, on April 12th, she appeared with Big Brother at Winterland where she and group were found in excellent form.  By the time she began touring with Full Tilt Boogie in May 1970, Joplin had told friends she was drug-free.  In fact, the young Canadians in her new band were also drug free and had no association with her old San Francisco crowd.  Still, some noticed that her drinking had increased.

In late June 1970, she appeared on TV’s The Dick Cavett Show, where she announced she would attend her ten-year high school class reunion later that summer in Port Arthur, Texas.  High school had not been a happy time for Joplin, noting at one point that her classmates, “laughed me out of class, out of town and out of the state.”  More on the high school visit later.

1970 poster advertising Canada’s transconti- nental Festival Express.
1970 poster advertising Canada’s Trans Continental Festival Express.
Festival Express logo sticker.
Festival Express logo sticker.

The Festival Express

In late June and early July 1970, Joplin and her new band joined the all-star Festival Express tour through Canada.  On this tour, Joplin and her band performed on the same bill with other acts including: the Grateful Dead, Delaney and Bonnie, Rick Danko and The Band, Eric Andersen, Ian and Sylvia, and others.

The Festival Express was unique among rock festivals.  Rather than flying to each city — Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver were each scheduled — the musicians would travel by chartered Canadian National Railways train.  The idea was to foster an atmosphere of musical creativity and closeness between the performers.  The trips between cities were a mix of jam sessions and partying, with no shortage of drugs and alcohol.  One of these sessions became quite notable — with Rick Danko of The Band, Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin all having a rollicking good time.

During the actual Festival Express series of concerts — which saw the Vancouver concert cancelled due to the mayor’s “anti-hippie” edicts — Janis Joplin gave some memorable performances.  Footage of Joplin singing “Tell Mama” in Calgary would later become an MTV video in the 1980s.  This performance would also be included on later Joplin albums and DVDs.

The Festival Express Tour ended in early July 1970, but some 30 years later, in 2003, a “rockumentary” was produced featuring the original Festival Express tour, its music, and travels.  That film would reap more than $1.2 million at the U.S. box office, and the DVD would become a hot seller as well.  Shortly after the Festival Express, Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii where they performed in early July 1970 at the International Center Arena.  But then it was back to California.

Poster for July 1970 Janis Joplin concert.
Poster for July 1970 Janis Joplin concert.

San Diego

On July 11th, Joplin and the Full Tilt Boogie Band arrived in San Diego for a concert there at the Sports Arena.  They were joined in San Diego by longtime Doors producer, Paul Rothchild, who was being considered to work with Joplin on her next album.  Janis’s sister, Laura, would later write of Rothchild in her book, Love, Janis:

“In San Diego, Janis gave him a stopwatch, saying ‘Look, I’ve got thirty-five good minutes in me. You stand behind the amps and I’ll look you over, you flash me how much time I have left.’ Paul thought it was a good sign that she was pacing herself like a runner.”

Joplin was fighting her alcohol and drug demons at the time.

Psychedelic-style poster for the July 11, 1970 concert in San Diego with Janis Joplin photo.
Psychedelic-style poster for the July 11, 1970 concert in San Diego with Janis Joplin photo.

Rothchild later said of watching Joplin’s performance as she was singing:“. . . I was enraptured because I was listening to one of the most brilliant vocalists I ever heard, in classical, pop, or jazz music. What a voice. . . all of the woman was revealed.  The vessel of Janis vanished. For somebody like me, who was always talking about the inner beauty and all that stuff, it got me big. So I was totally hooked from that moment on, on every single possible level.”

Several weeks later, Rothchild would help Janis work on her final album, Pearl.

On the plane ride back to San Francisco after the San Diego concert, Janis was upbeat, as the presence of old friends at the concert had energized her.  She bought drinks for everyone on the plane.

But some of those with her, like Big Brother guitarist James Gurley, thought she was a bit “too exuberant, trying to be the life of the party.”

Joplin was still on an emotional roller coaster; high and then low.  She was struggling to maintain her equilibrium.

Shea Stadium

In early August 1970, Joplin again appeared on The Dick Cavett Show, and a few days later, on August 6, 1970, performed as a surprise guest at the Festival for Peace at Shea Stadium in Queens.  Joplin was not on the original roster of performers for the concert, but since she was in New York and her former band, Big Brother, was on the bill, she agreed to do the concert. By some accounts, at least 50,000 fans attended  Joplin’s performance, re- portedly aided by a bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey. This concert — also called the Summer Festival for Peace — followed a Winter Festival for Peace that had been staged earlier that year at Madison Square Garden.  These concerts were among the first ever in the U.S. to be used for political fund raising and anti-war purposes.  Such concerts were not generally seen prior to 1970, but became more common thereafter.  The acts at the Peace Festivals generally donated their time and performances.  Among the performers at Shea Stadium that August were Peter Yarrow, Pacific Gas & Electric, Tom Paxton, Dionne Warwick, Poco, Ten Wheel Drive, Al Kooper, Richie Havens, Sha-Na-Na, The Young Rascals, Paul Simon, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, The James Gang, Miles Davis, Johnny Winter, Herbie Hancock and others.  The show ran from 10:00 a.m. to midnight.  And by some accounts, at least 50,000 fans attended.  Joplin’s performance — reportedly aided by a bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey — included at least four of her songs: “Ball & Chain,” “Summertime,” “Turtle Blues” and “Piece of My Heart.”

Bessie’s Marker

Headstone for Bessie Smith’s grave site that Janis Joplin helped pay for. Inscription:‘The greatest blues singer in the world will never stop singing.’
Headstone for Bessie Smith’s grave site that Janis Joplin helped pay for. Inscription:‘The greatest blues singer in the world will never stop singing.’

One of Joplin’s idols growing up had been Bessie Smith, the famous blues and jazz singer of the 1920 and 1930s.  Smith’s music had been an early influence on Joplin.  But when Joplin learned that Smith’s grave site had no marker, she moved to help provide a major portion of the funds to obtain one.  A few days following her concert at Shea Stadium, on August 8, 1970, Joplin provided at least part of the financing to provide a headstone for Smith’s unmarked grave at Philadelphia’s Mount Lawn Cemetery.  An inscription on the installed headstone reads: ‘The greatest blues singer in the world will never stop singing.’     Joplin’s next scheduled appearance in 1970 was in Boston, at Harvard College, but her band’s equipment was stolen. The group managed to make their performance at Harvard Stadium on August 12 th before 40,000 fans using borrowed equipment. Still, they seemed to have delivered a decent concert, as a front-page story in Harvard Crimson newspaper gave the concert a positive review.  It would be Joplin’s last public appearance with the Full Tilt Boogie Band and her last public performance.  Her next stop was her former home town, Port Arthur, Texas for the tenth year reunion of her high school class.

Janis’ Texas Hurt1956-1964
Joplin as she appeared in her 1960 high school photo.
Joplin as she appeared in her 1960 high school photo.

Growing up in the conservative oil refining town of Port Arthur, Texas in the 1950s was not easy for young Janis Joplin.  Although she was loved by her family while growing up there, her high school and local college experiences in Texas appeared to have scarred her deeply.  As a teenager she had read the Beatniks, began to dress in her own style, and started singing folk and blues music locally.  But in high school, she had gained weight and developed bad skin, and was called “pig” by some of the other kids.  After graduating high school in 1960, she attended Lamar State College that summer, at nearby Beaumont Texas, and continued there in the fall.  Ridiculed there as well, and not comfortable in class, she dropped out.  In 1961, after passing a secretarial exam, Joplin’s parents sent her to Los Angeles to live with her aunts, but she soon found a place of her own in Venice Beach where drugs became part of her life. The visit home to Port Arthur for the reunion did not achieve what Joplin had hoped, and once again she left town feeling rejected and unloved. By the end of the year, she returned home to Port Arthur.  In 1962, she enrolled in fine arts at the University of Texas in Austin and was also singing locally, blues mostly, but also with a blue grass band.  Her experiences on the University of Texas campus, however, weren’t much better than in Port Arthur or Beaumont, as she was nominated for the “Ugliest Man on Campus” award at one point, a deep cut.  After hearing about the post-Beat scene in San Francisco, Joplin made her way to North Beach in San Francisco and then Haight-Ashbury, then becoming more heavily involved with alcohol and drugs.  After a near-death experience, and reportedly dropping to a weight of about 88 pounds at one point, she returned to Port Arthur in 1965.  Back home, she tried college again at Lamar, this time enrolling as a sociology major.  She kicked her drug habit, changed her look to a more conservative style, but still, her experiences at Lamar were no better. In Austin, meanwhile, she continued singing blues at a few clubs in late 1965 and early 1966.  By mid-1966 she returned to California for good, pursuing her music career in San Francisco by joining Big Brother and the Holding Company.  By late 1967, following her debut at the Monterey Festival, she was on her way to national stardom.

Janis Joplin on the cover of "Rolling Stone," August 6, 1970.
Janis Joplin on the cover of “Rolling Stone,” August 6, 1970.

In mid-August 1970, when Joplin returned to Port Arthur for her 10th year high school reunion, she was coming back, in part, to make a statement about her success, and specifically for those who had treated her badly as a teenager.  But during the visit, Joplin was drinking hard and she did not attempt to “tone down” her dress or her style.  She had also previously made negative remarks about Port Arthur in the national press — or as one New York Times writer put it — “never missed a chance to dismiss her blue-collar hometown as a bastion of small-town intolerance.”  On August 14th, Joplin attended her high school reunion at Thomas Jefferson High School.  She was accompanied by fellow musician and friend Bob Neuwirth, road manager John Cooke, and her younger sister, Laura.  Dressed in the popular San Francisco hippie fashion of the day with feathers and beads and her trademark purple-tinted glasses, Joplin answered questions at a press conference, during which some of her more painful high school days came up again.  All in all, it wasn’t a pleasant visit for Joplin.  Generally, this visit home to Port Arthur for the reunion did not achieve what she had hoped, and once again she left town feeling rejected and unloved.  She soon returned to California to work on her music.

Final Days 

During late August, Joplin arrived in Los Angeles to begin work on a new album.  Sessions were planned for the Sunset Sound Studio with producer Paul Rothchild.  Joplin checked into the nearby Landmark Motel.  She had been seeing a steady new boyfriend, a younger and wealthy easterner named Seth Morgan, and they were rumored to be engaged.  But Joplin at the time threw herself into her recording sessions and the work on her new album.When he entered her motel room, Cooke found Joplin dead on the floor.  She also had a bit of fun at the session, at one point recording a birthday greeting for John Lennon that would be sent to him later — using the Roy Rogers / Dale Evens tune, “Happy Trails.”

On Saturday, October 3, 1970, Joplin visited the Sunset Studios to listen to the instrumental track for the song “Buried Alive in the Blues” prior to recording her vocal track with it, scheduled for the next day.  But on Sunday afternoon, she failed to show up at the studio.  Producer Rothchild and road manager John Cooke became concerned.  Cooke drove to the Landmark Motel where he found Joplin’s psychedelically painted Porsche still in the parking lot.  When he entered her motel room, Cooke found Joplin dead on the floor.  The official cause of death was later determined as an overdose of heroin, possibly combined with the effects of alcohol.  Janis Joplin was 27 years old.  Her ashes were later scattered into the Pacific Ocean along Stinson Beach north of San Francisco.

Cover of Janis Joplin's "Me & Bobby McGee" single from her posthumous 'Pearl' album, 1971.
Cover of Janis Joplin’s “Me & Bobby McGee” single from her posthumous ‘Pearl’ album, 1971.

Joplin’s newly recorded material from her Los Angeles studio sessions, meanwhile, had not gone to market.  Four months after her death, in February 1971, the new material was released under the album name, Pearl, a nickname sometimes used for Joplin.  The album included the songs “Mercedes Benz,” “Get It While You Can,” and “Me and Bobby McGee.”  Pearl topped the album charts for nine weeks, and “Me and Bobby McGee” became a No. 1 single in 1971 and one of her biggest hits. But the one song on that album without Joplin’s lyrics — the performance she never showed up for the weekend of her death — was left as an instrumental, “Buried Alive in The Blues.” Part of the verse in that song goes as follows: “All caught up in a landslide / Bad luck pressing in from all sides / Just got knocked off my easy ride / Buried alive in the blues.”  And as Joplin herself once said: “People, whether they know it or not, like their blues singer’s miserable. They like their blues singers to die afterwards.”

Cover photo of a young Janis Joplin from boxed set of 3 CDs.
Cover photo of a young Janis Joplin from boxed set of 3 CDs.

Joplin as Icon

Joplin’s death was a blow to her fans and the music world, especially since only weeks earlier, Jimi Hendrix had also died.  Joplin was remembered as a musical force and an icon for her own times as well as the ages.  Many thought Joplin was just hitting her stride with Pearl, and might have gone on to much greater things had she overcome her demons. Tom Moon, writing in his book, 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, calls Pearl, “the precious last testament of a belter.” By her last year, Moon says, Joplin had grown into “a devastatingly original voice, the rare white interpreter of African American music who resisted the ready cliche. She treated old Delta songs and ’50s R&B ballads as theatrical platforms, ripe for large-scale rethinking. Her blues woe was never typical blues woe. …[S]he could turn out a plea that made listeners feel like they were part of a fateful make-or-break moment happening right then.”

Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote that Joplin was: “overpowering and deeply vulnerable, brassy and shy, stylized and direct, indomitable and masochistic.  She took the tough rasp of old blues shouters and made it her own by bringing out pain and tension to match the bravado.  With magnificent timing Joplin made it seem as if she was pouring out unvarnished emotion.”

The Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, writing her 1995 induction description, adds: “Janis Joplin has passed into the realm of legend: an outwardly brash yet inwardly vulnerable and troubled personality who possessed one of the most passionate voices in rock history.”

Janis Joplin, undated photo.
Janis Joplin, undated photo.

Megan Terry, among other authors writing in the book, Notable American Women, observes: “Joplin brought to her music a distinctive sound and look, passion and an honest interpretive ability.  Her hold over an audience was as great as that of Elvis Presley and her success was an extraordinary and unprecedented feat in the male- dominated rock and music world.”

In fact, along with Grace Slick of The Jefferson Airplane, Joplin is credited with opening doors for women who would follow her in the rock ‘n roll business.  And finally, music journalist Ellen Wills noted that “Joplin belonged to that select group of pop figures who mattered as much for themselves as for their music.  Among American rock performers, she was second only to Bob Dylan in importance as a creator-recorder-embodiment of her generation’s mythology.”  Joplin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.  Musicologists and historians continue to revisit her work.  In November 2009, Case Western Reserve University and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum celebrated the music of Janis Joplin during the 14th annual American Music Masters series, calling her one of rock ‘n roll’s most passionate and influential artists.

Janis Joplin photograph, undated.

Janis Joplin photograph, undated.

Back in Port Arthur, Texas, meanwhile, and nearly two decades after her death, some of the love and recognition Janis Joplin had sought from her hometown began coming her way in after-the-fact fashion.  In 1988, Joplin’s life and achievements were showcased and recognized at a January Convention Center gathering — an event, wrote Peter Applebome of the New York Times, “that perhaps had as much to do with economics as with affection.”  Some 5,000 people came out for the ceremony, a major turn out for Port Arthur.  There was a dedication of a Janis Joplin Memorial, which included a multi-image bronze sculpture of Joplin.  The sculpture, along with momentos of Joplin’s career, as well as that of other local musicians including the Big Bopper (Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.) and Johnny Winter, would eventually become part of the Museum of the Gulf Coast, housing a permanent Joplin exhibit on the second floor.In January 2008, Port Arthur celebrated Joplin’s 65th birthday by putting a historical marker in front of her childhood home.  The town now proclaims its link to Joplin with billboards, brochures, an annual concert, and local tours of various Joplin landmarks.  “She was a very popular figure in the ’60s, and she had a lot to do with the style of music that evolved at that time,” said Yvonne Sutherlin of Jefferson County Historical Commission in January 2008.  “We just want people to know that she’s from here.”

Associated Press, November 7th, 1970.
Associated Press, November 7th, 1970.

Beyond Port Arthur, the life and career of Janis Joplin has been explored on stage and screen in a number of productions and documentaries. In 1974-75, Janis, a Canadian film about her career using archival footage was produced. In 1979, the Hollywood film, The Rose, starring Bette Midler, was loosely based on Joplin’s life. In 1992,the biography, Love, Janis was published, written by Joplin’s sister, Laura. A musical stage show with the same title, Love, Janis, ran off-Broadway during 2001-2003 for more than 700 performances. In Washington, D.C., the Arena Stage featured a 2013 production – A Night with Janis Joplin – which includes the Janis character telling stories of inspiration from other artists such as Odetta and Aretha Franklin. A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame came for Joplin in 2013, and a U.S. Postal Service commemorative stamp was issued in her honor in 2014. And in 2015, the documentary film, Janis: Little Girl Blue, directed by Amy J. Berg, was shown at the Toronto film festival, since airing to positive reviews in early 2016 on the American Masters PBS-TV series.     See also at this website: “Selling Janis Joplin, 1995,” about a Mercedes-Benz TV ad using a Joplin song, and “White Rabbit,” a profile of a Jefferson Airplane song, its politics, and the group’s lead singer, Grace Slick. Other stories on notable women can be found at the topics page, “Noteworthy Ladies.” Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle

Source: “Joplin’s Shooting Star”1966-1970 | The Pop History Dig

Blind Faith – Blind Faith (1969)

1960s: Days of Rage


Blind Faith were an Englishblues rock band, composed of Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood and Ric Grech. The band, which was one of the first supergroups, released their only album, Blind Faith, in August 1969. Stylistically similar to the bands in which Winwood, Baker and Clapton had most recently participated, Traffic and Cream, Blind Faith helped to pioneer the genre of blues/rock fusion. The beginnings of Blind Faith begin in mid-1968, with the break-up of Cream. Today considered to be the first true supergroup, Cream had become a financial powerhouse, selling millions of records within a few years and bringing international popularity to both the group and each individual member. Despite that success, the band was crumbling from within because of frequent animosity between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, with Eric Clapton doing his best to mediate. In addition…

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Atlanta Studies | Parks are for the People: The Piedmont Park Riot and the Politics of Late 1960s Atlanta

In the summer of 1967, Atlanta Journal reporter Michael Palmer went undercover as a hippie. Hoping to provide his readers with some insight into a movement that had recently made its way into the national consciousness, Palmer put on a “white, ruffled shirt, and old vest, levies [sic] frayed at the cuffs” and stealthily entered the city’s small but noticeable hippie community. In a series of articles that followed this experience, Palmer discussed with a mixture of dismissal and despair what he encountered during his five weeks of undercover research – from watching people take drugs in a “crash pad” to participating in a “love-in” at Piedmont Park. While Palmer ultimately provided little real insight into the countercultural mindset, he did make his readers very aware that something new and different was happening in Midtown Atlanta.1

During the late 1960s and early 1970s the section of the city that straddled Peachtree Street for several blocks, running from roughly Seventeenth Street down to Tenth Street, served as Atlanta’s own version of San Francisco’s famed Haight-Ashbury district. This part of Midtown had acquired several names over the years2 – Tight Squeeze, the 10th Street Business District and the 14th Street Area – but became popularly known as “the Strip” during its countercultural heyday.3 The area had already developed a reputation as a bohemian destination by the early 1960s – one reporter described it as “Atlanta’s own Greenwich Village” – due to its proximity to the Atlanta College of Art and the Atlanta Memorial Arts Center, as well as its abundance of affordable housing for young adults moving to the city.4 By the middle of the decade a small community of hippies found a spiritual home with the opening of the Catacombs coffeehouse on Fourteenth Street. The area’s “hip” population – which included not only “real” hippies but also political radicals, members of motorcycle gangs, left-leaning religious leaders, artists, teenage runaways, drug dealers, sympathetic lawyers, social workers, business owners, and teenage “plastic hippies,” who visited the Strip on the weekends but then returned to their suburban homes on Sunday evenings – grew significantly in 1967 as the counterculture gained national recognition and thousands of curious teenagers and young adults made their way to hippie neighborhoods across the nation during the Summer of Love.

POLICE PERFORMING A NIGHTTIME ANTI-DRUG RAID AGAINST HIPPIES, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AUGUST 4, 1969. V003-600001-A24, TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

Several factors, however, thwarted attempts by Strip residents to create a thriving and safe hip community in Atlanta.5 Business owners disliked them, local “straight” residents complained repeatedly to city officials about their presence, and the police engaged in an ongoing campaign of harassment that included arresting hippies for minor infractions. In July, 1968, a group of local business owners attended a meeting of the city’s Aldermanic Police Committee to complain how the hippie presence harmed the value of their businesses and made it “unsafe for residents to walk down the street.” That same month, Police Chief Herbert Jenkins launched a crackdown on the area’s hippie population.6While the city’s recently founded underground newspaper, the Great Speckled Bird, regularly reported on the ill-treatment the hip community suffered at the hands of business owners and the police, the straight press routinely ignored or downplayed these issues.7

INSPECTING THE DAMAGE: “ATLANTIS RISING BOMBING,” ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 11, 1969. V003-690911-A28, TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

These issues worsened considerably during the first six months of 1969. The Great Speckled Bird speculated that a recent wave of suspicious fires in the area was an attempt to scare away hippies.8 In addition, the number of sexual assaults against hip women in the Strip increased, as did the number of physical confrontations between Strip residents and straight locals, some of which included the exchange of gunfire.9 In August, a near riot erupted in the Strip when hippies and political radicals clashed with local police and agents from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation during yet another in a series of drug raids in the neighborhood.10 Then, in early September, a firebomb destroyed Atlantis Rising, a combination artist collective and recreation center that served Strip residents and acted as a meeting space for radical political groups.11 Finally, this pattern of confrontation and violence culminated on September 21 when attendees and police clashed during a free concert in Piedmont Park.

The events leading up to and following the Piedmont Park riot illustrate the changing nature of social and political life in Atlanta during the late 1960s. Far from an isolated incident, the riot, and the response to it, reflected the growing frustration of Strip residents as they faced continual police harassment and acts of anonymous violence while trying to create a functional alternative district built on the concepts of cooperation and community. Moreover, the riot revealed connections and shared concerns between white youth and the African American community at a time of significant change in the local political landscape. While the Piedmont Park riot is a lesser known event of civil disobedience in the history of Atlanta, re-examining the riot reveals how far the political and cultural radicalism of the 1960s had made its way into the nation’s most conservative areas, as well as how the presence of a community of radical white youth impacted local political scene, which is usually portrayed by historians of the era as a struggle between conservative whites and African Americans for control of the city during a time of significant demographic change.

OUR PARK

By the late 1960s, Piedmont Park, located just a few blocks east of the Strip, offered a safe haven away from the hassles of life on Peachtree. At a time when hippies were routinely arrested for simply walking down the street, the existence of a place where they could gather freely ensured that the park became integral to community-building efforts by local counterculture and New Left leaders. The Atlanta antiwar movement often chose the park as a gathering point for marches into downtown or as a location for post-march rallies.12 And in July 1968, approximately 800 people gathered around the park’s pavilion for the city’s first “Be-In,” an event copied from the more famous San Francisco Human Be-In held the previous summer.13 The hip community’s use of Piedmont Park increased significantly during the first nine months of 1969. In March, the Great Speckled Bird celebrated its first anniversary with a party in the park. The city’s political activists even took time to enjoy the park’s athletic facilities by forming a “Revolutionary Softball League” that spring.14 And the series of free Sunday concerts which had occurred occasionally during the spring and early summer of 1969 became more regular occurrences following the 1969 Atlanta International Pop Festival. The festival, held over the Fourth of July holiday weekend at an automobile racetrack in Hampton, Georgia, featured Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, Credence Clearwater Revival, Grand Funk Railroad, and Led Zeppelin.15 Held the day after the festival ended, a free concert in Piedmont Park featured many of the bands that had played at Hampton, including, Delaney and Bonnie, Spirit, the Allman Brothers, and the Grateful Dead.16

While the park served as key place to experience countercultural entertainment, the recent wave of harassment and violence in the Strip also led many hippies and New Leftists alike to see their use of the park in more overtly political terms; it had become an important battleground in their quest for meaningful social change.17 This shared cause between the counterculture and New Left was not unique to Atlanta in the late 1960s. While the middle years of the decade witnessed the rise of two movements that could be identified as uniquely separate, each with its own goals and philosophies, by 1969 the boundaries between the New Left and counterculture had become blurry. The New Left recast itself into an expansive social movement aimed at the creation of a new American culture as it sought more than just political change, while the counterculture rethought its earlier utopianism and now sought to practice its core beliefs within, rather than separate from, American society.18

VIETNAM WAR PROTEST. METRO ATLANTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE COLLECTION AT KENAN RESEARCH CENTER AT ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER. COURTESY ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER.
HIPPIE DRUM CIRCLE IN PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, CIRCA 1969. TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

Echoing countercultural writers around the nation, the Bird had repeatedly expounded on the importance of rock music as a catalyst for social change and on Piedmont Park’s new role as a site for this melding of culture and politics.19 In a piece entitled “Our Park,” “Richard” explained the importance not only of rock music to the creation of a new society, but of a place to experience such music in a revolutionary way, noting that:20

if we are a revolutionary culture then we must . . . refuse festivals and radio and recordings . . . musicians will play, will fill our parks, because they must play, and we will listen because we must and there will be no one in between.

By the summer of 1969, the importance of Piedmont Park to the growth of Atlanta’s hip community led many Strip residents to consider the park, at least on certain days, as their own. Piedmont Park became a place to listen to some good music, get a free meal, commune with likeminded individuals, discuss radical politics, and explore new ways of living together. Or as “Richard” concluded,21

you will come to the park to make it your park and you will listen to music and know that it is your music and it will be freedom.

Following the dramatic firebombing of Atlantis Rising in late August, the park also became a place of spiritual rejuvenation for the Strip community. On the Sunday following the attack, a benefit concert for the store was held in the park that featured several prominent local and regional bands, including the Allman Brothers. As Miller Francis, the community’s preeminent cultural chronicler, noted in an article for The Great Speckled Bird the concert was more than simply a musical event or a rally for Atlantis Rising. For Francis, the park acted not simply as a public recreational space, but as a key focal point for the political struggle to build a viable alternative community.22 Accordingly, as he noted:23

PEOPLE EATING AT A FREE CONCERT SPONSORED BY THE “GREAT SPECKLED BIRD” AT PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 21, 1969. TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

The vibes in Piedmont Park on all the Saturdays and Sundays flow out of our fight to replace the power behind the firebomb . . . that gutted Atlantis Rising, and our attempt to design a politics to effect that replacement.

Francis noted the intense sense of positive feelings that the crowd in “our park” generated, as well as the wide array of the city’s population which was in attendance in addition to the usual hippie contingent, including “straight, crewcut, turned-on, tribal, black, working class, mothers and children.”24 However, it would be this very attachment to the park that laid the foundation for the riot that occurred only a week later.

Throughout the nation, public spaces played an important role in bringing politics and culture together. Parks took on particular meaning in the late 1960s, serving as a central site for the expression of a spatial politics that helped reveal the growing intersection of the counterculture and the New Left. Perhaps most famously, in May 1969, violence erupted in Berkeley over an undeveloped piece of land owned by the University of California. Claiming the space as their own, over two hundred hippies, college students, and community activists had turned the former parking lot into a park, which they called “People’s Park.” Then, on May 15, police cleared the park and encircled it with cyclone fencing, a provocation which the local hip community responded to by rioting with the ensuing street battle ending that evening only after twenty policemen had been injured and twenty protestors had been shot, one fatally.25 While the events in Berkeley are well-remembered, the events at Piedmont Park a few months later exemplify that the willingness to defend contested space was not restricted to cities famous for their radical communities.

“GET THE PIGS OUT OF OUR PARK!”

The September 21, 1969, free concert in Piedmont Park boasted an impressive lineup. While the Allman Brothers would not play that Sunday, the show presented some of the best local rock acts, including Radar, the Booger Band, and headliner The Hampton Grease Band. This list of performers, as well as the success of the concert the previous Sunday, and a prominently placed announcement in the Great Speckled Bird, ensured a sizable attendance. And despite a chilly rain, by late afternoon between 1,000 and 1,500 people had arrived in the park.

ONE OF THE BANDS PERFORMING AT A “GREAT SPECKLED BIRD” CONCERT IN PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 21, 1969. V003-600001-C27, TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

Several staff members from the Great Speckled Bird circulated through the crowd, collecting affidavits regarding police harassment, which they planned to include as part of the paper’s recently-filed lawsuit against the police department.26 Earlier that month the hip community became involved in a local debate over police brutality. During a speech at the West Hunter Street Baptist Church on September 12, DeWitt Smith, an African American patrolman, publicly accused several white officers of beating three black prisoners without provocation. Notably, during his comments, he also mentioned the mistreatment local hippies routinely endured, stating:27

if your hair is long and you’re wearing bell-bottoms you are in for it. Girls are jerked and pulled into line by their hair . . . and they {officers} seem to delight in grabbing a man by the seat of his pants and lifting him up until the pressure in his groin becomes unbearable.

During the following week, a coalition of local civil rights groups and the Great Speckled Bird filed separate lawsuits against the Atlanta police department, which illustrated an emergent, if problematic, alliance of the New Left, the counterculture, and the local civil rights movement in late 1960s Atlanta.28

But in addition to the Bird staffers, several undercover policemen also moved through the crowd in the park that day. And just as the band Brickwall started its set, word began to circulate that undercover narcotics agents from the Atlanta police were in the audience and looking to make arrests. Concert attendee George Nikas soon found himself in custody after following Detective C. R. Price through the crowd, warning other concertgoers that Price was a policeman. As the young man was led away a crowd gathered around the two and began chanting “show us your badge!” and “let him go!” In the ensuing confrontation, Price ended up pulling his service weapon and brandishing it at the crowd, providing enough of a distraction for Nikas to escape and disappear back into the audience.29

“GREAT SPECKLED BIRD” PHOTOGRAPHER BILL FIBBEN BEING ARRESTED DURING A BOTCHED POLICE OPERATION DURING A CONCERT IN PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 21, 1969. V003-600001-C35, TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

As the music, which had stopped during the struggle, resumed, Price and several other policemen moved back into the crowd and quickly found, and again apprehended, Nikas. This time, they also arrested Bill Fibben, a staff photographer for the Bird. But several hundred audience members immediately surrounded the cars containing Nikas and Fibben, shouting “This is our park!” and “get the pigs out of our park!” In response, police called for reinforcements and tear gas canisters. The concert’s promoter attempted to persuade police to let him restore calm but before he could do so, an officer lobbed a tear gas canister into the crowd and what had been merely an angry confrontation between the police and the concertgoers turned into a riot.30

TEAR GAS UNLEASHED ON HIPPIES ATTENDING A FOLK CONCERT IN PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 22, 1969. PHOTO BY NOEL DAVIS. AJCP211-032A, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COPYRIGHT ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

As the protestors around the patrol car began to scatter, several paddy wagons and almost the entire evening watch of the Atlanta police force approached the park. For the next thirty minutes a running battle of sorts took place. The police, who had taken up a position not far from the park pavilion, fired tear gas canisters into the crowd while several officers repeatedly charged into the rioters. The crowd responded by throwing some of the tear gas canisters back, along with rocks, cans and glass bottles, quickly dispersing after each volley only to retake its position after the clouds of tear gas dissipated.31 Ultimately, the confrontation ended only after American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Al Horn arrived at the park and talked with Police Superintendent Oscar Jordan.32 Following this conversation, the crowd calmed down and several police officers left the park. As attempts were being made to restart the music, Police Chief Herbert Jenkins and Mayor Ivan Allen finally arrived, too late to make any meaningful contribution although the mayor did spend some time speaking with concertgoers.33

RESPONSES TO THE RIOT

While the Piedmont Park riot resulted in few injuries and only twelve arrests,34 it provoked a variety of responses from the Strip community, civil rights leaders, local politicians, and city officials. The statements issued by these groups reveal the complicated nature of Atlanta politics in the late 1960s as well as divisions within the city’s hip community. Moreover, the cooperation between the hip and civil rights communities in response to the riot revealed how disaffected groups in Atlanta could cross racial lines when they found common cause.

POLICEMEN DRAGGING A YOUNG HIPPIE THROUGH THE GRASS, PIEDMONT PARK, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 22, 1969. PHOTO BY NOEL DAVIS. AJCP211-032B, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COPYRIGHT ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

With the mayoral election just weeks away, several of the candidates weighed in on the riot. City alderman Everett Millican, who had recently proposed a park curfew, favored drastic action, promising that, if elected, he would “run the hippies out of town.”35 Echoing statements he had made the previous spring, he labeled the city’s countercultural district “a disgrace,” filled with “hippies, homosexual, sex deviates and drug pushers.”36 While admitting that Piedmont Park had deteriorated before the hippies claimed it as their own, he still argued that “it’s gone down a lot more since.”37 Alderman and mayoral candidate Rodney Cook took a less aggressive position, stating that law-abiding citizens should not fear being “hit over the head” by police but that those who broke the law should be punished to the fullest extent possible. Instead of running the hippies out of town, Cook believed that hiring more policemen, raising salaries, providing them with better training, and creating neighborhood patrols would solve the problem.38

HIPPIES TALK TO MAYOR IVAN ALLEN JR. AFTER THE RIOT. FROM: GREAT SPECKLED BIRD 2, NO. 29 (SEPTEMBER 29, 1969), 22. GREAT SPECKLED BIRD COLLECTION. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the interpretation of the riot offered by members of the political establishment, Great Speckled Bird writer Greg Gregory analyzed the riot from a countercultural perspective, arguing for the park’s importance to the development of a new American society and declaring that,39

Sunday’s resistance was not ‘revolutionary antics,’ the work of ‘agitators.’ Sunday was a defense of the kind of life we have chosen to live. This life includes music; it includes dope; but more significantly; and of revolutionary impact, is our self-perception as a people acting in unity.

He continued:40

A park cannot be liberated by permit, cannot be ‘free’ just because freaks come together to dig some fine music . . . Sunday was about what comes down when . . . we transgress the constricted lifestyle that is acceptable to and in this rotten society.

But Gregory also had harsh words for members in the hip community who criticized those who had fought back against the police. Arguing that this criticism attacked the very unity the riot had created, Gregory suggested that “to fall back on a love-and-peace stance which quickly becomes a hate-the-bottle throwers posture is to fragment the solidarity that saw politicos and culture freaks standing side by side.”41 While praising the importance of gentleness to their cultural revolution, he nonetheless argued that cruelty, not gentleness, needed to be the appropriate response when “tribal celebrations” came under attack. As he saw it, solidarity required that musicians, “trippers,” and rock throwers stand together or the new culture they hoped to create would die. Likewise, Jim Gwin asserted that “we must defend our vision as it emerges in concrete form. The communal/music experience in Piedmont Park is that vision.”42

The politicos of the Great Speckled Bird also responded quickly to the riot. Staff members at the Bird office began immediately collecting the statements of approximately one hundred people present in the park during the confrontation, which would be added to the police harassment suit the Bird had filed recently in federal court.43 During a press conference held at the newspaper’s office the day after the riot, the hip community presented three demands: that all charges against those arrested on Sunday be dropped, that all plainclothesmen and other policemen be banned from the park and, finally, to “let us have our music.”44

The riot also generated support from the city’s civil rights community. On Monday, the Atlanta Ad Hoc Committee on Law Enforcement and the Community, which had come together the previous April to investigate police brutality and included members of the Urban League, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Metropolitan Atlanta Summit Leadership Conference, presented four recommendations to Mayor Ivan Allen. The committee called for an end to harassment, suspensions of policemen accused of brutality, improved jail conditions, and the establishment of grievance procedures. The group also noted that the Atlanta police “showed the same brutal force as Chicago” in their efforts to disperse the park crowd, a reference to the previous year’s street riots during the Democratic National Convention.45 While Allen declined to comment on these recommendations, he stated that the city would undertake a “full investigation of police brutality charges” stemming from the riot, and announced that the two officers noted most prominently for their actions in the park, C. R. Price and D. L. Dingee, had been transferred to duty in south Fulton County. Both the mayor and Jenkins stated this might help the situation since the problem had been caused only by a small number of “bad apples” within the police force.46

The committee clearly saw common cause between black Atlantans and the Strip community when it came to law enforcement issues. In its statement to Allen, it claimed that “the city has evaded responsibility and accountability for abuse of its citizens. Brutality occurs not only at the jail, it happens at the time of arrests . . . and we know that the police rioted in Piedmont Park yesterday.”47 Likewise, Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leader Hosea Williams articulated the connection between oppressed African Americans and hip community members. When speaking to the crowd at Piedmont Park after the riot, he told them that,48

this is the same thing that has been happening to black people for a long time – and partly for the same reason: because they don’t want to conform to the ways of this sick, racist society. The reason they’re brutalizing you is simple: you want to live your own life, your own way.
THE GREAT SPECKLED BIRD 2, NO. 29 (SEPTEMBER 29, 1969), 3. GREAT SPECKLED BIRD COLLECTION. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

The Strip and civil rights communities further strengthened their bonds in the wake of the riot by planning a march to police headquarters at a meeting that included representatives from the Bird and the SCLC alongside numerous hippies and street people, ministers from several local churches, local countercultural shopkeepers, and political radicals. In addition to the three demands formulated immediately after the riot, the group agreed to publicly support the call from civil rights groups for the termination of Police Chief Herbert Jenkins and the demand that African Americans control their own communities. Attendees also demanded the firing of seven police officers involved in the riot, including Price and Dingee, as well as eight other officers that the African American community wanted dismissed.

On Saturday, September 27, a procession of approximately 600 marchers – which would ultimately grow to 1,000 participants – left Piedmont Park headed downtown along the city’s main thoroughfare. Holding banners with the phrases “Fire Jenkins” and “No Armed Police or Narks in Park,” the group included several African American ministers and civil rights leaders, such as the Reverend Douglas Slappey of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and Hosea Williams. Once they reached police headquarters the marchers handed over their demands to Superintendent Jordan and the crowd listened to several speeches, before turning around and heading back to the park.49

YOUNG PEOPLE MARCH IN PROTEST AGAINST POLICE TACTICS AFTER A “GREAT SPECKLED BIRD” SPONSORED CONCERT, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, SEPTEMBER 27, 1969. V003-690927-A08, TOM COFFIN PHOTOGRAPHS. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

WHERE DID ALL THE HIPPIES GO?

The riot and the series of confrontations that led up to it would ultimately garner national attention via an October 10 story in Time magazine, entitled “The Great Hippie Hunt,” in which it was suggested that, 50

police and state solicitor general’s agents, with the tacit approval of the city administration and Atlanta’s business community, have waged war against these so-called undesirables, treating them as the greatest threat to the city since General Sherman.

This coverage and the brief flurry of activity following the riot in Piedmont Park ultimately did little to change conditions for the better, either in the Strip or at the park. Indeed, while the Strip had drawn most of the city leaders’ attention up to that point, in the years after the riot, they would increasingly object to the presence of the hip community in Piedmont Park as well, which many Atlantans had given up using after the hip community had adopted it as its own in 1969. Moreover, due to increased police harassment and the passage of a new city loitering ordinance in 1970,51 large numbers of people who had formerly called the Strip home had moved several blocks east to Piedmont Park. Reports in local papers claimed that at least several hundred people now called the park home and in August 1971 the Bird reported: “the Strip is practically deserted and the park is being used more.”52 But the introduction of hard drugs, the growing presence of criminal elements – including violent bikers – and a serious problem regarding teenage runaways changed the nature of the community and provoked a set of responses from the new Mayor Sam Massell that would ultimately end the hips’ occupation of the park and spell the end of Atlanta’s hip community.

After a series of shootings in the summer and fall of 1971, Mayor Massell announced that a “special police detail, a mobile precinct, and a mounted patrol” would soon be on duty in Piedmont Park because, as he described it, “the park is a big place but not big enough to house punks with knives, guns, and needles.”53 These additional policeman soon began patrolling Piedmont Park aggressively and the crackdown had its intended effect – within days, hips had largely abandoned the park. New regulations which were soon adopted also made it harder to organize the kind of events that the hip community had held in Piedmont Park over the past several years, such as rock concerts, political rallies, and antiwar demonstrations.54 Denied the ability to organize events, hips still attempted to congregate informally in the park. Not surprisingly, the police worked diligently to make them unwelcome by selectively enforcing park ordinance 22-38, which made it “unlawful for any person, in any park, to, stand, walk, or ride on the grass,” and by asking for identification from members of any group of six or more hips. As the Bird put it, a “police state” now existed in the park.55

MOUNTED PATROL IN PIEDMONT PARK. BOYD LEWIS COLLECTION AT KENAN RESEARCH CENTER AT THE ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER. COURTESY ATLANTA HISTORY CENTER.

Pushed out of Piedmont Park and the Strip, the hip community saw its demise approaching quickly over the horizon. As its members relocated to other neighborhoods, left town, or moved on to new pursuits and passions, mainstream society’s adoption of many countercultural elements in the first years of the 1970s diminished the need for separate spaces where people could freely practice alternate lifestyles. Smoking marijuana, growing long hair, or just generally letting your freak flag fly no longer seemed so threatening, as witnessed by the newfound presence of “shaggy-haired young business executives in downtown Atlanta.”56  As the hippies disappeared, the developers moved in. Over the next several decades, the coffeehouses, clubs, and crash pads of the Strip were plowed under, replaced by gleaming high-rise office buildings. Piedmont Park, however, remained largely unchanged and stands today as one of the few remaining physical spaces connected to Atlanta’s hip community. This seems appropriate, given the importance of the park to the city’s hippies and political radicals. Although the riot that occurred in September 1969 is perhaps the best remembered event of Atlanta’s freak past, in truth it was one among many that briefly helped turn Piedmont Park into a park for the people.

ATLANTA MAYOR SAM MASSELL INPSECTS AT THE PROPOSED LAYOUT OF COLONY SQUARE, 1971. PHOTO BY ROBERT CONNELL. AJCP103-015A, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION PHOTOGRAPHIC ARCHIVES. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND ARCHIVES, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY LIBRARY. COPYRIGHT ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. COURTESY GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY.

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Source: Atlanta Studies | Parks are for the People: The Piedmont Park Riot and the Politics of Late 1960s Atlanta

Bob Dylan’s Masterpiece, “Blood on the Tracks,” Is Still Hard to Find | The New Yorker

By Alex Ross (New Yorker Magazine)

In September, 1974, Bob Dylan spent four days in the old Studio A, his favorite recording haunt in Manhattan, and emerged with the greatest, darkest album of his career. It is a ten-song study in romantic devastation, as beautiful as it is bleak, worthy of comparison with Schubert’s “Winterreise.” Yet the record in question—“Blood on the Tracks”—has never officially seen the light of day. The Columbia label released an album with that title in January, 1975, but Dylan had reworked five of the songs in last-minute sessions in Minnesota, resulting in a substantial change of tone. Mournfulness and wistfulness gave way to a feisty, festive air. According to Andy Gill and Kevin Odegard, the authors of the book “A Simple Twist of Fate: Bob Dylan and the Making of ‘Blood on the Tracks,’ ” from 2004, Dylan feared a commercial failure. The revised “Blood” sold extremely well, reaching the top of the Billboard album chart, and it ended talk of Dylan’s creative decline. It was not, however, the masterwork of melancholy that he created in Studio A.

For decades, the first “Blood” circulated on a bootleg called the New York Sessions. The compact disc that I picked up in a basement Greenwich Village store had a pleasant overlay of vinyl noise—the result of a transfer from a test pressing. Although several of the tracks have shown up in Columbia’s long-running Bootleg Series, the perennial absence of the full album has made fans wonder whether Dylan is wary of revisiting a turbulent time of his life, when his first marriage, to Sara Lownds, was dissolving. Dylan has denied that “Blood” is autobiographical; in his memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One,” he suggests that the songs were based on Chekhov. Artists tend to dislike personal readings of their most personal work.

Last month, Columbia issued “More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14.” Available both as a single-disk compilation and as a six-CD “deluxe edition,” it is both more and less than what Dylan obsessives have been tiresomely clamoring for. The logical move would have been to include the entire album in its initial guise. Yet the single disk gives you only two of the test-pressing tracks, alongside some admittedly riveting outtakes. The box set has all of the discarded tracks, but they are scattered through a complete chronological survey of the four days of sessions—five and a half hours of Dylan at the height of his powers. You will have to study the track listings to assemble the original record. The elusiveness of “Blood on the Tracks” has been integral to its allure, and so it remains.

The Morgan Library, which owns the autograph manuscript of “Winterreise,” also possesses a five-inch-by-three-inch red spiral notebook in which Dylan wrote down lyrics for “Blood on the Tracks.” A hardback book included with Columbia’s “deluxe edition” reproduces forty pages of sketches. Some of them are sung more or less as written on both incarnations of the album:

He woke up, the room was bare
He could didn’t see her anywhere
He told himself he didn’t care,
pushed the window open wide
Then felt an emptiness inside
to which he just could not relate
Brought on by a Simple Twist of Fate

Other lyrics never saw the light of day, and are brutally confessional: “Doomed (led) by a heart that wanders astray / Trapped by a brain that I can’t throw away . . . Was it really 12 years ago, well, it seems like just the other day . . . And it’s Breaking me up with only myself to blame.”

Clichés about heartbreak feeding genius fail to explain the singular potency of “Blood on the Tracks.” The rawness of feeling is certainly there, but it is joined to meticulous craftsmanship in the working-out of words and music. The notebook shows constant, obsessive revision—a sort of perfectionism of disaster. “Idiot Wind,” the extended primal scream at the heart of the album, is seen in drafts so crowded with marginal additions that they are hardly legible. Often Dylan doesn’t cross things out, instead superimposing alternatives:

The priest wore black on the seventh day and waltzed around on a tilted floor
stepped all over me
After you (came down on me) you said you never saw my face before
did me in
done
(After you stepped all over my head, you said ya never wanted to see my face no more)
I BEG YOUR PARDON MADAM
(thru the circles round your eyes)
IDIOT WIND – BLOWIN EVERY TIME YOU MOVE YOUR JAW
FROM THE GRAND COOLIE DAM TO THE MARDI GRAS
(blowing thru the hot and dusty skies)

Such collisions of hallucinatory images and dour realism—the waltzing priest, the marital argument—are common in Dylan’s work, yet here the literary touches seem less an artful device than a form of extreme emphasis. What’s more, the writing process is open-ended: images are shuffled around through successive drafts and, later, through successive takes in the studio. That priest waltzes on a tilted floor; then he waltzes while a building burns; then he sits stone-faced. The wind blows from the Grand Coulee Dam to the Mardi Gras, then to the Capitol.

The music that Dylan wrote for these lyrics has a chilly, clammy air. His guitar is in open-E tuning, meaning that all six strings of the guitar are tuned to notes of the E-major triad: E, B, E, G#, B, E. As a result, the tonic chord rings rich and bright. But each verse begins with a jarring A-minor chord, which tends to land awkwardly. The middle note easily strays off center, souring the sound. Occasionally, a stray F-sharp bleeds through, adding a Romantic tinge. The unwieldiness of the progression is at one with the fraught atmosphere of the text.

The emotional violence is troubling. The word “idiot” is flung down twelve times. Some lines are openly assaultive: “One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes, / Blood on your saddle.” Here, Dylan’s original approach makes a substantial difference. He made four complete takes in New York, plus several rehearsals and false starts. Each time, he has only a quiet bass guitar backing him. (A ghostly organ was later overdubbed.) The tempo is slow, the delivery subdued. All this is at odds with the song’s smoldering rage, and the contradiction gets resolved in the final chorus, where Dylan shifts from the second person to the first-person plural: “Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats / Blowing through the letters that we wrote . . . We’re idiots, babe, it’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”

Many Dylanists will disagree with me—the second “Blood” has eloquent defenders—but to my ears the later version, recorded with six pick-up musicians in Minnesota, cuts out much of the complexity. Mannerisms overtake the singer’s delivery. “Idiot” becomes “yidiot,” and a goofy pirate yowl periodically intrudes: “I woke up on the roadside, daydreaming about the way things sometimes aaahhhhhrrrre.” (When he does this on one of the New York takes, Tony Brown, the bass player, laughs out loud.) The admission of shared responsibility at the end doesn’t register: you’re carried away by the momentum of the band.

All through the New York sessions, you hear a persistent downward tug in the voice, a grimace of regret. Even the album’s livelier numbers, such as “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” can be wrenched into the abyss; on one take, the tempo drastically slows, giving an almost tragic tinge to a line like “I’ve only known careless love.” The potential downside is a tendency toward relentlessness: one piece after another in the key of E, spiralling through love and loss. The final album offers more variety. The Minnesota band gives a rollicking energy to the cinematic yarn of “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.” Arguably, that song suffers under the austere New York style, though I love it anyway.

Ultimately, the long-running debate over the competing incarnations of “Blood on the Tracks” misses the point of what makes this artist so infinitely interesting, at least for some of us. Jeff Slate, who wrote liner notes for “More Blood, More Tracks,” observes that Dylan’s work is always in flux. The process that is documented on these eighty-seven tracks is not one of looking for the “right” take; it’s the beginning of an endless sequence of variations, which are still unfolding on his Never-Ending Tour. In an article from 1999, I notated some of Dylan’s live revisions of “Simple Twist of Fate.” The “More Blood” book reproduces alternate lyrics that were written on stationery from the Hotel Drei Könige am Rhein, in Basel. Dylan is still at it. The other night, in Durham, North Carolina, he sang:

He woke up and she was gone
He didn’t see nothing but the dawn
Got out of bed and put his shoes back on
Then he pushed back the blinds
Found a note she left behind
What’d it say? It said you should have met me back in ‘58
We could have avoided this, ah, little simple twist of fate.

To assemble the original “Blood on the Tracks” from the eighty-seven takes on “More Blood, More Tracks,” select tracks 69 (CD 5, No. 3), 71 (CD 5, No. 5), 34 (CD 3, No. 3), 76 (CD 5, No. 10), 48 (CD 4, No. 2), 16 (CD 2, No. 5), 11 (CD 1, No. 11), 59 (CD 4, No. 13), 46 (CD 3, No. 15), and 58 (CD 4, No. 12).

Source: Bob Dylan’s Masterpiece, “Blood on the Tracks,” Is Still Hard to Find | The New Yorker

Bob Dylan’s First Day with “Tangled Up in Blue” | The New Yorker

The  New York sessions for Bob Dylan’s 1975 album, “Blood on the Tracks,” have always been ground zero for Dylan’s reputation as a cipher and a curmudgeon in the recording studio, intent on speeding through the proceedings and capturing lightning in a bottle, quality control be damned. As the story has been told—mostly by musicians who no doubt felt that they didn’t get a fair shake during the biggest moment of their careers—Dylan started sessions for “Blood on the Tracks” on September 16, 1974, on Rosh Hashanah, with a band of New York session “cats” who couldn’t hear what Dylan was doing on songs that he hadn’t bothered to teach them. He waved them off, one by one, as the day wore on, essentially firing them before they had a chance to prove themselves. The problem is, it simply isn’t true.

As the author of the liner notes for “More Blood, More Tracks,” the latest entry in Dylan’s “Bootleg Series,” I was one of the first people to hear the raw session tapes in chronological order. I listened while perusing Dylan’s fabled “red notebook,” in which he’d written the lyrics to the ten songs on “Blood on the Tracks” in his tiny, precise scrawl. What I quickly realized turned the legend upside down: Dylan entered the studio early on the sixteenth, long before any of the session musicians had arrived, intent on cutting an acoustic album—a sort of “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” for the mid-seventies. Contrary to most accounts, Dylan was supremely prepared, and immediately went about delivering aching versions of some of the best—and most intimate—songs that he had ever written. In the era of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and so many others unjustly or unfortunately dubbed “the New Dylan,” and after a clutch of albums that fans had found less than satisfying, Dylan was throwing down the gauntlet, showing himself once again to be the master singer-songwriter and performer.

By the time the musicians who’d been hired to back Dylan arrived that afternoon, he had already cut eleven songs. Dylan would record another fifteen that day—including five takes of “Idiot Wind,” alone again, save for the bassist Tony Brown—for a total of thirty-six, an epic amount by any standard. But it’s clear as you listen that instead of things getting better as the sessions progressed, with the musicians finding their groove with Dylan, the atmosphere in the room degenerated. Most interesting, while Dylan gamely puts the band through their paces on the seemingly easy blues of “Call Letter Blues” and “Meet Me in the Morning” (after attempts at “Simple Twist of Fate” failed miserably), he never lets them near what he surely senses must be his latest masterpiece: “Tangled Up in Blue.” And so, on the afternoon of September 17th, Dylan steps up to the microphone and delivers a hushed, intense, and powerfully intimate version of that song, accompanied only by Brown on bass.

There’s a plaintiveness in that very first version of “Tangled Up in Blue” that’s unusual. It’s the earliest version we have of the now-familiar tale—of the star-crossed couple and their travels and travails, that jumps from the first to third person and back again—and while Dylan doesn’t necessarily sound tentative, the way he often did on “The Cutting Edge: 1965-1966,” the “Bootleg Series” entry that chronicled his “thin wild mercury music” years, he does seem more vulnerable than he ever had before, or ever would be again. “There’s a lot of honesty there,” Jeff Burger, the author of “Dylan on Dylan,” said. “It’s raw and heartfelt, with less posing than he’d done on some of his earlier songs. Of course, many great songs had come before, like ‘Desolation Row’ and so many others, but he was showing off his way with words and painting a picture of another world, not necessarily telling a whole lot about himself. But here he really gets down to the personal, even if it isn’t completely direct.”

While he was writing the songs for “Blood on the Tracks,” Dylan had taken up painting classes with the New York artist Norman Raeben. By all accounts, Raeben was a taskmaster, but he imparted in his students a sense both that life itself was the art, with their creations being merely the by-product of that experience, and, significantly for Dylan, that past, present, and future could all coexist in their work. “He put my mind and my hand and my eye together, in a way that allowed me to do consciously what I unconsciously felt,” Dylan told Rolling Stone in 1978, of Raeben’s influence on his songwriting approach.

While Dylan is known to endlessly and brutally edit his lyrics until the very last minute in the studio, and the epic “Idiot Wind” transformed in the course of the “Blood on the Tracks” sessions, “Tangled Up in Blue” is the one song in Dylan’s vast catalogue that he has never seemed to be finished with. There are eight takes from the New York sessions, and the slightest lyrical change, shift in tempo, or variation in delivery causes the song to reveal itself in unexpected ways. When Dylan launches into take two of the song, it’s bouncy, with punchy vocals and organ flourishes, making it, already, a different tale altogether. Further takes seem to split the difference between dark and light. By the time Dylan and Brown attempt the song for the last time in New York, in a remarkable version recorded at the eleventh hour of those sessions, Dylan has seemingly wrung all he can out of “Tangled Up in Blue.”

Still, Dylan would revisit the song just three months later—this time in Minneapolis—in the version that we would all come to love and obsess over. His voice was already transformed, more akin to the carnival-barker delivery that he’d employ on 1975’s “Desire” and the Rolling Thunder Review tour. The version Dylan performed less than a year later on that tour was yet again vastly reworked, and he would continue tinkering with it over the years. A decade later, in 1984, on the album “Real Live,” Dylan felt he’d finally found the song he’d been looking for. “On ‘Real Live’ it is more like it should have been,” Dylan told Rolling Stone in 1985. “I was never really happy with it. I guess I was just trying to make it like a painting where you can see the different parts, but then you also see the whole of it. With that particular song, that’s what I was trying to do . . . with the concept of time, and the way the characters change from the first person to the third person, and you’re never quite sure if the third person is talking or the first person is talking. But as you look at the whole thing it really doesn’t matter. On ‘Real Live,’ the imagery is better and more the way I would have liked it than on the original recording.”

Dylan has performed “Tangled Up in Blue” 1,546 times during his Never Ending Tour, which began in 1988 and is still going. Like any good Dylan obsessive, I’ve seen many of those performances. It’s a guilty pleasure of Dylanologists to trainspot the tweaks—both large and small—that Dylan makes to the lyrics from year to year, or sometimes from night to night. Still, when I was presented with Dylan’s latest revision, written in his own hand—which is part of the “Mondo Scripto” exhibition of his art currently on display at the Halcyon Gallery in London— it was like seeing an old, dear friend, whom you know intimately, but who’s no doubt changed and grown over the years, adapting with the times.

Tangled Up in Blue v 13 Page 1 - Google Chrome 01_11_2018 13_14_17 (2)Tangled Up in Blue v 13 Page 2 - Google Chrome 01_11_2018 13_16_54 (2)

Fans who have seen Dylan in concert recently will recognize some of the changes, of how “he let the law take its course” has taken the place of using “a little too much force,” or how instead of “fishing outside Delacroix,” “everybody’d gone somewhere.” Of course, the past is still close behind, “following me like a shadow that couldn’t get out of my mind / sticking like glue / Tangled up in blue,” but she isn’t working in a topless bar anymore but at the Moonlight Lounge, “where men put money in her hand.” “There’s always been a certain truth about money that I never did understand,” this new version of Dylan’s classic tells us. “You put things to bed and you’ll call it a day / Sometimes you go along for the ride / You pick your brains and you bury the hatchet / Then you walk on the wild side / Towns are ruined and cities burns and images disappear / Weep with all of your heart if you would / I too cried a tear / Nothing you can do / If you’re tangled up in blue.” It recasts the song in the spirit of our times, in the same way the original was so much a product of the Vietnam and Watergate era.

While researching the sessions for “Blood on the Tracks,” I spoke to the writer Larry (Ratso) Sloman, who got to know Dylan around the time and has remained friends with him ever since. He told me a fascinating story of an artist who is perhaps oblivious to how seriously we all take him, but also at peace with his creative process. “I was around during the sessions for ‘Infidels,’ and I fell in love with the song ‘Blind Willie McTell,’ ” Sloman said, referring to a song that’s considered one of Dylan’s best but didn’t find a home on a release until the first volume of his “Bootleg Series,” in 1991. “When the album was finished, Bob called me up and asked me if I wanted to come over to hear it. He played it for me, but no ‘Blind Willie McTell.’ I asked him, ‘What gives, Bob? Where’s ‘Blind Willie McTell?’ And, without missing a beat, he goes, ‘It’s no big deal, Ratso. It’s just an album. I’ve made twenty-two. And I’ll make more.’ ”

Unlike, say, Paul Simon, a presenter who toils over his records, perfecting every nuance until everything is just so, Dylan is restless, visceral, mercurial, always seemingly on the way to his next creation. “More Blood, More Tracks,” and especially its centerpiece, the constantly evolving, shifting, changing “Tangled Up in Blue,” is pure Dylan, a portrait of an artist who never seems to tire of the chase.

“Tangled Up in Blue” copyright © 1974 by Ram’s Horn Music, renewed in 2002 by Ram’s Horn Music. Additional lyrics copyright © 2018 Ram’s Horn Music. Courtesy of the MondoScripto exhibit at the Halcyon Gallery, London.

  • Jeff Slate is a New York City-based songwriter and music journalist. He has written liner notes for Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and others, and is the co-author of “The Authorized Roy Orbison.”

Source: Bob Dylan’s First Day with “Tangled Up in Blue” | The New Yorker

The Musicians’ Olympus: Ric Grech (bass / violin)

Ric Grech (bass / violin)


BANDS:

BAND PERIOD DETAILS
The Berkeley Squares  
Exciters  
The Farinas [1965-1966]
The Roaring Sixties  
Family [1967-May 69] 4 albums + 2 compilations
Blind Faith [May 69-Aug 69] 2 albums
Airforce [Jan 70-May 70] 1 album + 1 compilation
John Mayall Band [Jun 70] (1 gig)
Traffic [Aug 70-Dec 71] 2 albums + 2 compilations
Eric Clapton & The Palpitations [Jan 73] (2 gigs) 2 albums + 4 compilations
The Crickets [1973-1974] 4 albums
Johnny Rivers Band [1973-1974]
Charge [1974]
Ric Grech Band   1 compilation
KGB [1975] 1 album
Ric Grech Band (again) [Dec 75-Jun 76]
Square Dancing Machine [Jun 76-1976]
Denny Laine Band [1983-1984]

BIOGRAPHY:

Ric Grech

Very fine bassist as well as violin player, I always liked his style since I first heard him in the Blind Faith album. I felt very sad when I read of his sad death, he always seemed so young, with his pretty face. Ric Grech was born Richard Roman Grech on November 1st, 1946, in Bordeaux, France, but grew up in Leicester, England. He died on March 17th, 1990 at Gwendolen Road Hospital, Leicester. He suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, and this was followed by a combined kidney and liver failure. He was 43, too sad. 😦

One note: you´ll see him credited in albums as Rick Grech, even as Rich Grech, but my guess is that the most accurate name he used is Ric Grech.


THE BERKELEY SQUARES


Berkeley Squares was a band from Leicester, formed by Martin Osborn. This was Ric Grech first band, and Martin taught Ric to play guitar as he originally came to music via violin and was first violinist in the Leicester Youth Orchestra for a while:

THE BERKELEY SQUARES #?
?
Martin Osborn
guitar
+ others unknown to me. Help!

If someone can help with additional info, it would be very welcomed.


OTHER EARLY BANDS…


Roger Chapman and Ric Grech played in a band with guitarist Stuart Brown, before they went to Farinas. Does anybody know the band name or more details, please? Maybe the band name was Exciters?

He also formed a band with brothers Ray Martinez (guitar) and Paul Martinez (bass), but again, can´t find more info.


THE FARINAS


This band was the seed for Family group. Also known as Jim King And The Farinas, it was formed by Jim King and guitarist Charlie Whitney in 1962. Ric Grech joined them in 1965:

THE FARINAS #2
1965-1966
Charlie Whitney
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Jim King
sax
Harry Overnall
drums

They played good strong R&B stuff.

In 1966, singer Roger Chapman joined The Farinas:

THE FARINAS #3
1966
Roger Chapman
vocals
Charlie Whitney
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Jim King
sax
Harry Overnall
drums
The Roaring Sixtiesê
The Roaring Sixtiesê
The Roaring Sixtiesê
The Roaring Sixtiesê
The Roaring Sixtiesê

With Chapman, they also started to play Sam & Dave soul covers. But they soon changed their name to The Roaring Sixties.

Other info on members of The Farinas (I know up to 6 members)
To be covered (3): Roger Chapman, Jim King, Charlie Whitney

THE ROARING SIXTIES


The Roaring Sixties was the new name for The Farinas in 1966:

THE ROARING SIXTIES #1
1966
êThe Farinas
êThe Farinas
êThe Farinas
êThe Farinas
êThe Farinas
Roger Chapman
vocals
Charlie Whitney
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Jim King
sax
Harry Overnall
drums
Familyê
Familyê
Familyê
Familyê

In mid 1967, they changed their name again to The Family, then changing their drummer.

Other info on members of The Roaring Sixties (I know up to 5 members)
To be covered (3): Roger Chapman, Jim King, Charlie Whitney

FAMILY


Family

Family

Originall called The Family (although they soon dropped the ´The´ part of the name) at the suggestion of Kim Fowley, this was their first lineup, in mid 1967:

FAMILY #1
1967-May 69
êThe Roaring Sixties
êThe Roaring Sixties
êThe Roaring Sixties
êThe Roaring Sixties
Roger Chapman
vocals
Charlie Whitney
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass, violin, vocals
Jim King
sax
Rob Townsend
drums
Blind Faithê

They recorded their first single, ´Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens / Gypsy woman´ in October 1967, with no success.

Their first album, Music in a doll´s house, was produced by Traffic guitarist, Dave Mason. At the same time, the band backed Dave Mason in the B-side of his first single.

After their second album, Family entertainment, Ric surprised everybody when he left the band in the middle of a tour in May 1969, to join the first supergroup ever, Blind Faith.

Family in 1968 – from left ro right: Ric Grech, Rob Townshend, Charlie Whitney, Roger Chapman, Jim King

Family – from left ro right: Ric Grech, Charlie Whitney, Rob Townshend, Jim King, Roger Chapman

Other info on members of Family (I know up to 10 members)
Old pages (1): Jim Cregan
To be covered (8): Tony Ashton, Roger Chapman, Jim King, Poli Palmer, Rob Townsend, John Weider, John Wetton, Charlie Whitney

BLIND FAITH


Blind Faith – from left to right Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker

With these talents together, the less-known boy was Ric Grech, who was asked to leave Family and join Blind Faith in May 1969:

BLIND FAITH #2
May 69-Aug 69
êFamily
Steve Winwood
keyboards, vocals
Eric Clapton
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass, violin
Ginger Baker
drums

They released only one album, Blind Faith, published in August 1969. I like it, although I must reckon it has some not-very fortunate tracks. But there are some others that were converted into real classics, like ´Presence of the Lord´ or ´Can’t find my way home´. It also includes a Buddy Holly rendition, ´Well all right´ (years later covered by Santana). We can find a beautiful violin solo by Ric in the song ´Sea of joy´. There´s a deluxe edition as 2CD with 5 unreleased tracks and 4 long jams as a trio (still without Ric, but with percussionist Guy Warren from Ghana, a close friend of Ginger Baker).

They made their live debut as the main attraction in a huge concert in Hyde Park in June 1969, who also was attended by ´new´ bands like King Crimson. This was followed by a Scandinavian tour in July 1969, before moving to the States for another tour.

The story of this band was really short, as it seems that Eric Clapton´s original idea was quickly abandoned for a humble stay as sideman in Delaney & Bonnie’s band (the opening band for Blind Faith), far from stardom. They simply disbanded in August 1969 after their last gig. After a while, all but Clapton stayed together under Ginger Baker´s Airforce name.

Blind Faith – from left to right Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech

Other info on members of Blind Faith (I know up to 4 members)
To be covered (3): Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood

UNNAMED BAND


Soon after Blind Faith´s separation, Clapton and some friends recorded some sessions at Olympic Studios in London, but none from it was ever released. Some of the musicians were:

UNNAMED BAND #1
1970
Eric Clapton
guitar
George Harrison †
guitar
Denny Laine
guitar
Trevor Burton
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass

Laine and Burton were at this time in the band Balls. And Clapton finally joined permanently to Delaney & Bonnie. It was also published in the press in August 1970 that Balls were recording 12 tracks for an album that was never released, and Ric Grech played in some of those tracks, but they´re maybe speaking of these same sessions.

I guess these sessions included the tracks ´Spending All My Days´ and ´Exchange And Mart´, recorded in October 1969 by Ric with George Harrison, Trevor Burton and Denny Laine. These two tracks appear as bonus tracks in a rare German reissue of the Blind Faith album.

Other info on members of Unnamed Band (I know up to 5 members)
Old pages (1): Denny Laine
To be covered (3): Trevor Burton, Eric Clapton, George Harrison

GINGER BAKER´S AIRFORCE


This free-form outfit was assembled by Ginger Baker. The list of musicians wasn’t stable, in the jazz tradition. They started their short career in January 1970.

They soon released their first album, Airforce, with this personnel:

AIRFORCE #1
Jan 70
êBlind Faith
êBlind Faith
êBlind Faith
Jeanette Jacobs †
vocals
Denny Laine
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Steve Winwood
keyboards
Graham Bond †
keyboards, sax
Harold McNair †
flute, sax
Chris Wood †
sax, flute
Remi Kabaka
percussion
Ginger Baker
drums
Phil Seamen †
drums
Trafficê

With some other guests, like Bud Beadle (sax) and Steve Gregory (flute, sax) (later both in Gonzalez), Colin Gibson (bass), all of them were to join the band later.

In February 1970, Winwood leaves the band to reform Traffic again (where Chris Wood soon would join).

This is a slightly different lineup for Airforce from March to May 1970, when Steve Winwood had already left:

AIRFORCE #2
Mar 70-May 70
Jeanette Jacobs †
vocals
Denny Laine
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Graham Bond †
keyboards, sax
Harold McNair †
flute, sax
Chris Wood †
sax, flute
Remi Kabaka
percussion
Ginger Baker
drums
Phil Seamen †
drums
Trafficê

This is a enlarged lineup for Airforce in May 1970:

AIRFORCE #?
May 70
Jeanette Jacobs
vocals
Eleanor Barooshian
vocals
Denny Laine
guitar
Trevor Burton
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Graham Bond †
keyboards, sax
Harold McNair †
flute, sax
Bud Beadle
sax
Steve Gregory
sax
Remi Kabaka
percussion
Ginger Baker
drums
Phil Seamen †
drums
Alan White
drums
Trafficê

And then, Ric Grech left to join Traffic in August 1970.

Other info on members of Airforce (I know up to 21 members)
Already covered (2): Speedy AcquayeAliki Ashman
Old pages (2): Colin GibsonDenny Laine
To be covered (16): Ginger Baker, Eleanor Barooshian, Bud Beadle, Graham Bond, Trevor Burton, Kenny Craddock, Steve Gregory, Joni Haastrup, Jeanette Jacobs, Remi Kabaka, Harold McNair, Phil Seamen, Diane Stewart, Alan White, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood

JOHN MAYALL BAND


In June 1970, John Mayall was to play at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. But, not having a stable band at the time, he asked some of his old friends to play with him. See the surprising one-off lineup! Peter Green, not long ago leaving Fleetwood Mac, bassist Ric Grech, and drummer Aynsley Dunbar! WOW!

JOHN MAYALL BAND #?
Jun 70
John Mayall
vocals, harmonica, keyboards, guitar
Peter Green
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Aynsley Dunbar
drums
Other info on members of John Mayall Band (I know up to 88 members)
Already covered (4): Davy GrahamKeef HartleyDick Heckstall-SmithChris Mercer
Old pages (6): Rick BrownAynsley DunbarPeter GreenJimmy McCullochTony ReevesMicky Waller
To be covered (77): Colin Allen, Johnny Almond, Rocky Athas, Ronnie Barron, Jack Bruce, Warren Bryant, Tom Canning, Eric Clapton, Fred Clark, Rick Cortes, Jay Davenport, Roger Dean, Alex Dmochowski, Tim Drummond, Terry Edmunds, Mick Fleetwood, Hughie Flint, Andy Fraser, Mike Gardner, Victor Gaskin, John Gilbey, Don ´Sugarcane´ Harris, High Tide Harris, Martin Hart, Bobby Haynes,… up to 77 musicians.

TRAFFIC


Ric Grech rejoined his colleagues Steve Winwood and Chris Wood in Traffic, in August 1970:

TRAFFIC #3
Aug 70-May 71
êAirforce
Steve Winwood
keyboards, vocals, guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Chris Wood †
sax, flute
Jim Capaldi †
drums, vocals

They wrote the music for a film called Nevertheless, but the film was never done.

In May 1971, they enrich Traffic with 3 more members:

TRAFFIC #4
May 71-1971
êAirforce
Steve Winwood
keyboards, vocals, guitar
Dave Mason
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Chris Wood †
sax, flute
Rebop Kwaku Baah †
percussion
Jim Capaldi †
drums, vocals
Jim Gordon
drums

They released a live album, Welcome to the canteen. I must say that it’s not really credited to Traffic, but to the names of the 7 musicians, but no doubt it’s a Traffic album. I love this album, although it lacks a very bad sound. It contains fantastic performances, and some songs from Winwood’s former band, Spencer Davis Group. I hope someday it will be remastered or enhanced, it deserves the task!

Soon after this album, Dave Mason leaves the band again.

Traffic – from left to right: Chris Wood, Ric Grech, Jim Gordon, Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood

During 1971, Traffic becomes a sextet with Dave Mason´s departure:

TRAFFIC #5
1971-Dec 71
Steve Winwood
keyboards, vocals, guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Chris Wood †
sax, flute
Rebop Kwaku Baah †
percussion
Jim Capaldi †
drums, vocals
Jim Gordon
drums

The new lineup released another album, The low spark of high heeled boys. I like the song ´Rainmaker´ a lot.

But in December 1971, Ric and Jim Gordon leave the band.

Other info on members of Traffic (I know up to 14 members)
To be covered (13): Rebop Kwaku Baah, Barry Beckett, Randall Bramblett, Jim Capaldi, Rosko Gee, Jim Gordon, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Dave Mason, Mike McEvoy, Walfredo Reyes Jr, Steve Winwood, Chris Wood

ERIC CLAPTON BAND (aka THE PALPITATIONS)


from left to right: Wood, Grech, Clapton, Townshend

Due to his problems with drug addiction, Eric Clapton had disappeared from musical scene since 1971. Now it was 1973, and his friend Pete Townshend convinced him to come back to music. To encourage him, Pete Townshend brought some old Eric friends to help him feel comfortable. The band was funnily called The Palpitations, because of the nervous state all they shared for if Eric finally didn’t appear to play:

ERIC CLAPTON BAND #?
Jan 73
êFaces
êThe Who
êTraffic
êTraffic
êTraffic
Eric Clapton
vocals, guitar
Ron Wood
guitar
Pete Townshend
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Steve Winwood
keyboards, vocals
Rebop Kwaku Baah †
percussion
Jim Capaldi †
drums
Jim Karstein
drums
Facesê
The Whoê
Trafficê
Trafficê
Trafficê

They played together for a week, preparing the two concerts, to be made on January 13, 1973. A live album was released in September 1973 from those concerts, but it lacked a poor sound and even a poorer selection of tracks (only 6 tracks). It was a sad thing after all the interest they all took on succeed. But … this has been solved after 15 years. Now there is a extended edition from those concerts, the sound has been remastered (and incredibly enhanced!), and now we haven´t 6, but 14 tracks!!! A superb album. I loved the original in spite of all, but this one is really fantastic!!

from left to right: Ronnie Wood, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech and Pete Townshendfrom left to right: Grech, Wood, Townshend, Clapton, Capaldi

Other info on members of Eric Clapton Band (I know up to 74 members)
Already covered (3): Dave BronzeDonald ´Duck´ DunnTim Renwick
Old pages (9): Gary BrookerLaura CreamerMichael KamenKatie KissoonMarcy LevyShaun MurphyJamie OldakerHenry SpinettiChris Stainton
To be covered (61): Rebop Kwaku Baah, Doyle Bramhall II, Randy Brecker, Jim Capaldi, Tim Carmon, Chyna, Eric Clapton, Alan Clark, Simon Clarke, Phil Collins, Ray Cooper, Kenneth Crouch, Ronnie Cuber, Paulinho Da Costa, Alan Darby, David Delhomme, Nathan East, Yvonne Elliman, Andy Fairweather Low, Steve Ferrone, Gina Foster, Steve Gadd, Roger Hawkins, Richie Hayward, Charlean Hines,… up to 61 musicians.

THE CRICKETS


This was the band for rock’n’roll pioneer Buddy Holly. He died in 1959, but his band is still alive and rockin’ today. Around 1973, Ric Grech joined them:

THE CRICKETS #?
1973
Sonny Curtis
guitar, vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Glen D Hardin
piano
Jerry Allison
drums

But before the tour was started, Ric Grech convinced great guitarist Albert Lee to join The Crickets:

THE CRICKETS #?
1973-May 74
Sonny Curtis
guitar, vocals
Albert Lee
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Glen D Hardin
piano
Jerry Allison
drums

Albert Lee spent until May 1974 with them, recording three albums, as far as I know.

Other info on members of The Crickets (I know up to 13 members)
To be covered (2): Glen D Hardin, Albert Lee

JOHNNY RIVERS BAND


This was the Johnny Rivers Boogie Band in September 1973:

JOHNNY RIVERS BAND #?
1973
Johnny Rivers
vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Tony Ashton †
keyboards
Dave Kelper

And this was the lineup of the Johnny Rivers Boogie Band that played in Spain in September 1974:

JOHNNY RIVERS BAND #?
1974
Johnny Rivers
vocals
Ric Grech †
bass
Zoot Money
keyboards
Patrick Doheny
Dave Kelper
Other info on members of Johnny Rivers Band (I know up to 8 members)
To be covered (4): Tony Ashton, Mickey Jones, Zoot Money, John York

CHARGE


This was a project by Ian Green. They released a self-titled album, Charge in 1974, and assembled a different lineup for a few gigs. I can´t find proper info about the complete lineups, but Ric Grech played here, although he doesn´t appear in the album:

CHARGE #?
1974
Rosetta Hightower
vocals
Ric Grech †
bass, violin, guitar
Ian Green
keyboards
+ others unknown to me. Help!

Please, any info about this band would be very welcomed!

Other info on members of Charge (I know up to 10 members)
To be covered (9): Andy Dalby, Smiley De Jones, Ian Green, Rosetta Hightower, Neil Hubbard, Godfrey McLean, Alan Spenner, Lee Vanderbilt, Mike Woods

RIC GRECH BAND


I think that after leaving The Crickets, Ric tried to form his own band, but I don’t know details about it. Can anybody help me, please? I also know he tried to make a band with fantastic Spanish guitarist Ray Gomez, but I don’t know if both bands are really the same:

RIC GRECH BAND #?
?
Ric Grech †
bass, vocals
Ray Gomez
guitar
+ others unknown to me. Help!

KGB


KGB – from left to right: Carmine Appice (bottom), Ric Grech, Barry Goldberg, Mike Bloomfield (bottom), Ray Kennedy

KGB was a band formed in 1975, with great expectations, due to so much famous musicians being part of the project:

KGB #1
1975
Ray Kennedy
vocals
Mike Bloomfield †
guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Barry Goldberg
keyboards
Carmine Appice
drums

A really superb lineup. But, as many times happen, they hadn´t the success they deserved, and after their first album, KGB, Ric and Mike Bloomfield left the band.

Other info on members of KGB (I know up to 7 members)
To be covered (6): Carmine Appice, Mike Bloomfield, Barry Goldberg, Ray Kennedy, Ben Schultz, Greg Sutton

RIC GRECH BAND (again)


Ric Grech settled back in Leicester around Autumn 1975, and started looking at the local music scene. In December 1975, he started played his first gigs, with an existing band The Lentones:

RIC GRECH BAND #?
1975-1976
Ric Grech †
violin, guitar, vocals
Al Sansome
guitar
John Cusack
bass
Mickey Fleming
drums, accordion
+
Claire Hamill
vocals, sometimes
Mick Pini
guitar, sometimes

This line-up continued to play a number of gigs around the Midlands, sometimes being called The Ric Grech Band and augmented on occasion by a fine blues musician from Leicester, Mick Pini on guitar and the lovely Clare Hammill on vocals.

It is interesting to point out here that Ric never played bass here, only violin and acoustic guitar.

After a while, they changed the musicians and started adopting the new name Square Dancing Machine.

Other info on members of Ric Grech Band (I know up to 7 members)
To be covered (2): Ray Gomez, Claire Hamill

SQUARE DANCING MACHINE


Ric Grech renamed his band as Square Dancing Machine in June 1976:

SQUARE DANCING MACHINE #1
Jun 76
Ric Grech †
guitar, violin, vocals
Al Sansome
guitar
Mickey Fleming
guitar, accordion, vocals
Dave Seddons
pedal steel guitar
John Cusack
bass
Howard Coley
drums

After their first gig in June 1976 at Colchester University, Ric played the rest of the tour with the Leicester band Captain Video supporting him.

That tour resulted in a 2nd lineup of Square Dancing Machine, when the lineup of Captain Video joined Ric:

SQUARE DANCING MACHINE #2
1976
Ric Grech †
guitar, violin, vocals
Claire Hamill
vocals
Mick Pini
guitar
Tony Taylor
guitar
Les
pedal steel guitar
Mick White
bass
Howard Coley
drums

Claire Hamill joined them in April 1976. This lineup lasted just the summer of 1976, playing a mini-tour of UK, London, Leicester, Scarboro, etc.

They recorded one single, ´Ashes Of Love´, with The Who´s sound engineer Bob Pridden, but this was never released. After that, they split.

Other info on members of Square Dancing Machine (I know up to 11 members)
To be covered (1): Claire Hamill

DANNY PEYRONEL-DENNY LAINE BAND


Danny Peyronel was living in Spain at that time, and the band where he was, Banzai, was over, so he contacted Denny Laine (who had been previously living in Spain) to form a band. Denny surprisingly brought his former colleagues Ric Grech and Ginger Baker with him:

DENNY LAINE BAND #?
?
Danny Peyronel
vocals, keyboards
Denny Laine
vocals, guitar
Ric Grech †
bass
Ginger Baker
drums

And that happened in Spain! Unfortunately, the project went nowhere, when a Spanish producer tried to record them. Oh, so there will be some tapes from that project? That would be great!!

Other info on members of Denny Laine Band (I know up to 28 members)
Already covered (2): Cliff BartonBinky McKenzie
Old pages (2): Denny LaineDanny Peyronel
To be covered (14): Ginger Baker, Trevor Burton, Steve Holley, Andy Leigh, John Morshead, Jamie Moses, Gary Nuttall, John Pearson, Mike Piggott, Viv Prince, Andy Richards, Gordon Sellar, Steven Thompson, Ted Tomlin

AND THEN…


And I don’t know many more things about him till his sad death in 1990. Can anybody help me, please?

I include here some facts I´ve been reading along the years, related to Ric.

Around 1980, Ric occasionally sat in and jammed with Carl Shimmings´ jazz band that played on Sunday nights at the Old Horse Pub in London Road, Leicester. He only played violin as Carl played bass and led the band.

In October 1985, the band called The Rent (although billed as the Geoff Overon Blues Band on that occasion) was playing at the Phoenix Theater in Leicester on one of the regular Sunday lunchtime jazz sessions. Ric sat on violin for the last few numbers in the set, and this fantastic photo (courtesy of Graeme Malen) shows Ric, Geoff Overon on guitar and Graeme Malen on the drums, finishing the very last song.

The Rent (aka Geoff Overon Blues Band) – from left to right: Ric Grech, Geoff Overon, Graeme Malen – copyright of the photo: Graeme Malen


SOLO ALBUMS


Ric Grech has one album under his name, The last five years, but it’s not really a new album, but a compilation of songs where he played and mostly wrote (with Family, Blind Faith and Airforce).

This page is dedicated with my love to Ric. It was one of the first pages I ever wrote, back in January 1998. Many years have passed, and I still love Ric´s playing.


UNRELEASED PROJECTS:

  • Ric Grech played with The Rolling Stones in the sessions for their Beggars Banquet album, although he doesn’t appear in the finished album. In March 1969 he played in a different take of ´Street fighting man´ along with Jim King and Roger Chapman on backing vocals.
  • Still in The Rolling Stones sessions for their Beggars Banquet album, in May 1969, Ric Grech played violin in a variation of the song ´Factory girl´ along with Dave Mason. Other people attending those sessions include: Rocky Dijon (percussion), Marianne Faithfull & Anita Pallenberg (backing vocals), as well as Nicky Hopkins (piano). All produced by Jimmy Miller.
  • After leaving Family, Poli Palmer tried to form a new band with Ric, around 1972, but it didn´t work out.
  • In June 1973, the band Sharks, led by guitar genius Chris Spedding, recorded some tracks (some with Pat Donaldson on bass, some with Ric Grech), but sadly, they still remain unreleased.
  • In October 1974, Jimmy Page recorded a song called ´Scarlet´ with Keith Richards on vocals and guitar, Ric Grech on bass, Ian ´Stu´ Stewart on piano and Bruce Rowland on drums. It was never released.

DISCOGRAPHY: (59 albums known to me – Status: Completed)

OWN COMPILATIONS (1 credit)

    • The Last five years – Rick Grech (1973)

    • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood (RIP: Ric Grech)
    • Comments: Compilation of tracks co-written by Ric where he also appeared.

ALBUMS AS A BAND MEMBER (17 credits)

    • Scene Through The Eye Of A Lens / Gypsy woman (SINGLE) – The Family (10/1967)
      • Members: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Rob Townsend, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Producer: (RIP: Jimmy Miller)
      • Comments: This single (still credited to The Family) was not part of any Family album, but a CD reissue of their first two albums (Music in a doll house and Family entertainment) includes both songs as bonus tracks.
    • Music in a doll´s house – Family (07/1968)

      • Members: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Rob Townsend, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Guests: Mike Batt
      • Producer: Dave Mason (RIP: Jimmy Miller)
    • Family entertainment – Family (03/1969)

      • Members: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Rob Townsend, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Producer: John Gilbert, Glyn Johns
    • Blind Faith – Blind Faith (08/1969)

      • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Producer: (RIP: Jimmy Miller)
      • Comments: There´s a deluxe edition as a 2CD with additional tracks and long jams.
    • Airforce – Ginger Baker´s Airforce (03/1970)

      • Members: Ginger Baker, Remi Kabaka, Denny Laine, Steve Winwood (RIP: Graham Bond, Ric Grech, Jeanette Jacobs, Harold McNair, Phil Seamen, Chris Wood)
    • Airforce 2 – Ginger Baker´s Airforce (10/1970)

      • Members: Aliki Ashman, Ginger Baker, Bud Beadle, Colin Gibson, Steve Gregory, Denny Laine, Diane Stewart (RIP: Speedy Acquaye, Graham Bond, Kenny Craddock, Ric Grech, Harold McNair)
      • Guests: Rocky Dzidzornu
    • Rockin´ 50 rock´n´roll – The Crickets (1971)
    • Welcome to the canteen – Winwood / Capaldi / Mason / Wood / Grech / Gordon / Baah (09/1971)

      • Members: Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Comments: Recorded live in July 1971.
    • The Low spark of high heeled boys – Traffic (11/1971)

      • Members: Jim Gordon, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Comments: Some CD reissues contain 1 bonus track (co-written by Ric Grech and Jim Gordon).
    • Bubblegum, pop, ballads and boogie – The Crickets (1973)
      • Members: Glen D Hardin (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Guests: Pete Townshend
    • Remnants – The Crickets (1973)

    • Rainbow concert – Eric Clapton (09/1973)

      • Members: Eric Clapton, Jim Karstein, Pete Townshend, Steve Winwood, Ron Wood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech)
    • A Long way from Lubbock – The Crickets (04/1974)
    • KGB – KGB (1976)

      • Members: Carmine Appice, Barry Goldberg, Ray Kennedy (RIP: Mike Bloomfield, Ric Grech)
    • Rainbow concert (expanded edition) – Eric Clapton (July 1995) (LIVE)

      • Members: Eric Clapton, Jim Karstein, Pete Townshend, Steve Winwood, Ron Wood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech)
      • Producer: Jon Astley, Bill Levenson
      • Technical: Glyn Johns, Tim Young
      • Comments: Expanded edition of the original live album, with 8 additional, unreleased songs.
      • My opinion: Fantastic, love it!
    • BBC Radio volume one 1968-69 – Family (2004)

      • Members: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Rob Townsend, John Weider, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: This album contains live radio appearances from 1968 (6 tracks) and 1969 (10 tracks).
    • Live in Hyde Park – Blind Faith (09/2005)

    • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood (RIP: Ric Grech)
    • Comments: Live DVD recorded on the band´s debut in June 1969.

COMPILATIONS AS A BAND MEMBER (11 credits)

    • Old songs new songs – Family (1971)
      • Members: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Poli Palmer, Rob Townsend, John Weider, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Producer: John Gilbert, Glyn Johns, Eddie Kramer, Dave Mason (RIP: Jimmy Miller)
      • Technical: George Chkiantz
    • Winwood – Steve Winwood (1971)
      • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Dave Mason, Muff Winwood, Steve Winwood, Pete York (RIP: Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Guests: Brother James
      • Comments: Winwood is not really a new album, but a compilation of songs from earlier Steve bands, including Blind Faith or Spencer Davis Group.
    • At his best – Eric Clapton (1972)

      • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood (RIP: Ric Grech, Carl Radle)
      • Guests: Bonnie Bramlett, Rita Coolidge, Jim Gordon, Bobby Keys, Jim Price, Leon Russell, John Simon, Stephen Stills, Bobby Whitlock (RIP: Duane Allman, Delaney Bramlett)
      • Producer: (RIP: Tom Dowd, Jimmy Miller)
      • Technical: Howard Albert, Ron Albert, Chuck Kirkpatrick
      • Comments: 2LP compilation comprising tracks from Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos and Eric´s first solo album, Eric Clapton.
    • Best of Family – Family (1974)
      • Members: Roger Chapman, Poli Palmer, Rob Townsend, John Weider, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
    • Backtrackin´ – Eric Clapton (1984)

      • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Yvonne Elliman, Jim Gordon, Albert Lee, Marcy Levy, Dave Markee, Jamie Oldaker, Henry Spinetti, Chris Stainton, George Terry, Bobby Whitlock, Steve Winwood(RIP: Ric Grech, Carl Radle, Dick Sims)
      • Guests: Bonnie Bramlett, Mel Collins, Rita Coolidge, Jim Fox, Albhy Galuten, Al Jackson, Leon Russell (RIP: Duane Allman, Delaney Bramlett)
      • Comments: 2LP compilation with tracks by Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos as well as from Eric´s solo albums. Some of the tracks are live recordings.
    • Crossroads – Eric Clapton (April 1988)
      • Members: Ginger Baker, Bonnie Bramlett, Randy Brecker, Gary Brooker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Alan Clark, Phil Collins, Rita Coolidge, Ray Cooper, Chris Dreja, Nathan East, Yvonne Elliman, Hughie Flint, Jim Gordon, Roger Hawkins, Tex Johnson, Bobby Keys, Katie Kissoon, Albert Lee, Marcy Levy, Dave Markee, Dave Mason, John Mayall, Jim McCarty, John McVie, Shaun Murphy, Andy Newmark, Tessa Niles, Jamie Oldaker, Sergio Pastora, Greg Phillinganes, Jim Price, Peter Robinson, Leon Russell, Paul Samwell-Smith, Henry Spinetti, Chris Stainton, George Terry, Bobby Whitlock, Steve Winwood, Ron Wood(RIP: Delaney BramlettDonald ´Duck´ DunnRic Grech, Carl Radle, Keith Relf, Dick Sims)
      • Guests: Brian Auger, Dave Bargeron, Ry Cooder, Bob Dylan, Jon Faddis, Albhy Galuten, Chuck Kirkpatrick, Leon Pendarvis, Robbie Robertson, John Sambataro, Stephen Stills (RIP: Duane Allman, Michael Brecker, Jesse Ed Davis, George Harrison, Peter Tosh)
      • Producer: Jon Astley, Giorgio Gomelsky, Glyn Johns, Bill Levenson, Phil Spector, Mike Vernon (RIP: Tom Dowd, Jimmy Miller, Felix Pappalardi)
      • Technical: Greg Calbi, Ken Perry
      • Comments: This superb 4CD box set (originally a 6LP set), contains lots of unreleased tracks, covering the whole career of Eric Clapton from their beginning in The Yardbirds, John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & The Dominos, and his solo career.
    • Smiling phases – Traffic (11/1991)
      • Members: Rosko Gee, Jim Gordon, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Barry Beckett, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Producer: Chris Blackwell
    • The Finer things – Steve Winwood (March 1995)

      • Members: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Spencer Davis, Al Di Meola, Karen Friedman, Rosko Gee, Jim Gordon, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Brother James, Mike Lawler, Dave Mason, Paul Pesco, Jerome Rimson, Klaus Schulze, Michael Shrieve, Carole Steele, Pat Thrall, Muff Winwood, Steve Winwood, Pete York (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Barry Beckett, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Guests: Jimmy Bralower, Randy Brecker, Jack Bruce, Lew Delgatto, Steve Ferrone, James Ingram, Paul Jones, Remi Kabaka, Chaka Khan, Robbie Kilgore, Tom Malone, Eddie Martinez, Junior Marvin, Bob Mintzer, Rob Mounsey, Andy Newmark, Tessa Niles, John Robinson, Nile Rodgers, Philippe Saisse, John Sussewell, James Taylor, Joe Walsh, Willie Weeks, Mark Williamson, George Young (RIP: Dan Hartman, Andrew Love, Alan Spenner)
      • Producer: Chris Blackwell, Paul Buckmaster, Bill Levenson, Dennis Mackay, Russ Titelman (RIP: Jimmy Miller, Guy Stevens)
      • Technical: Phill Brown, Simon Heyworth, Andy Johns, Glyn Johns, Eddie Kramer, Tom Lord-Alge
      • Comments: The finer things is a 4CD boxset with songs from Steve’s long career. It features tracks by Spencer Davis Group (1964-1967), Eric Clapton And The Powerhouse (1966), Traffic (1967-1969 and 1970-1974), Blind Faith (1969), Winwood/Kebaka/Amao (1973), Stomu Yamash´ta´s Go (1976) and Steve Winwood solo albums (1977 to 1990).
    • Do what you like – Ginger Baker (1998)

      • Members: Aliki Ashman, Ginger Baker, Bud Beadle, Colin Gibson, Steve Gregory, Denny Laine, Diane Stewart, Steve Winwood (RIP: Speedy Acquaye, Graham Bond, Kenny Craddock, Ric Grech, Phil Seamen, Chris Wood)
      • Guests: Bobby Tench
      • Comments: Do what you like comprises the whole two Airforce albums (Airforce and Airforce 2), plus an outtake from 2nd album, and several songs from Ginger Baker’s album Stratavarious.
    • Feelin´ alright – the very best of Traffic – Traffic (2000)

      • Members: Jim Gordon, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Chris Wood)
      • Producer: Chris Blackwell, Bill Levenson (RIP: Jimmy Miller)
    • Martin Scorsese presents the blues – Eric Clapton – Eric Clapton (September 2003)
    • Members: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, Hughie Flint, Jim Gordon, John Mayall, John McVie, Bobby Whitlock, Steve Winwood (RIP: Ric Grech, Carl Radle)
    • Guests: Chris Blackwell, Alan Skidmore, Phil Upchurch, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman (RIP: Johnny Almond, Ian ´Stu´ Stewart, Hubert Sumlin, Howlin´ Wolf)
    • Producer: Bill Levenson, Mike Vernon (RIP: Tom Dowd, Jimmy Miller, Felix Pappalardi)
    • Technical: Suha Gur
    • Comments: Compilation from the early stages of Eric Clapton´s career, including tracks by John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith or Derek & The Dominos.

ALBUMS WITH BANDMATES AND FRIENDS (13 credits)

    • Just for you / Little woman (SINGLE) – Dave Mason (1968)
      • Members: Dave Mason
      • Guests: Roger Chapman, Jim King, Rob Townsend, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: First solo single by Dave Mason. He´s backed in the B-side by the band Family (Roger Chapman / Charlie Whitney / Jim King / Ric Grech / Rob Townsend), as Dave was producing their first album at that time.
    • Thinking back – Gordon Jackson (1969)
      • Guests: Robbie Blunt, Rocky Dzidzornu, Luther Grosvenor, Remi Kabaka, Jim King, Poli Palmer, Julie Tippett, Steve Winwood (RIP: Jim Capaldi, Patrick Gammon, Ric Grech, Reg King, Chris Wood)
      • Producer: Dave Mason
      • Comments: Here we can find the original Traffic lineup: Steve Winwood, Dave Mason (also producing the album), Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, plus members of Family: Ric Grech, Jim King and Poli Palmer. More great guests: Julie Driscoll (vocals), Luther Grosvenor (vocals), Robbie Blunt (sitar), and Remi Kabaka (percussion). CD reissue contains bonus tracks.
    • The Fence – Harold McNair (1970)

      • Members: (RIP: Harold McNair)
      • Guests: Alan Branscombe, Tony Carr, Terry Cox, Colin Green, Danny Thompson, Keith Tippett (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Producer: Sandy Roberton
      • Comments: This flute player was Ric companion in Ginger Baker’s Airforce, and played in lots of Donovan and Alexis Korner albums, plus some other albums from albums with members in my Olympus, like Steamhammer (Micky Waller), Cressida (with Iain Clark, the fabulous drummer, once in Uriah Heep). With Colin Green (guitar), Keith Tippett (piano), Ric Grech (bass), Tony Carr (drums), plus the rhythm section from Pentangle, Danny Thompson (bass) and Terry Cox (drums). He died soon after this album, in 1971.
    • Holy magick – Graham Bond (1971)

      • Members: Keith Bailey, John Morshead, Kevin Stacey, Diane Stewart, Steve York (RIP: Graham Bond)
      • Guests: Aliki Ashman, Pete Bailey, Annette Brox, Victor Brox, Alex Dmochowski, John Gross, Godfrey McLean, Jerry Salisbury (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: A great keyboardist and sax player, a pity he died back in 1974. This album features great players: his wife Diane Stewart on vocals, plus John Moorshead (guitar), Kevin Stacey (guitar), Steve York (bass), Alex Dmochovski (bass), Ric Grech (bass), John Gross (sax), Jerry Salisbury (harmonica), Keith Bailey (drums), Pete Bailey (percussion), Godfrey McLean (drums), Aliki Ashman (vocals), Annette Brox (vocals), Victor Brox (vocals). Some CD reissues contains 6 bonus tracks (others only have 2).
    • Hightower – Rosetta Hightower (1971)

      • Members: Ian Green, Rosetta Hightower
      • Guests: Colin Green, Bobby Keys, Henry Lowther, Henry McCullough, Jim Price, Bruce Rowland (RIP: Gordon Beck, Kenny Craddock, Ric Grech, Harold McNair)
      • Comments: Yes, she’s one of the female voices in the famous Joe Cocker hit ´With a little help from my friends´. She also sang in some other albums by Wendell Richardson (guitarist from Osibisa and Free), Yvonne Elliman, Kevin Ayers, Baker-Gurvitz Army, and she sang in some other album where Ric Grech appears. Rosetta also released her solo album, with Colin Green (guitar), Henry McCullough (guitar), Ric Grech (bass), the late Gordon Beck (keyboards, a long time Allan Holdsworth collaborator), Ken Craddock (keyboards), Henry Lowther (trumpet), Harold McNair (flute), Jim Price (trumpet), Bobby Keys (sax), Bruce Rowlands (drums).
    • Oh! How we danced – Jim Capaldi (04/1972)

      • Members: (RIP: Jim Capaldi)
      • Guests: Trevor Burton, Sue Glover, Jim Gordon, Bob Griffin, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Mike Kellie, Sunny Leslie, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Barry Beckett, Ric Grech, Paul Kossoff)
      • Comments: This album is Jim’s solo debut. It includes lots of friends. From Traffic: Steve Winwood, Dave Mason, Ric Grech, Rebop, Jim Gordon, Chris Wood. From Muscle Shoals: Roger Hawkins, David Hood, Barry Beckett (all three were to join Traffic sometime later), Jimmy Johnson (guitar). Plus some others, like Sue Glover & Sunny Leslie (vocals), the great Paul Kossoff (guitar), Trevor Burton (bass), Bob Griffin (keyboards), and Mike Kellie (drums).
    • GP – Gram Parsons (January 1973)

      • Members: Emmylou Harris (RIP: Gram Parsons)
      • Guests: Tom Bahler, Byron Berline, James Burton, Buddy Emmons, Glen D Hardin, Ron Hicklin, Alan Munde, Al Perkins, Barry Tashian, Ron Tutt (RIP: Ric GrechJohn Guerin)
      • Comments: This fantastic and fine musician sadly passed away in 1973, when he was only 26. He was a member of The Byrds, and later a founder member of The Flying Burrito Brothers. As far as I know, he only recorded two solo albums while he lived, GP and Grievous angel, but his legend grow immensely after his death, and like some other great names, his discography is still increasing nowadays. Ric Grech was a great friend of Gram, and that’s why he appears in his offcial albums, as well as in almost every collection of demos or outtakes.
        GP was Gram’s solo debut. With his then girlfriend Emmylou Harris, and some Byrds-related musicians, members of Elvis Presley band, and some other country-rock musicians, like Buddy Emmons (steel guitar), the great James Burton (guitar), Byron Berline (violin), Glen D. Hardin (keyboards), Al Perkins (steel guitar), Ron Tutt (drums), and John Guerin (drums). With a song written by Ric, ´Kiss the children´, who also co-produced the album along with Gram. It was recorded September-October 1972.
    • Grievous angel – Gram Parsons (01/1974)

      • Members: Emmylou Harris, Norman D Smart (RIP: Gram Parsons)
      • Guests: Byron Berline, James Burton, Kim Fowley, Emory Gordy, Glen D Hardin, Bernie Leadon, Herb Pedersen, Al Perkins, Linda Ronstadt, Ron Tutt (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Gram Parsons´ second album, Grievous angel features again Emmylou Harris, James Burton, Byron Berline, Glen D. Hardin, Al Perkins, plus Linda Ronstadt (vocals), Herb Pedersen (guitar), Emory Gordy (bass), Bernie Leadon (guitar, from The Eagles). There’s a song co-written by Ric and Gram, ´Ohh Las Vegas´. Ric is not credited in the album, but I think he must be there, just my guess… Recorded during Summer 1973. It contains a really superb rendition of ´Love hurts´, sung as a duet by Gram and Emmylou.
    • Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers – Streetwalkers (05/1974)

      • Members: Roger Chapman, Tim Hinkley, Charlie Whitney (RIP: Ian Wallace)
      • Guests: Jim Cregan, Mike Giles, Neil Hubbard, Linda Lewis, Godfrey McLean, Max Middleton, Poli Palmer, John Wetton (RIP: Boz Burrell, Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Ex-Family members Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney put together a new project: Streetwalkers. The original idea was to keep the band as a duo (Chapman and Whitney). They recorded the first album, Chapman Whitney Streetwalkers, with several former companions in Family: John Wetton (bass, then in King Crimson, and later in Uriah Heep and many others great bands), Ric Grech, Jim Cregan, Poli Palmer, as well as Boz Burrell, Ian Wallace & Michael Giles (all from King Crimson), Tim Hinkley, Neil Hubbard and Max Middleton, etc.
        The album has finally reissued on CD in 2010, with a different album cover and under the title First cut.
    • Mahoney´s last stand – Ronnie Lane & Ron Wood (1976)

      • Members: Benny Gallagher, Ian McLagan, Bruce Rowland, Ron Wood (RIP: Ronnie Lane, Ian ´Stu´ Stewart)
      • Guests: Glyn Johns, Kenny Jones, Bobby Keys, Billy Nicholls, Jim Price, Pete Townshend (RIP: Ric Grech, Micky Waller)
      • Comments: This soundtrack, although it was released in 1976, was started to be recorded in 1972. Mahoney’s last stand album is credited to Ron Wood & Ronnie Lane. Ron and Ronnie are accompanied by many fellow musicians: Pete Townshend (guitar, from The Who), Ric Grech (bass and violin), Ian McLagan & Kenny Jones, Benny Gallagher (bass, from Gallagher & Lyle), and the late ones Ian ‘Stu’ Stewart and Micky Waller (drums), etc.
    • Sleepless nights – Gram Parsons – The Flying Burrito Bros (1976)

      • Members: Byron Berline, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Al Perkins (RIP: Michael Clarke, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Gram Parsons)
      • Guests: James Burton, Emory Gordy, Glen D Hardin, Herb Pedersen, Ron Tutt (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Sleepless nights comprises unreleased songs from The Flying Burrito Brothers. Well, really, the album is credited to Gram Parsons & The Flying Burrito Brothers. Again, with Emmylou Harris, James Burton, Ric Grech, Byron Berline, Glen D. Hardin, Al Perkins, Ron Tutt, plus Herb Pedersen (guitar), Emory Gordy (bass), etc. And from The Flying Burrito Brothers: Bernie Leadon (guitar), Chris Hillman (bass), Sneaky Pete Kleinow (steel guitar), Michael Clarke (drums).
    • Eleven sides of Baker – Ginger Baker & Friends (01/1977)

      • Members: Ginger Baker
      • Guests: Louise Arthurworrey, Jeff Daly, Mike Deacon, Herbie Flowers, Kuma Harada, DeLisle Harper, Eddie Mordue, Alan Skidmore, Snips, Chris Spedding, Stan Sulzmann (RIP: Ric Grech, Ian Hamer, Derek Wadsworth)
    • Cosmic American music – Gram Parsons (1995)
    • Members: Emmylou Harris (RIP: Gram Parsons)
    • Guests: Byron Berline, Alan Munde, Barry Tashian (RIP: Ric Grech)
    • Comments: Cosmic American music is a compilation of demos recorded around 1972. Ric Grech appears here, as well as Emmylou Harris.

COMPILATIONS WITH BANDMATES AND FRIENDS (3 credits)

    • Warm evenings, pale mornings, bottled blues – Gram Parsons (1992)
      • Members: (RIP: Gram Parsons)
      • Guests: (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Warm evenings, pale mornings, bottled blues is a retrospective of Gram’s complete career, including his early bands.
    • Sacred hearts and fallen angels – the Gram Parsons anthology – Gram Parsons (May 2001)
      • Members: Jock Bartley, Emmylou Harris, Norman D Smart (RIP: Chris Ethridge, Gram Parsons)
      • Guests: Byron Berline, James Burton, Jon Corneal, Buddy Emmons, Emory Gordy, Glen D Hardin, Chris Hillman, Eddie Hoh, Bernie Leadon, Jay Dee Maness, Joe Osborn, Herb Pedersen, Al Perkins, Linda Ronstadt, Leon Russell, Barry Tashian (RIP: Michael Clarke, Ric GrechJohn Guerin, Kevin Kelley, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Clarence White)
    • The Complete Reprise sessions – Gram Parsons (August 2005)

    • Members: Emmylou Harris, Norman D Smart (RIP: Gram Parsons)
    • Guests: Tom Bahler, Byron Berline, James Burton, Buddy Emmons, Kim Fowley, Emory Gordy, Glen D Hardin, Ron Hicklin, Bernie Leadon, Alan Munde, Herb Pedersen, Al Perkins, Linda Ronstadt, Barry Tashian, Ron Tutt (RIP: Ric GrechJohn Guerin)
    • Comments: 3CD comprising Gram´s two solo albums (GP and Grievous angel, plus a 3rd CD with rarities and outtakes.

SESSIONS (9 credits)

    • The London Muddy Waters sessions – Muddy Waters (April 1972)

      • Members: (RIP: Sammy Lawhorn, Muddy Waters)
      • Guests: Garnett Brown, Rosetta Hightower, Herb Lovell, Seldon Powell, Steve Winwood (RIP: Carey Bell, Rory Gallagher, Ric Grech, Mitch Mitchell, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal)
      • Producer: Esmond Edwards, Ian Green
      • Comments: Muddy Waters arrived to London to record some sessions with avid British alumni. With some members of Muddy’s band, such as Sammy Lawhorn (guitar) and Carey Bell (harmonica). Great names here: Rory Gallagher (guitar), Ric Grech (bass), Steve Winwood (keyboards), Mitch Mitchell (drums), plus Rossetta Hightower on vocals.
    • Billion dollar babies – Alice Cooper (1973)

      • Members: Alice Cooper
      • Guests: (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Once I read that this album contains guest cameo appearances by Donovan, Marc Bolan, Ric Grech and Keith Moon, but my Spanish LP copy doesn’t have credits, so I can’t be sure. Can anyone check it for me, please?
    • Life in a tin can – The Bee Gees (January 1973)

      • Members: Barry Gibb, Alan Kendall (RIP: Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb)
      • Guests: Jim Keltner, Tommy Morgan (RIP: Ric Grech, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Jerome Richardson)
      • Technical: Ted Jensen
      • Comments: They were always great! This album contains their usual guitarist, Alan Kendall (guitar), plus guest appearances by Sneaky Pete Kleinow (steel guitar), Tommy Morgan (harmonica), Jerome Richardson (flute), Jane Getz (piano), Jim Keltner (drums). Ric Grech plays great parts of violin and bass in the song ´While I play´.
    • E H in the UK – Eddie Harris (1974)

      • Members: (RIP: Eddie Harris)
      • Guests: Jeff Beck, Neil Hubbard, Tony Kaye, Albert Lee, Zoot Money, Ian Paice, Chris Squire, Alan White, Steve Winwood (RIP: Loughty Amao, Boz Burrell, Ric Grech)
      • Producer: (RIP: Nesuhi Ertegun)
      • Comments: Eddie Harris was a jazz tenor sax player, who died in November 1996. Although mostly of his albums are really jazz stuff, he also tried a bit in the rock scene. This album is also known as The Eddie Harris London sessions. Ric Grech performs in only one song, along with Jeff Beck (guitar), Albert Lee (guitar), Steve Winwood (keyboards), Loughty Amato (percussion) and Ian Paice (drums). Other great musicians who appear in the album: Neil Hubbard (guitar), Boz Burrell (bass), Zoot Money (keyboards), and from Yes: Chris Squire (bass), Tony Kaye (keyboards) and Alan White (drums).
    • Men opening umbrellas ahead – Vivian Stanshall (1974)

      • Members: (RIP: Viv Stanshall)
      • Guests: Madeline Bell, Neil Innes, Gaspar Lawal, Derek Quinn, Barry St John, Steve Winwood (RIP: Rebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech, Doris Troy)
      • Comments: The late Viv Stanshall was the leader in the Bonzo Dog Dadah Band. This was his solo debut, helped by Steve Winwood, who brought here his fellow companions in Traffic: Jim Capaldi, Ric Grech and Rebop. Plus Madeline Bell & Doris Troy (vocals) and Neil Innes (guitar, keyboard, from Bonzo Dog Band).
    • London revisited – Muddy Waters – Howlin´ Wolf (January 1974)
      • Members: (RIP: Sammy Lawhorn, Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters)
      • Guests: Garnett Brown, Rosetta Hightower, Herb Lovell, Seldon Powell, Steve Winwood (RIP: Carey Bell, Rory Gallagher, Ric Grech, Mitch Mitchell, Joe Newman, Ernie Royal, Howlin´ Wolf)
      • Producer: Esmond Edwards, Ian Green
      • Comments: London revisited is a collection of unused tracks from the 1971 sessions that Muddy Waters (4 tracks) and Howlin´ Wolf (3 tracks) made with British musicians.
    • Smiler – Rod Stewart (September 1974)

      • Members: Ian McLagan, Martin Quittenton, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood
      • Guests: Doreen ChanterIrene Chanter, Ray Cooper, Spike Heatley, Ray Jackson, Elton John, Kenny Jones, Andy Newmark, Dick Powell, Pete Sears, Ruby Turner, Willie Weeks (RIP: Ric Grech, Micky Waller)
      • Technical: Mike Bobak, Suha Gur
      • Comments: Smiler is Rod’s 6th album, with Ron Wood, Martin Quittenton (guitar), Micky Waller (drums), Pete Sears (piano), Kenny Jones (drums), Ray Jackson (mandolin), Ric Grech (here, playing violin), Spike Heatley (bass), Andy Newmark (drums, later with Roxy Music, Nils Lofgren, Roger Waters and countless others), Willie Weeks (bass) Ray Cooper (percussion), Elton John (piano and vocals in his own song ´Let me be your car´), Dick Powell (violin), Doreen Chanter (vocals) and the Memphis Horns.
    • Heyday – the BBC radio sessions 1968-1969 – Fairport Convention (1987)
      • Members: Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Ian Matthews, Simon Nicol, Dave Swarbrick, Richard Thompson (RIP: Sandy Denny, Martin Lamble)
      • Guests: (RIP: Ric Grech)
      • Comments: Some CD reissue contains 1 bonus track. Ric Grech appears guesting on violin with the band in 2 tracks recorded in March 1969.
    • Live At The BBC – Fairport Convention (2007)

    • Members: Jerry Donahue, Judy Dyble, Ashley Hutchings, Dave Mattacks, Ian Matthews, Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Richard Thompson (RIP: Sandy Denny, Martin Lamble, Trevor Lucas)
    • Guests: (RIP: Ric Grech)
    • Producer: (RIP: John Walters)
    • Comments: 4CD boxset with live recordings by Fairport Convention. Ric Grech guests on violin in 4 tracks recorded in April 1969.

COMPILATIONS (SESSIONS) (5 credits)

    • The Chess box – Muddy Waters (1989)

      • Members: James Cotton (RIP: Francis Clay, Calvin Jones, Sammy Lawhorn, Pinetop Perkins, Willie Smith, Otis Spann, Luther Tucker, Little Walter, Muddy Waters)
      • Guests: Buddy Guy, Casey Jones, Sam Lay, Phil Upchurch (RIP: Carey Bell, Fred Below, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Willie Dixon, Donald ´Duck´ Dunn, Rory Gallagher, Ric Grech, Earl Hooker, Clifton James, S P Leary, Mitch Mitchell, A C Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Sunnyland Slim, Johnny Walker, Junior Wells)
      • Producer: Gene Barge, Esmond Edwards, Ian Green (RIP: Ralph Bass, Leonard Chess)
      • Technical: Greg Fulginiti, Bill Inglot
      • Comments: 6LP (or 3CD) boxset.
    • Over, under, sideways, down (a comprehensive collection) – The Yardbirds (1990)
      • Members: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty, John McVie, Jimmy Page, Paul Samwell-Smith, Top Topham (RIP: Keith Relf)
      • Guests: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Louis Cennamo, Ray Cook, Aynsley Dunbar, Hughie Flint, John Hawken, Mike Hugg, Casey Jones, John Paul Jones, Paul Jones, Robert Plant, Jane Relf, Rod Stewart, Mike Vickers, Steve Winwood, Ron Wood (RIP: John Bonham, Ric Grech)
      • Producer: Giorgio Gomelsky (RIP: Mickie Most)
    • Reason to believe: the complete Mercury studio recordings – Rod Stewart (November 2002)

      • Members: Ian McLagan, Martin Quittenton, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood
      • Guests: Chris Barber, Madeline Bell, Maggie Bell, Doreen ChanterIrene Chanter, Ray Cooper, Mike D´Abo, Keith Emerson, Spike Heatley, Jimmy Horowitz, Ray Jackson, Elton John, Kenny Jones, Will Malone, Andy Newmark, Dick Powell, Martin Pugh, Andy Pyle, Harry Reynolds, Pete Sears, Danny Thompson, Ruby Turner, Willie Weeks (RIP: Speedy Acquaye, Long John Baldry, Ric Grech, Gordon Huntley, Ronnie Lane, Sam Mitchell, Micky Waller)
      • Producer: Bill Levenson (RIP: Lou Reizner)
      • Technical: Mike Bobak, Keith Grant, Suha Gur, Glyn Johns, Roger Wake
      • Comments: 3CD boxset comprising Rod´s first five albums (The Rod Stewart albumGasoline alleyEvery picture tells a storyNever a dull momentSmiler, plus several additional tracks.
    • Gold – Rod Stewart (July 2005)

      • Members: Ian McLagan, Martin Quittenton, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood
      • Guests: Doreen ChanterIrene Chanter, Ray Cooper, Mike D´Abo, Keith Emerson, Billy Gaff, Spike Heatley, Jimmy Horowitz, Ray Jackson, Elton John, Kenny Jones, Will Malone, Andy Newmark, Dick Powell, Martin Pugh, Andy Pyle, Harry Reynolds, Pete Sears, Danny Thompson, Ruby Turner, Willie Weeks (RIP: Speedy AcquayeRic Grech, Gordon Huntley, Ronnie Lane, Sam Mitchell, Micky Waller)
      • Producer: Bill Levenson (RIP: Lou Reizner)
      • Technical: Mike Bobak, Keith Grant, Suha Gur, Glyn Johns
      • Comments: 2CD compilation.
    • The Rod Stewart sessions 1971-1998 – Rod Stewart (October 2009)

    • Members: Carmine Appice, Rick Braun, Tony Brock, Phil Chen, John Corey, Jim Cregan, Paulinho Da Costa, Jay Davis, Joey Diggs, Mike Finnigan, Jeff Golub, Gary Grainger, Max Gronenthal, Dee Harvey, Duane Hitchings, John Jarvis, Danny Johnson, Chuck Kentis, Phil Kenzie, Nick Lane, Oliver Leiber, Robin LeMesurier, Linda Lewis, Steve Madaio, Ian McLagan, David Palmer, Billy Peek, Darryl Phinnessee, Martin Quittenton, Jimmy Roberts, Carmine Rojas, Kevin Savigar, John Shanks, Rod Stewart, Wally Stocker, Andy Taylor, Lee R Thornburg, Lamont Van Hook, Fred White, Ron Wood, Jimmy Zavala
    • Guests: Colin Allen, Kenny Aronoff, Jeff ´Skunk´ Baxter, Madeline Bell, Gene Black, Tim Bogert, Pete Carr, Valerie Carter, Doreen ChanterIrene Chanter, Michael Chapman, Ray Cooper, Lol Creme, Steve Cropper, Kevin Dorsey, Anne Dudley, Scott Edwards, David Foster, Albhy Galuten, Earl Gardner, David Gilmour, Bob Glaub, Richard Greene, Jimmy Haslip, Roger Hawkins, Spike Heatley, Gary Herbig, David Hood, Dann Huff, Clydene Jackson, Paul Jackson, Ray Jackson, Jimmy Johnson, Jimmy Johnson, Plas Johnson, Davey Johnstone, John Paul Jones, Kenny Jones, Jerome Jumonville, Suzie Katayama, Holly Knight, Joe Lala, Michael Landau, Patrick Leonard, David Lindley, Steve Lipson, Nils Lofgren, Nick Lowe, Steve Lukather, Eddie Martinez, John Mayall, Lance Morrison, Jamie Muhoberac, Andy Newmark, Patrick O´Hearn, Nigel Olsson, Richard Page, Sid Page, Bill Payne, Phil Perry, Lenny Pickett, John Pierce, Tim Pierce, Dick Powell, Guy Pratt, Jim Price, Andy Pyle, Frank Ricotti, John Robinson, Paul Robinson, Rick Schlosser, Tom Scott, Pete Sears, Leland Sklar, William ´Smitty´ Smith, Mark Stein, Neil Stubenhaus, Fred Tackett, Pete Thomas, Danny Thompson, Joe Turano, Ruby Turner, Carmen Twillie, Tommy Vig, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Walsh, Oren Waters, Willie Weeks, Larry Williams, David Woodford, Terry Young (RIP: Speedy Acquaye, Long John Baldry, Barry Beckett, Lyn Collins, Jesse Ed Davis, Donald ´Duck´ Dunn, Bernard Edwards, Ric Grech, Nicky Hopkins, Gordon Huntley, Al Jackson, Ronnie Lane, Sam Mitchell, Billy Preston, Tony Thompson, Micky Waller, David Williams)
    • Producer: Bob Ezrin, Trevor Horn, Danny Kortchmar, James Newton Howard, Lenny Waronker (RIP: Tom Dowd)
    • Technical: Mike Bobak, Dan Hersch, Andy Johns (RIP: Willie Mitchell, Dee Robb)
    • Comments: 4CD boxset compilation with lots of unreleased tracks.

RELATED WEBSITE LINKS: 28

Official site(s) – tell them you saw the link here:

From the always interesting Alex’s Picks (by Alex Gitlin), we have:

From the superb site Knights in Blue Denim: The British Blues Scene ’68 – ’70 (by Christer Fridhammar & Vanja), we have:

From the fantastic The British Sound blog (by Bruno Ceriotti), we have rock family trees about:

Wikipedia doesn´t want to include links to this website, but I won´t do the same with them. So, from the great Wikipedia, we have:

Assorted links:


RELATED VIDEO LINKS: 11
Disclaimer: I don´t own or upload any of the videos linked here. I just include links to live videos that are already available, in order to show the work of this musician. Anyway, if someone feels that some link shouldn’t be included, please write me at the email address shown below. And if you know of more videos featuring Ric Grech, please, also write me with the link.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

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    • Featuring: Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton, Ric Grech, Steve Winwood.

THANKS:

Very Special Thanks to:

  • Danny Peyronel: for info on his band with Ric.
  • Mick White: for sharing his memories about Square Dancing Machine and Ric with me (2002).
  • Vince (Ozzy) Osborn: for info (2006).
  • Martin Osborn: for his fantastic message (2000).
  • Al Sansome: for info on Ric´s bands in 1975 and 1976 (2000).
  • Ian Whiteman: for info on the Olympic sessions (2002).

Special Thanks to:

  • Gareth Freer: for info (2008).
  • Mike Fitzgerald: for info on Farinas (2003).
  • John H Warburg: for lots of info on Ric, The Farinas and Family (2006).
  • Jaap Luif: for extensive info on Airforce and Denny Laine (1998).

Thanks to:

  • Alex Gitlin: for scanning album covers for me and help with support.
  • Henk Hagen: for info about Airforce.
  • Achim Schweikard: for offering his help with info (2010).
  • Jonathan Wheeler: for info (2009).
  • Donald Adler: for pointing an error in my page (but I still think Chappo was in The Farinas at the end) (2007).
  • Henry S Rosner: for info on Airforce (2005).
  • Jamie Kane: for his message (2006).
  • Stephen Robbins: for info on Ric playing with Fairport Convention in April 1969 (2002).
  • Neil Blunt: for info (2004).
  • Eddie McDonnell: for sending me the complete personnel list on Airforce 2 (2004).
  • Paul Hilling: for his message (2000).
  • Rev Millhone: for his kind message (2001).
  • Greg Willmott: for his message on Gram Parsons (2000).
  • Dave Kath: for his kind message (2000).
  • Stewart Mercer: for his very interesting message (2004).
  • Dave: for his message (2005).
  • Jeff Johnson: for his message on Ric and Gram Parsons (2001).
  • Kenny Parsons: for his message about Blind Faith (1999).
  • Michael Jardine: for info on Ric appearing in Gram Parsons´ 2nd album (2003).
  • Craig Meier: for his very interesting message (2001).
  • Jacek Szepan: for info on the bassist playing in Airforce 2 album (2006).
  • Dylan Thomas: for info on Ric playing with Johnny Rivers as well as some Crickets corrections (2012).

Also thanks for writing to:

  • William Ellis (2011), Robbie Grech (2007), Keith Lawrence (2006), Kevin Downes (2006), Blue Frank (2002), Janine (2005).

WHAT’S NEW:

22/May/2012 – Added another band (Johnny Rivers Boogie Band). Thanks to Dylan Thomas.
26/August/2011 – Page added to the blog.
16/January/1998 – Original page written by me (in the old site).


RELATED MUSICIANS:

Ric Grech mostly worked with these musicians: (name + number of credits)
Steve Winwood (24)
Ginger Baker (14)
Eric Clapton (12)
Jim Capaldi (11)
Dave Mason (11)
Jim Gordon (10)
Rebop Kwaku Baah (9)
Jimmy Miller (9)
Chris Wood (9)
Ron Wood (9)


Page created by Miguel Terol on: 16/January/1998 – Last modified on: 24/May/2012. If you want to contribute with info, please write to: molympus1@gmail.com


Please, note than you can check the indexes (musicians, bands, obituaries) at the top of this page.

3 comments:

  1. am not sure, but i think harry oevenall was the drummer in family on that 1st single, Scene thru the eyes of a lens/gypsy woman, soon to be replaced by rob townsend.

    Reply

  2. My dad Jeff Whitmore was the lead singer for Berkeley Squares and used to travel to their gigs with Grech. He also sang in Leicester bands Shelly, Reverbs and Tuxedo Five. Hope this helps……..

    Reply

  3. Hi, Jake – thanks for this. Is there any chance of getting more info about The Beverly Squares? The names of other members, for example, and the approximate period when the band was active. It’s not easy getting info about them. Thanks again.

     

Interview with Dave Andrews of Radio Leicester about iconic music venue “Il Rondo”

This is an interview by Dave Andrews of Radio Leicester with me, Shaun Knapp, and Sue Barton about the iconic music venue Il Rondo that is now a store room for an Italian restaurant! It was amazing to see it and realise it was still there virtually unchanged but rather derelict.

The Il Rondo hosted some of the greats of popular music including The Rolling Stones, The Who, Howlin’ Wolf, Fleetwood Mac and a host of others!