RICK SANDERS FROM INTRO MAGAZINE BLOWS HIS MIND ON THE LATEST RECORD RELEASES
BOB DYLAN – “John Wesley Harding” (LP)
The eighteen month wait is over, with the appearance of the first new Dylan since “Blonde On Blonde”. Well, he’s a very changed man. During his recuperation after an accident, he’s had a total re-think and “John Wesley Harding” is mostly country-style stuff with a more open and direct manner.
For the first time ever, he sings more or less straight – Hank Williams’ influence coming through strongly. The songs are musically well up to scratch and all normal length. None of the marathon masterpieces like “Desolation Row” and “Sad Eyed Lady” which may disappoint a lot of people.
In fact, I think general reaction at first will be anti-Harding: for a kick-off, Dylan is actually smiling on the LP cover: but give it a few weeks and we’ll all be happily raving about the new Dylan message.
As the man says: “If you can’t bring good news, then don’t bring any at all.” A new pop philosophy is born!
TEN YEARS AFTER – “Portable People”
Yet another British blues group as good as anything from the States. Ten Years After’s first single is indeed a goodie – in honour of the portable people who are forever zooming from place to place.
It has an hypnotic guitar riff by mainspring and guitar king Alvin Lee running through, behind very nice singing. The chanting in the background adds a lot to the atmosphere, and it’s a success in every way.
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART and His MAGIC BAND – “Safe As Milk” (LP)
Safe as milk, yes certainly . . . Milk spiked with electric nightshade. I didn’t think too much of “Yellow Brick Road” when it came out as a single, but as part of this LP, it fits in perfectly and I am converted.
“Safe As Milk” is a witches’ brew of rock and roll cum freakout, done with great style by the incredible Magic Band. The gravelly, howling vocals are enough to break most minds weaned on what’s in the charts at present.
On a few of the songs you get a delicate, tuneful intro – but only for a couple of bars. Then comes the earthquake. It’s impossible to hear most of the words, but the odd snatches I did get were very intriguing.
However, it’s the sheer sound that counts – and it really does count! Make sure you’ve got some tranquillizers handy when you listen to “Safe As Milk”.
THE PRETTY THINGS – “Talking About The Good Times”
Four lovely minutes with the new style Pretty Things – but it’s a pity they didn’t release this before The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields”.
It would have been hailed as a masterpiece. even so, it could still make it – weird Indian sounds, thundering drums, involved harmonies, false ending, slowed down strings, all combining to make a very nice record.
FLEETWOOD MAC (LP)
All the promise of their first single, “I Believe My Time Ain’t Long” is fulfilled on this, the first LP for the Blue Horizon label. This is a blues LP by a British group that you don’t have to be a ninety year old Louisiana sharecropper to deliver the goods.
Listen particularly to “My Heart Beat Like A Hammer”, an original by guitarist Jeremy Spencer – words aren’t enough to describe the sledgehammer emotion it generates.
Fleetwood Mac’s first album is going to become a classic.