Tag Archives: San Diego Door

Archives: The James Gang

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The James Gang in 1972. L to R (Jim Fox, Dale Peters, Domenic Troiano and Roy Kenner)

In 1972, Cameron sat down with (one of the many configurations) of the James Gang in this lengthy interview for the San Diego Door. There’s some interesting discussion around the music business, life without Joe Walsh (who left the band the prior year) and their recent albums, Straight Shooter and Passin’ Thru. We hope you like it!

James Gang Rides Again

Not unlike those James Brown records that constantly remind us all that he of “the hardest working man in show business,” those James Gang biographies always seem to emphasize that the James Gang is “the hardest working band in show business.”

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Apr 25, 2014

Archives: The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine

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The Doors – Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine (Electra 8E-6001)

Before last July, they called him a pervert, a satanist, a syphilitics maniac, an alcoholic, and a transvestite.

After last July, they called him a genius, a virtuoso vocalist, a superb showman, and a worthy idol to millions.

“He” is Jim Morrison, famed lead singer of The Doors. July 3, 1971, he died. The man who was once the object of critical ridicule is now an immortal. Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine is his eulogy.

Enclosed inside the two-record set is a soundtrack to a generation. The generation that shredded their flower-power image with The Doors, marveled the wonders of acid with Strange Days, discovered country-rock with Soft Parade, came down from Altamont with Morrison Hotel, and got drunk with Absolutely Live.

The LP is actually a form of the “greatest hits” concept, being the cream of the album cuts, or, as the album sticker implanted on the jacket states, “22 Classic Doorsongs.” The single hits were previously released before Morrison’s death as 13.

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine, when listened to in it’s entirety proves several things. In almost every pre-Other Voices album reviews of Doors albums the subject of the similarity between all the songs is touched upon. I can remember Chris Van Ness of the Free Press said of L.A. Woman, “Every song every recorded by the group sounds the same as the first album’s material.” This album seems to be the necessary evidence to prove the contrary. The Doors were a changing band. They evolved, while Morrison’s extremely conspicuous voice remained constant presenting the illusion of stagnating consistency. It isn’t hard to distinguish the difference between “Break on Through” and “Riders on the Storm” when they are conveniently placed on the same album. The former cut was raw Doors, while the latter an excellent mellow attempt to appeal to a vast James Taylor-Joni Mitchell-Gordon Lightfoot hungry audience. The sole item The Doors, in their last days, had in common with the early Doors was the above mentioned consistency of Morrison’s vocals.

Another evidency is the overall noticibility of their inevitable break-up. The Doors were actually Jim Morrison and back-up band. The crowds came to see Morrison. The public bought records to hear Morrison. Look at the sale of, say this album and compare it with the sales of Other Voices. It is quite obvious that sooner or later the other members, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek, and John Densmore would get the ever-popular creative urge for equality, ala Creedence.

It can’t be said that Jim Morrison was The Doors, but it can be said that Morrison made the Doors. Without him, Krieger, Manzarek, and Densmore have lost their uniqueness. They immediately fall into the category of being a two-bit band that sounds just like a thousand others.

Weird Scenes Inside the Goldmine is actually two collections. A mandatory collection of some of the best Doors music recorded, and a mandatory collection of the best music ever recorded. And you can be sure there’ll be none like it again.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe -  February 24, 1972 – March 9, 1972

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Feb 4, 2013

Archives: Raspberries – Self Titled

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Raspberries – Raspberries

It’s awfully hard to figure this band out. Many times an album, especially a debut album, will go in numerous directions functioning as an exposure to the band’s versatility. This album can head in as many as three different paths within the tight boundaries of a two-and-a-half minute track. I’m not saying it’s good…I’m just saying I like it.

Let’s look at the LP opener, “Go All The Way.” A commercial piece of music if ever there was one, the cut sounds for the first five seconds like a Stones or Humble Pie track. The curt, sassy sound of a twanging lead guitar. A moment later and the guitar is replaced by a disciplined strum behind a falsetto vocal.

Three cuts later and we are served up a tasty piece of rock ‘n roll in “Rock & Roll Mama,” a classic tune that, had the Stones themselves done it, every pimply high school band in America would chalk up in the repertoire.

Raspberries is the type of band that in a year could either be headlining the Sports Arena or a part of the never-never land of oblivion.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe -  June 8, 1972  – June 22, 1972

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Jan 28, 2013

Journalism Archives: Mott the Hoople – All the Young Dudes

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Mott The Hoople – All the Young Dudes

Released in England several weeks ago and yet to be made available in the States is Mott The Hoople’s fourth album, All the Young Dudes, named after the incredible single of the same name.

Produced and arranged by David Bowie, All the Young Dudes fails to live up to the excitement of the title cut…a very English, very metal, very riske ode to homosexual rape. “I’ve been wanting to do this for years”, admits the aggressor, lead-singer Ian Hunter as the cut fades into either “Sucker” or a label depending upon whether it’s the single or the LP. Despite its overly decadent theme, “All the Young Dudes” is very simply the best single since “Take It Easy” graced the airwaves.

The album opens with the theme song of Bowie’s musical idol, Lou Reed (who, by the way, is letting David produce his next album), “Sweet Jane”. A quite limp delivery on Hunter’s part and a plodding accompaniment courtesy of the boys in the band provides for a soggy indication of what’s to come. The rest of the record follows fairly closely the impact (or lack of it) of the previous. The recording job is very  clinical and exacting, a habit which suits Bowie’s own style but reveals a major flaw in Mott The Hoople’s, who is best displayed in a somewhat reckless light.

But it’s a fun record. The material is lyrically dependant on tongue-in-cheek for its effect, and Bowie, in his production debut is impressively meticulous. Too bad that the intricate arranging and direction was utilized by a group who just can’t benefit from it.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe -  November 4, 1972  – November 18, 1972

 

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Jan 20, 2013

Journalism Archives: Carole King – Music

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Carole King – Music (Ode SP 77013)

With the release of the new Carole King album, Music, she is in the same situation The Band was in with Stage Fright, Cat Stevens is in with Teaser and the Firecat, and James Taylor was in with the release of Mud Slide Slim. When an artist becomes a superstar on the basis of one album, the follow-up LP is always compared with it’s predecessor. No matter how good the second album is, the majority of critics and buyers will criticize it as not “being as good.”

If the artist has changed his style in any way, the buyers will be disappointed. If the artist has stayed the same, the critics will pan the album and him for not evolving musically. So, Carole King can’t please everybody in Music.

Writer, her first album, was an experimental one. She switched from style to style, the result being an amateur recording with the exceptions of “Child of Mine” and “Up on the Roof,” which made it hard to believe that these were from the same album as the disasters “Spaceship Races” and “To Love.”

Tapestry, one of the most successful albums in recording history, was Carole King after she found her strength. Her jumpy piano work and the bubbling guitar of James Taylor seemed to make a combination that pleased both undergrounder and Sixteen Magazine devourers alike.

Music, however, isn’t a carbon copy of this successful style. For the new album, Miss King has employed the same group of musicians that has accompanied her throughout her previous albums: James Taylor and Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar on lead guitars, her husband, Charley Larkey, on bass, and Russ Kunkel on drums. So, what we hear on the new album is not only the musical evolvement of Carole King, but of the accompanists as well.

Eight of the album’s ten tunes were written by Miss King solely. In the past, she has collaborated with Gerry Goffin and, more recently, Toni Stern (who wrote three songs for the album), but these are the first lyrics that she has written by herself.

My favorite cut is the trivial “Brighter.” These changes are really first rate and the up-tempo arrangement couldn’t be more efficient. Although the song is obviously for the purpose of filling up the LP and achieving the quota for playing time, there is something about it that cries out for more than the skimpy 2:50 that is devoted to it.

The changes in Carole King’s style with this new album are minor. Her stuttering piano work has been replaced by a more continuous flowing sound. Her strained voice has matured in a short time to a smoother style.

The simple arrangements have grown more complex and lasting with the effective addition of more voices and guitars.

So, what more can be said? Carole King is definitely worthy of all the premature hype placed upon her by the many critics eager to unload their journalistic vocabulary of superlatives.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe -  December 23, 1971  – January 12, 1972

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Dec 10, 2012

Journalism Archives: Yes – Fragile

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Yes - Fragile (Atlantic SD-7211)

For several years the group Yes has gone unnoticed in the United States, while in England their albums and performances are looked forward to with tremendous anticipation. TheirYes Album was rated along with After the Goldrush as album of the year in the Melody Maker Poll. Meanwhile back in the States they were buried behind J. Geils and Ten Years After in their American tour.

It is my sincere hope that with Fragile, Yes will achieve all the recognition they deserve.

The production work on the album is the cleanest and most original since perhaps Who’s Next. At the risk of digging up a cliché, Fragile is a complete trip from the first cut to the last. “Roundabout,” the full eight-and-a-half minute version, opens the album in grand manner. The track begins with a short classical guitar riff and slowly flows into the full arrangement of moog, harpsichord, several guitars acoustic and electric, and electric piano. The song, more appropriately, the suite, could have easily become quite pretentious, however, the knowledgeable arranger and producer molded it into a truly classic recording.

Each track takes on a different course than the previous one. The reason behind this could possibly be that five of the album’s cuts are the personal and individual ideas of Yes’s five members. More simply, each of the group members were given the chance to step out into the hypothetical spotlight and produce a cut that was completely their work and no one else’s. Keyboard man Rick Wakeman’s “Cans and Brahms” is an adaptation in which he plays electric piano taking the part of the strings, grand piano taking the part of the woodwind, organ taking the brass, electric harpsichord taking reeds, and synthesizer taking contra bassoon. “We Have Heaven” is the product of vocalist Jon Anderson in which he sings all the vocal parts. “Five Per-Cent For Nothing” is a sixteen bar tune by Bill Bruford, drummer, in which the whole harmony is the percussion line. Bassist Chris Squire’s “The Fish” has each rhythm, riff, and melody produced from the varying sounds produced by the bass guitar. “Mood For a Day” is a solo guitar piece by Steve How.

The musicianship is actually so innovative, that each of the above-described tracks is enjoyable and awesome at the same time. The remaining pieces are the product of the total group and just as excellent.

Fragile is the brand of album that many artists yearn to record as a follow-up to a previous masterpiece. And for one of the all too few times in contemporary music, an artist has actually lived up to the tremendous promise of a proceeding recording.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe -  March 9, 1972  – March 30, 1972

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Nov 16, 2012

Hanging with Alice Cooper

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Alice Cooper Circa 1972 by Jim Marshall

In honor of Halloween, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at a 1972 San Diego Door interview with “Mr. Scary”, Alice Cooper. It’s a rare, joint article written alongside fellow Door writer, Art Grupe. Happy Halloween!

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Oct 31, 2012

Journalism Archives: The Flying Burrito Brothers

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Flying Burrito Brothers - Last Of The Red Hot Burritos (A&M SP 4343)

Besides being packaged in the best jacket to be seen around, this live LP serves as the last glimpse of the sadly, unheralded Flying Burrito Brothers. Hence, Last Of The Red Hot Burritos. To be taken literally.

The Burritos seemed to be, in their existence, somewhat of a halfway band collecting various refugees from California folk-rock bands.

In this LP, Chris Hillman and Al Perkins, now with Steve Stills’ Manassas band, combine with fiddler Byron Berline and banjoman Kenny Wertz to unleash a tremendously versatile array of material.

From the earthy bluegrass of “Orange Blossom Special” to the rockin’ standard “Six Days on the Road,” the album remains as one of the best efforts of this year despite the tinny recording job, the amazing shortness, and the suspiciously over-enthusiastic audience.

Courtesy of the Door (aka San Diego Door) – Cameron Crowe –  July 28, 1972  – August 17, 1972

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Oct 4, 2012

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