In 1974 I was 21, a full time college student, working three jobs, and somehow having the time of my life. Music was a major factor in my life and, fortunately for me, there was an amazing amount of wonderful new music every month. Let’s take a quick look at some of the key album releases during the first three months of 1974. By the way, if you are interested, the picture above is Big Star (more about them below).
So get ready, set aside some quality time, and head back to the first quarter of 1974 with me. Enjoy…….
January 1974 Album Releases
The Way We Were-Barbara Streisand
I’m a rocker at heart and it probably surprises many of you that I bought this album when it was released but ……great music is great music! The only comments I have about the album are: What a voice and what an album. It would have been easy to play the title track but here’s one that I like even better……I think you will like it……
What are you doing for this rest of your like? I ask myself that question a lot more now that I’m older…..
Court and Spark-Joni Mitchell
Joni, part of my holy trinity of Canadian music (Neil, Joni, and Gordon), was continuing to evolve her musical style. Court and Spark started to add in some jazz elements but lost none of it’s introspection which is what drew me to her in the first place. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in my years and in 1974 Joni choose to write about one of them in a song…..It’s Down To You……
Everything comes and goes
Pleasure moves on too early
And trouble leaves too slow
Just when you’re thinking
You’ve finally got it made
Bad news comes knocking
At your garden gate
Knocking for you
You’re a brute you’re an angel
You can crawl you can fly too
It’s down to you
It all comes down to you
Foghat was an amazing boogie band from the 70’s and has gotten the respect that they deserve in my humble opinion. Here is one of Foghat’s masterpieces that doesn’t get the respect it deserves……Home In My Hand. If you were lucky enough to see them play it live back in the 70’s, as I was, I guarantee that you were entertained…….
Grevious Angel-Gram Parsons
I’ve written about the sad story of Gram Parsons as part of my Southern California Sound series. Grevious Angel was released after Gram’s untimely death in the fall of 1973. Brass Buttons is a classic (Poco did an amazing cover version that you might want to checkout) and you need to hear it straight from the mouth of the writer…..sing it Gram……
January 1974 was a great month for Canadian music releases with Gordon joining Joni in releasing a new album. The title track was one of Gordon’s biggest sellers but you dig a little deeper in the album to find the real treasure……Seven Island Suite…….
Look around at the morning, guess you’re doing the best you can
Surely you know that when you go nobody gives you a hand
Think of the air you’re breathing in, think of the time you waste
Think of the right and wrong and consider the frown on your face
February 1974 Album Releases
Forty years after the release of their debut album, Kiss is finally going to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame….it’s about time! This album wasn’t a hit, the band wouldn’t really take off until their release of their double live album, but I’ve got to give it to the boys….they had ambition. Listen to its Kissin’ Time and you will see exactly what I mean……
If you are a reader of this blog you already know that I have a soft spot in my heart for Badfinger and their incredibly sad story. This was the group’s first album after leaving Apple records and unfortunately the end was a lot nearer than anyone foresaw. The song I have for you today from this album was written by Pete Ham, I Miss You………
Damn it Pete….I Miss You! RIP buddy!
Radio City-Big Star
Looking back it seems ironic that Big Star released their second album the same month as the Badfinger release discussed above. September Gurls was maybe the best pop song of the 70’s and to this day very few people have even heard of Big Star…..it’s a fucking tragedy ……
Of course the entire Big Star history is pretty much one big tragedy. I’m reading a biography of Alex Chilton, the band’s lead singer, right now and I’m planning a post dedicated to Big Star’s sad story. Stay tuned for that…..
What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits-Doobie Brothers
The Doobies were going through some significant personnel changes in 1974, and more were on the way, but they managed to put out another great album in 1974. The song that I have for you today makes me want to be floating down a little southern river in a canoe…..laid back without a care in the world….
If you listen closely, you can appreciate some amazing steel guitar added by Skunk Baxter. He would be an official member of the group by 1975 as the band’s sound started to change. More about that next……
A New Life-Marshall Tucker Band
This was Marshall Tucker’s second release and it confirmed that they were not just a one trick pony. The title track from this album highlights everything that makes Marshall Tucker Band one of the best bands from the 70 (great vocals, amazing musicianship, and great songwriting)…..listen and be amazed……
March 1974 Album Releases
I’m a sucker for bands named after the states that they’re from and Kansas is one of the best examples of such a band. This was the debut album for Kansas and if you listen to the lead off song and it immediately let’s you know that you should expect great things from this band……
Bridge Of Sighs-Robin Trower
Jimi Hendrix was gone but we still had Robin to blow our minds. You can’t go wrong with the title track from this album….absolutely Epic……..
On The Border-Eagles
1974 found the Eagles, one of my favorite Southern California Sound bands, starting to move towards a more rock oriented sound. You wouldn’t know it from the song I have for you today, Ol’ 55, one of the few songs on the album not written by the group. The amazing Tom Waits wrote the song and the Eagles performance of it is something to be treasured. It brings back some amazing memories of driving back home from various girlfriends houses as the sun was coming up in my rear view mirror……
Get Your Wings-Aerosmith
On their sophomore album Aerosmith fully hit their stride. It was an amazing album and the start of a string of releases that would make Aerosmith one of my all time favorites. Let’s listen to Track 5 from the album, SOS (Too Bad)……in case you are wondering SOS stands for Same Old Shit…….
Somethin’s Happening-Peter Frampton
In 1974 something was at least on the verge of happening for Peter. The release of Frampton Comes Alive in 1976 would make him a superstar but you could see it coming by listening to this 1974 release. Let’s listen to the title song from the album, Somethin’s Happening……