Sunday 20 July 2014

We're In The 70s Again...

A really great weird list over at FACT on their top 100 LPs of the 70s. It's just one LP per artist. I love how they really don't stick to the rock-crit consensus. I couldn't have predicted that they'd put half of these in their list. I own about 63 of these records. There's no Bob, Neil, Bruce, Pink Floyd, The Clash or even Led Zep! That should rile up a few rock bores. Some of my faves on the more esoteric side of things from the list include A.R. & Machines Echo, Guru Guru's UFO, Libra's Schock, Annette Peacock's I'm The One, Bruce Haack's Electric Lucifer,  Rot by Conrad Schnittzler, Flower Travelling Band's Satori,  Fern Kinney's Groove Me, First Utterance from Comus etc. Hawkwind make an appearance but no Ash Ra Tempel or Amon Duul 2. Funkadelic but no Parliament or Bootsy. Heaven forbid no Big Star what will the indie kids say? Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality over Vol. 4 and Paranoid. That would have been a hard choice. As would the Bowie decision with at least 11 classics to choose from. No T-Rex! No AC/DC! They went wild with their Lou Reed pick Live-Take No Prisoners. Nico in, John Cale out. No Iggy, that's outrageous! The 70s I guess was a peak time for fine albums so really they could have made a top 200. Can's Ege Bamyasi over Tago Mago, Future Days and Soon Over Babaluma. There's plenty of Krautrock, Jazz, Avant Garde, Punk/post-punk and the just plain weird. Not much Glam (That was more of a 7" trip) or Prog, No Country at all (it must have exhausted its hipness).

Of the punk & Post-Punk we've got Wire, The Sex Pistols, The Buzzcock, Stiff Little Fingers, Suicide, No New York, Patti Smith, Cabaret Voltaire, Crass, Pere Ubu, The Slits, New York Dolls, Nurse With Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Modern Lovers, The Residents (another hard choice, so many classics), Richard Hell, Devo and Talking Heads who all make the cut. Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures is mysteriously overlooked. The Saints (I'm)Stranded is the highest placed punk record, right on FACT!. No Radio Birdman or X(Legendary Australian band not the inferior American one) though, or X-Ray Spex, Dictators, Germs, Gang Of Four (is Entertainment not one the best album of the 70s?), Magazine, Television or The Ramones?! Metal Box by PIL is oddly missing. There ain't no Tubeway Army, Pop Group, Durutti Column, Thomas Leer & Robert Rental, Swell Maps, Minny Pops or Gary Numan solo. Der Plan's Geri Reig would have been my left field pick with its gloriously demented electronic toy town post-punk German stylee.

Soundtracks are thin on the ground. You could make an excellent list of 100 70s soundtracks I reckon. I think there are only 3 OSTs in the list. I'd have probably had Life On Earth, Eraserhead, Clockwork Orange, The Exorcist, Death Line, Quintet, Wickerman, Enter The Dragon, Shaft, Cannibal Holocaust, The Taking Of Pelham 123, Phantasm, Vanishing Point etc. etc.

On the soul and funk tip Curtis Mayfield makes the grade with his excellent Curtis/Live but Isaac Hayes doesn't. Stevie Wonder in, Michael Jackson's Off The Wall out!? Sly Stone, Gil Scott Heron, Last Poets, Shuggie Otis and Millie Jackson are here. The Meters, James Brown, Bill Withers, Al Green, Betty Davis, Marvin Gaye, Bobby Womack, Teddy Pendgrass, The O'Jays, The Isley Brothers et al. are not. My esoteric Pick would have been Lightnin Rod's Hustlers Convention from 1973 which is a proto gangsta rap concept album that is some funky superfly shit man. On the disco tip no Risque from Chic or Donna Summer's Once Upon A Time. But we do get Cerrone's Cerrone 3: Supernature and the aforementioned Fern Kinney.

There's no records from Sweden ie. International Harvester, Harvester or Trad Gras Och Stenar (I'd probably have included an LP by each of those groups even though they're all pretty much the same group). Maybe my other Swedish pick would have been Algarnas Tradgard's Framtiden ar ett Svavande Skepp, Forankrat I Forntiden. That's a nice slice of folky space prog jams. From France you get Serge Gainsbourg, Magma, Ghedalia Tazartez and Heldon. Some other French weirdness would have been good too like Pole's classic meandering electronic psych trip Inside The Dream from 1975. Brazil still seems to be on the hipster map with several entries, however Milton Nascimento & Lo Borges sprawling opus Clube Da Esquina misses out as does Jorge Ben, Edu Lobo etc. On the Yank/Brit folkish tip you get Linda Perhacs, Judee Sill, Bridget St John and Robbie Basho but no Nick Drake, Vashti Bunyan, Dr Strangley Strange, Tim Buckley (losing his hipster cache?) or my fave of the lot John Martyn. It would have been a toss up though for a Martyn LP between Bless The Weather, Solid Air, Inside Out or One World. Only one LP from Japan shows up so there's no Les Rallizes Denudes, Masahiko Satoh, People, Far East Family Band or Brast Burn. Nothing from Turkey at all! I'd have perhaps put in Baris Manco's funky Anadolu psych classic 2023 or LPs from Mogallar, Bunalim, 3 Hur-el or Eric Koray's masterpiece Electronic Turkular. On the Avant Garde front you get Bernhard Palmigiani, Charlemagne Palestine, Gavin Bryars, Basil Kirchin, Harold Budd, Robert Ashley etc. I reckon Taj Mahal Travellers August 1974 would have got my overlooked vote for its eerie deep psych drone goodness. Even maybe something from the legendary Ron Geesin who put out several classics of 70s cult electronics on the KPM label. Where's Delia?

I could go on forever, perhaps I should have made my own list. Klause Schulze's Moondawn gets a guernsey but it could just have easily been 7 of his other 70s classics. Tangerine Dream's Ziet would have got my vote over Phaedra. On The Corner from Miles Davis seems a conservative choice to me. I'd have gone for something like Get Up With It, Dark Magus, Big Fun, Agharta, In Concert or Live/Evil. Cult bands like The Screamers, The Electric Eels and Simply Saucer, I don't think had official LPs released in the 70s, which could explain their absence. On the more rock front The Rolling Stones, Blue Oyster Cult, The Allman Brothers, King Krimson, Dr Feelgood, Thin Lizzy, Steely Dan, Buffalo, Budgie and The Pink Fairies don't get a look in. I guess those bands are for other lists. FACT do things their way and the worlds a better place for it.

Here's ten LPs that haven't been mentioned yet in this or the FACT article that are essential 70s recordings in my book:
Edge Of Time - Dom
No Other - Gene Clark
For Your Pleasure - Roxy Music
Ball Power - Coloured Balls
Tres Hombres - ZZ Top
Split - Groundhogs
If Only I Could Remember My Name - David Crosby
Alien Soundtracks - Chrome
Delta Momma Blues - Townes Van Zandt
Dub From The Roots - King Tubby

Wow this has made me realise once again how rich and deep the music goes in the 70s. I'm lookin forward to going through all my Miles Davis and Klaus Schulze records oh and then there's some I've never heard from the FACT list. I might finally check out Henry Cow, Millie Jackson, Cymanade, Judee Sill or Gary Wilson. I never could get into Stiff Little Fingers, Joni Bloody Mitchell, Genesis or pre-Swordfishtrombones Tom Waits though. But hey any list with Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats at number 1 is fine by me.

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