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Die Special Record Section - December 1975 - Teil 2

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Off Duty / Europe / December 1975
1975 at Its Best - Ein Leben im Schallplatten-Himmel

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IT'S ONLY ROCK N ROLL

By CHET FLIPPO in December 1975

  • Chet Flippo, an Associate Editor of Rolling Stone, is based in New York. His past work includes coverage of Bob Dylan and the Rolling Stones. He formerly taught journalism at the University of Texas and served in the Naval Security Group.

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IT HAS NOT been the best of years for recorded rock and roll. In comparison, 1974 was a banner year with stellar releases such as the Rolling Stone's "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll", Randy Newman's "Good Old Boys", Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" and even the Raspberries' "Starting Over".

This year listeners have had to settle for reworked Stones oldies (on two albums) and precious little else of real worth.

The fact that there existed such a vacuum was made even more obvious by the hoopla surrounding the release of the year's most publicized record, Bruce Springsteen's "BORN TO RUN."

It could not have come at a more strategic time, for nothing else with such raw rock impact has come along in years. A cult hero and nothing more for years, his previous two albums have been thin and watery compared to his thundering stage performances.
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Das verflixte dritte Album bei den Künstlern

The third album in any performer's career is crucial, the one that will make or break that career, and his record label, Columbia, finally realized that Springsteen is a real rock and roller, not the "new Dylan" or the "street poet" that the company had been hyping him as.

Accordingly, Springsteen was given freedom to record the rock record that he knew he was capable of and the result is breathtaking. "BORN TO RUN" in one sense is an amalgam of all that has come before in rock, the sounds and themes that have remained constant.

The title cut, Born To Run, is the perfect expression of them: a thick wall of sound pushing the soaring vocals expressing the simultaneous exultance and futility of being young and free: "Tramps like us, baby we were born to run." Or born to lose, is the hint.

Nach Springsteen kam Bob Dylan and The Who

The album more than lives up to enormous amount of publicity it has received and stands as the rock album of 1975, a near-perfect example of the musical grandeur that rock music is all too seldom capable of achieving.

After Springsteen, the next best of 1975 comes from some of the old workhorses from the Sixties: Bob Dylan, The Who, Rod Stewart, and Neil Young. The Who, together now eleven years, are getting better and better and that's mostly because of Pete Townshend's excellence as songwriter.

The Who's BY NUMBERS at first appears to be just a collection of singles but a closer listening reveals it to be yet another of Townshend's sly rock operas, this one concerning his feeling about being an aging rock star.
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Und dann alleine Bob Dylan und Neil Young

Two other best albums of '75 also deal with stars trying to come to grips with their lives as they grow older. Bob Dylan's BLOOD ON THE TRACKS and Neil Young's TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT are both profoundly depressing but are such powerful works that their emotional effects are devastating.

Both are mature statements by aging rockers who are desparately trying to figure out where they're headed - they know too much about where they've been.

Finally, another of 75's best is, fortunately, not depressing. Rod Stewart's ATLANTIC CROSSING is mostly a joy. The first song - Three Time Loser - is about the wonders of venereal disease. It may well be that Stewart is not capable of the musical despair of Springsteen or Dylan, but no matter: he's keeping the fun in rock.
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Country's Pride - V'all listen now

By NICK TOSCHES

  • Nick Tosches is an editor of Country Music magazine and has written about music for Penthouse, Oui, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Creem, The Village Voice and other publications. He is currently at work on the definitive country music book, to be published by Stein & Day in 1976. He lives in New York.


COUNTRY music has been popular for longer than most of us remember, but it has gained wider acceptance - and respect - in recent years. Here Nick Tosches takes a look at some of the best releases of 1975 in the c&w (country & western) field.

RED HEADED STRANGER

Willie Nelson, Columbia KC-33482
For more than a decade, Willie Nelson has been one of the least predictable and most interesting artists in country music. This album, his first for Columbia, is his most consummate record and the fulfillment of every musical promise he made over the years.

It's a concept album, a tale of jealousy and violence that unfolds in the West of 1901. How Willie tells his tale is better heard than explained. Suffice it to say that he weaves his own original songs with obscure and not so obscure country classics. The album is both sheer jukebox energy and thousand-layered dream subtlety, and, on every level, a great hunk of music.

VICTIM OF LIFE'S CIRCUMSTANCES

Delbert McClinton, ABC ABCD-907
This young Texan's first solo album is the most awesome debut I've heard in more than a year. McClinton has reinvented classic honkytonk music for the seventies, and his album is an improbable but wholly successful blend of hard country and R&B. The title cut, a whorling mass of truculent rhythm and fast barroom imagery, is my choice for the best country song of the year.
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THE BEST OF GEORGE JONES

Georges Jones, Epic KE-33352
Every country singer's favorite country singer has been showing us what it's all about for more than twenty years. An anthology of material he released during the period 1972-75, the album shows that the man is as strong and on-target today as he was back in 1955. There are a lot of living legends in country music, but none so exciting or unfailing as King George.

TEXAS GOLD

Asleep at the Wheel, Capitol ST-11441
Asleep at the Wheel are doing more to keep alive the spirit of Western swing music than anyone else in country music. TEXAS GOLD, the group's third and most successful album, includes renditions of vintage stuff like Bob Wills's 1947 Fat Boy Rag and Amos Milburn's 1953 Let Me Go Home Whiskey and original Wheel material such as Runnin' after Fools, Tonight the Bartender Is on the Wrong Side of the Bar, and Bump Bounce Boogie.
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BANDY THE RODEO CLOWN

Moe Bandy, GRC GA-10016
Moe Bandy's debut on the country charts was the best thing to happen to country music in 1974. With several hits under his belt, he now seems here to stay, even if he has rubbed a few industry people the wrong way with his hardcore, honky-tonk music and his songs of drunkenness, jealousy, sex and general social leprosy. This is his third album, and probably his best to date. "I Sure Don't Need That Memory Tonight" is the stand-out here. By the way, Moe's brother is a top-rated rodeo star.
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DREAMING MY DREAMS

Waylon Jennings, RCA APL1-1062
Waylon rarely cuts a bad song, and never a bad album. On this disc he seems to be working with an even greater sense of esthetic freedom than he has in the past, and some of the songs hint at new directions, not only for Waylon, but for country music in general. And as ever, Waylon's band is the tightest and toughest working unit around.
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SOUL DISCS GO DISCO

By VINCEALETTI

  • Vince Aletti is a frequent contributor to Rolling Stone, the Village Voice and Creem. His column on disco music, Disco File, appears every week in the music paper Record World. He lives in New York City with more records than he knows what to do with.


SOUL MUSIC? Black music? Rhythm and blues? Categories and definitions were blurred into near obsolescence this year. There were many reasons for this: the tremedous success of crossover performers (Elton John is the prime example); the relative anonymity of the new Big Band studio product (Love Unlimited Orchestra, MFSB, Salsoul Orchestra, the Ritchie Family); and, the popularity of the disco sound, 1975's dominant style (and the one that encouraged the crossover moves of such unlikely artists as Frankie Valli, Herbie Mann and the Bee Gees, no less).

Jazz has moved into the mainstream

Jazz has moved more and more into the mainstream of popular music, establishing a give and take with the more commercial forms - a steady creative flow - that has enriched both sides. Jazz performers like Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Hubert Laws, Lonnie Liston Smith, Grover Washington, Herbie Hancock, Deodato and Esther Phillips all took giant steps this year - many with compositions that appealed to the disco market - and jazz/soul collaborations such as the one between Ramsey Lewis and Earth, Wind & Fire that resulted in the satisfying and quite successful SUNGODESS album, may be the wave of the future. The following list by no means exhausts the supply of fine soul albums released in 1975, but these are among the year's most significant records.

TO BE TRUE

Harold Melvin & The Bluenotes, Philadelphia International
This is one of the richest, most perfectly balanced albums to come out of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia studios this year, but it probably wouldn't be here if it weren't for its longest cut, a nearly seven-minute number called Bad Luck that became 1975's theme song - a knockout disco anthem that cut deep into everyone's dissatisfactions with the state of the nation and made us scream with recognition without missing a hot step.

NON-STOP

B. T. Express, Scepter/Roadshow
The sound here is hard-edged urban grit, more New York than Philly, tough and razor sharp. The opening cut, Peace Pipe, combines two major concerns - grass and peace - in a superb, densely-mixed track (the repeated chorus: "Put it in your peace pipe, smoke it all up"), and the rest continues in a similar vein: steamy, aggressive, terrifically dance-able.

A QUIET STORM

Smokey Robinson, Tamla
A decidedly non-disco album from the former lead singer of the Miracles and his most successful solo work, as the title suggests this disc is soft but powerful, tracing a love affair in some of Robinson's most perceptive and moving lyrics in years and re-establishing him as a star in his own right.

SAVE ME

Silver Convention, Midland International
An integrated German group, Silver Convention represents one of the year's most interesting stylistic breakthroughs - basically dreamy instrumentals with vocal touches and a strong debt owed to MFSB styling, this ecstatic disco music, especially Fly, Robin, Fly, has become the mood music of the Seventies. Laid-back, spacey, cooled-out but hot enough to party to: the perfect combination and an important foot in the door for the European eclectic sound.
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THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD

Earth, Wind & Fire, Columbia
Earth, Wind & Fire continue to be one of the top innovative groups, a fine jazz/soul synthesis with a delicate, deep spiritual feeling. An original and influential voice and one that will last.

Strength in Diversity - That's jazz today

By ROBERT PALMER in 1975
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  • Robert Palmer, born in Arkansas in 1945, moved to the East Coast in 1967 as a member of the pioneering jazz/rock group Insect Trust. He performed and recorded in and around New York before deciding to devote most of his time to writing in 1971. Since then his work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Atlantic Monthly, Black Music, and Ethnomusicology. He is a Rolling Stone Contributing Editor and has been that paper's principal jazz reviewer since 1970; is a Downbeat Contributing Editor; and a regular reviewer for the Sunday New York Times.


JAZZ LP'S proliferated wildly during 1975, with small labels stepping up release schedules and previously disinterested major companies expanding their catalogues.

In the area of contemporary avant-garde jazz, ABC/Impulse reorganized and dropped most of its progressive artists, but the new and aggressive Arista company released more
than twenty modern and free-form jazz lp's during the year.

Electric jazz/rock fusion music figured prominently in the release of major labels, but with most established groups turning out disappointing albums and few groups offering challenging alternatives.

Reissues continued to flood the market. Trip made classic lp's by Clifford Brown available again, and Prestige / Milestone continued to provide excellent two-fer sets, but Blue Note records led the pack with a series of meticulously (besonders sorgfältig) produced, programmed, and designed double lp's by Lester Young, Gil Evans, Cecil Taylor, and other important artists.

Die Stars der "mid-sixties" machten lange eine Pause

No leader emerged to garner both critical and commercial success, as John Coltrane had during the mid-sixties. Ornette Coleman, the only living saxophonist of Coltrane's stature, made no albums whatsoever during 1975. Pianist Keith Jarrett, widely touted as the new jazz Messiah, did not release anything as innovative as his SoloConcerts set of 1974, and it was difficult to imagine pianists and other instrumentalists copying his very personal style and touch, as so many musicians copied Coltrane.

Und das hier ist darum "meine" Liste :

The following list, then, is personal; there were no easy, obvious choices. It covers the major stylistic areas of contemporary jazz, but it's still unlikely that everyone will be pleased. Perhaps jazz fans should remind themselves that in diversity there is strength.

VISIONS OF THE EMERALD BEYOND

Mahavishnu Orchestra, Columbia
Guitarist John McLaughlin was widely taken to task for breaking up his original Mahavishnu Orchestra but he bounced back, after a lukewarm symphonic effort, with this exemplary set. McLaughlin and the French violin wizard Jean-Luc Ponty are the only soloists, and the improvisation maintains an exalted level throughout. McLaughlin's vocal and instrumental arrangement fuse Indian music, choral singing, hard rock, and funk in a series of attractive combinations, something Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, and Return To Forever weren't able to do without sounding episodic, familiar, or vacuous.

DEATH AND THE FLOWER

Keith Jarrett, ABC/Impulse
The German ECM label releases Jarrett's "special projects" - solo albums, orchestral and chamber music - but the excellent Jarrett quartet records for ABC/Impulse. This is the group's best, and the remarkable Jarrett's best effort of 1975. The side-long title tune begins gently with percussion and flutes and builds inexorably into one of Jerrett's gospel steamroller finales.

THE TALK OF THE TOWN

Helen Humes, Columbia
Mrs. Humes replaced Billie Holiday in the Count Basie band in 1938, and in 1975 she made a spectacular comeback, after years of obscurity, at the age of 61. This lp was produced by John Hammond, who managed Lady Day's recording career, and it represents the state of the art of jazz singing. Guitarist George Benson and pianist Ellis Larkins outdo themselves as accompanists and supportive soloists.

SILENT TONGUES

Cecil Taylor, Arista/Freedom
Pianist Taylor, who was a founding father of the new jazz of the sixties along with Coleman and Coltrane, made a comeback of his own in '75 after several years of exile in academe. He played for weeks on end to SRO crowds at New York's Five Spot and won several awards with this ferociously energetic solo recital, recorded live at the Mon-treux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

NEW YORK, FALL 1974

Anthony Braxton, Arista
Braxton, a young, iconoclastic composer/reedman from Chicago, seems to be bridging the gap between avantgarde and more commercial strains of jazz, without compromising his individuality. He crammed a clarinet/synthesizer duet, a quartet for four sax-ophons, and several hard swinging performances with traditional instrumentation into this lp and made it work - and he's got charisma too. He could be the major new jazz artist of 1976.

Eine Hit-Liste von "AAFES, Europe Hits"

Based on record sales during the first ten months of 1975.
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  • 1. AVERAGE WHITE BAND - Average White Band
  • 2. CUT THE CAKE - Average White Band
  • 3. PHYSICAL GRAFFITI - Led Zeppelin
  • 4. ONE OF THESE NIGHTS - Eagles
  • 5. HEAT IS ON Isley Brothers
  • 6. BETWEEN THE LINES - Janis Ian
  • 7. THATS THE WAY OF THE WORLD - Earth, Wind and Fire
  • 8. ENDLESS SUMMER - Beach Boys
  • 9. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC - Elton John
  • 10. BORN TO RUN - Bruce Springsteen
  • 11. HAVE YOU EVER BEEN MELLOW - Olivia Newton-John
  • 12. WHAT WERE ONCE VICES ARE NOW HABITS - Doobie Brothers
  • 13. AN EVENING WITH John Denver
  • 14. GREATEST HITS - John Denver
  • 15. HEART LIKE A WHEEL - Linda Ronstadt

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Eine Hit-Liste von "EUCOM Hits"

Based on sales at the EUCOM audio/photo club.
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  • 1. HORSE WITH NO NAME - America
  • 2. THAT'S THE WAY OF THE WORLD - Earth, Wind and Fire
  • 3. NOT FRAGILE - Bachmann-Turner Overdrive
  • 4. CAN'T GET ENOUGH - Barry White
  • 5. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - Pink Floyd
  • 6. GREATEST HITS - Elton John
  • 7. SURVIVAL - O'Jays
  • 8. DO IT TIL YOU'RE SATISFIED - B. T. Express
  • 9. AVERAGE WHITE BAND - Average White Band
  • 10. GREATEST HITS - Cat Stevens
  • 11. DESPERADO - Eagles
  • 12. GREATEST HITS - John Denver
  • 13. FOUR - Led Zeppelin
  • 14. FIRE - Ohio Players
  • 15. CHICAGO VIII - Chicago

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Eine Hit-Liste der "Top Pop Shop Hits"

Based on record sales during the first ten months of 1975.
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  • 1. ONE OF THESE NIGHTS - Eagles
  • 2. DISCO BABY - Van McCoy
  • 3. HORIZON - Carpenters
  • 4. WISH YOU WERE HERE - Pink Floyd
  • 5. DARK SIDE OF THE MOON - Pink Floyd
  • 6. CAN'T GET ENOUGH - Barry White
  • 7. NOT FRAGILE - Bachmann-Turner Overdrive
  • 8. LISTEN TO THE MUSIC - Doobie Brothers
  • 9. BEST OF STYLIST1CS - Stylistics
  • 10. DOIT - B. T. Express
  • 11. GREATEST HITS - Elton John
  • 12. BEST OF JOHN DENVER - John Denver
  • 13. THANK YOU BABY - Stylistics
  • 14. NEVER CAN SAY GOODBYE - Gloria Gaynor
  • 15. CAPTAIN FANTASTIC AND THE BROWN DIRT COWBOY - Elton John

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