A Quick Six-Pack From 1971

I got an invitation in my email the other week: The St. Cloud Tech High Class of 1971 is getting together one evening near the end of June to celebrate the forty years gone by.

I’ve made two other reunions: the tenth, which I didn’t enjoy all that much, and the twentieth, which I did. Since then, there’s been some barrier or other in my way, and I’ve missed the get-togethers.

This really isn’t about the reunion, but the reminder that it’s been forty years since we donned our caps and gowns and then moved on to other things gave me a convenient hook on which to hang a quick Friday morning post: A six-tune random trek through 1971.

British musician Phil Cordell released an instrumental titled  “I Will Return” under the name of Springwater that year. The song didn’t chart in the U.S., but it did all right in Europe, reaching No. 1 in Switzerland and making the Top Five in the U.K. I caught up to it sometime during these past four years, and I like it quite a bit.

Our next stop is a tune that I thought was rude and excessive forty years ago, as well as being a bit too loud: “Black Dog” by Led Zeppelin. Rude and excessive or not, it went to No. 15. And these days, I like it quite a bit more than I did then.

Third up is “We Got To Have Peace,” a Curtis Mayfield track pulled from his album Roots. The single barely made a dent in the pop chart, bubbling under at No. 115. It did a fair amount better on the R&B chart, rising to No. 32.

Staying on the R&B side of town for a while, we come across “Going In Circles,” a track from Isaac Hayes’ monumental album Black Moses. ‘Never Can Say Goodbye” was the hit single from the album, going to No. 22 on the pop chart and to No, 5 on the R&B chart. The album itself went to No. 10 on the Billboard 200, No. 2 on the Jazz chart and No. 1 on the R&B chart.

Our fifth stop this morning is “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” by the Partridge Family. Created for  television, the faux family group had plenty of detractors at the time, but forty years have softened the disdain, and now the group’s records sound like pretty decent early-70s pop-.  “I Woke Up In Love This Morning” went to No. 13.

And our final stop this morning brings us to Lou Rawls and “A Natural Man.” The record went to No. 17 on both the pop and R&B charts, and it won Rawls a well-deserved Grammy for R&B Male Vocal performance:

That’s it for a few days. The Texas Gal and I are going to go outside and play. I’ll be back Monday.

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2 Responses to “A Quick Six-Pack From 1971”

  1. Been lurking for awhile, enjoying your blog; this particular selection of tunes inspired me to comment as ’71 was an important year for me as well.

    “Natural Man” hadn’t crossed my mind since it was a hit. If you don’t already know, you might be interested to learn that the song’s music was written by Bobby Hebb of “Sunny” fame, and the lyrics were written by comedian Sandy Baron , most famous today for playing Jack Klompus on the ‘Seinfeld’ TV show.

    best wishes

  2. Yah Shure says:

    I hope you have a great time at your 40th reunion.

    I’ve tried once every few years to get into Springwater’s “I Will Return,” but it never seems to get off the ground. My music director predecessor at our college station picked the Cotillion single’s B-side, “Stone Cross” instead, and it’s long been one of my favorite instrumentals. It immediately reminded me of something else, but what? It turned out to be the (more or less) title track from a soundtrack LP gathering dust in my collection: Davie Allan & The Arrows’ “Theme From The Wild Angels.”

    If I had one criticism of “I Will Return” and “Stone Cross,” it would be that Phil Cordell didn’t seem to know how to effectively wrap up either side. Definitive endings for these complex, multi-layered productions would have made them even more memorable.

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