Going Random Through the Seventies

There are more than 16,900 tunes from the Seventies in the RealPlayer here. We’ll go random six times and see what we get for a song today:

First up is “Damned If You Do” by Jesse Winchester from his 1976 album, Let the Rough Side Drag. The country-ish tune is a cautionary tale: All-Music Guide points out that the song “suggests that you might as well follow your heart because you’re in trouble either way.” And AMG notes that the album, “with its accomplished mixture of country and R&B, was Winchester’s most accessible album so far, even if it was his least ambitious.”

From there, we’re off to “Saturn,” one of the album tracks on Stevie Wonder’s brilliant Songs in the Key of Life, also from 1976. The song examines Earth from the viewpoint of a native of Saturn: “Through the ages all great men have taught / Truth and happiness just can’t be bought or sold / Tell me why are you people so cold?”

Our third stop today is the sleepy – literally: it begins with yawns – “Beyond the Blue Horizon” by Mike Nesmith and The First National Band. Sound effects proliferate above and behind a lazy country rendition of the Hank Cochran/Harlan Howard standard, with Nesmith eventually offering a vocal that becomes more and more intense as the band gathers momentum and then fades away. The intriguing track is from 1970’s Magnetic South.

And then it’s Al Green and his 1974 version of “Take Me To The River,” from the album Al Green Explores Your Mind. With the Memphis Horns adding accents, the Hi Records rhythm section and Green lay down a track that comes close to matching Green’s finest moments from a few years earlier.

“Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom. Well, who am I to keep you down?” Stevie Nicks’ voice floats atop the rhythm section of Mick Fleetwood and John McVie in “Dreams,” one of the songs that I would think defines the mid- to late 1970s for a lot of people, at least in a musical sense. The track was on Rumours, one of the great albums of the time, and it’s our fifth stop.

And our endpoint today is “It’ll Get Better,” a decent country rock tune by Redeye, a relatively obscure band of the early 1970s. According to blogger Leonard at redtelephone66, Redeye was from Los Angeles and included Douglas Mark on vocals and guitar; Bill Kirkham on vocals and bass; Dave Hodgkins on vocals and guitar; and Bob Bereman on drums and percussion. “It’ll Get Better” came from the 1973 album One Man’s Poison, the second of two albums the band released. Redeye did have two singles make the Billboard pop chart: “Games” went to No. 27 in early 1971, making Redeye a one-hit wonder, if one accepts the criterion of having a single record in the Top 40. Later that year, “Red Eye Blues” went to No. 78.


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