Time Capsule: July 1972

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Top 10 Albums Released In July 1972

 

10. Chicago – Chicago V

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When we talk about great Rockers who left us too early, Terry Kath’s name doesn’t come up often enough. He gave Chicago a rootsy muscularity like a more tuneful Blood, Sweat & Tears, and without him they sort of ended up being a less latin Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. “Saturday In The Park” was the big hit on this album, but this semi-cheesed nugget highlighted Kath’s great growly vocals and lead guitar awesomeness.

 

9. Nilsson – Son Of Schmilsson

Harry Nilsson’s previous album Nilsson Schmilsson was a surprise breakthrough hit, yielding the big singles “Without You”, “Coconut” and “Jump Into The Fire”, three wildly different tracks. Wanting to capitalize on that success, his label had him release this rush job only 8 months later. Like all Nilsson records, it is weird and wonderful, and this classic track is a big “forget you” to Ceelo Green for being about 40 years late to the party.

 

8. Argent – All Together Now

This album needs to be on the list mostly because of the single “Hold Your Head Up”, which is simply one of the greatest Rock songs ever made. Pretty odd little album otherwise with a couple of half-assed blues numbers, plenty of moments of aimless keyboard noodling, plus this epic suite which includes everything but the proggy kitchen sink.

 

7. Frank Zappa – Waka/Jawaka

Frank Zappa once said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture. Well feets don’t fail me now, this is an M. C. Escher building, and a much-underrated Zappa album. The two major tracks, “Big Swifty” and the title track, reveal some of the richest and most melodic fusion jazz Zappa ever made, simply breathtaking, brilliant stuff. It kind of fell through the cracks in 1972, but it can still expand your consciousness in 2016.

 

6. Mott The Hoople – All The Young Dudes

The two singles from this album were a cover of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane”, and of course the title track Bowie cover which became a massive hit. Amazing how in 1972 a band of Mott The Hoople’s stature would release covers as singles. It just wouldn’t happen today, which is too bad, I think. Anyway the album also included this track, which guitarist Mick Ralphs took with him to Bad Company, but to me it always sounded a little beefier when Mott did it.

 

5. Temptations – All Directions

A number of all-time classic songs were born into the world this month, including ”Papa Was A Rolling Stone” from this album. The Tempts had shown with “Ball Of Confusion” that they weren’t afraid of bold social commentary, and they went even further on this album. This startling track more than anything reminds us how little progress we’ve all made in the last 44 years.

 

4. Rod Stewart – Never a Dull Moment

In the early 1970s the differences between a Rod Stewart album and Faces album were pretty slight. This album, which reached #1 in the UK and #2 in the U.S., featured Ronnie Wood on guitars, writing songs, and even playing bass — you can hear his inimitable style on this track. The other members of the Faces – Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones – were all over this album too. Maybe Sexy Rod helped them score better groupies in exchange for the branding snub.

 

3. T. Rex – The Slider

The follow-up to the band’s breakthrough masterpiece Electric Warrior, this album showed Marc Bolan and the lads still at the top of their game, although it didn’t yield a hit as big as “Bang A Gong (Get It On)”. While T. Rex and David Bowie largely set the table for the “new wave” revolution of the late Seventies, Tony Visconti produced both artists and deserves way more credit for his role in shaping Rock’s evolution.

 

2. Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

The thing about Curtis Mayfield is that he was the rare Soul singer-songwriter who also played guitar, and the guitar brought all kinds of crossover influences into his music. This classic track begins with all the trappings of funk, but the chorus is delivered over three Rock chords in a definite Rock rhythm. And Mayfield’s powerful lyrics cut to the truth on the street, instead of the metaphors and euphemisms that Soul traditionally dealt out. This was a hugely influential album across the board.

 

1. Van Morrison – St. Dominic’s Preview

This one’s a masterpiece in my book, even without any well-known songs. There’s a wide range of feeling and emotion spread out among only seven tracks. “Jackie Wilson Said” is an R&B stomper, “Gypsy” features tempo shifts and eastern influences, “I Will Be There” is a hilarious honky-tonk blues, “Redwood Tree” is sweet pop greatness, and the title track rides a heartfelt, autobiographical mid-tempo groove. The two biggest and most important tracks are slow-jam meditations on self-awareness, more soothing and life-affirming (and affordable) than therapy. “Almost Independence Day” features a Moog synthesizer/acoustic guitar combo, while “Listen To The Lion” delivers some of the most amazing vocal acrobatics ever laid down on record. If you don’t have this album in your collection, go get it.

 

Other Albums released In July 1972 Include:

The Doobie Brothers Toulouse Street / Emerson, Lake & Palmer Trilogy / Jimmy Cliff The Harder They Come / The Doors Full Circle / Jefferson Airplane Long John Silver / Foghat Foghat / Johnny Nash I Can See Clearly Now / James Gang Straight Shooter

 

 

 

 

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