The Sunday Six

Celebrating music with six random songs at a time

Welcome to another installment of The Sunday Six. To those who follow my blog I no longer need to explain the idea behind the weekly recurring feature. For first time visitors, basically, these posts celebrate music in many different flavors from different periods of time, spanning the past 60 to 70 years or so. Ready?

Fleetwood Mac/Albatross

Let’s start off our little musical excursion with one of the most beautiful guitar-driven instrumentals I know: Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. This track goes all the way back to the Mac’s beginning when they were a blues rock band led by amazing British guitarist, vocalist and co-founder Peter Green who also wrote Albatross. At the time this dreamy track was released as a non-album single in November 1968, Fleetwood Mac also featured co-founders Jeremy Spencer (guitar, backing vocals), Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass), as well as Danny Kirwan (guitar, vocals) who had just joined two months earlier. In fact, it was Kirwan who helped Green complete Albatross, which was recorded without Spencer. The tune was subsequently included on the U.S. and British compilation albums English Rose (January 1969) and The Pious Bird of Good Omen (August 1969), respectively. Green’s guitar tone is just unbelievable.

Supertramp/Take the Long Way Home

The other day, I found myself listening to Breakfast in America, the sixth studio album by English prog-rock-turned-pop band Supertramp. I got it on vinyl shortly after its release in March 1979 and own that copy to this day. While I played the record over and over again at the time, it’s still in fairly good shape. It also turns out I continue to enjoy the songs – something I certainly cannot say for a good deal of other music I listened to back then as a 13-year-old in Germany. Breakfast in America, which spawned various hit singles, was hugely popular in Germany where it topped the charts, just like in many other countries in Europe and beyond. Take the Long Way Home remains one of my favorite tracks from the album. Written by the band’s co-frontman and principal songwriter Roger Hodgson, the tune also became the record’s fourth single in October 1979. BTW, you also gotta love the cover art, which won the 1980 Grammy Award for Best Recording Package.

John Prine/Angel From Montgomery

I still know very little about John Prine, who is widely viewed as one of the most influential singer-songwriters of his generation. But I’ve finally started listening to his music. According to Wikipedia, Prine has been called the “Mark Twain of songwriting.” The likes of Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Roger Waters have called out Prine. He mentored younger artists, such as Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile and Margo Price. In fact, I first listened to at least one John Prine song a long time before I even knew his name: Bonnie Raitt’s great cover of Angel From Montgomery, which she recorded for her fourth studio album Streetlights that appeared in September 1974. Here’s the original from John Prine’s eponymous debut album released in 1971. I’m starting to like it as much as Raitt’s rendition.

Peter Frampton/Avalon

If you read my Best of What’s New installment from a week ago, you probably recall it featured a great instrumental cover of George Harrison’s Isn’t It a Pity from Peter Frampton’s new album Peter Frampton Forgets the Words. Since my recent “discovery” of the all-instrumental record, I’ve enjoyed listening to it. Here’s another beautiful track that’s perfect for a Sunday morning: Avalon, the title song of the eighth and final studio album by English outfit Roxy Music, released in May 1982. Written by frontman Bryan Ferry, the tune also became the album’s second single in June 1982. I was a bit surprised to see it “only” reached no. 13 in England, while it didn’t chart at all in the U.S. – unlike the record that topped the charts in the UK and climbed to no. 53 in the U.S. and became Roxy Music’s best-selling album. In 1983, Ferry dissolved the band to focus on his solo career. In 2001, Roxy Music reformed for a 30th anniversary tour and was active on and off until they disbanded for good in 2011. Check out this great clip of Frampton and his band. Not only does he sound great, but you can clearly see how he and his fellow musicians enjoyed recording the tune. I don’t think you can fake this!

Traffic/Dear Mr. Fantasy

Time for some more ’60s music, don’t you agree? While I hate traffic when I’m in my car, I love it when it refers to the British rock band. Undoubtedly, much of my affection has to do with Steve Winwood, one of my long-time favorite artists. I get excited to this day when I hear the man sing and play his growling Hammond B-3. But amid all my love for Winwood, let’s not ignore excellent fellow musicians Jim Capaldi (drums, vocals), Dave Mason (guitar, bass, multiple other instruments, vocals) and Chris Wood (flute, saxophone, Hammond, percussion, vocals), who founded Traffic with Winwood in April 1967. It’s quite amazing that at that time, 18-year-old Winwood already had had a successful four-year career under his belly with The Spencer Davis Group. Dear Mr. Fantasy, co-written by Capaldi, Winwood and Wood, is from Traffic’s debut album Mr. Fantasy released in December 1967. When I saw Winwood live in March 2018, he played guitar on that tune, demonstrating his impressive fretboard chops.

Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band/Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out

For the last tune in this Sunday Six installment, let’s have a true rock and soul party. In this context, I can’t think of anything better than this live clip of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, captured in June 2000 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden at the end of the band’s triumphant 1999-2000 reunion tour. In this 19-minute-plus version of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, the Boss is literally taking his audience to rock & soul church. Yes, it’s long and perhaps somewhat over the top, but I believe Springsteen was authentic when at some point he noted, “I’m not bull-shittin’ back here.” Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, written by Springsteen and first appearing on his legendary breakthrough album Born to Run from August 1975, tells the story about the band’s formation. Watching this amazing footage, I get a bit emotional when seeing the big man Clarence Clemons and Danny Federici, who sadly passed away in 2011 and 2008, respectively. Though at the end of the day, it’s a beautiful celebration of their lives. If you haven’t seen this, I encourage you to watch it. And even if it’s not your first time, it’s worthwhile watching again. Live music doesn’t get much better!

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

19 thoughts on “The Sunday Six”

  1. Excellent line-up this week! The old Fleetwood Mac tune made me think of horseback riding either out West or in Hawaii. I’m going to have to get ahold of a copy of the Frampton album. I love how his group covered Geo’s tune.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I think “Albatross” is just an incredibly beautiful instrumental, which can make you daydream. Peter Green’s guitar tone is so good.

      Even though I’m a huge fan of vocals, I increasingly find myself attracted to instrumental music. As such, I also really like Frampton’s new album.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Angel From Montgomery…thank you Christian I needed that today.

    Dear Mr. Fantasy is not only a favorite song of mine…it’s one of my all time favorite songs. I’m always in a mood for that one.

    Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out…I played it for Bailey a couple of weeks ago…he never heard it before…that is all I’ve heard since.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Max. As noted, I really need to further explore John Prine. Bonnie Raitt’s version of “Angel From Montgomery” is one of my all-time favorite tunes I’ve heard from her. But I’m quickly starting to like Prine’s original just as much!

      As for “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out”, it’s been one of my favorite Springsteen tunes for many years. I love the entire “Born to Run” album.

      That live clip I posted takes the song to another level. I truely believe it’s rock & roll history – a moment comparable to The Who’s 1978 live performance of “Won’t Get Fooled” at Shepperton Studios for the closing sequence of “The Kids Are Alright” – something I still find breathtaking to watch again and again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prine was never appreciated enough…he had his own style. Oh yes Tenth.. has been one of my favorites of his also. That live version builds it up so well.
        Bruce knows dynamics! He is one of the best…if not the best at them live in the history of rock. He knows when to get loud and then quiet.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. In general, I’m not such a big fan of “endlessly drawn out” versions of songs, but in this case, it just never gets boring. I think a key reason is it comes across as natural, as opposed to being (overly) rehearsed.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes natural is fine…forced is not. That is me also…like some of the Allman Brothers songs are long but they feel right.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. The debut is his best- which is not to downgrade the rest of his career. Among my favorites- Bruised Orange, Sweet Revenge, The Missing Years, Lost Dogs and Missed Blessings- I really don’t think there is a bad John Prine album though..

        Like

    1. Ich habe jetzt endlich einmal damit angefangen mir dieses Album naeher zu betrachten.

      Insbesondere sind es die Texte, die mich beeindrucken. Da stoert mich dann die zuweilen sehr traditionell klingende Countrymusik nicht sehr.

      John Prine ist einfach eine Klasse Geschichtenerzaehler. Traurig ist sicherlich zutreffend. “Sam Stone” kann einem schon unter die Haut gehen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. John Prines Songwriting ist trostlos und umwerfend komisch. Wenn Dir „Sam Stone“ unter die Haut geht, dann hast Du wahrscheinlich „Hello In There“ noch nicht gehört; ein absolut trübseliger Song über das Alter. Daneben gibt es bei Prine auch diese ironisch-bitteren Songs wie „Spanish Pipedream“, da fordert er die Hörer auf, ihren Fernseher in die Luft zu jagen.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A great selection of songs, as always Christian. I still have my vinyl copy of “Breakfast in America” too.

    An off-topic question, but how or by what format did you use to make your album collage photo? I’ve had the toughest time making composite photos, and the WordPress theme I use makes it particularly difficult. I hate the Block editor.

    Like

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