Posted tagged ‘1973’

Miles away, but not for long

June 30, 2012

I’m leaving tomorrow morning on a little trip that will take me all the way across Wisconsin, into Minnesota and back.

Along the way, I’ll get caught up with friends I haven’t seen for a while. Or in the case of Whiteray and the Texas Gal, friends I’ve met only online and never in real life.

The last stop will be a reunion with my friend Terry, whom I’ve known for 30 years. He moved away from here earlier this year to pursue a better opportunity in the news business. Terry is missed for many reasons, but foremost because we both dig music. He hepped me to plenty of good stuff, and for that I am ever grateful.

Life takes friends in different directions. You don’t hang out like you used to. You don’t go on new adventures. You don’t get exposed to new things. That’s life, but I miss those things.

When I wrote about the Bob Welch song “Hypnotized” in the wake of his passing earlier this month, I mentioned that Fleetwood Mac’s “Mystery To Me,” the album with “Hypnotized,” was one of the first I bought when I got back into buying vinyl records a few years ago.

Terry read that, sidled up to me via the comments and said:

“Another Welch nugget from that album is ‘Miles Away.'”

Truth be told, I bought that album solely for “Hypnotized.” I’m not at all familiar with the rest of it, even though I must have heard some of its cuts on the free-form radio of the early ’70s.

So, considering Terry’s recommendation, I ripped it. Tonight’s side on The Midnight Tracker, materializing from the sweet blue haze of time, features “Miles Away,” a song about getting away from it all.

“The City,” “Miles Away,” “Somebody,” “The Way I Feel,” “For Your Love” and “Why,” Fleetwood Mac, from “Mystery To Me,” 1973. This is Side 2. It runs 23:23.

The first three cuts were written by Welch. “The Way I Feel” and “Why” are Christine McVie compositions.

“For Your Love” is a cover of the Yardbirds tune. It replaced another Welch song late in the going. Some inner sleeves, including mine, show “Good Things (Come To Those Who Wait)” as the second-t0-last song on this side. Welch eventually re-recorded his song and released it as “Don’t Wait Too Long,” the second-to-last song on his “Three Hearts” LP in 1978.

This was the third of four Fleetwood Mac albums with Welch. He left the group after “Heroes Are Hard To Find” was released in late 1974.

Doin’ fine now, indeed

November 27, 2010

Tonight on The Midnight Tracker, we have a record for which I really can’t say why it took me so long to get with it, and to get it.

“I’m Doin’ Fine Now,” the title track from the 1973 album by New York City, has long been one of my favorite pop-soul songs from the early ’70s. I finally found this album a few weeks ago, and it’s quickly become one of my favorites of the moment.

Listen to this, and it’s a little surprising that New York City was together for such a short time. This veteran quartet came together in 1972 as Tri-Boro Exchange, recorded two albums on Chelsea Records as New York City and had called it quits by 1974.

For all the sweetness on this record, it seems the gents who made up New York City did not mess around. The liner notes take pains to cite their professional credentials.

The biggest name was John Brown, who had been one of the Five Satins and a backup singer for the Cadillacs. Tim McQueen, Edward Schell and Claude Johnson also had been singing for years, in church, in school and in soul and doo-wop groups.

Brown adds:

“We feel personally that a group should be able to sing anything from the lowest, dirtiest blues, through spirituals, right up through pop to the heaviest kind of music. If you call yourself a quartet and you call yourselves singers, then you should sing everything.”

Tonight, listen for yourself.

“Quick, Fast, in a Hurry,” “Uncle James,” “Ain’t It So,” “I’m Doin’ Fine Now” and “Reach Out,” New York City, from “I’m Doin’ Fine Now, 1973. This is Side 2. It runs 16:11.

The LP is out of print. However, eight of its 11 cuts are available on this greatest-hits CD, which draws from this album and “Soulful Road,” from 1974.

The first four songs on Side 2 were arranged, conducted and produced by Thom Bell, who worked with the Stylistics, then New York City, then the Spinners. If you know those groups, it’s fascinating to hear how this group fits into the evolution of Bell’s signature Philly soul sound.

New York City released six singles from its two albums, and two came from this side. The title track was released first, in 1973, and reached the Top 20. The first cut on this side, “Quick, Fast, in a Hurry” was released as a single a year later. It did nicely with black audiences, as did all of NYC’s singles, but made it only to No. 79 on the pop charts. Even at that, it still was the group’s second-biggest single.