It’s the second day of my entire week free from Ironman training and already, I have slept in to 8:00am TWO days in a row before rolling downstairs in my pajamas to being my work day in Corporate Hell. Yup, it’s true. And the only things on the docket for today is this (Day 56) core workout and a nice, easy, twisty-bendy yoga session later this evening before dinner. My easy-going album du jour then this afternoon (in keeping with the theme, of course) is the ‘Meanwhile Back at the Whiskey à Go Go‘ by Johnny Rivers.
Once again, I can feel you judging me.
Just a little…
Released in 1965, this is actually the fourth album by Rivers to be recorded at the Whiskey, the popular live music haunt on the Sunset Strip back in the 60’s, where he had been granted a one year residency to open in 1964.
You’d think that after four times in this format from this venue, ‘ol Johnny would start to get a little redundant, but that simply wasn’t the case, as is obvious from the opening track, ‘Seventh Son‘ where he takes an approach that manages to intersect with swamp rock, white soul, and garage punk, all neatly wrapped up in three minutes so potent that it shot into the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100.
One doesn’t need to check a release date on this album to know that folk-rock was still the happening sound at the time Rivers cut it; he successfully puts his own lean, mean stamp on the sound with his ominous, stripped-down rendition of ‘Greenback Dollar‘, presenting a side of the song totally missed by the Kingston Trio, and a version of ‘Silver Threads and Golden Needles‘ owes a lot to Dale Hawkins (whose ‘Suzie Q‘ also gets covered here) and Chuck Berry.
Rivers also presents a powerful white soul sound on this record, reaching back to his New Orleans background for ‘Land of 1,000 Dances‘ (as well as the popular murder ballad ‘Stagger Lee‘) and out to Motown on his guitar and bass-driven version of ‘Stop in the Name of Love’. Indeed, one has to wonder how many times a struggling young John Fogerty, living on the other end of California and the far side of success, listened to this record (and also the pounding versions of ‘Parchman Farm‘) and started germinating his own ideas about an even more suitable song like ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine‘. He also gives a nod to the Beatles, covering their most stripped-down rock & roll number, ‘I’ll Cry Instead‘ – one of their least-covered songs – in a slightly more loping, relaxed, and soulful manner.
Still judging me?
Well get this, the album cost me $1.00.
Yes, that’s right…all this live okie-folkie awesomeness for less than what you would likely spend on a parking meter.
Judge me as you see it, but it would totally be your loss.