The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


10-15-08 1969

While I had already been listening to music for a few years, 1969 remains very clearly in focus for me. I recently got a CD of “The Hits of 1969” and I knew every single song – whether I liked it or not! Believe it not, I still have my notes about what was important to me, an 11-year-old in 1969.

With the break-up of Cream (“Goodbye”), everyone I knew waited for the Blind Faith album with baited breath – and we all loved it (even the drum solo, “Do What You Like”). And the debut solo Jack Bruce LP (“Songs For A Tailor”). My favorite artist was Frank Zappa – and who couldn’t love “Uncle Meat (double LP) or “Burnt Weeny Sandwich” (the title of this really made me laugh). From Warner / Reprise sampler LP’s, I knew Neil Young and Jethro Tull (“Stand Up” was so cool!) I loved those cheap (inexpensive) double sampler LP’s (“1969 Record Show” and “Songbook”).

I was all into “Tommy” by The Who. It looked great, sounded great. I liked “Ssssh” by Ten Years After (I liked them even better after the “Woodstock” movie came along, in a few months). I liked Spirit – and I thought “I Got A Line on You” was a great 45 (I really loved their 1968 debut LP).

The music event of the year for me (as I was too young for “Woodstock”) was the release of “Abbey Road” by The Beatles, in September ’69. It was an expensive album, $6.98 list (as opposed to $4.98 or even $5.98)…but I got a copy the day it came out. And The Rolling Stones “Let It Bleed” was nearly as important.

My brother played me the first Santana album a lot. He was who also hipped me to “Super Session, by Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield & Steve Stills (still one of my favorite all-time albums) – what a long album, too. Glad there’s a re-mastered CD of it, in the new century. John Mayall “The Turning Point”. Isaac Hayes “Hot Buttered Soul”. More credit due to my older bro – Procol Harum “A Salty Dog” – “What are their songs about?”, I asked. “Who knows?” he answered. I absolutely love this album and P.H.

I heard Les McCann & Eddie Harris “Swiss Movement” being played in a hippie record store, and a copy was mine for $2.44 (new!). I’d found the debut LP by British group Family, so was delighted to find their 2nd album, “Family Entertainment” (with a door poster). Donovan “Barabajagal” – on the radio, in my ears. From hanging out in hippie record stores, I knew instantly about the debut Crosby, Stills & Nash LP (ex-Buffalo Springfield, ex-Byrds, ex-Hollies).

The FM radio was playing Joe Cocker. It would take the “Woodstock” (film) to make him a household name. The radio was also flogging Creedence Clearwater Revival. And Blood, Sweat & Tears (now without Al Kooper).

I had been into the Bee Gees since their debut album, so I really liked their “First Of May” single (and “Odessa” double LP with the flocked felt cover) – so, “ rose colored glasses ” – but this was what I really was ‘into’ in 1969.



Anonymous Jim Donato said...

In 1969 (age 6) I had not yet made the leap to music as my preferred art form. I lived in Palm Grove Colony, FL. The nearest radio stations were 90 miles away in Tampa. The only record I had was the "Hey Jude" b/w "Revolution" 45 which somebody gave me. I HATED "Hey Jude!" But in 1970 I'd be back in LA all over it! KHJ! From 70 onward I had a transistor radio and earphone as my constant companion.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Ron Kane said...

1969: I was starting to listen to late night FM radio in Los Angeles. I could go to hippie record stores and / or talk to my older brother about music. The patterns of collecting were already emerging for me (getting British LP's, after having American LP's etc.) I think I quit listening to AM radio in 1970, preferring KPFK-FM.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Jim Donato said...

I didn't move to FM until 1975. Makes sense. I'm 6 years younger than you and without older siblings to point me in any particular directions, I guess I did pretty good in forging a path at similar times in my life to you, albeit 6 years later. But I was a latecomer to imports. Mostly a function of the state of record stores in Orlando and my ability to access them on my own. I didn't buy my first import until '79! I believe it was the first Tourists album...

5:18 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

... and I think I was there with you at the time, Jim! :)

Let me see ... 69, I would have been 7.

I'm pretty sure I was turning on to Jefferson Airplane, the same Bee Gees stuff you referenced, and of course the Beatles. Just a year or two later I would be all about the Bowie ...

6:15 AM  
Blogger Brian Ware said...

Well I guess I better chime in. I don't recall FM being relevant to me until the early 70s. I remember making tapes when they'd play entire album sides by groups like Steppenwolf. I was certainly entertained by whatever was on Top 40 radio at the time (Orlando's WLOF), so if groups had cool singles I'd be exploring the albums as well - Cream, Doors, Creedence, Beatles, etc. All the usual suspects. Of course also embarrassments like Grand Funk Railroad as well.

4:06 PM  

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