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Ulysses S. Grant’s Choices
Written By: Stone Scruggs
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Ulysses S. Grant’s Choices
The New Yardbirds.
 Take it for Granted. 1966 was Music's Best Year. And I can prove this.
    Like the man said (I'm the man), Stone's space specializes in new music and discourages - disdains actually - stale nostalgia. But this thing is bigger than me, or my page. It's a half century since the canons created their most canonical. The Beatles and The Stones, of course. Bob and Brian. Legends were born: Status Quo (as The Spectres, still among the coolest cognomens  in patronymic Creation - The Creation another, incidentally also created this year); Gram Parsons, in International Submarine Band.
    Jimi Hendrix.
    The Doors, for God's sake!
    An entire subgenre, for Jah's sake: Jamaican ska mellowed down de tempo fe de sound system dance; mek we ago pon de rocksteady riddim. The Skatalites' original incarnation, appropriately, skanked no more, but Buster was a "Hard Man Fe Dead". The Maytals went "Bam". Desmond Dekker lamented "Shanty Town". Alton Ellis asked "Can I Change My Mind", which our own The Pietasters decided to cover twenty tears ago. The Heptones got hep. Bunny Lee took the controls. And another Bunny assumed the lead, beside bredren Peter, with vocal trio leader Bob away up in Wilmington. Yes, some of The original Wailers' best sides were from 1966.
    1967 would be for San Francisco and its Summer Of Love, but this was London's epochal swingin’ summer, and it was captured by the camera eye by the influential Blow Up. But the primary raison d'être for the film was the live band featured toward the end: The Yardbirds, during the one season Chris Dreja took the bass space to accommodate two lead guitars: JEFF BECK AND JIMMY PAGE, who recorded one single, "Psycho Daisies"/"Stroll On", the later being the raveup in the movie, the length of which is worth sitting through if only to see not only Beck and Page on stage, but temperamental Beck having a disagreement with his instrument. Appositely, in October the duo paired for "Beck's Bolero", which would JumpStart the virtuoso's solo career. Dig this personnel in what was the first Supergroup in British rock: Jeff - lead, Jimmy - producer / twelve-string, John Paul Jones - bass, Nicky Hopkins - piano, Keith Moon - drums (!!). And I would be fainéant in not mentioning the activities of another Yardbirds alumni. Slowhand recorded a full album with Bluesbreakers after a '65 single.
    And that's just off the top of my newly shorn, even lighter, head. Keep your clicker here this year for much more fiftieth anniversary coverage. Of course I'll get into Beach Boys and the solo genius producer as auteur Pet Sounds era, The Fab Four's Revolver, The Rolling Stones' staggering first all original opus, including some late easter eggs about it not being exclusively "Jagger/Richards", despite the official credits (anymore than all those Beatle classics were "Lennon/McCartney"!). More coming attractions: The Velvet Underground, The Who, The Kinks, Thirteenth Floor Elevators.
    It Was A Very Good Year.
 
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