I have mentioned this before, but sometimes ya just have to crank that volume knob...and let the sound wash out over you (and possibly the neighbourhood) in an overpowering wave.
Like the James Page Quartet - two strings, one percussion and voice - performing their timeless masterwork Opus #2. Was stereo sound really so new in 1969, that we marvelled so at the way the sound shifted across speakers? I remember it being novel - and such a pleasure to revisit, sitting between my laaaarge speakers, in the new hifi unit, with my eyes closed.
Totally oblivious to all but the sweet vocals and accompaniment....
"You been coolin'
And baby, I've been droolin'
All the good times, baby, I've been misusin'-a/Oh
A-way, way down inside
I'm gonna give ya my love/Ah
I'm gonna give ya every inch of my love/Ah
I'm gonna give you my love/Ah
Yes, alright, let's go/Ah"
Did I REALLY listen to that in 1969, and not understand what it meant? And this:
"Squeeze me, babe, 'till the juice runs down my leg
Do, squeeze, squeeze me, baby, until the juice runs down my leg
The wayyou squeeze my lemon-a
I'm gonna fall right outta bed, 'ed, 'ed, bed, yeah..."
I think I only woke up to what THAT was about in the last ten years...I suppose I was only 14 when I heard them the first time, and it was the awesome sound, rather than the lyrics, that captivated me...Led Zeppelin burst in on me (and everyone) with the subtlety of a cruise missile coming into a Baghdad bunker - and I think my hearing loss dates back to about then. Them, and Deep Purple (Black Knight, you need to cue up "Smoke on the Water" and "Space Truckin'" right about now...B-).
But it's in the last ten or so years, when I have seriously got into blues, that I have realised just how good, and how novel, some of those early heavy rock outfits were - and how blues-influenced. In fact, you can go back to Cream, Taste, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull and even the Stones, and pick up an astonishing amount of very good blues: the live "Stray Cat Blues" off the Stones' "Get Yer Ya-Yas Out" has to be one of the nastiest blues tracks I have ever heard; Tull does a very passable "My Sunday Feeling"; Cream's "Crossroads" is the stuff of legend; and Rory Gallagher...suffice it to say that "Bullfrog Blues" is another one to blow your brains out with when the synapses need scouring.
"Well did you ever wake up
With them bullfrogs on your mind"
Well did you ever wake up
With them Bullfrogs on your mind?
You had to sit there laughin'
Laughin' just to keep from crying."
Sublime...! You know, "Retroid Raving" actually gets its name from "Retroid Rock", which I presented on UCT Radio as a weekly two-hour classic rock show, between 1995 and 1996 - which is when I woke up to the blues background for most of the 70s rock that I grew up with. And played a LOT of it...some of which survives as a collection of 60-120 minute MP3s entitled "Dinosaurs Live!", if anyone's interested.
Think I'll go and submerge my brain with some more dirigible....