The Vinyl Dialogues Blog

Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists

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It’s still easy to celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music with Three Dog Night

When I was a teenager in the mid-1970s, there were three songs I played over and over: “Sister Golden Hair” by America, “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers, and “An Old Fashioned Love Song” by Three Dog Night.

Not surprisingly, those three bands have always been — and remain to this day — among my favorite bands. I still turn those songs up when they come on the radio.

And although I’ve seen America and the Doobie Brothers live several times, I’d never seen Three Dog Night in person, until this past weekend.

After 52 years — Three Dog Night formed in 1967 with founding members Cory Wells, Chuck Negron and Danny Hutton on lead vocals; Jimmy Greenspoon on keyboards; Joe Schermie on bass; Michael Allsup on guitar; and Floyd Sneed on drums — time has taken it toll. Wells, Greenspoon and Schermie have died; Sneed has retired from public … Read more

Eddie Money, rock star: Gracious, honest and always entertaining

In the early 1970s, Eddie Money, mostly broke and trying to make it in the music business, was dating a woman who was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. But the woman’s mother didn’t like her daughter hanging out with the young musician.

“She was in a sorority and her mother didn’t want her to be involved with a rock star, so to speak,” said Money.

So Money wrote a song about the experience.

“It was about being broke and going with a rich girl at the time, which was good for me because she moved out of the sorority house and her mother didn’t know it,” he said. “She was living with me in North Oakland and paying my rent. And she was also bringing steaks home for the icebox, which was fantastic. So it all worked out great.”

Oh, and the song worked out great, too. … Read more

Daryl Hall and John Oates: Their hits are still on our list as the best things in life

I’ve long been an advocate of Daryl Hall and John Oates performing a complete album during their live show. It’s not a new concept. Brian Wilson has performed the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” (1966) album for a while now. And the Doobie Brothers have done the complete  “Toulouse Street” (1972) and “The Captain and Me” (1973) albums in concert.

I think it’s cool because the fans get to hear deeper cuts that bands usually don’t perform live. But there is the very real possibility — the Beatles are on the record as saying this — that some album cuts, particularly those albums that were recorded early in the artists’ careers, have never been performed live by the band. There are songs on albums that bands learned just for the album, and would have to relearn them some 40 to 50 years later.

So it’s not necessarily an easy thing … Read more

Mutlu’s new album ‘Good Trouble’ a thought-provoking smooth groove

Mutlu is getting into a little good trouble.

The Philadelphia singer-songwriter — who has written, recorded and opened for the likes of Philly icons Daryl Hall and John Oates as well as Amos Lee — can lay claim with his silk-like vocals to being part of the next generation of The Sound of Philadelphia (TSOP).

But his latest album is a little different. Titled “Good Trouble,” it’s got an edge. And that’s exactly how he wanted it. The title of the album was inspired by a term used by Georgia Congressman and civil right icon John Lewis, who uses it in the context of facing confrontation and pushback for his views. 

Sure, its got the usual smooth groove and natural storytelling that has come to define Mutlu’s music. But “Good Trouble” takes it to a different level, tackling thought-provoking topics like societal change, inequality, depression and hardship. 

“My … Read more

‘Stairway to Heaven’ is nowhere near the greatest makeout song ever

I do not like the music of Led Zeppelin. I never have. 

It all goes back to when I was a teenager in the 1970s. I had a girlfriend who liked to make out to Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” I was 16 years old, just starting to car date, and was dealing with raging hormones that many of us were experiencing at that age. I liked making out with her. I just didn’t like making out to “Stairway to Heaven.”

I had no interest in Zeppelin’s music then, and that’s the way it is now, some 40-plus years later. Sure, I know a couple of their tunes, and can probably sing a couple of verses to some of their songs. But I do not have any Zeppelin in my vinyl or CD collections and don’t plan on adding any.

But the discussion over whether “Stairway to Heaven” is the … Read more

And then along comes The Association again to transport us back to our youth

When I was a kid, my parents had an album collection, and one of the albums I absolutely wore out was “Insight Out” by The Association. It includes two of the band’s biggest hits, “Windy” and “Never My Love,” both still among my favorite songs of all-time

The Association — which includes original members Jim Yester and Jules Alexander — appeared July 26 at the Sellersville Theatre 1894, and the show took me back to when I was 8 years old, spinning vinyl at my parents house in central Illinois.

I was fortunate to interview Yester for a chapter in “The Vinyl Dialogues Volume IV: From Studio to Stylus” on the making of “Insight Out.” It was a thrill for me to hear Yester’s recollections of the making of that album. What follows is the story of that album, as told by Yester.

Ruthann Friedman was kind of like a … Read more

Stories from the front row with Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

If you’ve got a favorite band who you’d like to see live, do yourself a favor and spend the money to sit in the front row. And if Stevie Van Zandt sticks a microphone in your face, make sure you know the words to the song he wants you to help sing.

Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul were at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA, Saturday, July 20. I had been carrying around a gift card from Christmas and was looking for the right concert on which to spend it. And I wanted to see Little Steven.

Front row tickets aren’t always affordable, but for this show, they were. Only $81.50, which is a bargain for a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer. It seemed like the perfect way to treat myself with the gift card that was suddenly burning a hole in my wallet. I could hear … Read more

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