If you are looking for an album that defines, and refines, a moment in music history, you can’t go wrong with Leon Russell’s eponymous debut album from 1970. It was a coming together, in a manner perhaps even greater than Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, of many of the greatest live performers of the era to create a single album. It is also one of the rare albums actually made better upon reissue by the addition of the extra tracts. In fact it is hard to imagine why the additional material was ever left out to begin with.
I hadn’t known about Robin Trower’s Go My Way when it was released in 2000; I wasn’t really listening to the musicians of my youth and I didn’t know enough to seek out their new material. Besides, when was the last time Procol Harum had put out anything new? Well it turns out, as of 2000 that is, their last album had been The Long Goodbye in 1995 and they have released a studio album and some live albums since—mostly without Trower of course, who left the group back in 1971. He did perform on 1991’s The Prodigal Stranger and one song, “Repent Walpurgis,” on The Long Goodbye . Otherwise he has not been part of Procol Harum for most of his life. And he wasn’t even the guitarist on their cloud-scraping monument, “Whiter Shade of Pale.
I tried to use Death of a Ladies' Man as Leonard Cohen’s Then-Album to accompany his Now-Album, 2012’s Old Ideas, but Death of a Ladies' Man is all about Phil Spector. It is symptomatic of the 70s that anyone thought Phil Spector and Leonard Cohen belonged in the same city—or era—never mind the same studio. At any rate, it is time someone got rid of Spector, creating a Death of a Ladies' Man naked in the manner of Let It Be Naked—as odd as that sounds.
Have you ever seen one of those movie moments where the band is playing behind chicken wire and the audience is throwing beer bottles? Iggy Pop and the Stooges had those kinds of experiences. I didn’t hear him for the first time until he released Soldier in 1980, but then I immediately sought out his back catalogue and soon discovered punk had been coexistent with flower power back in 1969 with the release of The Stooges.