Stephen Stills – Stephen Stills (1970)

Shut the door

Is Stephen Stills Neil Young’s friend or fiend? It is hard to know. They had played alongside each other in Buffalo Springfield, but they have also butted heads several times before and after. Already half a year after “Déjà vu” was released Stills came out with his self titled solo album.

Stephen collected seceral well known musicians around him. There was David Crosby and Graham Nash of course. Also; Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Ringo Starr, Dallas Taylor, Booker T. Jones, Rita Coolidge, John Sebastian and Mama Cass Elliot. The most notable omission is Neil. 

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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà vu (1970)

Yellow moon on the rise

“Déjà vu” is one of those very special albums that defies common sense. David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young together on an LP. The first bona fide  supergroups. 

This is an enigmatic collection of musical styles and strong personalities. How in the world could they cooperate so well? Ehh, well, the simple answer is that they couldn’t and they have been “on and off” in different constellations over the years. But back in 1970 however, they all played nice.

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Neil Young – Hawks & Doves (1980)

Bumper stickers should be issued!

And so, it begins… The new decade gave us a new Neil. If the seventies were his golden era, the eighties brought us experimentation and some crazy twists and turns. He has said in interviews that he was searching for new ways to communicate. It got so strange that he actually got sued by his record company for uncharacteristic music. The background may have been that both Neil’s sons, Zeke and Ben, have cerebral palsy. Neil tried to find ways to communicate with his children and the challenges from his personal life crept into his art. Art is life, life is art. The very last album of the new decade would become his great “come-back” album, some nine years later, but before that we got some twists and turns.

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The Doors – Morrison Hotel (1970)

The end is always near

The fifth studio album by The Doors is kickstarted by a fantastic song, “Roadhouse blues”. It may be the song that turned me on The Doors in the first place. I love its sweaty sexiness.

But one great song doesn’t make up my mind of a whole album. My ratings are on the complete album, mind you. As I spin this LP in preparation for my top list of the year of 1970, I consider it as a whole. What is it that draws me towards The Doors? 

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Paul McCartney – McCartney (1970)

Maybe I’m unamazed

Macca’s first solo album is a collection of leftover songs from the Beatles era and some new ones. It seems to be a collection of home demos. According to the internets the songs were recorded on a four track machine. All instruments are played by Paul, with some help from Linda on backing vocals. I really liked this album black in the eighties when I started to hang out with my friend Mr Magic who was and is a huge Beatles fan. How would it stand up the test of time and my slowly evolving musical taste?

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Deep Purple – Deep Purple in rock (1970)

Wait for the ricochet 

My introduction to Deep Purple came via a music group talent competition in my home town back in the eighties. A local group with a fantastic singer did “Child in time” as one of their numbers. Each band would play a handful of songs and then the audience voted which bands would go through to the next level. I was there mostly for my friends that did a set of Cure covers. They called themselves “The Funeral Party”. They didn’t win it all but we had a blast. The band with “Child in time” was one of my favourites due to the song and the performance of that young man. After that I soon found a used copy of “Live in Japan” and that was my ticket into Deep Purple.

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Neil Young – Hitchhiker (2017)

Looking for the D.J.’s daughter

Recorded during the full moon night of August 11, 1976, at Indigo Ranch Recording Studio in Malibu, California, Neil sits alone with a guitar. Old friend David Briggs at the mixing desk. During one of Neil’s most creative periods ever, the songs poured out of him. Sometimes a song was created on the spot right in front of David’s eyes (“Pocahontas”). In between recording songs Neil only stopped to consume beer, weed or coke. Ahh, those were the times.

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Pink Floyd – Atom heart mother (1970)

Charlotte Pringle’s due

Is it avant-garde?” principal Snyder asked at the end of the episode “The Puppet Show” and I could say the same. Is it avant-garde?

The album “Atom heart mother” is the last album before Pink Floyd “arrived”. By the next release they would forever be among the greatest bands in history.

But here in 1970 they were still honing their skills. Their previous album “Ummagumma” was built on some great ideas that didn’t translate to the black gold. The result was really not that good. It was more psychedelic than melodic. “Atom heart mother” suffers from the same, but it is a giant leap forward and they are close to “getting there”.

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