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Sunday, November 12, 2006
focus on a little corner of the 70's pop/folk/rock family tree
Listening to:White Room, live from Royal Albert Hall
Reading:what's next?
Weather:37, overcast
Skip this entry if you weren't alive and listening to commerical radio in the 1970's. Try this instead.

I frequently listen to radioio70's at work, and sometimes at home. They play deep album cuts and rare demos and live tracks from many really tasty artists from the 70's. About 95% of the tunes are artists I know and love but perhaps tracks I'm unfamiliar with, and the other 5% are tunes and artists I've never heard of. And sometimes I really dig them and do a little surfing around to learn more.

One of those 5% artists that I have come to love is Jo Jo Gunne. Hard driving straight-ahead rock and roll, cool sizzling guitar sound, simple lyrics about hell-raising, cool album covers, the essence of 70's rock.

Fastforward to the car ride home from work a few days ago. Liv and I are battling over the radio station (a common ritual in the raising of teenagers since Marconi invented the thing, no doubt), and we settled on some FM station in the lower end of the dial, I wasn't familiar with it, but they were playing some 70's pop hits that Liv and I both like. A'ight. So this song comes on, "sha la la la la my lady, in the sun with your hair undone. . ." a grooving shiny little melodic pop ditty that I can't begin to put my finger on, but somehow I can sing along virtually every word. How does that shit work? Well that's a whole 'nother Oprah. Anyhoo, I'm racking my brain for the artist, and it's just not in there. And of course the damn DJ will NEVER tell you the song while you're actually listening, so I tuck the title "Thunder Island" away in the "surf it later" section of my brain's card catalog.

And by now you have surely guessed that the artist, Jay Ferguson, was also in Jo Jo Gunner. But wait, there's more. Remember the band Spirit? "Nature's Way" is an old favorite of mine, I've been known to pull it out occasionally at various environmental benefit shows I've played. It's a haunting song with timpani and a cool guitar riff, got to love that. And by now doubtlessly you have surmised correctly that Jay Ferguson was also in Spirit. Spirit was actually founded by Jay and his friend Mark Andes and others, and he and Mark left that band to form Jo Jo Gunner in the early 70's.

And that, boys and girls, completes our 70's rock genealogy lesson for today. Now go practice your guitar, I know you're already trying to figure out that Nature's Way riff.


permalink posted by cat 8:38 AM

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focus on a little corner of the 70's pop/folk/rock family tree
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