Category: 1968

1968, Music

Cheap Thrills (1968) by Big Brother and the Holding Company

In the version of the ’60s I got from ’90s music television, Cheap Thrills is one of the seminal documents of the San Francisco psychedelic scene. But listening to it for the first time all these years later, it’s hard to see why it was such a big deal. I guess it’s considered the best …

1966, 1968, Books, Fiction

Cancer Ward (1966, 1968) by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

I have no idea why it took me so long to finish this one. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but something about it turned into a slog for me. (It also happened that I was listening to podcasts when I supposed to be reading, which was a problem.) Anyway, the time it took …

1968, Music

Hair (1968) by the Original Broadway Cast

This is not the first cast recording of Hair but it is the first Broadway cast recording (I think) and, more importantly, it was the hit, it’s the version that hit #1 in 1968 – the last Broadway cast album to do so, according to Wikipedia – and sold millions of copies. So whether or …

1968

Aerial Ballet (1968) by Nilsson

Nilsson is just one of those guys I don’t get. I have listened to a few of his records now and every time my reaction is “This is what Nilsson sounds like?” You see, I am not really a fan of pop, and though this music is relatively adventurous – I stress the “relatively” as …

1968, Music

It’s All About (1968) by Spooky Tooth

This is one of those records I thought about listening to a decade and a half ago and I’m just getting to it now. That’s often a recipe for disappointment as my tastes in my mid 30s are definitely not what they were in my early 20s.

1968, Music

Os Mutantes (1968)

Like so much popular music from countries other than the US and the UK, there is a tendency to overrate Os Mutantes’ debut simply because it is not American or British. I’m not sure this record would be considered so seminal had it been made by an American or British band singing in English. I’ll …

1968, Music

Randy Newman Creates Something New (1968)

For someone with my oft-stated supposed ability to tolerate weird, unconventional voices, I sure seem to struggle with them lately. On first listen to this record, I thought about dropping it, as I wasn’t sure I could deal with the 1968 iteration of Randy Newman’s legendarily unconventional voice.

1968, Music

The Pentangle (1968)

This is some pretty good folk jazz / jazz folk stuff, that is classified on RYM as “progressive folk” and “folk rock” for some reason. (Well, there is a reason: it’s possible they don’t recognize the existence of the folk jazz / jazz folk sub-genre, despite how much of it there is out there.) Anyway…

1968, Music

Dance to the Music (1968) by Sly and the Family Stone

It’s easy to understand why this band captured everyone’s attention; though the music is undeniably funky for the era, and soulful, there’s also enough of other elements that it’s accessible to people who would not have listened to James Brown or Stax or what have you.It’s significantly less psychedelic than I assumed it was, but …

1968, Music

Bookends (1968) by Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were one of the groups I listened to more than most when I was in my childhood/tween oldies phase. I want to blame that for why I have such a hard time with them as an adult but I think it’s mostly because I find Paul Simon to be perhaps the most …

1968, Music

Safe at Home (1968) by International Submarine Band

This record invented country rock. As such, it’s one of the milestone records of the 1960s. (Country infected popular music in the 1970s and the country rock phenomenon of the late 1960s and early 1970s and Safe at Home is a big reason why.) But with the benefit of hindsight I am tempted to criticize the …

1968, Music

Eli and the 13th Confession (1968) by Laura Nyro

I was barely aware of Nyro when I listened to this record – I had heard her name, likely from seeing it listed in credits and mentioned here and there I guess, but I didn’t know what I was in for.

1968, Music

Did She Mention My Name? (1968) by Gordon Lightfoot

This is my first experience of Lightfoot outside of hearing 5 or so songs of his ad nauseum on Oldies Radio when I was a kid. I guess I associated those songs with my childhood and so I’ve never had an urge to explore his oeuvre. Reading about this record, I was shocked to find …

1968, Music

Lady Soul (1968) by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s fourteenth studio album could have almost tricked me into believing it was a Greatest Hits/Best Of album focused on a particular era of her career, except for the fact it is missing “Respect” and a few other songs.

1968, Music

Sing Me Back Home (1968) by Merle Haggard and the Strangers

The way I think about music is dominated by the idea of artistic progression: did this artist improve or change from the last album. But country music poses a challenge to this outlook (just like soul does) because, for much of the genre’s history if not all of it, stasis or consistency has been deemed …

1968, Books, Non-Fiction

The Revolution of the Saints (19968) by Michael Walzer

Many years ago, I read a history of ideas about radical/left-wing politics, Main Currents of Marxism by Leszek Kolakowski, which felt to me like the definitive statement on the religious origins and nature of ideologies. The only thing lacking with that book, to my mind, was its scope was limited to the left; whereas liberalism …

1968, Movies

The Bride Wore Black (1968, Francois Truffaut)

This has to be seen as the spiritual predecessor to Kill Bill, even if Tarantino insists he’s never seen it. The overall plot is just too similar, though Tarantino made far superior films. (I suppose it’s also possible someone just told him the plot, or he read the novel. SPOILER ALERT

1968, 1969, Music

The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper (1969)

Much like Super Session (the studio version of this record), this album suffers a little from happenstance: Mike Bloomfield had a habit of wearing himself out and he’s not present on all tracks (much like on Super Session where he was replaced for half of it by Stephen Stills). But he’s present on most (and …

1968, Music

I Stand Alone (1968) by Al Kooper

When I was younger, I was utterly fascinated by Kooper’s career: how he went from a successful songwriter to a less successful session guitarist to one of the best rock keyboardists of his era (or, perhaps, ever) and the major creative force behind some interesting ventures in the late 60s. But, for whatever reason, it …

1968, Music

The Lee Konitz Duets (1968)

Konitz presents a series of duets, plus some brief solo playing a one full band track, that explore a wide variety of jazz styles available in 1968. Konitz is excellent throughout and the guests are all great (even though not all of them are as famous). It works really well as a survey of jazz …

1968, Music

The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra (1968)

Let’s put aside the ridiculous title for a minute. This is one of those ’60s efforts to try to bring free jazz into more conservative musical traditions. At least in conception, it reminds me a little bit of the [i]Symphony for Improvisers[/i]. There was definitely a group of musicians in the ’60s who wanted to …

1968, Books, Fiction

A Case of Need (1968) by Michael Crichton writing as Jeffery Hudson

This is a real page turner and it’s easy to see why it’s the book that properly launched Crichton’s career: it’s full of detailed information about contemporary medicine but Crichton uses that detail to drive the plot, not to overwhelm the reader in minutiae (as some “techno thriller” writers do). Though this type of thriller …

1968, 2015, Movies

Best of Enemies (Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville)

When I was younger, I used to long for the days when US news shows were just the news, and when talk shows had actual intellectuals on, on occasion, to debate. I remember once seeing a clip many years ago where Gore Vidal (whom I have a love/hate relationship with) and Norman Mailer (who I …

1968, Music

Vincebus Eruptum (1968) by Blue Cheer

For years and years I have been telling everyone who would listen that Jeff Beck’s Truth is the first heavy metal album of All Time. If people mentioned Blue Cheer, I dismissed them outright (despite only ever hearing their cover of “Summertime Blues” once or twice) or assumed that The Jeff Beck Group beat them …

1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 2000, Music

The Jimi Hendrix Experience (2000)

This is an exhaustive collection of Experience alternate takes, outtakes, alternate mixes and live performances. For the Hendrix completist, it’s probably more essential than any of the other studio rarities collections that have come out, just because it shows off more facets of his playing and his experimentation – unlike those studio rarities collections, which …

1968, 1969, 2015, Movies

TIFF 2015: Ninth Floor (2015, Mina Shum) (9/15)

This is an important film for Canadians, about a subject that should have been turned into a documentary years ago, no doubt. And it is a necessary part of our history. However, I’m not sure this film is the film the events at Sir George Williams University in 1968 and 1969 deserve.