The Galaxy – What’s going on?

Cover of "What's Going on"

Cover of What’s Going on

I was browsing my selection of cable channels the other day when I happened upon a documentary on Motown‘s legendary group of sidemen, The Funk Brothers.  Listening to them discuss the ins and outs of their storied career inspired me to want to feature some of their work on tonight’s show.  Naturally, while there are numerous potential selections that I could have made, the choice seemed obvious to me: the album on which they got their first album jacket credit, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On.  The musical crew shines from the get-go, with James Jamerson‘s thumping bass like a gleaming diamond.  Yet, by the end, the music itself is so mesmerizing that one almost forgets the different parts while focusing on the gorgeous whole.  The album as a whole is one of the great classic albums of the ’70s, and works well as a concept album, with a persistent theme from start to finish.  So, as with last week’s hearing of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, we heard the album (also a concept album) from start to finish:

  • What’s Going On
  • What’s Happening, Brother
  • Flyin’ High (In The Friendly Sky)
  • Save The Children
  • God Is Love
  • Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
  • Right On
  • Wholy Holy
  • Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)

After that, we heard a few tracks from Louis Armstrong and his Hot Fives.  These recordings, from February and June of 1926, are excellent examples of why Armstrong was so important to the development of jazz.  The recording also serves as a fine sampling of one of the few small combos of note during that time period (Armstrong singing and playing trumpet; Kid Ory on trombone; Johnny St. Cyr on banjo; Johnny Dodds on clarinet and saxophone; Lil Armstrong, Armstrong’s wife but also an instrumentalist of some note, on piano).  We heard:

  • Heebie Jeebies
  • Don’t Forget To Mess Around
  • I’m Gonna Gitcha
  • Droppin’ Shucks
  • Who’ Sit (Armstrong can also be heard playing slide whistle)

Next we heard some Jethro Tull.  While they made some marvelous recordings that certainly deserve time on this program, I find it hard to resist the allure of the recording of their Isle of Wight appearance from 1970.  This lineup was, to me, perhaps their most interesting lineup, with Clive Bunker and Glen Cornick playing well on drums and bass respectively (Cornick would leave shortly thereafter, prior to the recording of Aqualung, on which My God can be found).  We heard:

  • My Sunday Feeling
  • My God
  • With You There to Help Me

We also heard some live Hendrix, from Band of Gypsys: Live at the Fillmore East, the excellent Band of Gypsys remaster.  We heard Hear My Train A Comin’ and Machine Gun.

We closed out the set with some Deftones: You’ve Seen The Butcher, Lhabia, and Good Morning Beautiful.

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