Hi everyone, welcome to our Suggested Listening posting for this week!
Suggested Listening postings are published on Fridays; and our next Suggested Listening posting will be out on Friday, May 14, 2021.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the debut of NPR on May 3, 1971; this weeks’ suggested listening selections are ten of fifty great songs selected by NPR to celebrate the anniversary of their founding.
All 50 of the songs are featured in a cool article titled “50 Favorite Songs Of 1971.” The link to the article, which includes videos of all 50 songs, can be found in the references section at the end of this post.
And without further ado here are ten cool songs from 1971!
Freedom From The Stallion by Lee Dorsey (Genre: R&B)
The great New Orleans singer Lee Dorsey is best known to casual music fans for the smash hit “Ya Ya”, from his 1961 debut album.
However, Mr. Dorsey was a talented singer whose worked with the equally talented songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint to record the top-notch, and upbeat in a light-in-the-darkness kind of way, album, Yes We Can, that features the song Freedom From The Stallion.
From The Album: Yes We Can… And Then Some (1970; extended edition, with extra tracks, was released in 1993)
Going Down by Freddie King (Genre: Blues, Guitar)
Freddie King was one of the three great kings of blues guitar, that also included Albert (1923-1992) and B.B. King (1925-2015). Freddie King (1934-1976) released some fantastic and highly influential albums during his career, including the seminal album Let’s Dance and Hideaway from 1961; an album that a young Eric Clapton certainly found inspirational; for proof check out Clapton’s playing on the album Bluesbreakers (1966) by John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton (the album is available for instant checkout through Hoopla)
And I’m digressing! The point is, Freddie King was a great blues guitarist and singer and was in top form when he recorded this song and the corresponding album Getting Ready in the early seventies – check it out!
From The Album: Getting Ready (1971)
Journey In Satchidananda by Alice Coltrane (Genre: Jazz)
A great song and album by the exceptional harpist and pianist; a prominent member of the avant-garde jazz scene of the 1970s.
From The Album: Journey In Satchidananda (1971)
Melody by Serge Gainsbourg (Genre: Vocal, Pop-Rock, Jazz)
Serge Gainsbourg was one of the most popular French singers of the 20th Century. Gainsbourg sings the song Melody in French; and the song has a great early seventies rock and easy listening vibe.
From The Album: Histoire de Melody Nelson (1971)
Ostinato (Suite for Angela) by Herbie Hancock (Genre: Jazz)
One of the most prominent jazz musicians of the 20th Century; Herbie Hancock has played music in many styles over the years from acoustic to electronic jazz, to straight ahead piano jazz. This song, Ostinato, and the related album Mwandishi, have an early seventies jazz-with-a-bit-of-an-experimental vibe – give it a listen!
From The Album: Mwandishi (1971)
Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton (Genre: Folks)
Something On Your Mind is a terrific song by the much-less-well-known than she should be folk singer-songwriter Karen Dalton! Dalton launched a music career in the early sixties, becoming a part of the famous Greenwich Village folk scene.
From The Album: In My Own Time (1971)
Strawberry Letter 23 by Shuggie Otis (Genre: R&B, Guitar)
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shuggie Otis is the son of the legendary Johnny Otis, and a great musician in his own right. Shuggie, who was born Johnny Otis Jr., started playing professionally in the 1960s with his father’s band. He subsequently launched a solo career and continues to perform and record to this day. His composition Strawberry Letter 23 was very popular in the seventies, with both fans and other musicians, including The Brothers Johnson who recorded a cover version and had a smash hit with it. To this listener though, Otis’s original version is somehow more immediate and accessible.
From The Album: Freedom Flight (1971).
Thank You by Bonnie Raitt (Blues, Blues-Rock)
Bonnie Raitt began playing the guitar and singing folk songs at summer camp as a youth. By her early twenties she had branched out, developed a love of the blues, and played with great blues players including Mississippi Fred McDowell and John Hammond; before being signed to Warner Brothers Records and issuing her first album — simply titled Bonnie Raitt.
Raitt’s first album, blues based with folk and pop-rock threads, is a fine one! It feature the song Thank You as well as Bluebird, Walking Blues, Finest Loving Man; and the Sippie Wallace classic Women Be Wise – check it out!
From The Album: Bonnie Raitt (1971)
Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get by The Dramatics (Genre: R&B)
The smooth singing Detroit based vocal group The Dramatics were together for the better part of decade before releasing their first album, Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get, on the great Stax label in 1971.
And what an upbeat title track Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get is! featuring horns and a terrific seventies vibe.
From The Album: Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get (1972)
Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who
Part of the British Invasion of the sixties; The Who branched out in the seventies, perfected their style, started playing to arenas full of fans and released several of the best rock albums of the 1970s; including Who’s Next, which features some great, energetic songs like Baba O’Riley and Won’t Get Fooled Again, along softer songs like Behind Blue Eyes and This Song Is Over; along with the bouncy, acoustic road-song Going Mobile.
From The Album: Who’s Next (1971).
Hoopla Recommendation of the Week
The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Saturday Night Fever by Various Artists
Saturday Night Fever is a great soundtrack that offers a quintessential reflection of the disco era; as well as offering songs that have since become classics including Stayin’ Alive, How Deep Is Your Love and Night Fever all by The Bee Gees. It seemed the right album to recommend at the end of a post that features music from the 1970s – although granted, the album wasn’t released in 1971! (The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack is also available as a Hoopla instant checkout album!)
And from the film, via YouTube, John Travolta shows us some seventies dance moves while The Bee Gees offer a seventies serenade with the song:
You Should Be Dancing by The Bee Gees
Have a good weekend,
Linda Reimer, SSCL
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn
AllMusic. 2021. AllMusic | Record Reviews, Streaming Songs, Genres & Bands. [online] Available at: <https://www.allmusic.com/>.
References Of The Week
NPR’s 50 Favorite Songs Of 1971. (2021, May 3). NPR. https://www.npr.org/sections/world-cafe/2021/05/03/992097225/nprs-50-favorite-songs-of-1971
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