Sampler Daze: Rockbuster

100_2901_editedToday we take a last look at the rock samplers issued by CBS/Columbia … In 1970, the company dropped Rockbuster, another two-LP sampler issued in the United Kingdom and Europe.

The album had more of Columbia’s jazz-rock (Blood, Sweat and Tears, Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis, It’s A Beautiful Day, The Flock), some singer/songwriter stuff (Poco, Byrds, Dylan), some prog-rock (Argent, Spirit) and some blues-rock (Redbone, Johnny Winter, Pacific Gas & Electric).

One interesting group was Black Widow, a British hard-rock foursome often confused at the time with Black Sabbath.  Black Widow used occult and satanic imagery with less subtlety than Ozzy and Co., and when they finally moved away from that crap in 1971 Black Widow actually lost popularity.  CBS dropped them a year later and the group broke up, although some of the original members have been recently threatening a comeback.

Redbone was also pretty interesting; they came out of Los Angeles in 1968 with a mixture of rock, R&B and Cajun influences, even though the group’s founders – brothers Patrick and Lolly Vasquez – were apparently Native Americans.  They had hit singles, including “Maggie” (1970), “Witch Queen of New Orleans” (1971) and “Come And Get Your Love” (1974).  Supposedly, Redbone never broke up but one of the brothers had a stroke in the 1990s and there hasn’t been much heard from these guys for a while.  Also featured was a group called the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble, known for combining rock and classical elements.  One of the group’s members was Michael Kamen, later known for his movie scores (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Highlander, etc.) and who died in 2003.

Rockbuster featured on its cover a (then) little-known bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger.   CBS/Columbia would release more samplers, including the three-LP epic The Music People in 1972.  When CDs came along by the 1990s, the samplers were replaced by various artists compilations assembled by the big music labels to make a quick buck.  Columbia has a lot of these out; one of them is Rock Classics of the 1970s but pretty much everything on there is straight off Clear Channel’s classic-rock radio playlist.

When we get back from Woodstock (the Bethel Woods concert is August 15) we’ll take a look at the Warner Bros. Loss Leaders samplers.

MP3: “Where Are We Going Wrong?” by Argent

MP3: “Don and Dewey” by It’s A Beautiful Day

MP3: “Mary Clarke” by Black Widow

MP3: “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” by Miles Davis

MP3: “Crazy Cajun Cakewalk Band” by Redbone

MP3: “Don’t Wait Too Long” by the New York Rock and Roll Ensemble

5 Responses to “Sampler Daze: Rockbuster”

  1. Lynchie from Aberdeen Says:

    I remember buying all these LP’s way back when. Samplers were a great idea and “The Rock Machine Turns You On” is a classic album on its own – introduced me and many others to some great music. Thanks for all the information on these samplers.

  2. Loved a bunch of these samplers and still have them on vinyl. Looking forward to the WB Loss Leaders – I think I have them all. Introduced me to a lot of great music and offered a lot of rarities not available elsewhere.

  3. Thanks to Clive (Black Widow) I just received the Rockbuster version of “Mary Clarke” (Black Widow) – it ‘s different to the version that appears on the album “Black Widow” (on that album Mary’s surname is ‘Clark’ not ‘Clarke’).
    The comeback is not just a threatening thing 😉

  4. I got this interesting links from my friend. Very nice and usefull information In my opinion making ebook about it and selling it is a really nice idea. Check my site out about at

  5. If I remember correctly before ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’ there was a purple vinyl LP called ‘Underground 70’ and after ‘Rockbuster’ came a 3LP called ‘Rock Of The World’. Would certainly love to have a mp3-version of ‘Underground 70’….

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