Sampler Daze: WB/Reprise Loss Leaders, Part 5
Warner/Reprise accounted for the second half of 1972 with two more double-LP samplers, both with the variety that characterized the previous offerings. The wide range of musical styles was heightened by the fact that the label also distributed records from other imprints including Bearsville (Foghat), Bizarre (Frank Zappa & the Mothers), Brother (Beach Boys), Capricorn (Allman Brothers), Chrysalis (Jethro Tull), Pentagram, Raccoon and Viva.
On Burbank, we got to hear some more rock from Alice Cooper, with “Public Animal #9,” some bloozy boogie from Foghat, some New Orleans from The Meters with “Cabbage Alley” and good ol’ Arlo Guthrie and Van Dyke Parks. Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, fresh from the Turtles, tips their hat with “I Been Born Again.” That song came from an album titled The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie, after which the duo would come to be known simply as “Flo and Eddie.” Throughout the 1970s they continued to release albums as Flo and Eddie, and did backup studio work for the likes of Stephen Stills, Blondie, Duran Duran, the Ramones and many others. Flo and Eddie sing backup on Bruce Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart.” These days the boys work in radio and occasionally surface as “The Turtles … featuring Flo and Eddie.” Burbank also dipped its toe into the emerging soul/funk waters with the powerful San Francisco group Tower of Power, which would venture into the 1970s producing its own work as well as a ton of session work with other artists, making them a somewhat funkier Flo and Eddie.
Captain Beyond was a rock group with a stellar lineage: singer Rod Evans was the first lead singer for Deep Purple (heard best on the 1968 hit “Hush”), bassist Lee Dorman came from Iron Butterfly, drummer Bobby Caldwell played with Johnny Winter; guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt filled out the lineup. They played straight-ahead rock, obviously intended for FM (and hopefully, AM) radio play. But after their self-titled debut album, which featured the sort-of underground radio staple “Thousand Days of Yesterday (Times Since Come and Gone),” a dizzying set of personnel shifts crippled the band and they never made it really big. One rock group who did make it big was Deep Purple, represented here by the quiet blues “When A Blind Man Cries.”
Warner/Reprise’s final sampler from 1972 was The Days Of Wine and Vinyl, which saw the singer/songwriters coming back with a vengeance (James Taylor, America, Tim Buckley, Jesse Winchester, et. al.) Some U.K. folk-rock was added to the mix with Irish duo Tir Na Nog, the Incredible String Band and Steeleye Span. The “Span” brought a little electric rock to their English countryside-folk music, and the haunting voice of Maddy Prior made them memorable. California is represented by the Youngbloods, who turn in a rockin’ version of the 1955 classic “Speedo” (no relation to a bathing suit).
Vinyl also offered a few more blues/rock acts, like British blues grandfather Alexis Korner with his group Snape. Korner’s band at one time or another had membership from guys like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Eric Burdon, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and others. Memphis Slim, the venerable Chicago pianist, turns up with “You’re The One,” on which he’s helped out on vocals and guitar by bluesman Buddy Guy.
There was also another movement beginning to stir in the British Isles; Vinyl would nod in its direction with Roxy Music’s “Virginia Plain,” from the group’s first record. And they dug up a 1966 single from one David Jones, who at the time was white-hot as David Bowie. “Can’t Help Thinking About Me” sunk as a single but the fine folks in Burbank added it here, perhaps foreshadowing what was to come next.