July the 16th was the launch day of Apollo 11 which (if you choose to believe...) the one that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. So news wise that was pretty much the headline of the the year, music wise, Woodstock was just about to happen and that would lead to the Rolling Stones at Altamont and the end of the 60s - images of Hells Angels killing a man in the crown pretty much the closing of the "peace and love" vibes.
Wars were ongoing, Nixon was being elected, times indeed were a'changing, and what of the music charts? After a great opening on my musical birthday what will the 'Summer of 69' throw at me this week? A little bit of google and some reading and it is again a good week.
Album: Jim Reeves - According To My Heart
If you had told me to listen to a country album five years ago, I doubt I would have given it much time at all, but with my absolute love of Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie now, it is a genre I am branching in to more and more, so the fact in the second week I get to buy a country album is OK with me. The first thing I found was that "Gentleman" Jim Reeves died five years before this was released, and that the sheer number of tribute and compilation albums released almost makes it hard to establish what was an orginal and what was a subsequent release. This is pure country, the start of what became the Nashville sound, and like much of this genre, religion plays a part along with the staple of love, lost love and broken hearts.
An excellent album that I am listening to again as I type this up, and as many of this type of album can be found on CD for a quid or so, even if you hit a duff one it is not the end of the world. He died, like so many stars it seems, in a small plane crash - my advice would be to steer clear of small planes if you are starting to get famous in the music scene.
The quote on his memorial in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame is "If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear, or soothe one humble human heart in pain, then my homely verse to God is dear, and not one stanza has been sung in vain." and while I am not at all religious, I think that this shows what the power of music actually can be for many of us. Don't be put off by the country aspect and pre-conceptions as I was for many years - if you like a bit of folk, Billy Bragg or just the Johnny Cash albums made with Rick Rubin in his last years, give Jim Reeves a go, it is all on Spotify and the usual places.
Single: Thunderclap Newman - Something In The Air
One of those trivia questions here for the number one single. I am sure that most people will know this track straight away from the opening line, but it is a complete one hit wonder from this band. Formed by Pete Townshend from The Who with a large number of members in their short time together they recorded an album and played some dates but it is only this track that I have heard. In one of those odd quirks they have been on tour this year with Big Country - Andy Newman still leading the band, and with Pete Townshends nephew taking his role in the group.
Call out the instigators, because there's something in the air, we've got to get together sooner or later, because the revolutions here. Lyrics of the time, the summer of love, idealistic and has been used in vast numbers of adverts and is a common cover version. A good single in the traditional sense of the word - would have sold in the hundreds of thousands at the time and been heard everywhere you went in that July.
I am now one year old, music is still great, the world is changing and we are just about to enter a new decade. The revolution that Thunderclap Newman wanted didn't come, but change and progress will not stop. 1970 is my next stop, and I am hoping for a third week of great music.