FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Happy Trails versus Undead

So Friday morning I had the iPod on shuffle and “Who Do You Love” from Quicksilver Messenger Service’s (QMS) Happy Trails album came on. Well,  I decided to switch off shuffle and listen to the whole album! Then since I was in a live album mode,  I listened to Ten Years After’s album Undead. Now it’s Happy Trails vs. Undead. So now it’s John Cipollina’s guitar work versus Alvin Lee .

The first side of Happy Trails consists mainly of a performance cover of Bo Diddley’s – aka Ellas McDaniel – “Who Do You Love?”  portions of which were recorded live at the Fillmore East and at the Fillmore West. The track is over 25 minutes long, but is broken into various segments winding around the main track.

Side Two of the album opens with  Bo Diddley song (“Mona”),then  guitarist Gary Duncan’s “Maiden of the Cancer Moon”  next is  “Calvary”. The album closes with the band sing “Happy Trails” the theme song of Roy Rogers’ western television show.

While the album was  QMS second album it was the last two feature the original lineup of Gary Duncan (guitar and vocals). John Cippolina (guitar and vocals), Greg Elmore (drums) and David Freiberg (bass). On the next album Shady Grove Dino Valente became the lead singer and Nicky Hopkins a keyboard player who played with a lot of big named bands joined the group. The focus of the band changed as Hopkins keyboards replaced Cippolina’s guitar and I lost interest in the band!  From Wikipedia:

In 2003, the album was ranked number 189 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The song “Mona” was ranked number 88 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs also of Rolling Stone.

While some may not like the stretched out version of “Who Do You Love” I love it. I can put on the album and get lost in the dream like playing of Cippolina! Over the years it has just remained a favorite album that I never get tired of!

Undead is Ten Years After’s  second album it was recorded in May of 1968 at Klook’s Kleek a small London jazz club. Like many live albums the purpose of the album was to capture the feel of a Ten Years After live performance.  The album is a  combination of blues, boogie and jazz playing that merged more traditional rock and roll with 1950’s-style jump blues and while the went on to record probably more successful albums this album is probably my favorite because of the jazz elements of the album. predominantly for me the keyboard work of Chick Churchill!! The album contains the first appearance of “I’m Going Home” but other extended version of songs like “I May Be Wrong But I won’t Be Wrong Always” , Spider in My Web” and “Woodchopper’s Ball” were always my favorites!

Ten Years After was composed of Chick Churchill on keyboards, Leo Lyons on bass, Ric Lee on drums and of course the great guitar work of Alvin Lee.

Well so I guess for most it would be Happy Trails based on it’s high ranking on Rolling Stones list of 500 all time great albums and “Mona’s ranking on the list of great guitar songs. But for me I’ll take Undead not only because of Alvin Lee’s great guitar but because of Chick Churchill’s keyboard playing!! So the winner on my list Undead. Now is Undead higher than Surrealistic Pillow! I don’t think so!

Here’s a video of “I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes” from 1969. The song wasn’t on the original album but was included on the 2002 Cd release!