Sixties Music Secrets

  60’s Music….. Are You Feeling Horny ?

Written on June 10, 2017   By   in Uncategorized

Horns ! The Brass section. Trumpets, Trombones, Saxaphones, French horns and, occasionally The Tuba. The horn section in American music was both it’s staple and it’s cornerstone. Going back to the early to mid 1920’s when America gave birth to “Big Bands  The horns delivered the melody, harmony, rhythm, and deep bottom end. A typical configuration included 5 Saxaphones, 4 Trumpets, 4 Trombones and a Tuba, augmented and supported by a rhythm section of Guitar, Bass, Piano and Drums. Through the years, the typical line up would adjust accordingly as America’s Big Band sound morphed and matured into sub genres like “Dance Band” ” Stage Band” ” Jazz Band” and “Swing Bands” The popularity of this Brass enriched American sound dominated the sheet music business, saturated the fledgeling radio industry, established a recorded music fever and even made a splash in The Movies in The 30’s and 40’s  “Battles of the Bands” became the standard attraction every weekend at theaters and concert/ dance halls across the country, frequently featuring a half dozen or more bands on the same bill. But!…No matter how popular the “Horn centric” sound of  America’s music sounded in the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s’ Audiences and taste’s change and mature and by the end of the 1940’s popular music in America placed less emphasis on the Brass section with traditional arrangements and began focusing more on inspired improvisation by a strong rehythm section perhaps including a trumpet and a “Reed” instrument It was called Bee Bop and by the beginning of the 1950’s the horn heavy sound of “Big Band” and “Swing” had all but  vanished, and a new generation of music lovers were hungry for their own sound, and it certainly wouldn’t include a “Brass section……..UNTIL, of course, THE 1960’s ! Beginning in 1967 the sky’s opened up and it rained down Brass sections. We’re certain, here at SMS, that when you think of horn bands, Two bands come to mind…Chicago, and Blood Sweat and Tears. Two distinctively different groups but both focusing their power and creativity on their horn sections, an easy twenty years after the last vestiges of the Big Bands reverberated off in the distance!

Somehow, Chicago and Blood, Sweat, and Tears made horns COOL again… B,S, and T and Chicago made their debut’s in ’68 and ’69 respectively. However, did you know that in 1967 The Buckinghams  scored 5 top twenty  nit singles with a sound they called “Brass Rock”

Billboard magazine dubbed them “The most listened to band in America” But, we’re guessing you remember The Buckinghams as just another Top 40 band that got played too much. But not the members of Chicago and B, S, and T. They all credit The Buck’s with re – introducing horns into popular music and they took the idea, ran with it, and made “Brass Rock” the coolest new music on the radio, as well as selling millions and millions off records !  (it needs to be noted that Chicago’s first three albums were double record sets!….Unheard of !

Sooo, this brings up an old 1960’s argument…..The argument?….” who was better, “Chicago”, or “Blood, Sweat and Tears”?

We’re a curious bunch here at SMS and we gotta know, which team were you with….Team “Chicago” or Team”Blood Sweat and Tears” ?

Please comment back and let us know your preference and why !

To help aid your memory…Team Chicago

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5ewTCEFUeY

And of course…Team… Blood Sweat and Tears

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BayJzS2nCM

 

 

 

 

P.S. Didja know that The Buckinghams, Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears were all produced  at one point by the same man. James William Guercio….. Unbelievable!

 

 

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8 comments on “60’s Music….. Are You Feeling Horny ?

  1. Julie says:

    I was a fan of both however with songs, Beginnings, Call on Me, If You Leave Me Now, Happy Man and the Haunting melody of Wishing You Were Here, I have to go with Chicago as my favorite. I also enjoyed the Buckinghams “Don’t you Care” and Hey Baby They’re Playing Our Song” even though one of their big hits was, “Kind of a Drag”. And speaking of “Horns” you would have to include Herb Alpert’s “Lonely Bull” in 1967.

    1. Rick says:

      Hey Julie, you make a great point! Although I tended to like B,S, and T’s more traditional Big Band arrangements, I can’t deny the quality and consistency of the Song Writing with Chicago. You listed a half dozen incredible songs from Chicago and you barely scratched the surface. “Saturday in the Park” alone paints a perfect picture while telling a great story! Meanwhile, nearly all of B,S and T’s early hits were covers of songs by outside writers. With the exception of “Spining Wheel” which was written by David Clayton Thomas. By the way, Didja know that B, S, and T seriously considered having singer/songwriter Laura Nyro join the band before deciding on adding David Clayton Thomas ?
      Lastly, you make a great point about Herb Alperts “The Lonely Bull”. A haunting, Latin flavored horn driven hit!…..Didja know that he recorded the track in his garage and released it on his own label with his financial partner Jerry Moss…..Jerry was the “M” in A & M records ( Alpert and Moss records) They bought Charlie Chaplins old film studios in the heart of Hollywood and converted the complex into recording studio’s and offices for A&M records! They took The Lonely Bull and A&M records and turned it into the most successful garage based record label in history….

  2. Phil Cohen says:

    Actually the best rock band with horns
    from that era was The Electric Flag featuring Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles. i saw them at the Filmore East and they were tremendous. Their only album was released around the same time as the very first B,S&T album, which was Al Kooper’s band. To my mind, that was B,S & T at their peak creatively, although not commercially.

    1. Rick says:

      Well Phil, I can’t disagree with you. The Electric Flag did, in fact, create their own unique niche as a horn band, and they were awesome ! To be honest, I’m quite envious that you got to see them live ! Well Done !…..Furthermore you raise a great point that actually speaks to the true core argument re: horn bands in thr 60’s ” Who was better ? Blood Sweat and Tears featuring Al Kooper, or Blood Sweat and Tears featuring David Clayton Thomas. Sounds like you’re an Al Kooper guy, meanwhile I preferred The David Clayton Thomas years. I liked how the band went mainstream and enjoyed massive commercial success.
      Thanx Phil for your insightful commentary to this weeks conversation……
      Meanwhile, here’s a further question for you. “How did you feel about Tower of Power” ?
      Rick

  3. Phil cohen says:

    Always dug TOP. Rhythmically always interesting and fun.
    Btw- saw Bloomfield’s last performance with the Electric Flag. At the end of the set Buddy Miles introduced a “friend to come up and play some blues.” Jimi Hendrix came up and played an full set with the band. Incredible.

    1. Rick says:

      Hey Phil, Once again I find myself envious of another of your concert experiences…..I certainly saw my fair share of great live shows…..But unfortunately none of them included Jimi…WOW!
      Did you know that he was the opening act forThe Monkees, on their first tour? WOW, yet again! Can you imagine how surprised those young Monkees fans( and their parents) must have been when Jimi hit the stage?……Whoa
      Thanx again Phil, for stimulating the conversation!

  4. Harri Maki says:

    Hey Rick,
    Great topic and horns have always been the 5 star for bands that have them and as mentioned TOP has maintained their status as the band you do not dare follow for good reason.
    Horns have in the last 30 years been the icing on the cake instead of what used to be the norm.
    Horny is good.

    1. Rick says:

      Hey Harri, First, it’s so great to see you here at Sixties Music Secrets. Welcome aboard! Meanwhile, you are so right about bands with horn sections. They raised the bar on The Standard of Excellance for popular bands. Furthermore you make a great point about Tower Of Power. Without question they were the TIGHTEST band on the planet. If they had only produced “What is Hip” they’d be at the top of the heap, but their body of work makes them untouchable…….and…..”The band you never want to follow”
      Thanx Harri got your insightful contribution to this weeks “Horny conversation, Horny IS good”
      Come back soon and share some further thoughts…..
      Rick

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