Guest post by Ian Craine: The old git’s musical response

And here’s my darling husband’s Top Ten 1970s songs, dear friends, in response to mine – much less mainstream and more recherche, of course!


Roberta’s been entertaining you with her Top Ten from the 70s, so she suggested I got my brain in some sort of order and compiled my own list. This is not easy. After I left university, and the obligatory Top of the Pops every week in the “Television Room”, I stopped taking any notice of the pop charts so it’s more difficult for me to allocate a decade to a piece of music- which can be album cuts rather than singles from now on.  Years are as accurate as I can make them. I don’t guarantee these are the original versions (in one case as I say below it definitely isn’t) but I try to find the recording of the original single or album.


In a previous post I mentioned music hall comedian Max Wall- to me one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time. His early career was long over of course by the 1970s but thanks to Samuel Becket and Ian Dury (and culture doesn’t get much better than those two) he came again- as actor and as singer. Here’s the gem I found at the bottom of that Stiff album I mentioned. From 1977.

No. 10 Max Wall “England’s Glory”




I’m afraid that’s the one and only British entry. There was certainly good stuff being made in England in the 1970s but there were also still some classic American tracks which seem to have taken precedence here. Here’s one of them, fairly light, and joyful. From 1972.

No. 9 The O’Jays “Love Train”




Meanwhile down in Texas there was a lot of good music hatching, a whole host of country singer-songwriters among them. But I’ve chosen this from one of the great bands of the era who dug into the history of the music just as their major influence Bob Wills had done a couple or so decades before. From 1978


No. 8 Asleep At The Wheel “Texas Me And You” 




As one steeped in American music in all its glory (with exceptions!) I’m used to the idea of regionalised music. Personally I’m devoted to Louisiana and then Texas. There’s been great music coming of the big eastern cities too- Chicago, New York, Detroit and cool Southern sounds from places like Georgia. But Ohio??!! Apologies to readers from that agreeable state maybe not needed, because here’s a second already from there. This is gorgeous. Yo, Ohio. This from 1972.


No. 7 The Isley Brothers “Summer Breeze”




Now let’s get just a little more international. Between the States and Britain lies another land most musical. This band did much to introduce contemporary listeners to what Irish music was about. Hopefully they led many to search the older stuff as well. But since we’re currently in the 1970s I doubt there is a better outfit to highlight- this is where Christy Moore cut his teeth. From 1973.


No. 6 Planxty “As I Roved Out”




And let’s not ignore Canada either which has produced many a fine musician. Not least these two gorgeous-voiced sisters. This is not the first clear-headed song set in American written by Canadians. Sheer beauty.


No. 5 Kate & Anna McGarrigle “Talk To Me Of Mendocino”




Back to America. This group was part of the multi-talented Tamla Motown label from Detroit. In the 60s (its heyday) the label produced crisp pop songs, the sort I often prefer- leave the long version to a live performance. But to me this works, this definitely works. Magnificent. From 1972.


No. 4 The Temptations “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”




This song means a lot personally to myself and Roberta. Unfortunately it’s not the original version from 1975 so forgive me. I just can’t find the original online. This is good but that was better.


No. 3 Mac Gayden “Morning Glory”




Back to Texas. Texas hasn’t always been part of the US. Once it belonged to the Lipan Apache and the Tonkawas. Then the Spanish assumed a rather tenuous control of the area. It became part of Mexico when that land gained independence, and then in 1836 it actually became an independent state for nine years (the nameplate for the Texan Embassy can still be seen in London’s St James).  But there are still many Mexicans and much of Mexico in Texas. To me this is a candidate for the best country song of all. From 1974.


No. 2 Freddy Fender “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”




And what’s my No 1? I’m not quite sure why except that this track is very very good. I don’t think she always gets the credit she deserves (lesser singers in my opinion get more) and this is as good as it gets. From 1973


No. 1 Gladys Knight “Midnight Train To Georgia”



That’s all for now!


By Ian Craine

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