Thursday, September 11, 2014

With a Side of Jam

Doug: Raise your hand if you love long plays where the band just seems to love what they're doing and gets into an extended jam. Me, too. I'm betting we can come up with quite a list of fun songs, particularly when we get into album versions, live versions, etc. of favorite songs.

Doug: One of my nominees, and you can hear it below, is the extended version of the Doors' "Light My Fire". Of course, for much of my life I was held a musical hostage by the radio version. What most of us knew to be true was in reality missing about a 5-5 1/2 minute jam in the middle. And doesn't that make a difference when you hear the whole thing! Other songs that are enhanced by the "jam version" are the Blues Brothers' "Sweet Home Chicago"and the album version of  "Abacab" by Genesis.

Doug: And the ending of Guns 'n' Roses' "Paradise City", which is tremendous, may just get nominated right now in the "best ending ever" category!


Humanbelly said...

Oh golly-- I'm afraid that I'm the one guy in the crowd for whom extended jam sessions just seem to generally fall flat. I understand and recognize their appeal, and appreciate the artistic connection between musician, instrument, and muse-- but they simply almost never click for me as a listener. I think that's what keeps me from really digging a lot of modern jazz music- much to HBSon & HBWife's dismay (they're both big fans).

That being said, I could listen to the jam session in THE END on Abbey Road about hundred times in a row, and never get tired of it. I wish it was soooooo much longer!

Hmm-- and where does the Edgar Winters Group's FRANKENSTEIN fit in, here? I've always been deeply fond of it in a dorky, 7th-grade, "this is SO KEWL" kind of way. But is that a jam session, or just a sort-of pre-fab, over-the-top, mass-market-youth rock instrumental? (Man, THERE'S a phrase that would be challenging to speak aloud-!)


PS- for HBWife's benefit, I'm going to throw Stevie Ray Vaughn right out there as a benchmark to measure against.

Anonymous said...

I've never felt I was being "held hostage" by a radio version of a song - a perfect song should be about 4-5 minutes long maximum with no long boring, self-indulgent bits in the middle please.

Anonymous said...

Cool topic Doug1 And I guess I'm in the early minority in that I agree with you - I love a good extended jam. My favorite band is Rush so in the '70s they were nothing but extended songs, extended live songs, complete album side magnum opuses (?). Also, loved groups like Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, King Crimson... I realize a lot of folks think that all that prog rock was overblown and pretentious. But, I loved it.

I can relate to your Light My Fire reference. Their is a local oldies station here that always plays the short version and it drives me nuts. But they'll play Hey Jude and American Pie. Can you imagine shortening either of those classics? Also, I once bought a Who's Greatest Hits with a shortened version of Won't Get Fooled Again. Just not the same.


Anonymous said...

Wow my grammar and typing was really bad on that post. Need more coffee...


Doug said...

Thanks, Tom! I thought we were going to have to skew the conversations to songs from Buddy Holly's catalog (love Buddy Holley, by the way) or maybe the Box Tops' The Letter (I like that song, too!).

I believe, if memory serves, that Led Zeppelin once did Dazed and Confused in a concert and that song lasted around 35 minutes. Now that's going way too far for me. But I will stand by the original spirit of the post.


Anonymous said...

Oops, Tom mentioned American Pie and yes a shortened radio version of that IS annoying - I'd want to hear the whole thing (and I'd love to know what the lyrics mean - "the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, they took the last train to the coast" - eh?!)

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm with you, too, Doug. And as a Doors fan, I totally appreciate that you mentioned "Light My Fire." The album version of that song is brilliant, there's no need to abbreviate it.
Another one that always used to tick me off was when you'd hear Santana's "Black Magic Woman" on the radio, and they'd cut off the "Gypsy Queen" instrumental that followed it - absolutely criminal!
Otherwise, I always preferred the full, 8 minute and change version of Foghat's "Slow Ride".

HB, I'm with Son and Wife on the jazz.
Tom, nice to see someone else who appreciates some good prog rock. I like King Crimson and Yes in particular, and I love that the latter have a double-album (Tales from Topographic Oceans) with only four songs on it...
And Colin, there's at least one website that I know of, Understanding American Pie, that has a rather exhaustive analysis on that song's lyrics and their possible meaning(s).

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks Edo - I'll definitely have a look at that.

Anonymous said...

Doug1, really, this post should be a National Treasure!!!!

Best ending ever: Freebird.

Led Zeppelin Live In New York 1975 has a 34:30 version of Dazed And Confused. IIRC, the whole concert is 3 hours 30 minutes, and just 16 SIXTEEN songs. And Dazed and Confused follows a 21 minute Moby Dick and precedes a 12 and a half minutes Stairway To Heaven.

Best Jam: Freebird. No, wait, Slow Ride. Oh crap, Layla (she's got me on my knees) Layla.

And that's just the radio stuff.

What aboot Whipping Post by the Allman Brothers? Cream's Spoonful?

And on the amateur level, how many high school jazz bands have played the opening riff from 25 or 6 to 4 over and over and over again until the teacher kicked 'em out of class?

So, Doug1, in conclusion, best jam ever? Freebird.

The Prowler (bye bye baby it's been a sweet love....won't you fly high, freebird....... ..... ..... ..... ).

david_b said...

A couple of nice additions..:

Stones 'Can You Hear Me Knocking?' off Sticky Fingers, then later 'Moonlight Mile' (more of a loooooong glorious ending than an actual jam I suppose, but still a great way to end a classic album..).

For Stones fanatics only, I still enjoy their weirdness on 'Satanic Majesties', the long jam at the end of Side One.

Most of you probably haven't heard it, but Wings 1979 live long jam to 'Goodnight Tonight' off their 'Last Flight' bootleg. Nice interplay between Lawrence Juber and Denny Laine.

david_b said...

Edo, I mentioned the long list of exhaustive explanations to 'American Pie' on this column a month or so ago, can't quite recall to whom, but there was a lot of armageddon slants construed in, despite the song being (on the surface) about Buddy Holly's death and the '60s.

david_b said...

Edo, sorry forgot to add in my last post, thanks for the nice Pie link.

I knew there were a LOT out there, but didn't have the time when I mentioned it to research it. :)

Humanbelly said...

Oo-- totally forgot about how much I love that jam in LAYLA. . . as well as the full-length version of WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN, yep. So I guess I'm not completely left behind at the station when all others have boarded the Coolness Express. (Pretty sure I'm seated in the baggage car, though. . . )


Anonymous said...

Edo - I had a college roommate who would play "In the Court of the Crimson King" over and over...and I never got tired of it. I don't have Tales from Topographic Oceans but Yessongs, TRIPLE live album, is one of my all-time fave used record store coups. I think I got it for 6 bucks.

Prowler - since you mentioned Allmans, I'll throw in "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed". Love those guys live.

HB - LOL. I'm sure there's a seat for you up front.


Dr. Oyola said...

I am all over the place on this topic.

I LOVE jazz - especially (be)bop and hard bop. No cool jazz for me. I like some swing.

I also love the Grateful Dead and some of their jams are looooong (some are too long) - and love that messy liminal phase where one song comes out of the jam at the end of another.

Prince concerts also have some long jams - some of which are awesome (but can be uneven) - best show I ever saw.

I love Wilco - which esp, later on got into noise rock and I love some noise (but not Sonic Youth, I need shape to my noise).

I OF COURSE love a funk jam. Some long-ass Sly and the Family Stone or James Brown is up my alley.

But when it comes to 70s jam bands and more recent jam bands (like Phish) I have NO INTEREST.

To me The Allman Brothers, Eric Clapton, Lynrd Skynyrd are mostly awful and boring and unlistenable. No thanks. There is just nothing interesting going on there.

I mostly dislike the Doors, but I like a few of their shorter, less jammy songs, except for "5 to 1" which I like.

Doug said...

Speaking of Clapton, the jam at the end of Let It Rain is pretty wonderful.


Anonymous said...

Doug1, would you say it was Wonderful Tonight?

Dr Oyola, I saw Prince on the Purple Rain tour, had seats behind the stage and it was still one of the best concerts EVER. He would do a song, run offstage to change clothes, the band would start another song and halfway through he would be back down to just pants and boots (and pants and boots and pants and boots).
If you haven't yet, google the "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. Prince plays the last two solos and it just gives one chills.

The Prowler (is on one long SLOOOOOOWWWWWWWW RIDE).

Anonymous said...

Okay, as the resident Deadhead, I love a long jam.....or even what deadheads call a jam "sandwich", when the music goes from one song to another song, then back into the first song ( or another, another). Phish was/is known for jamming and sandwiches.

As Dr O stated, the Allman Bros had some nice long jams....I recommend anyone to listen to any of their "MOuntain Jams", esp. the Fillmore album version.


Redartz said...

Let me toss in the long version of "Hold Your Head Up" by Argent. Definitely one of the high points of 1972...

Edo Bosnar said...

Except for a few songs, I mainly like to listen to Dead songs at their concerts (not a possibility anymore, unfortunately). And most of the ones I've attended were like one long, awesome jam.
As for funk, nothing beats the incredible jams to be found in either of George Clinton's bands, Parliament and Funkadelic.

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