There was a certain kudos to being on the Elektra label in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Any album whose catalogue number began with a 74 (or just 4 in mono) was deemed to be an instant classic. Examples of such albums are 74001=”Love” by Love, 74004=”Tim Buckley” by Tim Buckley, 74005=”Da Capo” by Love, 74007=”The Doors” by The Doors, 74010=”The 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion” by Incredible String Band, 74012=”Wildflowers” by Judy Collins, 74013=”Forever Changes” by Love, 74014=”Strange Days” by The Doors, 74018=”The Circle Game” by Tom Rush, 74021=”The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter” by Incredible String Band, 74022=”David Ackles” by David Ackles, 74024=”Waiting For The Sun” by The Doors, 74027=”In My Life” by Judy Collins, 74028=”Goodbye And Hello” by Tim Buckley, 74029=”The Marble Index” by Nico, 74036/37=”Wee Tam and Big Huge” by Incredible String Band, 74042=”Kick Out The Jams” by MC5, 74045=”Happy/Sad” by Tim Buckley, 74051=”The Stooges” by The Stooges, 74053=”Keep On Moving” by The Butterfield Blues Band, 74060=”Subway To The Country” by David Ackles, 74068=”Renaissance” by Renaissance, 74073=”Little Bit Of Rain” by Fred Neil, 74074=”Lorca” by Tim Buckley, 74082=”Carly Simon” by Carly Simon, 74094=”Death Walks Behind You” by Atomic Rooster, 74099=”Nicely Out Of Tune” by Lindisfarne. I didn’t mean to list so many of these albums but it was a thrill to see so many classics in this list. Lots of eponymous titles too. There are one hundred albums in this series and they are listed on this site.
I’ve not listed every album and of those I’ve missed out, some are nicely obscure. One of these is an album I own called “Crabby Appleton” (74067). The first thing about it is that the sleeve is brilliant. The only identifying name on the album is the graffiti on the steps at the bottom which is barely visible.
Curt Boetcher, who went on to release a lovely album called “There’s An Innocent Face” formed a band called Millennium and one of the lead vocalists was Michael Fennelly who joined a band called Stonehenge as their lead singer. they changed their name to Crabby Appleton and released this great album. He loved a cartoon series called “Tom Terrific” named after a character who had a thinking cap in the shape of a funnel which he could turn into a trumpet. The villain he was always up against was Crabby Appleton (go to 2:45 in this clip)
The first track on this album is “Go Back” which got to Number 36 on The Billboard Charts. It is a very impressive rock song, with great guitar work, an infectious chorus and some impassioned vocals. The album was produced by Don Gallucci, who had briefly been a member of The Kingsmen who recorded “Louie Louie” and he went on to produce The Stooges. Lester Bangs, of Rolling Stone, described the album as “nearly faultless and communicates the vitality of American youth and American music better than the last and the next ten hypes”.
Phil Jones was the drummer in Crabby Appleton and went on to play with the Waddy Watchell Band along with Blondie Chaplin (who made significant contributions to The Beach Boys’ album “Carl And The Passions – So Tough“) . Waddy Watchell has played guitar on songs by The Rolling Stones, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and many others.
Michael Fennelly went on to record a great solo album called “Lane Changer” and later recorded harmony vocals on songs by Steely Dan. His vocal style on the title track is very similar to Robert Plant.
Elektra Records were formed in 1950 by Jac Holzman. He decided to spell Elektra with a K -“I gave her the ‘K’ that I lacked”. The label was one of the first independent labels. Jac Holzman said “You could sense the energy generated by a collection of strong-willed, unstoppable music fiends committed to a broad exploration of the global songbook, that which was already written but ignored and that yet to be created music which could take seed in the encouragement and freedom of an independent record company.” Ah! I’m beginning to feel nostalgic for the optimism and sunshine of the Sixties.