|Blues Image, circa 1970...|
Why Santa brought me the third and final album of the one-hit wonder band, I haven't the faintest. Maybe, the record store salesman was a fan (Remember record stores?) or a teenage elf (who preferred electric guitars and drums to singing, Baby, It's Cold Outside) with some influence on Ole St. Nick.
Regardless, the Rolling Stones everybody knows about and those were, in my opinion, some of their best albums by far. I'm still partial to their earlier music.
But, the band, whose only song to crack the top 50, Ride Captain Ride (Which reached the U.S. Billboard's #4 in 1970 and, to be honest, wasn't even that good), really intrigued me.
Despite Ride Captain, which didn't appear on the album I got, Red, White & Blues Image, these guys were good. They were a talented mix of seasoned musicians, who started in Tampa, and by the late 60's were the featured and popular band at a club in North Miami Beach, named Thee Image, in their honor, that hosted many rock legends including Led Zeppelin, The Grateful Dead, The Doors, Cream and many others. They moved to Los Angeles, were signed by Atco Records in 1969 and recorded three longplay albums.
I loved that Blues' album. I remember playing it as loud as I could in the background, as I told a friend from school on the phone that it was a band that I played in! (Don't judge me, I was a kid!) Yet, I had all but forgotten it when I lost it to my brother, who took my entire vinyl record collection with him to Yale Graduate School of Drama and then moved to NYC, where he left it at an ex-girlfriend's storage cage, never to be seen again!
Blues Image broke up shortly after recording Red, White & Blues and the members went off to play in various bands, including: Iron Butterfly; Three Dog Night; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Alice Cooper; and Steppenwolf.
In any case, listening to the Sirius XM's Classic Vinyl channel on our ride home from South Carolina, where we went to spend New Year's Eve with friends, I heard the name Blues Image and it brought back memories of my childhood in the first-floor apartment on Williams St. in Port Chester, New York, where I would play Red, White & Blues on our large console record player that took up half the wall in the living room until I scratched it!
In fact, I almost missed our exit because I was daydreaming of those times; riding bike around the neighborhood, learning to play stick-ball and hanging out with friends.
Needles to say, as soon as we got back to Miami, I started looking for the long-ago archived album in the annals of my mind. And, after a dead-end on I-Tunes and only partial success on You Tube, I found it on Amazon (As part of a 2-album combo with Blues Image's first album, Blues Image) and ordered it.
It arrived in the mail last weekend and I have been playing it nonstop on my car CD player ever since; even remembering the lyrics to Behind Every Man There's a Woman, Gas Lamp and Clay, Good Life and most of the songs, which I haven't heard in probably forty years! All this to the chagrin of my 10-year-old son who was apparently not impressed, and after listening to a few of the songs stared asking, "Can we put something else on?"
Later, as we rode in the car, he asked me for the CD cover and, after studying it briefly, started counting down the songs, as in, "Great, there's only five more songs left..." Followed by, "Yay, there's only three more songs left..." And, finally, "Why is the last song song long?," noticing the seven minutes forty-five seconds finale, There Ain't No Rules in California, which is my favorite song on the album.
As Ain't No Rules came on, I tell him, "This is a jam, buddy; an old rock-and-roll jam."
He answered back nonchalantly, "I'm not feeling it!"
I was so bummed. This is my rock-and-roller. The kid who is constantly fighting with his sisters to put the classic rock station on the radio when we're in the car. What happened? Then again, he just got the PlayStation 4 Star Wars Battlefront bundle and hasn't been the same since.
I love reminiscing and the Red, White & Blues Image album certainly brought back memories. But as I thought about the episode in the car with my son, I realized that, as wonderful as memories can be, the most wonderful and important memories are the ones we make today...