STEPPENWOLF - Steppenwolf Live (1970) & For Ladies Only (1971)
Steppenwolf Live is primarily a collection of recordings from a single concert early in 1970 at the Santa Monica Civic Center by Steppenwolf staged in support of their 1969 album Monster. Released in April 1970 by Dunhill Records, it contains Steppenwolf's well-known hits: "Born to Be Wild", "Magic Carpet Ride" and "The Pusher", as well as most of the songs from Monster, including the top 40 hit live version of "Monster". The song "Hey Lawdy Mama" was recorded in the studio, but edited in a manner to segue directly into "Magic Carpet Ride", thus retaining the album's "live" feel. On original LP copies of Steppenwolf Live, "Hey Lawdy Mama" and "Magic Carpet Ride" are banded together as a single track, with a total running time of 7:13. A differently edited version of "Hey Lawdy Mama", incorporating a fade-out instead of the segue, was released as a single. The songs "Twisted" and "Corrina, Corrina" are also studio versions which were eq'd and given some delay effects to match the actual live recordings and overdubbed with audience sounds at the beginning and ending of the songs. The Bag by Kustom is one of the earliest talk boxes. These devices route the guitar signal from the driver of a speaker through a plastic tube held in the player's mouth. The sound of that is picked up from a stage microphone. John Kay was one of the first professional musicians to use a talk box having done so in 1969 studio recordings.
For Ladies Only is a political concept album mainly about feminism but with several more conventional songs about romance as well, both unusual themes for Steppenwolf. Some critics saw the album as sexist, citing the lyrics of the songs and a photo of a car shaped like a penis alongside the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the gatefold. The album saw the band hinting toward the progressive rock movement that was popular at the time with more complex arrangements and sophisticated keyboard playing, particularly on the title track. Like their previous album, it was accompanied by two minor hit singles which fell just short of the Top 40. Lead guitarist Kent Henry from Blues Image, replaced Larry Byrom prior to recording this album. The album was Steppenwolf's last of new material released prior to the band's initial breakup in February 1972.
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