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by Justin Farrar

June 20, 2013

Classic Rock Vault Vol. 2

by Justin Farrar  |  June 20, 2013

In this installment of Rhapsody's Classic Rock Vault, prepare to have your head clubbed with hard rock, your body dissolved into cosmic dust by spacey art pop and your booty shaken by the greasy powers of Southern boogie. Kicking things off is "T.B. Sheets," nearly 10 minutes of a young Van Morrison wheezing, coughing and crying before a girl who's dying of tuberculosis. Recorded in the spring of 1967, it still stands as one of the most emotionally potent slabs of blues in the singer's catalog. After that we dive into a string of gnarly groovers from Moving Sidewalks (Billy Gibbons' pre-ZZ Top outfit), Humble Pie, James Gang and Grand Funk Railroad, whose "Got This Thing on the Move" boasts some of the thickest bass-stomp to emerge from the late '60s.

Things then turn cerebral. Genesis leads the way with "Back In N.Y.C.," one of Peter Gabriel's most entrancing vocal performances from the Brian Eno-produced masterpiece The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Then comes Alan Parsons Project's "I Robot" (intergalactic prog-funk), Paul McCartney's "Check My Machine" (four-track stoner-pop from the dawn of the '80s) and The Who's psychedelic opus "Armenia City in the Sky" (which opens with that wonderfully trippy voice chanting "Monday ... Tuesday ... Wednesday ... Thursday ... Friday ...").

Classic Rock Vault Vol. 2 closes with later-career nuggets from two of rock 'n' roll's founders: Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. The Killer's "Jack Daniels Old No. 7," released in the mid-'70s, should've been a Southern rock anthem but for some reason failed to dent the charts. The King, meanwhile, tears into "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" with hell-bound vengeance. Not sure if he tops Jerry Lee's original from 1957, but Presley sure gives his old rival a run for his money. Pay special attention to the final 45 seconds: Elvis unleashes one of the most carnal howls in the history of rock.

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