Thursday, February 23, 2012

America's Choice: Hot Tuna

America's Choice was the fifth album by the American blues rock band Hot Tuna, recorded in 1974 and released the following year.  Apparently - this is the first of the "Rampage" trilogy albums (the others being Yellow Fever and Hoppkorv) recorded by the now power trio, it marked a major shift in musical direction by the group.  With new drummer Bob Steeler, Tuna now (then?) performed in a predominantly hard rock style rather than their previous more acoustic flavored manner.  Seven of the eight songs are Kaukonen originals, the cover being Robert Johnson's "Walkin' Blues".  The album is characterized by Kaukonen's multi-layered and hard edged guitar solos and Bob Steeler's frantic drumming, which give a somewhat schizoid feel to the entire proceedings.  Songs resonate between the somber and the frenetic, which adds to the moody atmospherics, especially on "Serpent of Dreams" and "I Don't Wanna Go". Three of tracks, "Funky #7", "Invitation" and "Walkin' Blues", often evolved into extended jams when performed live at this time.  The album rose to #75 on the Billboard charts.  The album was originally released in Quadraphonic.  The album cover art depicts a box of laundry detergent, complete with dripping suds, labeled "America's Choice: Hot Tuna". The lettering and color scheme are loosely based on the style of Tide. On one side of the detergent box, a contents label lists the musicians as the "active ingredients", and also says, "Pure, unadulterated sounds with amplified additives and the necessary polytonal ingredients to handle heavy loads." On another side of the box is a "warning" stating, "This album to be played at full volume for maximum effect." Unedited extended live versions of "Invitation" recorded at the New York York Palladium November 26, 1976 and Santa Clara University May 28, 1977 are available. In 1996, RCA released the CD box set Hot Tuna in a Can which included a remastered version of this album, along with remasters of the albums Hot TunaFirst Pull Up, Then Pull DownBurgers, and Hoppkorv.

1 comment:

  1. I'm pretty sure a college chum from CA told me they were gonna name one of their ablums "Hot Shit" but label execs nixed that! Have you heard that?


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